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Mea Culpa: How I Was Wrong on Eph. 1:13-14 and the "Redemption of the Purchased Possession."

By Kurt Simmons


To make mistakes is unavoidable. However, while it is not in our power to never err, it is in our power to quickly admit our mistakes and move on.

I try to have the humility and forthrightness to admit when I have been wrong. My take on Eph. 1:13-14 is one of those cases where I have to admit to having been wrong. The view I formerly took on this passage was that the "redemption of the purchased possession" spoke to the church's redemption from the bondage of sin. My thinking was that the church is the "purchased possession."

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all
the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers, to feed the church of God,
which he hath purchased with his own blood"
(Acts 20:28).

By this (mistaken) view, the church was the purchased possession and was waiting of redemption. And what could redemption be but remission of sins? However, I now see that I was totally wrong.

First, the idea that the church was waiting for redemption and justification - that these were somehow held in abeyance until AD 70 - simply has no Biblical support. Dozens and dozens and dozens of verses affirm that redemption and justification were complete and possessed by the church from and after the cross. Not one verse can be produced showing that justification came in AD 70, or that the church remained under the debt of sin after the cross. Since redemption from sin was already an accomplished fact, redemption in Eph. 1:13, 14 cannot speak to sin.

Second, the passage itself indicates what the "purchased possession" is; viz., our heavenly inheritance. When Christ purchased our salvation from sin, he also purchased our adopted sonship and eternal inheritance above.

As a token of our adoption, God has "sealed" us with his Spirit in our hearts:

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of
God, they are the sons of God. For ye
have not received the spirit of bondage
against o fear; but ye have received the
Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry,
Abba, father. The Spirit itself beareth
witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God: and if children, then
heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
Christ; if so be that we suffer with him
that we may be also glorified together"
(Rom. 8:14-17).

A "seal" is an evidentiary token or device. When we obtain copies of official documents, the clerk affixes an official seal to them for purposes of authentication. Paul says in Rom. 8:14-17, above, that the Spirit "beareth witness" with our spirit (authenticates) that we are the children of God. The groaning of the Spirit that cannot be uttered (v. 26) and our cries of "Abba, Father" are the "earnest" (guarantee, surety) of our inheritance.

The probable source of Paul's imagery in Ephesians is the book of Jeremiah. Under the law of Moses, the right of redemption - viz., the right to purchase and possess - a family member's land fell to the near kinsman, who purchased the land under seal (some token of evidence). This very thing is shown in language remarkably similar to Eph. 1:13-14, when the prophet Jeremiah was in prison during the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar:

"And Jeremiah said, “The word of the
LORD came to me, saying, ‘Behold,
Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle
will come to you, saying, “Buy my field
which is in Anathoth, for the right of
redemption is yours to buy it.”’ Then
Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in
the court of the prison according to the
word of the LORD, and said to me,
‘Please buy my field that is in Anathoth,
which is in the country of Benjamin; for
the right of inheritance is yours, and the
redemption yours; buy it for yourself.’
Then I knew that this was the word of
the LORD. So I bought the field from
Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was
in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the
money—seventeen shekels of silver.
And I signed the deed and sealed it,
took witnesses, and weighed the money
on the scales. So I took the
deed, both that which was sealed
according to the law and custom
, and
that which was open; and I gave the
purchase deed to Baruch the son of
!eriah, son of Mahseiah, in the
presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son,
and in the presence of the witnesses
who signed the purchase deed, before
all the Jews who sat in the court of the
prison" (Jer. 32:6-12; emphasis added).

This passage describes Jeremiah's purchase (redemption) of his uncle's land. The redemption was sealed in evidence of his purchase. God's purpose in having Jeremiah buy the land served to assure his promise to restore the captivity to Palestine.

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God
of Israel: “Take these deeds, both this
purchase deed which is sealed and this
deed which is open, and put them in an
earthen vessel, that they may last many
days.” For thus says the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel: “Houses and fields
and vineyards shall be possessed again
in this land”’ (Jer. 32:13, 14).

It is easy to see the analogy to our case. Our paternal inheritance in heaven has been purchased by our Kinsman Redeemer (Christ), with whom we are joint-heirs of eternal life. The transaction was paid in blood, and the evidence of the purchase has been sealed in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, by whom we cry "Abba, Father." This yearning serves as the earnest of our heavenly inheritance until it comes into our actual possession.


Ephesians 1:13-14 expressly states that our inheritance is the purchased possession of which the Spirit is the earnest and seal. Redemption from sin and justification is nowhere in the text.

What do YOU think ?

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Date: 03 Apr 2011
Time: 10:18:17

Your Comments:

While Kurt is still in overall error in his advocacy of hyperpreterism, I've always known Kurt to be a noble man. I'm glad to see he admits mistakes.

Date: 03 Apr 2011
Time: 13:27:22

Your Comments:

Why would there have been any verse stating the day or hour when Jesus said no one would know that until it came...?

AD 70 was when full redemption from Adam's sin and death had to have come because everything in the temple and city were destroyed. All have been forever redeemed from Adam's sin and death, because all sacrifices for sins stopped in AD 70 e...ven though believers knew what was going on because of the cross they understood they were redeemed and that someday full redemption would come to all men from the laws of sin and death brought on by Adam. The rest of Israel did not know or believe so they did not cease from obeying the requirements of the Old Covenant laws.

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