And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:8-11
Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for our sin. Paul writes in Philippians 2, “he humbled himself.” Here we see Jesus, the loving savior, laying aside every right that he had to authority and power, and offering himself as a substitute for our sin. Paul continues by explaining that after Jesus died, he was resurrected, and that there is now coming a day when all of the universe (“things in heaven…in earth…under the earth”) will bow and worship Him as Lord.
In Ephesians 1:7, we find the glorious truth that it is through the humble sacrifice of Jesus that we can have forgiveness of sins. In the abundance of God’s grace, we have been given forgiveness of sin, or as Paul also writes, we have “redemption.” We were slaves to sin, but now, we have been purchased and set free by the blood of Jesus. We no longer have to live with the looming death penalty for our sins; Christ took our sin on himself and bore the wrath of God as a substitute for us. We have been forgiven our sins through the blood of Jesus.
Not only have we gained forgiveness of sin, we also have received the blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us to obey and illumines our minds to understand the truth of Scripture. In this regard we have received “all wisdom and prudence,” in verse 8. Before, our minds were darkened by sin and by deception, but having placed our faith in Christ, we have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit to live differently. We can now see the lies of sin, and can be convicted by the Spirit of God through the Word of God to obey.
But why have we received the forgiveness of sin, and the abundance of understanding? What reason could there possibly be for our receiving the grace of God so freely? Again, the nature of grace is that it is granted not based upon our deserving it, but rather on “his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself.” We are not the cause for God’s grace being poured out on us, rather, God’s own unrevealed purposes are the reason. The only reason that we see, although there are certainly more than this one, is given in Ephesians 1:10.
“That he might gather together in one all things in Christ.” There will be a day of gathering where all the redeemed and all of the cosmos will join together in praise and worship of Christ. That just as Philippians 2 foretells the day of His exaltation, all that are in heaven and on earth will gather together and praise and worship him. Seeing then that we will join with the rest of the cosmos in the exaltation of Christ, we should respond in very specific ways. 1) We should begin praising him now, and should strive to worship him with our words and our hearts. 2) We should draw others into worship with us. 3) We should live lives of obedience knowing that he has taken away the penalty for our sin.
Reflect: What does Ephesians 1:7 talk about? What does this mean?