Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: Psalm 43
Repent of your soulishness and seek His face.
7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses…
We can praise God the Father for electing us and we can praise God the Son for dying on the cross and shedding his blood, for it’s through his blood that we have forgiveness and redemption.
Redemption means deliverance by means of making some type of payment. It was typically applied to the payment of ransom for slaves to buy their freedom. Redemption always has a price tag. What was the price tag for our redemption? It was the life of Jesus. He died so that you and I can live. Jesus’s life was payment so that you and I could be delivered from eternal punishment in hell. Was that a fair exchange? The life of the Son of God for ours. No. It’s completely unfair. That’s why it’s called grace. Unmerited favor.
We praise the Father for election, we praise the Son for redemption and we praise the Holy Spirit for sealing our salvation.
13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
Our salvation was sealed with the Holy Spirit. When you have leftovers and you want to save it to eat tomorrow, what do you do? You put the food in a ziplock bag. And nowadays, there are 2 seals at the top and its function is to block out the air and to seal in freshness so that the food will last longer. The Holy Spirit is like our spiritual ziplock. He keeps our salvation fresh, he keeps our faith fresh and the Holy Spirit prevents Satan and the world from coming into our hearts and causing our spiritual lives to decay.
In Paul’s day, a seal was also a mark of ownership and of authenticity. Cattle, and even slaves, were branded with a seal by their masters in order to indicate to whom they belonged. These were external seals. When God saves someone, He seals our salvation internally in our hearts by putting his Spirit there. Therefore, we are slaves of Christ. He is our Master. He owns us. After all, Jesus bought us using His own blood as payment. The Spirit marks us as God’s own and as children of God, we bear the marks of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5) is evident in our lives as serves as a mark of authenticity.
14 He [the Holy Spirit] is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession.
There’s that word again–redemption. In the same way that God redeems us or buys us back by paying the redemption price–the life of Jesus–the Spirit is a down payment. When you buy a house, you begin with a down payment. Not many of us have several hundred thousand dollars lying around so the best we can come up with after years of savings is a down payment, which is about 20% of the total value of the house.
When you pay the down payment, you own the house. You are given the keys. You can move in. The title of the house is in your name. But, we know that it’s going to take another 30 years of monthly payments before you fully own the home. The Holy Spirit is a down payment, it’s the initial payment, the first installment so God owns us. We are his possession. But, like in the example of the house, we still have to live out our lives here and one day we will be fully owned by the Lord.
You can even think of the Holy Spirit as a pledge to be married. In Paul’s day among Jewish families, if a man wanted to marry a woman, he paid a dowry to the family of the bride-to-be and as as symbol of his intention to marry the bride, he gave her an engagement ring. The dowry was like the deposit, the down payment for the future marriage and the engagement ring was the pledge, the guarantee that the man would return and make good on his commitment to marry her.
This is a fitting metaphor because the Bible begins and ends with a wedding ceremony. The first wedding between Adam and Eve. And Jesus, who is called the second Adam, will marry his bride at the final Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We, the church, are the bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom. And Jesus’ pledge that He will return to claim us to be his bride comes in the form of the Holy Spirit. All we have right now is a promise and a foretaste, a small fraction of what our future marriage and inheritance will be.
We should praise the Triune God. God chose you and me before the foundation of the world. God has predestined us to be his children forever. God redeemed us by the blood of His Son. And God put His Spirit in the lives of believers as a seal and a guarantee. Therefore, you will one day receive the promised inheritance and praise the glory of God’s grace forever and ever. And God tells you this here in Ephesians chapter 1 because He wants you to feel secure in His love.
Why did God bless us?
5 …according to his favor and His will…
6 …to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.
7 …according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9 …according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him…
14 …to the praise of His [Christ] glory
Why did God bless us? Because he wants our praise. We ought to praise Him because His will included our election and salvation. We should praise Him for being a glorious God and a gracious God, who showed favor to us while we were spiritual corpses and who lavished on us all wisdom and understanding. He did all of this because He found pleasure in blessing us in this way. He delights in us and so He wants to bless us. Even earthly fathers want to bless their children with good gifts. How much more our Father in heaven wants to bless us. Given that God blessed us with such abundance, he expects our praise. He blesses with full expectation that we will know how blessed we are and we will gladly live to glorify and praise him all the days of our lives.
In conclusion, toward what end does God bless us?
4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.
The goal of Christian life is not for you to be blessed by God and to get everything you want so that you can be happy in this life. The goal of Christian life is not your happiness but it’s your holiness. God’s basic point from chapter 1 is this. You have been blessed in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavens. Every spiritual blessing. Not a single blessing was left out. God emptied out the bank. He put his heart on the table. He left it all out on the court. He poured out everything. He withheld nothing. You have been blessed in terms of eternal salvation, which means, when this vapor of a life is over, you will be with God eternally for billions and billions of years? In light of this blessing, what more do you need?
If you are not praising the Lord simply because you are saved, then you really don’t understand salvation. Many people fail to praise God because they are looking for happiness in this life. They say, I’m not happy because I am not where I want to be in life. I’m still in school but I still have grad school so I’m not happy. Or, I’m working but I am not making enough money so I am not happy. Or, I have friends but I am single so I am not happy. Happiness cannot be the goal of Christian life.
v4 – he chose us before the foundation of the world for the purpose of making us holy and blameless in his sight. This is our destiny. Doctrine and destiny leads to doxology. We praise God for choosing us, for redeeming us, for sealing our salvation by the Holy Spirit. And we praise him because one day, we will be that spotless bride, holy and blameless, without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Salvation is not just a ticket into heaven and you enter into God’s holy presence just as selfish and loveless as you were when you first got saved. God will use this life in order to sanctify you and to make you holy and blameless, changed into the image of Christ so that we don’t have to be ashamed when we see God face to face on Judgment Day.
Holiness, not happiness, has to be the goal of our salvation. Holiness is our destiny. The final salvation of our souls, our resurrected bodies, and the redemption of the entire universe under the headship of Christ is the reason you and I are to give praise to the Lord.
Examine your life. Do you understand that we have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing? Do you live to glorify God and praise His holy name in light of the tremendous blessing of our salvation? I pray that we can become a community of worshipers. That we would be a people whose doxology is informed by our doctrine as well as our destiny.
…Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. (pp.175-76)