by Clint Archer
On February 19th, 1945, at 2am, the first US Marine landed on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The tiny volcanic island covered a mere 8 square miles, and had a population of 1,018 people, mostly fishermen and their families. But this island would become the most infamous battleground of the Pacific effort. The Americans would suffer more casualties than the entire combined Allied force landing at Normandy on D-Day.
Iwo Jima was a strategic piece of land. It had two airstrips and was used by the Japanese to defend the mainland from Allied air raids. America knew that if it was to get the atomic bombs to Japan, to end the war, Iwo Jima had to be secured. Japan realized this too, and so it fortified the island. The 1,018 people were evacuated to the mainland and were replaced with 21,000 soldiers to defend the island.
Now America had a decision to make. It’s not as if Japan would sell the island. There simply was no price they would accept. America knew that those 21,000 soldiers would fight to the death, but they could not get reinforcements. So the decision came down to cost. How many lives would it cost to secure that island? America did the calculation, deemed it an acceptable price, and sent their boys in.
One month later only 216 Japanese soldiers had surrendered. The rest of the 21,000 were dead. American deaths numbered 7,000 with some 20,000 casualties. The total cost of Iwo Jima: the blood of nearly 28,000 men.
There are some things money can’t buy. And in the spiritual realm, the only price is blood.
Last week we saw that Paul rejoiced in the election that turned the pagan Ephesians into believers. Today we see the next spiritual blessing all believers have: redemption.
3 ASPECTS OF REDEMPTION SO YOU WILL LIVE FREE NOT ENSLAVED TO SIN
1. MEANING OF REDEMPTION
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood,
The word for redemption, ἀπολύτρωσιν means to release for a price.
Leviticus 25: 47-49 “If a stranger or sojourner with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him becomes poor and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you or to a member of the stranger’s clan, then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him, or his uncle or his cousin may redeem him, or a close relative from his clan may redeem him. Or if he grows rich he may redeem himself.
In the Old Testament it was a man’s responsibility to buy his family members out of slavery. He would be called the kinsman redeemer, i.e. the family member who paid the price to free you. Paul uses this imagery to illustrate the work of Christ. Christ pays the price for us to be freed from slavery to sin.
Paul says that we were slaves to sin – and need to be set free, redeemed, by Jesus. Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, …
Not just anyone can pay your ransom to God. You can’t pay for me, because you have your own sin to pay for. If you put your faith in the wrong person to redeem you, you are lost. If you put your faith in Muhammed, or the Buddha, you are lost.
2. COST OF REDEMPTION
Ephesians 1: 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
What was the price of our sin? Jesus’ blood.
Most people want to broker their own deal. They want to buy themselves salvation with the currency they have. So they come up with a system of good works.
If you ask a guy “Why do you think you are going to heaven?” He’ll probably say something like this: “Because I go to church, put money in the offering, take my kids to youth, work hard, I don’t cheat on my wife or my taxes, I don’t shoplift, I’m a good person.”
But those commodities, when compared with what God requires, is like offering Monopoly money to your mortgage company. It’s not an acceptable currency. God doesn’t want your good works, he demands justice. The wages of sin is death. To pay for your sin, someone has to die.
You say, but I don’t claim to be good, I have the opposite problem: I’m too bad. You don’t know the things I’ve done! God could never forgive me. That brings us to…
3. EXTENT OF REDEMPTION
Ephesians 4: 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Because of what Jesus did for you, there is total forgiveness. The word means to send away.
Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression …He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Is Jesus’ death really enough?
Can his blood cover every sin I have ever committed? Absolutely. Look at the verse:
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
He carried our sin away from us, into the gaping mouth of God’s fury and wrath, until it was all paid for. Then he said “It is finished.”
4. RESULT OF REDEMPTION
Ephesians 4:7-9 … according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
When Jesus died to redeem you from your sin, you were granted forgiveness of your sins. But that’s not all.
You now have a new heart with new desires, but also with new abilities: which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will
When you were a slave to sin, your mind was darkened to spiritual realities. But when you are bought back from your sin, you are issued with all the wisdom and insight you will need to live a life pleasing to God.
1 Cor 1: 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The Spirit enables you to understand spiritual truths that you were unable to grasp before. The implications are vast. You don’t need more insight than what is available in the Bible. You don’t need prophecies and words of knowledge to make the right choices. You don’t need to submit to people who claim that they have a special word from God for your life. You have what you need.
Redemption is a payment Jesus makes for your sins, through his violent death on the cross.
If you don’t believe in Jesus to save you, then you will appear on judgment day with nothing to offer God but your Monopoly money, your good works.
I promise you this: he will not accept any currency but the blood of Jesus Christ.
Don’t go to bed tonight without making peace with God through the ransom paid for you by Jesus.
Clint Archer was born and raised in South Africa. After pastoring there for 14 years he now serves as pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist in Mobile, Alabama. He and his wife Kim have four children and a Jeep