Mea Culpa: How I was Wrong on Eph. 1:13-14 and the "Redemption of the Purchased Possession"
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
"Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers, to feed the
(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.
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 tha the church remained under the debt of sin
after the cross. Since redemption from sin was already an
accomplished fact, redemption in Eph. ,
14 cannot speak to sin.
passage itself indicates what the "purchased possession" is;
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
"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 ma be also glorified together" (Rom.
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. -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
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
"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
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
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
purchase 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 Neriah, 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;
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
"Thus says the LORD of hosts,
the God of
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
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.
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