[Papercut Press] 2004-11-16 - A Different Approach

Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption (remission) through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace."

I have never tried this before, but I wanted to give you a flavor of some 17th-century writing. I am going to take a paragraph (I broke it up into two) from a 1643 commentary on Ephesians by Paul Bayne. I hope you will see a distinction in the style of the time, and I am only giving you about three percent of what he wrote on this verse alone. I do use commentaries in my studies of the text, when I study Scripture and try to get a variety of views. On Ephesians alone, I have over 90 commentaries to pick from. I don't - can't - use them all. This is the first part of what Bayne wrote on the section of the verse, *"Remission of sinne out of his rich grace." I will comment at the end, and I hope you like my last insight/sentence.

"Remission of sinne out of his rich grace." whence observe; First, that to have our sinne forgiven, is to be redeemed, or set free from all evill, That which before he called Redemption, is here called Remission of sinne. Our naturall estate, if it be considered as a Spirituall bondage, Christ his deliverance is redemption; but if it be considered as a state, in which we stand guilty, and under punishment of the Law, then Christ his deliverance is the procuring of remission of sinne; and they cannot but be one in substance, though in reason and consideration they differ: For what is forgivenesse of sinne but an act of grace, acquitting us from all the guilt and the whole punishment of all our sinne?

[Marginal] Reconciliation, Redemption, Remission, Justification, One thing, in regard of divers respects, diversely named.

"And as we did speake of redemption, so we may speake of remission: For though the sentence of pardon be wholly and at once passed to us, yet the execution of the sentence is heere begun only and shall then be consummate, when every teare shalle be wiped from our eyes, in which regard we may grant, without any danger of Popery, that in the life to come, even at the time of Christs appearing to refresh us or to reanimate our bodies by the returne of the soule to them, that even then sinnes shall be blotted forth, that is, the sentence which had absolved us from all the punishment and consequences of sinne, shall then be fully executed. Againe the force of this remission is such, that it seteth men free from the condemnation of Gods justice in the Law, from that power of the Devill, and my conscience condemning of mee, from the life and power of sinne, which is the death of the soule, from all miseries and death, which come in as a wages of sinne."

There is a lot here, but it simply is saying that Christ forgives us from our sin. But there is so much more here and the depth of the writing is amazing because this was a commentary for the common Christian. The theological insight is far reaching. He directly cites Scripture several times in this passage, but does not quote it or reference it. I think there are two reasons for this. 1. Scripture was so familiar that the assumption was that people would know that it was the words of the Bible that he was citing for his explanation of the text. 2. The words of the Bible flow freely in his comments on the text. This, to me, is evidence that the Bible was more commonly known than it is today and while I would love to comment on some of the theological insights found here in this text I would rather just hit quickly on what he says at the end.

One of the things redemption brings us is freedom from the power of conscience from our sin. Notice that it does not say that we are freed from our conscience. As Christians, we still have a conscience that dogs us. In fact, I find that the closer I am to Christ, the more my conscience bothers me. The closer my relationship is to Christ, the more the little sins bother me. The deeper my fellowship with Christ the more, especially, I am concerned about how I have responded to and dealt with his image bearers -- other people. I critique more my responses, my attitude, tone, and communication with others, because my conscience compels me to do so...and I find that this is more true, the closer I am in my walk with Jesus Christ. Lastly, we are free from the miseries of death. What a wonderful thought, because death is all around us. We see it everywhere, and yet, it has no power over us. That is simply put, but the impact of the truth of this fact is that death is our Birth Day.

* Please note: Grammar and spelling differences of the 1600s have been left as in the original document.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com