"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." - Ephesians 1:7
Our Western culture has seen a systematic and degenerative decline in traditional values over the past many decades.
By and large, the American church has awakened to the reality that at least two generations have been lost to the church. Culture warriors and analysts of social trends have identified several common characteristics of these “lost generations.”
Among the most prominent of these characteristics are five specific ones that rise to the surface.
#1 - The number one quest of these lost individuals is a search for a meaningful relationship in life. Many have never known one. For the most part, they are the product of a culture of divorce, and they are crying out for a meaningful relationship.
#2 - They desire immediate gratification. “Give it to me now” is their cry. They have grown up in a world where everything is instant, especially with information on the Internet. Thus, they do not want to wait for anything.
#3 - They want something for nothing. People on both ends of the economic spectrum have an entitlement mentality. On one end, certain government entitlement programs have reinforced this compulsion. On the other end, wealthy parents have given their children every material need or want imaginable, and they have never had to work for anything.
#4 - These lost generations want guilt-free living. But at night, when they turn the light off, they still have a conscience that longs for some moment to be lived over again.
#5 - They are on a search for prosperity, but they have little hope of obtaining it. They will be the first generation in American history that, on the whole, will not raise their children in homes as nice as the ones in which they were raised.
Who has the answers that meet the needs and desires of these younger generations? ....the answer [is in God's word] and can [be found to] meet all five needs of these lost generations ....all five are found in one single verse of Scripture: Ephesians 1:7
THE LORD OFFERS SOMETHING PERSONAL
These young adults are on a quest for a meaningful relationship in life. Note the first two words of Ephesians 1:7: “in Him.”
What Christ has to offer is not about religion or ritual. It is about a relationship, a vibrant, personal relationship with Him.
What He offers is “in Him.” The very thing for which the lost generations are searching is only found in Christ. The bottom line is, we will never be properly related to others until we are properly related to ourselves. And we will never be properly related to ourselves until we discover how valuable we are to Christ and enter into a personal relationship with Him. Christ is the only One who has the answer for the very thing that compels our search for significance—a meaningful relationship in life.
THE LORD OFFERS SOMETHING PRESENT
“we have redemption”
The second characteristic of these lost generations is a search for immediate gratification. Note the second phrase in our text: “we have redemption.”
What Christ has to offer is for right now. This tense is present active indicative, meaning the event is occurring in actual time right now. While they may think all Christ has to offer is for some future life in heaven, the reality is that He makes a difference right now. The day when, as a seventeen-year-old young man, I came to know Him, I was overwhelmed with the reality that He made an immediate difference in me: “Christ in me.” Talk about immediate gratification! I found it that day. It is only found in knowing Him.
THE LORD OFFERS SOMETHING THAT’S PROVIDED
“through His blood”
What Christ has to offer is free.
He provides it without cost or condition.
He is the very thing for which these young adults are searching.
And we who know Jesus are the only ones who have the answer to their hearts’ deepest needs.
It is not by His power or His love or His teaching, but by His blood that He has purchased a way for us to be in relationship with the Father.
-----> That privilege is neither earned nor deserved and cannot be bought. It is provided freely to us through the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood.
THE LORD OFFERS SOMETHING PROFITABLE
“the forgiveness of sins”
These young people lost to the church are also searching for guilt-free living.
Again, we who know Jesus are the only ones who hold the answer to their hearts’ desires.
Only through Christ can we find forgiveness for sins through our confession.
Then, as the psalmist promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Aren’t we glad he said the east from the west instead of the north from the south? The north and south have an end. There is the North Pole and the South Pole. However, the east and west know no end; they simply keep going. God removes our sin from us forever.
THE LORD OFFERS SOMETHING PURPOSEFUL
“according to the riches of His grace.”
Here we find the real answer to the quest for prosperity.
Christ does not say "out" of His riches, but "according" to His riches.
Let me explain.
If I were to give you a dollar, I would be giving you out of my riches.
But if I were to hand you a blank check with my signature affixed for you to use as you will, I would be giving to you according to my riches.
God offers us His grace according to His rich supply.
God is rich in His grace and mercy toward us. Yes, “for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
What are we saying in this chapter?
That the something people think they need is really Someone.
And His sweet name is the Lord Jesus. He holds the answer to every need of every heart. Those answers are in Him and in Him alone.
As you memorize this verse, meditate on each of these five phrases and ask God to meet the needs of your heart at the very points of your personal needs.
“in Him . . . we have redemption . . . through His blood . . . the forgiveness sins . . . according to the riches of His grace.”
from The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know
by Dr. O. S. Hawkins