Brought Near: Ephesians 2:11-13
Separation hurts. We can feel hopeless when alone. Being reunited and in a healthy relationship is comforting. Today we will look at a few more verses of Ephesians 2. Through Ephesians, what have we already learned about God? How are we to view ourselves as a result? What has the work of Christ accomplished?
Commentator Lawrence O. Richards summarizes the beginning of Ephesians 2 this way: “God knows who we were: it is up to you and me to take Him at His word about who we are now! We can no longer think of ourselves in the old way, or burden ourselves down with past guilts. In Jesus we are renewed: we are His own fresh creations, shaped by the divine hand for the good works He calls us to do.” (2004, p.915)
There is a contrast between who we were before and who we are now. Remember that Paul, the author of Ephesians, was formerly a strict Pharisee. He had persecuted the church and been there approving when Stephen, the first martyr, was killed for his testimony about Jesus. Paul knows what it is like to be changed. The book of Acts tells of Paul’s conversion to Christ.
As we read God’s Word we have to recall that God alone is holy, that it is His Spirit that caused men to write these words down for us, and that it was His Spirit that drew those who wrote to Himself. The writers did not forget. Here is what Paul himself stated in I Timothy 1:15 - 16: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”
It is comforting to know that it Jesus brings the transformation! That’s what Ephesians, and the entire Bible, is about. Our sin divided us from God, but through Christ we are brought near to God.
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 ESV
Paul was an Israelite and turned to the Messiah Jesus. As a follower of Jesus He saw that all people are invited into God’s family. The Gentiles (the non-Jewish/non-Israelite people) and the Jewish alike needed a Savior. It is through the blood of Jesus that anyone is brought near to God! Only God’s hands can bring salvation.
Much of our world is experiencing physical separation in some form due to an invisible virus. We look forward to healing and coming into contact with people again.
As believers we know of a greater separation and we have knowledge of the only cure.
Since we know Christ and have been brought near through His blood, we must have compassion and obey the calling to share this Good News!
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?c And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Romans 10:13-15 ESV
Your testimony matters.
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothersb has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:10-11 ESV
We have sinned against holy God. God is just and we deserve death and separation from God forever. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, lovingly sent His only begotten Son to earth to die for us. Jesus, God’s Son, did not stay dead! He rose again! This is what our hope is.
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 ESV
Thank you for choosing to die for me. I deserve separation from God, but you have brought me near. Please cause me to remember your holiness, and your indescribable gift. I’m so glad that You live and I now have new life. Please let others know You through my testimony. In Your Holy Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder
Why is it comforting to hear the message of the Gospel through imperfect but transformed people?
How are you comforted by knowing that the blood of Jesus has brought you near to God?
Who do you know that needs to know how to be brought near to God?
Richards, L.O. (2004). Bible teacher’s commentary. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook.
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