By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Paul brings to our remembrance an incredible truth. We started an astonishing distance from God. God has bridged the distance to bring us near through the unfathomable price of the blood of Christ. Paul will next speak about how this unites us as believers but first he speaks of the fact we are brought near to God. It is reminiscent of the commandments of God which permeate Scripture. We begin with a relationship with God (And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’(Matt. 22:37)) that naturally takes us to a relationship with each other (“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ (Matt. 22:39)).
The contrast is between the place of being separate from Christ (v.12) to being in Christ. In the past, the presence of God was on display at the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies into which the High Priest entered once a year. Now, the presence of God is in us. Paul will shortly say in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:22). To the Corinthians he writes, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Cor. 3:16). This is true of both the Jews and the Gentiles but Paul speaks especially to the Gentiles here who previously needed to become Jewish Proselytes to enter God’s presence. Now they experience the presence of God as they are now in Christ. The visible presence of God had moved from the mercy seat to the believer. We are now to display God’s presence as we are His message to the world.
In stark contrast to the past, the position of the Gentiles has been changed from being separate from Christ to being in Christ. God has changed His visible presence from the mercy seat to the believer (temple of God) and to the church (being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit). While this is true of all believers, Paul emphasizes that the Gentiles have gone from being far off to being brought near. The age in which we live may truly be described as the time where God’s magnificent grace is on display in a manner that has never been seen in the past. Paul will go on to discuss the unity of all believers but first he reminds the Gentiles of the distance they have traveled from being separate from Christ to being in Christ.
The Gentiles (we) have been brought near by the blood of Christ. The blood of Jesus Christ is the price that was paid. All who believe experience redemption because of His death on the cross. The price Jesus paid to bring us near was immense. As we believe in Christ, we are brought incredibly near to God as He has taken up residence in us.