By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
On this Thanksgiving morning, when because of the pandemic we are being discouraged from spending time in each other’s houses, we can walk freely into God’s presence at any time. The only thing that prevents this is refusal to place our faith in the One who has died for us. God is not impressed with a long list of things we have done. We enter His presence freely, not because of what we have done but because of what He has done. He tells us “Believe and enter.” Anything else denies the great gift He has given us. This verse is especially appropriate on Thanksgiving Day as there is no greater gift that has ever been given than the ability to freely enter God’s presence through faith in Him.
The verse begins with the words in whom and ends with the words in Him, both referring to Christ. In between it speaks of our unfettered access to God. It is only because of Christ that this access exists. The word translated boldness is freedom in the NIV. In John’s epistle it is confidence, (we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming (1John 2:28)). Because of what Christ has done we may speak freely, boldly and openly in the presence of God. We might as well because He knows everything about us already. The world may scream rash epithets at Him and go unheard, while as we enter boldly, confidently and freely in Christ He hears what we say. This does not suggest that we enter with any sense of arrogance. We enter humbly with a sense of awe knowing what He has done for us, yet we also enter boldly. While boldness refers to our ability to speak freely, the word translated access speaks of the fact we can freely come into His presence. We have the opportunity to freely approach Him (access) and to speak freely (boldness) in His presence and we can do both with total confidence.
This occurs through faith in Him. This phrase can be understood as referring either to the faithfulness of Christ or the faith of believers (by grace are you saved through faith). Both are true and both are likely in Paul’s thoughts as he penned this verse (The more I read the deepness of Paul’s writings the more I am convinced that he would intentionally place two ideas in one phrase). We enter His presence based upon what Christ has faithfully done as well as our reception of that work through faith. The tense of the verb we have emphasizes the continual access that we have through faith in Him.
This is astounding news. To the Gentiles it was doubly astounding. Through faith in Christ, we can continually and freely enter His presence (no appointment required) and speak frankly and openly from our hearts. So, when we are asked today “What are you thankful for?”. We know the answer.