When someone asks what my favorite book of the Bible is it always puts me in a quandary. How can I choose? What should I say? I could say the Psalms. But then I’d leave out Galatians. And if I say Colosians then I’d have to exclude Jeremiah. It’s just plain hard I tell you. I could just say, all if it. The Bible as a whole. But then I’d not be very honest about how difficult I find I and II Chronicles. Or even on some days, Romans. *sigh*
Today I came to Ephesians 2:12-22
". . . remember 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. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
Wow. At one time “separated from Christ”, “having no hope and without God”. . .
But now!! But now!! But NOW in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ!! My prayer is that this hits you smack between the eyes like it did me this morning. We have been brought near. Our sin no longer causes us to be held at arms length! The blood of Christ has brought us near! For He himself is our peace. And through Him we have access (through the Spirit of God) to our Father.
We don’t have to stand outside the door anymore. We aren’t kept on the front porch. We are invited to come inside. To come “near”. We’ve been given “access” to the Father Himself through the Spirit. No more hanging around the fringes, but walking right in and coming near. No more sitting in a corner alone and forsaken. Coming near.
What happens when a child comes “near”? Generally it doesn’t mean just standing close by, does it? Nope. It means the arms of the parent or grandparent or uncle or auntie are wide open. Arms outstretched. Reaching. Welcoming the child to run and jump into them. It’s an arm around the shoulder. It’s a hug. A warm embrace. It’s snuggling up close on the couch for a story. It’s squishing in closer on the bench at lunchtime. It’s coming for comfort for a scraped knee. It’s linking arms during a shopping trip.
It’s coming “near”. Are you feeling the closeness? I know sometimes I feel far more distant than close. But then there’s that word: feel. And I must return to what is true.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
This is what is true. I have been brought near. Is there sin in my life that is separating me from Christ? Or have I been so busy that I’ve neglected the “nearness”? Am I so weighed down with old baggage that I’m not enjoying the “nearness”?
So for today I realize that it’s been the engagement of my mind with other things. And I’m so thankful for *one* of my favorite authors penning those words to the believers at Ephesus. Because I sure needed the reminder today.
I have been brought near.