“But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off arc made nigh in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slam the enmIty thereby: and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh.” Ephesians 2:13–17
The Apostle bids the Gentiles remember that as Gentiles, in distinction from the privileged nation of Israel, they had once been “far off” with their foul idolatries and heathen superstitions. Even their flesh witnessed to the fact that they had been far off, for they had not received the physical sacrament of circumcision, which was a distinguishing sign of the “commonwealth of Israel.” He calls this to their minds that they may realize how much they owe to the sovereign and super-abounding grace of God.
“Ye were at that time separate from Christ” (v. 12) . And so were we in our unredeemed state! Christ bad no place in our thoughts. His name occasionally may have been on our lips, but his Spirit and grace were not in our hearts. In our eyes he had no form or comeliness. Let us, too, remember! Let us never forget what we once were before the arm of the Lord reached forth to redeem us. The remembrance of our wickedness should be bitter to us so that we may the more praise him for having stooped to our low and lost estate.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.” Sin separates! It separates us from God. It makes us enemies of God and makes God an enemy of us. There is no proper understanding of the Christian Gospel unless there be the recognition that sin makes God and His mutual enemies between whom peace is possible only when a satisfactory basis has been laid for reconciliation. The cause of this hostility must be removed before there can be peace.
It is the blessed announcement of the Gospel that reconciliation is secured through Jesus Christ who “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). He is our peace! In the original Greek of the text the declaration is emphatic. It says that “he himself,” “he truly,” “he himself and none other” is our peace. He is not simply the peacemaker or the giver of peace. He is himself that peace. He docs not point to that peace as apart from himself and say, “Go there and you will find peace.” He does not point to something within us and say, “Draw on that and you will find peace.” No, he draws us to himself and says, “Come unto me.”
It is the same for every color and every nationality. Gentiles and Jews are made ‘“both one,” and thereby a communion of saints is established, purchased unto God with the blood of Christ out of “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Both one! There is no segregation in the household of God!
One evidence that confirms our peace in Christ is that we have access to God. If the hostility which sin produces between us and God had not been removed, the way to God would still be closed. So complete is this reconciliation that we are not only permitted to go to God, but we are actually introduced to him. We address him as “Our Father who art in heaven.” It is an initiate relation.
We are no more strangers but members of a family, a household, and in this household God is our Father in Christ. In this family there are no unwanted children, no abandoned children. And, thank God, there are no hopelessly incorrigible children!
Possessing the Christ who has brought us the Gospel of peace, joined together in the unity of one Spirit in the bond of peace, and bowing before our Father in heaven, we sing the real song of Christian brotherhood:
We are not divided, All one body we, One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.
Spirit of God, help us to walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God. Keep alive within us the memory of what we once were as sinners in need of salvation, that all pride may be abased and that we may live to the praise of Him who made us nigh in his blood. Amen.