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— Ephesians 2:17-18
Many times, people will speak of their admiration of the Bible as a work of literature, history, wise sayings, moral teachings and philosophy. Yet, although the Bible contains all of these, they are still not its primary message. Its primary message is the reconciliation of God with man. The need for reconciliation tells us that there was a separation and estrangement that had taken place; something went terribly wrong between God and man.
The Scripture is clear in its message that the greatest problem of man is that he has no peace with God. In fact, he is in enmity with his Creator. Man is a violator of God’s holy law and therefore he is justly condemned to eternal death.
Hence, Jesus Christ came and preached peace to those who were far off – the Gentiles, and those who were near – the Jews. This message of peace is the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ by which God offers forgiveness of sins and perfect righteousness. During his lifetime, he primarily preached to the nation of Israel and after his ascension, he preached to the Gentiles through heralds such as Paul. Anyone whether Jew or Gentile who would repent and believe the gospel is forgiven of his sin and clothed with the righteousness of Christ. In this way, one finds peace with God.
What a wondrous peace to behold that God is no more our enemy but our acquitter and Jesus our advocate. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). However, it comes with a stern warning. Scripture knows of no other way by which one may find peace with God. The way of the Cross is the only way. Reconciliation with God will not come by asceticism, rituals, long pilgrimage or self-flagellation. The world thinks these are the ways to find favour with God but Scripture speaks otherwise. And for us Christians, Scripture is the final authority for faith and practice.
Having the enmity and hostility done away, believers have through Christ access in one Spirit to the Father. It is in Christ that we have boldness and access to the Father. He is the way to the Father (John 14:6). In the olden days, there was a person who was the official introducer to the king. If you wanted to see the king, he was the one that took you to the king. The Lord Jesus Christ is our introducer to the Father. There is a popular idea floating around that all human beings are God’s children. People tend to psychologically invent things that bring a sense of comfort to them. Yet these are false promises and comfort. The Scripture says it is only those who believe in Christ who are God’s children (John 1:12).
Believers have also been given the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit’s ministry that we cry, “Abba! Father!” and are no longer driven by fear. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (Romans 8:15). Beloved, we Christians do sin and fall. Yet the Spirit works in us conviction, repentance and assurance so that we can with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). In this way then the Holy Spirit also presents us before the heavenly throne of God.
O! What a privilege that we can directly go to God as our Father and no more as an angry judge! What a wondrous grace that an enemy be made a friend; yes, more than a friend; a son! Just as a child can go to his father, we have been given that right and privilege. The veil of the temple has been torn (Mathew 27:51).
And so, we can sing in the words of the hymn-writer:
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.