But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. — Ephesians 2:13
There is a popular children’s song which goes like this: Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham, and I am one of them and so are you; so let’s all praise the Lord. Little did I realize that behind these simple words and tune, lie a profound Biblical truth!
In Ephesians 2:12, in the later part of the verse, the Holy Spirit tells us that Gentiles were once strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God.
Now, in the Old Testament, God promised Abraham and his descendants an everlasting possession of the land of Canaan (Genesis 17:8). He reiterated it to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4) and Jacob (Genesis 35:12). God also made a covenant with David promising a king from David’s line whose throne and kingdom would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13). The Scripture further speaks of a new covenant which God makes with the house of Israel where He puts His law within them and writes it on their hearts; to be their God and them as His people; to forgive and remember no more their sin (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
These covenants of promise were made by God to Israel and the Gentiles were strangers to it. But the Scripture reveals that the citizenship of true Israel is not one of physical lineage but a spiritual one to be had by being united to Christ through faith. For the Scripture says it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Not all who are ethnically Jews belong to true Israel or counted as children of Abraham (Romans 9:6-7).
The blood of Christ has grafted in the Gentiles into the citizenship of true Israel and therefore it is these true descendants of Abraham whose hearts have been transformed by the Spirit as promised in the new covenant, who will inherit the eternal land of Canaan, to be ruled by a king of the line of David whose kingdom will never end. Thus, the blood of Christ has made the Gentiles the beneficiaries of the covenants of promise.
Therefore, the Gentile believer has hope because he is now made a partaker of the covenants of promise. It was this same hope that enabled Paul to be a bold witness for Christ before King Agrippa (Acts 26:20) and for which he was under chain (Acts 28:20). Does this hope empower you to live a holy life? To fight daily temptation and sin? Do you, like the faithful ones of old, look forward to a better country, a heavenly one, a city built by God (Hebrews 11:10-16)? Do you set your eye on things above and store your treasures where moth and rust do not destroy (Mathew 6:20)? Or are these not important to you and you would rather be on the quest for money, power and things of the world? John Bunyan, a preacher of 17th century gives a picture of a man working hard, scraping up the rubbish at his feet and not seeing the crown which hung above his head.
Embedded in these covenants is the promise that God will be their God. ‘I will be their God’ (Genesis 17:8). ‘And I will be their God and they shall be my people’ (Jeremiah 31:33). Thus, the Gentiles in Christ Jesus are no longer without God.
Thus, in Christ Jesus, the situation has been reversed for the Gentiles and the promise that God will bless all the families of the earth through Abraham is proven true (Galatians 3:9). This is why the song that we quoted in the beginning is so profound in its theology.
Beloved, when you came to Christ by faith, you became a child of Abraham and made a citizen of the true Israel, thereby beneficiaries and heirs of the covenants of promise which causes you to have hope and made partakers of the blessing that the God of Israel is now your God. In all these, the means by which you were brought near is the blood of Christ.
Should not this truth cause you to have a renewed zeal for evangelism? There is a great multitude of people far away from God. They can only be brought near by the message of the gospel of Christ- the Christ who shed his blood for sinners.
Let us then beg God to fuel in us a love for lost souls and plead with Him to grant us the boldness and clarity to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Beloved, you are truly Abraham’s son and you have been brought near!