But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. —Ephesians 2:13
Whenever we hear a bad report from a doctor and sorrow and fear grips our heart, there is a certain word that keep us hopeful still. After the doctor says what is needed to be said and yet he/she follows it up with the word “but” and prescribes the treatment, how comforting a single word of ‘but’ can be, isn’t it? Truly in that circumstance, it is a ‘but’ of hope.
Before Christ, the Scripture tells us that the Ephesian Gentiles were far off from God – “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12). Such a dreary description, isn’t it? However, here comes the precious word – ‘but’ in our verse today.
The apostle says – ‘But now in Christ Jesus’, the former terrible condition has been changed. It has been made right. The once far off Gentiles have been brought near.
In Christ Jesus, the Gentiles are no more separated from Christ. The Scripture describes in Revelation 5, a scene where heavenly beings – ‘the twenty-four elders and four living creatures’ sang a new song unto “a Lamb”.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation, (Revelation 5:9).
The song proclaims that the blood of the Lamb has ransomed people from every tribe, language and nation. Truly, Christ died for both Jews and Gentiles. The Gentiles are no more excluded. In the Great Commission that Jesus gave before he ascended to heaven, He says – repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his [Jesus] name to all nations (Luke 24:47). The book of Acts contains the story of how the gospel bore fruit among the Gentile nations. Even today, the gospel of Christ is bearing fruit among the Gentiles. Want a proof? Just look at yourself. Dear Christian, you are no longer separated from Christ! You are no longer far!
The Scripture teaches us another startling truth. Remember how the Jews arrogantly boasted to Jesus that Abraham is their father (John 8:39)? Well, the startling truth is this – not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel (Romans 9:6). The Scripture says that those who have physically descended from Abraham are not the true children of Abraham but that those who believe in Christ are Abraham’s ‘sons’ (Galatians 3:7). And if one is Christ’s, then one is Abraham’s offspring, heirs of the promise (Galatians 3:29). Thus, a Gentile believer, belongs to the true Israel, is made a partaker of the blessing that God promised to Abraham and is no more alienated from the commonwealth of Israel. The blood of Christ has made the purchase. O believing Gentile, you are no longer far!
Brethren, let us then give thanks and praise to God, for ours was a helpless estate and we, in and of ourselves had no ability and power to change it. But God’s merciful hand has done it for us.
Secondly, let us strive towards unity, for we are all irrespective of our ethnicity made heirs of the same promise in Christ Jesus. He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). We have one Lord and are members of His body, the church. We have been made one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
And let us keep on proclaiming the blood of Christ among the nations. For it is the only way by which the far off may be brought near.
Beloved, you are no longer far!