But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 (NIV)
Read: Ephesians 2
Consider: When Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus he wanted to reassure the Gentile believers that they were in Christ in the same way as the believing Jews. We need to remember that the Jewish people would have assumed that they were ‘near to God’ because they were party to the covenant and they had the Law, while they would have presumed that Gentiles were ‘far away from God’ as they were excluded from God’s covenant. Paul puts Jews and Gentiles in the same place (as far away from God), until they come to believe and only then are they ‘brought near by the blood of Christ’.
Elsewhere in his letters Paul talks about being separated from God when he says: Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:21-22). Listen to what it says in Ephesians 2:19-20 – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Through the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross, we are brought into a close relationship with God. When we come to believe and accept forgiveness through Christ, we are seen as those who are ‘brought near’ to God. Being ‘brought near’ implies that it is something that we could not do for ourselves, but was done for us as an expression of the grace of God.
We also need to remember that this is not about feelings, it is about fact. There are times when we may feel especially near to God, when we almost physically feel his presence. There are also times when we might feel God is far away. The reality is that when we accept Christ as our Saviour, we are ‘brought near’ to God. Notice what the writer of Hebrews says: Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-23). Our nearness to God is not based on our feelings, but on God’s faithfulness.
Let me leave you with a verse from Psalm 73:28 – But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Pray: Father, we praise you that we have been brought near to you through the Blood of Christ, and not by anything we could do for ourselves. May we have confidence in your faithfulness, even when we don’t feel close to you. Amen