Study 3 BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
(Scripture Portion: Ephesians 2: 13-22)
In Ephesians 2: 1-3, and in verse 12, we are given God’s terrible but true description of fallen humanity. Apart from Christ we are: Dead in sin (verse 1); Deceived by the world (verse 2); Dominated by Satan (verse 2); Degenerate in our living (verse 3), and Doomed to punishment (verse 3). Left to ourselves we are utterly lost, helpless and hopeless. The world does not accept this description, but God declares it – look up Romans 3: 10-18. What is God’s attitude towards fallen humanity? We certainly have no claim on God and our completely bankrupt, destitute and disobedient state would justify Him in having nothing more to do with us. What is His attitude towards us? Notice in the second chapter of Ephesians that there are two wonderful “buts” which reveal to us the amazing love of God in Christ Jesus: the first of these is in verse 4, and the second is in verse l3. The Lord Jesus, by His death on Calvary’s cross, has brought us back into full fellowship with God. All that was lost by sin and the Fall has been regained and fully restored, and we (who believe) have been “brought near…” What exactly does this mean? It means at least seven wonderful things.
1. We have been Born Again and have Received Eternal Life (verses l and 5).
We who were spiritually dead because of sin have been made alive, by the miracle of the new birth (John 3: 3 and 5). The moment we believed on Christ and received Him as our Saviour (John 1: 12), we were born of God (John 1:13). Having received the Lord Jesus Christ we became possessors of eternal life (1 John 5: 11-12), and partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4).
2. We have been Raised to Sit in Heavenly Places in Christ (verse 6).
And what does that mean? It does not mean that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places; the verse does not say that. We are seated in heavenly places “in Christ Jesus”; and this means that through faith we are united to and with Christ who has been raised and exalted to the highest heights in glory. We who were down in the lowest depths have been raised up to the highest heights in Christ! That is our new position through grace. We are now “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3: 20).
3. We have been Saved by His Grace (verses 8 to 10).
What a great word is this word “saved”! It includes all the blessings which become ours through faith in Christ. Notice in verses 8 to 10 that: (1) Salvation is a present possession; (2) It is altogether by grace; (3) It is a gift received by faith alone; (4) It is “to do good works”.
4. We have been Reconciled and are now at Peace with God (verses 14 – 17).
We, who were enemies, have been reconciled to God through the blood-shedding of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is blessedly true that through Christ all racial and social barriers have been broken down, but the greatest barrier of all is that which existed between ourselves and God which has been completely swept away in the Person and through the finished work of the Lord Jesus. Meditate upon the words in verse 14: “He is our peace”, and compare Romans 5:1.
5. We have been Brought into a New Relationship with God (verse 18).
Each word in this verse is worth pondering. “….through Him” refers to our Lord Jesus Christ; “both…” means Jew and Gentile; “access…” means an entrance and a welcome; “one Spirit…” refers to the Holy Spirit; and now notice the important ending of the verse, “to the Father”. The moment we are “brought near”, we know God not only as the holy and just God and the powerful Creator, but as our gracious, loving heavenly Father.
6. We have been Made Members of the Household of God (verse 19).
The “household of God” is the Church. How do we become members of the Church? By the baptism of the Spirit – look up 1 Corinthians 12: 13. The Lord Jesus is the foundation of the Church (1 Corinthians 3: 11), but Paul tells us here that the apostles and the New Testament prophets are foundation members, for it was through their ministry that the Church was “joined together” and started to grow into “a holy temple in the Lord” (verse 21).
7. We have been Made Fit Dwelling Places for God (verse 22).
The Church is God’s holy temple, built by the Holy Spirit, and believers are living stones by which the temple has been built through the years. Soon God’s temple will be complete. Then will end the day of grace and we shall be raptured into his presence to be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17). But notice that the Church is “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”; and this is true of each individual member – see 1 Corinthians 6: 19.
- By nature and by practice far –
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.
- So nigh, so very nigh to God
I cannot nearer be;
For in the Person of His Son
I am as near as He.
- So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son –
Such is His love to me!