As you enjoy the benefits of being His child, the access you have to Him at all times and the love of God’s family, remember where you came from. Remember that there are many who are now your brothers and sisters who at one time may have preferred you dead. Through the cross He has killed that hostility. Whether a person is seemingly near or far from God today, all are in desperate need of His grace to save them.
It’s necessary to recall from time to time that you were not always a Christian; to look back and remember your past alienation from Christ and the spiritual wealth you’ve come to cherish because of grace.
Paul told the Ephesians, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise.”
In the days of Christ there was such a stark difference between Jews and Gentiles that, as a Gentile, it would have been painful to regurgitate such memories. There was hostility and hate towards the uncircumcised from those who called themselves religious for reasons than only accentuated their sinful pride. When the righteousness of God appeared in Christ the high places were leveled and the valleys were raised. Jesus declared all things equal under sin, all are alienated from God without Christ. This is not just a Gentile issue, but something that all humanity must face. We have no promise, we have no covenant to lean on, we have no part in the commonwealth of God’s goodness unless He brings down the walls that separate us. And that’s what He did in sending Jesus.
Ephesians 2:13 – 16 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
The cross does two things among others – brings peace between repentant Jew and Gentile, and peace between God and man. The hostility between the so-called “religious” man and the sinner exists because of sin itself. The sin of Adam that is passed through birth to all human beings makes us all guilty, but that same sin produces the pride that leads one man to think he is not guilty and needs no Savior. In both cases sin is showcased and alienation is obvious. Christ came to abolish this. He shed His blood for a severely distant people, so distant that we were dead. If He had not shown forth His grace, if He had not quickened our alienated hearts, then there we would be to this day, dead in our trespasses and sins, willingly wallowing in our own rebellion.
Ephesians 2:17-19 “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. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”
As you enjoy the benefits of being His child, the access you have to Him at all times and the love of God’s family, remember where you came from. Remember that there are many who are now your brothers and sisters who at one time may have preferred you dead. Through the cross He has killed that hostility. Whether a person is seemingly near or far from God today, all are in desperate need of His grace to save them. Christ is the cornerstone of this household, “in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:21)
Though you were once alienated from Him, now there is nothing that can separate you.
Joel Littlefield is Associate Pastor and Worship Leader at Calvary Chapel Crossville, Tenn. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.