Dr. Bill Helton A Pastor’s Heart
September 29, 2013
Ephesians 2:11-18 is one of the most wonderful passages in all of Scripture. We were far off and separated from God (v.11-13), but now: Christ brings us near to God (v.13); Christ brings us peace (v.14-15); Christ brings us reconciliation (v.16-17); and Christ brings us access to God (v.18).
With his reference to being far off and separated from God, Paul is referring to Gentiles, that is, to everyone who was not a Jew. Before Christ there was a great gulf, a great distance that separated most of the world from God. Paul listed six things that kept us from God: (1) We were barricaded from God by the Jews; (2)We were “without Christ”; (3)We were “aliens” from God’s people; (4) We were “strangers from the covenant and promises of God”; (5)We had “no hope”; and (6)We were “without God in the world.”
In 2:13, the words “but now” are cataclysmic, a forceful contrast. Christ Jesus has now come into the world. Why was it necessary for Christ to die in order to bring us near God? There are at least two reasons: (1) Man was estranged from God: he had rejected and rebelled against God; (2) God wanted to show just how much He loves the world. No “greater love can a man give than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Christ brings us peace when we realize that He died for us and offers us deliverance from the bondage of sin and death and eternal life with God. Christ brings a deeper sense of peace when we realize that He gives the daily power to overcome the aggravating and terrible weight of anguish, guilt, loneliness, emptiness, and fear. Christ brings a still deeper state of peace when we realize that He has brought perfect love and unity to the world. A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; “all we have to do is to enter into it.” (Dwight L. Moody) All men peace, “but very few desire those things that make for peace.” (Thomas À Kempis)
Christ is man’s peace because He does four things for man. (1) Christ brings peace by bringing men together as “one” (Ephesians. 2:14). (2) Christ brings peace by breaking down all barriers (Ephesians. 2:14). (3) Christ brings peace by wiping out the enmity of the law against us. (4) Christ brings peace by creating a “new man.” Clearly, “if we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.” (John Bunyan)
Christ brings us reconciliation. Never once is God said to be reconciled to man; “it is always man who is reconciled to God.” (William Barclay) A certain king was very rich. His power was known throughout the world. But he was most unhappy, for he desired a wife. Without a queen, the vast palace was empty. One day, while riding through the streets of a small village, he saw a beautiful peasant girl. So lovely was she that the heart of the king was won. He wanted her more than anything he had ever desired. On succeeding days, he would ride by her house on the mere hope of seeing her for a moment in passing. He wondered how he might win her love. He thought, I will draw up a royal decree and require her to be brought before me to become the queen of my land. But, as he considered, he realized that she was a subject and would be forced to obey. He could never be certain that he had won her love. Then, he said to himself, “I shall call on her in person. I will dress in my finest royal garb, wear my diamond rings, my silver sword, my shiny black boots, and my most colorful tunic. I will overwhelm her and sweep her off her feet to become my bride.” But, as he pondered the idea, he knew that he would always wonder whether she had married him for the riches and power he could give her.
Then, he decided to dress as a peasant, drive to the town, and have his carriage let him off. In disguise, he would approach her house. But, somehow the duplicity of this plan did not appeal to him. At last, he knew what he must do. He would shed his royal robes. He would go to the village and become one of the peasants. He would work and suffer with them. He would actually become a peasant. This he did. And he won his wife.
Likewise, God considered how He might win humankind. God in Christ became one of us. He took upon Him the form of human flesh to dwell among us. Paul says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) There is one eternal principle which will be valid as long as the world lasts. The principle is—Forgiveness is a costly thing. Human forgiveness is costly. A son or a daughter may go wrong; a father or a mother may forgive; but forgiveness has brought tears, there was the price of a broken heart to pay. Divine forgiveness is costly. God is love, but God is holy. God, least of all, can break the great moral laws on which the universe is built. Sin must have its punishment or the very structure of life disintegrates. And God alone can pay the terrible price that is necessary before men can be forgiven. Forgiveness is never a case of saying: “It’s all right; it doesn’t matter.” So, “forgiveness is the most costly thing in the world.” (William Barclay)
Have you received God’s costly gift of forgiveness? He gave His precious Son that you might be reconciled to Him in peace. Turn your eyes towards Jesus and receive reconciliation and peace.