In Ephesians 2:11-12 Paul summarizes the state of the world. Basically there were two groups of people. 1- the believers in the one true God called Jews and 2- those who did not believe in the one true God called Gentiles. People could become Jewish by faith and the Old Testament is filled with them. These were people who aligned themselves with the people of God. There were even several in Christ’s lineage- Rahab, the prostitute, whose story is found in Joshua 2. She aligned herself with the people of God as she had heard how God had led the people victoriously out of Egypt and even parted the Red Sea. She was transformed by her faith in God, and later became the wife of Salmon. Ruth, the Moabitis whose story is in the book of Ruth aligned herself with the people of God when she decided to honor her mother-in-law’s God and follow her back to Israel after the death of her husband and father-in-law. She later married Boaz, who became her kinsmen redeemer. The Jews followed God’s laws, and had a covenant with God which required them to be circumcised. Those men who aligned themselves with God’s people had to be circumcised also. After Christ came and died, the only thing required of believers is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection. Through faith in Christ alone is someone saved. 1 John 1:9 puts it this way, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No longer was the outward sign of circumcision needed to prove belief in the one true God.
Paul concludes this discussion of Jews and Gentiles in Ephesians 2:13 as he reminds these new believers in Ephesus of their wonderful present position in Christ. “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are brought near to God through the blood of Christ. This is good news! We are no longer separated from God by sin, but can be united with Him. This really is the heart of the gospel that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are brought into relationship with Him. We are covered by the blood of His sacrifice and our sins are washed away. We are not far away anymore but brought near to Christ. Hebrews 10:10 “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” His sacrifice was big enough, great enough and pure enough to cover all our sins. Amazing!
How will you use this good news today? Will you draw near to God and thank Him for sending Jesus to redeem you? God loves a heart filled with gratitude and praise. Thank you Jesus for all you have done and are doing in my life.
8 thoughts on “Bringing us near = cross of Christ”
Hi Linda. Thanks for the read. You make one point that gives me pause: “the only thing required of believers is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection.” What is your take on Mark 16:16? – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
In Mark 16:16 Jesus was telling the disciples to go and preach the gospel message of salvation to the world. Those that believe will be saved. In Mark 1:15 Jesus was calling his disciples and said, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Coming to a knowledge of God requires that we believe we are sinners, acknowledge our sinfulness before God and repent in faith believing Jesus is the only way to salvation. Peter spoke in Acts 2:38 after the coming of the Holy Spirit, “and Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” One of my favorite verses is 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Hopes this clarifies the idea that repentance is required then faith can blossom in a clean heart.
Yes, repentance, belief, and baptism are required for salvation.
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Thanks so much for the encouragement! As I write during Lent each day, it can get overwhelming- needed the boost from you and the Lord today!
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