Paul taught the blood of Christ has brought near to God those who once were afar off. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:132, ESV). The meaning of this phrase or idea is in relation to the once “nearness” of the Israelite people to God because of His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. “…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (2:12). Now, because of the blood of Christ, God’s intent to save all people everywhere, the earlier covenant to an exclusive people has been done away with; consider the following: “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. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near (2:15-17).
To abolish in his flesh the “law of commandments” means that Jesus came to an exclusive people, obeyed the dictates/teachings of that law (otherwise known as the Law of Moses) given to the exclusive people (Israelite), fulfilling the Father’s purpose of Him coming to this earth. While on the cross, the Lord Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). What is finished? The redeeming purposes of God wherein two people are reconciled; “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt. 5:17-18).
From Ephesians 2:14, the middle wall of separation has been broken down. That “middle wall” was the commandments to an exclusive people, the Lord Jesus having now “nailed it to the cross” with His death. Therefore, what is called the Old Testament is actually the Old Covenant of God to an exclusive people. With that which the Lord Jesus did, a New Covenant is given to all people, not to anyone exclusively, but to all. In Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter made reference to the words of God’s prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who -calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:17-21).
Some points of emphasis from the above passage. First, Peter said the words of Joel would be in the last days, and that what he (Peter) spoke on this occasion was a fulfillment of Joel’s words; thus the “last days” on upon us, that is, we are in the midst of them and have been since the days of Peter’s preaching. Second, God’s Spirit is poured out on all, not only on some. To the Jewish audience, this would not be missed; Peter said God’s Spirit was to both the Jew and non-Jew. Thus, all (Jew and non-Jew alike) who call on the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21). All too often, people put emphasis on God’s Spirit given to someone rather than on God’s Spirit unifying, that is, making a separated people into one.
Comparison: when a male and female come together in marriage, God made two people into one. God made two people into one with the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus. Consequently, if I hold on to my secular ideology, then I am a republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, anarchist, radical—and I maintain separation with my political party of choice. On the other hand, if I allow the blood of Jesus to “do its work,” then I am none of the above, but a Christian only. In fact, it is only in Jesus that the separations of man can be bridged.
Will you stand on Jesus’ side? RT
Some people bring happiness wherever they go; others bring happiness whenever they go!