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.
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,
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
in whom the whole structure, being joined together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
In him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
I probably should have put this passage with the blog I posted here on Wednesday, but since I didn’t, I’ll put it here.You are no longer strangers &aliens,you are fellow citizens with the saints &members of the household of God. Click To Tweet
Have you ever been a stranger in a culture that was foreign to you? Where you didn’t speak the language? You didn’t understand what they were talking about and often felt they were talking about you…in negative ways?
I have been there before. To say it feels awkward is an understatement. At least there were people in my family that spoke the language even though I didn’t. If I didn’t understand what to do in a given situation or know what to say when meeting someone, they could tell me.
And the culture we lived in (Costa Rica) was a hospitable one! They were happy to hear someone attempt to speak their language. Not all cultures are. They were warm and friendly, usually greeting with hugs. Not all cultures do. They dressed the same as we do. Not all other cultures do, of course.
But even at that, I had plenty of times when I felt very odd and foreign. If the topic being discussed was one where I didn’t know enough vocabulary to speak or understand, then all I could do was smile and look sort of dumb…even though I knew I wasn’t. I was in 9th grade at the time. It was an awkward age for sure!
Paul’s great illustration
Now, put yourself in the place that Paul is talking about here. In terms of a relationship to GOD, we are the strangers and foreigners. Between us there was a huge wall, a wall of hostility. And we were not even close to the wall! We were far, far away from it as well.
So we had both hostility and distance standing between us and any kind of relationship with GOD. That was/is a big problem!
Who took care of it?
The only one who could. Jesus Christ, the second person of the trinity. Jesus, the GOD-man. He broke down the wall of hostility and reconciled us to Christ by His death on the cross.Jesus Christ broke down the wall of hostility and reconciled us to Christ by His death on the cross. Click To Tweet
Really easy, right? Horrible! Absolutely as horrible a death as we can imagine! It was a physically horrible death and the worst thing about it was the separation from GOD He had to endure because of our sin He carried that day.
I don’t totally understand all the hows of it all, just that it happened and that it was effective. Oh yes, and that He was the one who took all the initiative to bring about peace and reconciliation in the relationship. Romans 1 talks about how little I did to seek GOD on my own initiative.
Because of Jesus’ work, we are no longer foreigners, but citizens
So take comfort from this passage. In terms of our relationship to GOD, we are no longer strangers and foreigners. People who are in the middle of a crowd and don’t understand the words being said around us.
We are now citizens of His Kingdom because of Jesus and His death on the cross! Yes, it was an ugly mess. It was horrid and gruesome. That is what the cost of sin was and still is all about. It doesn’t fully get ingrained into our hearts that this is true!
But we are no longer those despised foreigners. Those strangers who don’t belong. We are now citizens of His Kingdom. We belong. We are accepted. His blood has caused us to be at peace with GOD.
We aren’t just accepted, but part of a living, breathing organism…the Church!Now we are part of something GOD is building, the Church Universal! It is made up of believers throughout all time, from every nation, every tribe, every language. Click To Tweet
Now we are part of something GOD is building…the Church Universal! It is made up of believers throughout all time, from every nation, every tribe, every language. A day is coming when all of us will stand before Him in worship!
Even so, come Lord Jesus!