MARCH 31, 2017 – SALVATION: A RIGHT RELATION BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

EPHESIANS 2:13

The cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other.

For whatever else the Fall of man may have been, it was most certainly a sharp change in man’s relation to his Creator. He adopted toward God an altered attitude, and by so doing destroyed the proper Creator-creature relation in which, unknown to him, his true happiness lay.

Essentially salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation.

A satisfactory spiritual life will begin with a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner’s whole nature.

The atonement in Jesus’ blood makes such a change judicially possible and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying. The story of the prodigal son perfectly illustrates this later phase.

He had brought a world of trouble upon himself by forsaking the position which he had properly held as son of his father. At bottom his restoration was nothing more than a reestablishing of the father-son relation which had existed from his birth and had been altered temporarily by his act of sinful rebellion. This story overlooks the legal aspects of redemption, but it makes beautifully clear the experiential aspects of salvation.[1]


2:13 in Christ Jesus … by the blood of Christ. There are two dimensions to Gentiles’ being brought near to God. The first is their experience of spiritual union with Christ (vv. 4–10); the second is the historical basis of that experience in Christ’s sacrificial death (vv. 14–16; 1:7).

far off … near. See v. 17.[2]


2:13 far off. A common term in rabbinical writings used to describe Gentiles, those who were apart from the true God (cf. Is 57:19; Ac 2:39). brought near. Every person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation, Jew or Gentile, is brought into spiritual union and intimacy with God. This is the reconciliation of 2Co 5:18–21. The atoning work accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately even its presence.[3]


2:13 in Christ Jesus. The old division of all people into two classifications, Jews or Gentiles (Acts 14:5; Rom. 3:29; 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:23), or Jews and Greeks (John 7:35; Acts 14:1; 18:4; Rom. 3:9; 1 Cor. 1:22, 24; etc.), has been transcended by a new entity in Christ: “the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). near. To be brought near means to have access to God (see Eph. 2:18). blood. Christ’s substitutionary death. He died not only for the Jews but for all his sheep (John 10:16), even those who are far off (cf. Acts 2:39).[4]


13 Starting with “but now” (nyni de), Paul affirms that their former estrangement has been replaced with being brought near in Christ Jesus (corporate solidarity). Formerly they were “far away” and the Jews were “near” (see the more complete discussion in v. 17). Now they are members of the near ones. All that they lacked they now have in Christ (though, in fact, Paul does not contrast all five elements of their formerly sorry state, only the first and second). The instrument that reversed their former plight is “the blood of Christ,” the same means of redemption named in 1:7. “Blood” refers to Christ’s death on the cross, as in v. 16 (cf. Col 1:20). According to the OT sacrificial system, God required the shedding of blood to gain forgiveness (Ex 30:10; 2 Ch 29:24; Heb 9:22). Christ shed his blood, i.e., he died to save from sins (Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 1:7). Christ’s death is key and central to the reversal of the Gentiles’ fortunes.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2094). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eph 2:13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2265). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 76). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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