By Bonnie Scasta, Women’s Ministry Director
12 . . . remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangersto the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
We have all experienced the harsh realities of sin and separation from Christ in our lives. It is clearly evident that, as this verse says, we are separated, alienated, estranged, and at times hopeless. We all know the sting of this alienation and isolation; the pain of being apart from those we love or long to be loved by. We’ve felt the weight of being unknown, of being an outsider or “other than” the rest. Everyone, at one time or another, has felt excluded, unseen, unloved, and utterly alone.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
But, Paul writes, the Lord, in His great love, does not leave us in hopelessness and isolation. He does not leave us in our far off condition, but instead brings us near! We long for this nearness that can make everything feel different: we’re accepted, loved, and understood in ways we’ve never been before.
When this desire for nearness is misdirected, however, it often drives us straight into our sin. We long to be “brought near” in whichever relationship we think will ease our loneliness. We long to be “brought near” to those images that diminish our sense of separation and alienation. We long to be “brought near” to the objects of our desire, believing they will satisfy our longings for connection and intimacy. We believe the enemy when he lies to us, telling us that nearness can be found apart from trusting Jesus.
The truth is, only God’s decision to draw us near to Him can produce lasting hope and ease the separation that sin has caused in our hearts and lives. Only by trusting in the blood of Christ can that nearness really happen. Whenever we try to fill our voids with people (loved ones, mentors, parents, friends) or things (images, objects, feelings of pleasure) we only intensify that separation and hopelessness. Only Christ’s sacrifice can bring us near. Only His work can resolve our true need. Only His sacrifice on the cross can provide a remedy for our sin, and when we look elsewhere for satisfaction, we cheapen His grace in our lives.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
When God draws us near, covering us and our sin his purifying blood, the result is peace: peace that breaks down the dividing walls in our hearts – the things that keep us from the connections we so desperately want; peace that makes us one with the Father and never again alone; peace that reminds us that we no longer have to seek out sin to fill the void, and that we freely experience nearness in Christ!
Oh, what grace that is! Rest in His nearness and peace today, dear friends. Trust in His blood to bring you near and know that you are not far from the steadfast love of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Are there actions and attitudes in your life that are creating distance from God and others? Are you seeking other things to ease the disconnection and loneliness you sometimes feel? Are there things you need to surrender to experience God’s nearness and peace? Meditate on those things today, and on our merciful savior’s desire to draw us into intimacy with Him.