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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Reconciliation (Eph. 2:16-18)

After referring to the barrier that existed between Jews and Gentiles, Paul points to another barrier that also had to be removed, and that was the barrier between sinners and God. Unless this barrier was removed, removing the racial and religious barrier between Jew and Gentile would be pointless.

Paul says that it was Jesus who did the act of reconciliation. It involved three stages: the first is what he did on the cross, the second is what he does in proclaiming the gospel, and the third occurs when he introduces sinners into Gods presence.

On the cross Jesus dealt with the sin that was the cause of Gods wrath against his people. Jesus dealt with it by himself bearing that wrath, by paying the penalty that God required for us to be reconciled. Christ was forsaken by his Father so that we would have peace with God.

Secondly, according to Paul here, Jesus is involved in the proclamation of the gospel to both Jew and Gentile. In the Great Commission, Jesus did not merely promise his presence to his church; he also included his participation and proclamation. Paul does not merely mean that Jesus helps a person to preach, although that is true. Rather he reminds us of a wonderful reality, that whenever a person declares the gospel it is actually Jesus speaking through that person.

The third activity of Jesus is giving to all his people access in one Spirit to the Father. Paul does not have in mind here the entrance we have to God in prayer, as if by access he meant going in and out of Gods presence. Rather he is describing a change of location, for this is what is meant by reconciliation. Paul uses an illustration taken from the practice of an important person introducing an unknown person into the presence of a monarch. When we believe in Jesus, he brings us into a new spiritual state in which by the Spirit, whom he sends into our hearts, we live in the presence of God. This is where we are, brought near to God permanently.

The presence we have is an intimate one, for we are face to face with God. This is reconciliation, living life under the smile of the God of love who rejoices as Jesus brings his people into his Fathers presence. Of course, in this present life we only see this dimly, but the day is coming when it will be very clear.

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