“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—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. 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.” (Ephesians 2:11-22 ESV)
Each of us has had a feeling of being far off from God. We’ve all fallen into the Devil’s trap like the Jewish leaders of Christ who have raised up traditions tot he level of God.We were born with this sinful attitude to ignore or demote God, to hate our neighbor, hold grudges, despise authority, and rely on worldly traditions (we’ve always done it that way). We were born “at one time” separated from God. At one time we were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (that is the body of Christ), and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God int he world.”
“But now” as Paul teaches, your status has changed. That feeling we had of being far off is over. Those who were far off have been “brought near” and you are “no longer strangers and aliens, but… citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” We have a change of status in our new closeness to God through “the blood of Christ” making us children of God. This closness is founded in Christ: “For he is our peace.” Christ merged both Jew and Gentile “into one.” He makes the two into a “new man” who forms “one body.” This new man that we are through our Baptism gives us “access in one Spirit to the Father.”
Paul provides us with a beautiful image of inclusion for those who “at one time” were separated, “but now” dwell in “the household of God” and “a holy temple in the Lord.” This image shows us a holiness which is the embodiment of the saints, God’s children, us. This holiness that has been bestowed in us, sets you apart for a special and unique relationship with God. It makes you an integral piece in God’s plan. It is in this special and unique relationship with God which begins at your Baptism when you were washed cleaned. What was started on that day continues yesterday, today, and until our Lord and Savior returns at His 2nd Coming. It is during this time God nurtures & builds us into a holy temple through grace. His nurturing makes us lights showing that Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the light for fellow believers and the lost sheep of this world. God works within us through His Holy Spirit to express God’s purpose for this sinful world as we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” It is from there that God is shaping us all as we are “built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
For those of us who have at one time or another “felt” far off from God. Know that yes, we are able to separate ourselves from God by raising up worldly gods in His rightful place. Also know that Satan is at work in you a feeling of God not being there when you needed Him most. Know that at one time, we were separated from God. Then in His steadfast love, He sent His Son, Christ, who shed blood and died so that you might be brought near. Know that God has always been there whether we “feel” Him or not. He is there. Know that there is the Holy Spirit working within us to mature, strenthen, and encourage our faith in our Loving God. As we move throughout our days, know that we dwell in “the household of God” and “a holy temple of the Lord.” Know that we are not alone, but we are joined in the body of Christ.
Heavenly Father, you gave yourself for our sins to deliver us from this sinful age. You did this according to Your Will and Love for our sake. Forgive our lack of trust in your presence in our lives. Remind us of the new man you have raised from the waters of Baptism. Lord may the Spirit work through us so that we reach Your lost sheep in the east, west, north, and south. May you preserve us until the day we all join together at Your Son’s 2nd Coming the Marriage Feast. Amen