“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul provides a stirring and wonderful contrast to what Gentiles were without Christ (Ephesians 2:11-12), to what they presently are in Christ. Though Paul was specifically writing to, and about, the Gentiles in Ephesus, the application of these truths apply to all ethnic non-Jewish individuals for all time. Individuals like you and me.
To contrast what we were without Christ, to what we are now in Christ, the apostle begins with these words: But now. In other words, Paul was indicating that meanwhile, or at the present time in contrast to your past, Gentiles have experienced a change of status before God.
The change of status before God is because Gentile believers then, and Gentile believers today, are presently and actively in Christ. They are in union with Christ, on the basis of God the Father’s grace alone, through God given faith alone, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Due to this union in Christ alone, Gentiles who were once far off, or a great spiritual distance away from salvation, God the Father has brought near, or close to Himself. This has been done solely by the means of the substitutionary atonement sourced in Jesus Christ. It is solely through Christ’s shed blood that the unconverted can, and may, be justified.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “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 2 Cor. 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.”
Thanks be to God that the atoning work by Christ’s death on the cross washes away not only the penalty of sin, and ultimately the presence of sin, but presently the power of sin. Praise be to God for His marvelous grace and mercy.
Soli deo Gloria!