Near or Far

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By Erick Hurt: Board Member Setting Captives Free
June 26, 2021
Near or Far?
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
Dear mentors,
We know as believers that we are close to God through Jesus’ finished work on the cross even though at one time we were all far away. We became children of God through our new birth, the old died, was crucified, and raised with Jesus in total victory, total freedom, and total forgiveness. Through faith in the gospel, all believers possess Jesus’ indestructible life. “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Romans 6:9).
Since Jesus died once for the forgiveness of sins he can “never die again.” And we have Jesus’ indestructible eternal life living in us. Death no longer has dominion over him so death no longer has dominion over us! This sure is good news, isn’t it? “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).
And who can break the seal of God? The seal of the Holy Spirit? Well, no one and no thing! We were marked in him with a seal and our new life can never be broken or taken away!
But what about some of the preaching or teaching that we’ve heard about how near you are until you sin? How close you are until you walk away? Are you out of fellowship with God and drifting away like some ship lost at sea? Is the Christian life to be lived in a near but far relationship? I’m near or far depending on what I say or do? “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
Most of us mentors are Gentiles who Paul was writing to here in Ephesians. And so we who were far off heard the message of the gospel, believed it, then life was extended to us and to whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord. Jesus’ shed blood on the cross provided forgiveness, freedom, life, payment for our sins and access to an eternal inheritance waiting in heaven for us. We have been brought forever near by the blood of Christ.
If the blood of Jesus has brought all believers forever near, forever a child of God, forever a new creation, what could possibly take us far away again? If we sin, will we be carried away from Christ as that ship set out in the wandering sea? Do you see what this line of reasoning is saying? It is saying that sin is more powerful than the blood of Jesus! And we all with one voice should shout NO WAY! That's another gospel! We have a perfect high priest whose one time sacrifice has done it all and given us all we need for every need!
“Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:26-28).
Our high priest who is perfect forever, holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners has made us saints who are holy, blameless, pure, and set apart, with his one time bloody nail scarred sacrifice for our sins. Jesus went so far, came so near, down he came, and up he went on a cross out of his great love to rescue those who were both near and far. Jesus stretched out his arms on the cross and ransomed us from the payment that was do us. He was roasted in the fire of judgment and nailed condemned so we could be safe and secure by the shield of his body impaled on the cross.
Dear mentors, a critical part of mentoring and ministering is that we see ourselves as we truly are in Christ. Who we really are as a result of the gospel so we can help others see who they are in Christ, or who they could be by believing in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and his powerful life transforming resurrection from the dead!
Question 1. How do you see yourself in Christ? Are you far when you sin and near when you’re not sinning? Are you sometimes wicked, dirty, or evil, and sometimes holy and blameless? Or do you see yourself as God sees you, as Jesus is and as you actually are?
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:21-22).
With love, Erick Hurt Volunteer for Setting Captives Free