“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 ESV)
I brought my knees in close as I stared at the test on the bathtub ledge. My expected cycle was late and my boyfriend and I were getting nervous. At nineteen, I wasn’t ready to be a mother. In my unconverted heart, I knew what I would do if those dreaded two pink lines were to appear. I was dead set on aborting my baby. And I felt little guilt about that hypothetical decision.
I often praise the Lord that I wasn’t pregnant then. Not because I’d dodged that particular consequence to my sexual immorality, but because no life was lost in exchange for my sin. Looking back, the truth is, I hope my unbelieving self would have eventually come to a realization that murdering my child was evil and impossible to go through with. But I was god over my own life (or so I thought) and I was certainly “far off” from the God who created me.
I’m thankful now for these vivid memories of my far-offness because they lead me to have grace for those who are still far off—those who even now are chasing after their sin. Even more, when I forget my previous spiritual state and find myself in a prideful stupor, it’s verses like Ephesians 2:13 that remind me it is only by the grace of God that I am any different. This is true of every Christian.
We were all far off, rebellious and running from the Sovereign God of the Universe. We wanted our own way and to live by our own laws. It is only by the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, that we have been brought near. I love how Paul elaborates on this idea in his first letter to the Corinthian church:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
Friends, if we are in Christ, we have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus. We were ransomed from our futile, far off ways by the imperishable and precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). What a reason to rejoice! May we live in this reality daily, praising the Lord for his saving grace and for drawing near to us when we were yet sinners. And let us strive to interact with those who remain far off with boldness, grace, and love, always remembering that we too, were once far off.
But by the grace of God, we have been brought near.