Thought for the Week - 17th AprilPastor Gareth Watkins
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
Christ Identifies Himself with You
This is something all of us can struggle to understand – that Christ wants to identify Himself with us! The son of God came into this world to identify Himself with you… how massive is that! The identity of us and who Christ is, is larger than we think. Before the beginning of time, Christ identified with us. This allows us to experience the presence of God and the Holy Spirit. He has to identify with us in order for our sins to be forgiven.
Because He identified Himself with us we have salvation, blessings, encounters with God, ministry etc. All because the God of heaven sent His son to identify with us! This is something we should be so thankful and precious over.
We can feel a oneness with God because He found a way to identify with us. Through Christ we are brought into a special relationship… we are not as far from God as we think we are! We come into a place of knowledge and peace, because Christ came from eternity and became the son of man. He called Himself “Bar ‘ěnoš”, which means the “son of weakness”. He identified Himself as us men and women in 2016.
Upon the cross He became many things. He became a curse for you and I. He took our infirmities – all these things that are part of us – upon Himself. He did it so that all the good things that would come to Him as the sinless son of God, would come to us to know, feel and understand! The prophecy said that He would lack all things… and upon the cross He did, so that we could have all the things that we coming to Him. And praise God that He did!
In verse 13 we read “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” In our sins we were far off. But because of Christ’s sacrifice and the power of His blood, we have been brought near!
In verse 14 we read “For Christ himself has brought peace to us”. In our church we frequently hear testimonies to the peace of God, and how the ramblings and madness of life – which affects both our life and our spirit – fade and is replaced by the peace of God! This peace goes right into us, because Christ has good things for us, rather than the things we deserve as sinners. This peace isn’t known by the world.
We have been called as sinners and have been brought nearer yet nearer… and it all started because Christ identified Himself with us!
In verse 16 we read “Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” Christ is the one who makes our peace with God! The natural requirements of justice and the law have been fulfilled. Christ has taken it all to the cross and a new life of peace can be given to us.
Each week we see verse 17 in action, with Christ bringing peace to people. His peace and presence comes so richly! We have access by one spirit to the Father (verse 18). This identification brings us peace, brings us nearer and nearer to God, and by one spirit gives us access to the Father and the Holy Spirit! In some ways we shouldn’t be amazed when it happens, because it says here in scripture that it will.
He raises us up, and reconciles us. Both start when we are saved, but continues until we go to glory! What an incredible thought… we’ve started upon a journey that continues.
And yet, in a group of believers, Christ calls some the goats and some the sheep; some are called the tares and some the wheat; some are called the children of the light and some the children of darkness. Where do we identify ourselves? How does that identification show itself in our lives? We either hold onto our sins, or let them go. We either hold onto our selfish ambition, or bring it under the light of God.
In Matthew 16: 27 we read “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.” This glory comes when we gather as individuals, as a company, and into eternity. An unseen spiritual transaction occurs… Christ’s identification with us changes something in the spiritual atmosphere! That’s why each of us, and how we identify, are important… we are each akin to a small light, together contributing to a very powerful beam.
Are we identifying ourselves with God or not? Are we going to carry on with our rebellious natures, or give it up to Christ? Are we rejecting Christ, or choosing Him? Will you identify yourself with Him?