But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.–Eph. 2:13
A South American Indian told the missionary who led him to Christ.
When I was living in the jungle, we never knew a day without fear. When we woke up in the morning, we were afraid. When we went out of our houses, we were afraid. When we walked along the river, we were afraid. We saw an evil spirit in every stone and tree and waterfall. And when night fell, fear came into our huts and slept with us all night long. That is what paganism is. And this is what the world is returning to. All around us, as Christian truth begins to fade, this pagan darkness settles upon the land. How thankful it ought to make our hearts that God has called us out of such darkness!
Without the instruction of those who came to know God and then brought the message to us, we would have been nothing but pagans. Without any light in our darkness other than the natural light that came from our inner being, indicating that there is a God somewhere, we would be living like that still. But now, having once been far off, we have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
It isn’t merely the death of Christ. Paul says that it is the blood of Christ. It is significant that he uses that term. Death, of course, is not always bloody. You can die without losing your blood. The Scriptures sometimes speak of the death of Christ and more often of the cross of Christ. But still more often they speak of the blood of Christ. Many don’t like this today. They don’t like to think of the cross or of the death of Jesus as being bloody. But God emphasizes it because blood is always a sign of violence. You see, the death of Jesus was not just a simple passing away—dying of old age on a comfortable bed. No, it was a violent death, a bloody, gory, ugly, revolting scene—a man hanging torn and wretched upon a cross with blood streaming down His sides.
God wants us to remember that violent death, because violence is the ultimate result of paganism. It is the final expression of a godless society. Cruelty arises immediately when love and truth disappear from society. And God is reminding us that when humanity had done its worst, had sunk to its lowest, had vented its anger in the utter wretchedness and violence and blood of the cross, His love reached down to that very place and, utilizing that violent act, began to redeem, to call back those who were far off and bring them near—in the blood of Christ.
And in the blood of Jesus, all the advantages the Jews had were conferred upon the Gentiles. Ignorant, pagan, darkened, foolish, struggling, hopeless—nevertheless, they had just as much access to God in the blood of Christ as any Jew ever had with his temple, his law, his priesthood, and his sacrifice. By this the apostle is trying to emphasize to us the exceedingly amazing wonder of the grace of God, which laid all these liabilities aside and reached out to us and found us just as we were and brought us near by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. What a gift to give thanks for!–Ray Stedman