Ephesians 2:11 – 13 “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”
When I was in the sixth grade, I attended a church that had a wonderful, exciting youth group. Our youth group was like a great club that anyone could join. There was just one requirement: you had to be at least in the seventh grade. You see, this group was for the teenagers in our church and our community, and I just wasn’t quite old enough. I remember watching them laugh and act silly and horse around. It always looked like they were having so much fun! More than anything, I wanted to be included in the fun, but I didn’t meet the requirements. So, I watched from afar, longing to be let in, but knowing there was no hope. I would just have to wait.
Paul addressed his Gentile readers, reminding them of the time before they knew Christ. According to traditional Jewish law, the Gentiles had no hope of ever having a relationship with the Almighty God! They simply didn’t meet the requirements. But Jesus came, and He changed all of that.
When Jesus died, He paid the penalty for all our sins, and He set us free from having to perfectly obey God’s laws. Because Jesus opened the door for us, we are now free to join the citizenship of heaven! When we accept the gift of salvation that Christ holds out to us, we are adopted as God’s children.
Before Christ, we were without hope. We were outsiders, pressing our noses against the windows of heaven, longing for the freedom and joy and peace and abundant life that only God can offer. Before Christ, we were left longing, knowing we just didn’t meet the requirements.
But now! Now, Christ has met the requirements of heaven for us! Now, we don’t have to press our noses and gaze longingly – all we have to do is walk through that door! Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we have access to the life that was once out of our reach.
Are you a before or an after?
Dear Father, Thank You for Jesus, who made it possible for me to become Your child.
(If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, you can do so now! Just pray this prayer: Dear Jesus, I know that I am sinful, and that I can never earn my way to heaven. Thank you for taking care of that cost for me, by dying on the cross. Please forgive me for all the wrong things I do. I want You to be in control of my life now. Please make me like You. –Amen)