|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-13 Christ and his covenant are the foundation of all the Christian's hopes. A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Would that this were not a true description of many baptized in the name of Christ. Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated for ever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Saviour, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked; but God is a help at hand to his people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ.
Verse 13. - But now; antithesis to ποτὲ in ver. 11, and τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ in ver. 12. Another of the very powerful "buts" of this Epistle, completely reversing the picture going before (see ver. 4). In Christ Jesus. This expression is the pivot of the Epistle, denoting, not only that Christ Jesus is the Source of blessing, but also that we get the blessing, i.e. by vital union and fellowship with, him. The "without Christ" of ver. 12 contrasts powerfully with "in Christ Jesus" of this verse; and the addition of "Jesus" to the name is significant, denoting his saving power, denoting One who is not merely an official Savior, but to whom we get linked by all manner of endearing qualities and personal attractions, whose human name is Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins. Ye that once were far off are become near. The apostle has slidden into a new figure; formerly the contrast was between death and life, now it is between distance and nearness. Not merely geographical distance, or remoteness in respect of outward position, but moral distance too: ye were far off from God, i.e. from his favor, his fellowship, his gracious pardoning and renewing grace. In this sense too ye are now brought near. God is become your God and Father. Your orbit is changed to a near and blessed position, where the light of God's countenance falls upon you. In the blood of Christ. This is the particular instrument of the change; not merely Christ manifesting the Father's readiness to receive you, but shedding his blood to make atonement for you (see Ephesians 1:7). The preposition ἐν (not merely διὰ) is again significant, denoting more than the instrumentality, viz. personal connection with the blood, as if sprinkled on us, so that we are symbolically in it. Cleansing us from all sin, it brings us nigh.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But now in Christ Jesus,.... Being openly and visibly in Christ, created in him, and become believers in him; as they were before secretly in him, as chosen and blessed in him before the foundation of the world:
ye who sometimes were far off; who in their state of unregeneracy were afar off from God, and from his law, and from any spiritual knowledge of him and fellowship with him; and from Jesus Christ, and from the knowledge of his righteousness, and the way of salvation by him; and from the Spirit, and any acquaintance with the things of the Spirit, and from minding them, and from walking after him; and from the saints and people of God, and from any love to them, and communion with them; and from any solid hopes of happiness, or real peace and comfort; which distance was owing both to Adam's sin and to their own transgressions: it is an observation of a Jewish writer (a) on Genesis 3:9 "where art thou?" he (God) knew where he was, but he said so to show him that he was "afar off from" God by his sin: see Isaiah 59:2, and yet
are made nigh by the blood of Christ: so as to have nearness of access to and communion with God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and the saints, in virtue of the blood of Christ; which gives boldness and speaks peace; by which their persons are justified, the pardon of their sins is procured, reconciliation is made, and their garments are washed, and made white; and so they draw nigh with confidence by the faith of him.
(a) R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror Hammor, fol. 7. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. now—in contrast to "at that time" (Eph 2:12).
in Christ Jesus—"Jesus" is here added, whereas the expression before (Eph 2:12) had been merely "Christ," to mark that they know Christ as the personal Saviour, "Jesus."
far off—the Jewish description of the Gentiles. Far off from God and from the people of God (Eph 2:17; Isa 57:19; Ac 2:39).
are—Greek, "have been."
by—Greek, "in." Thus "the blood of Christ" is made the seal of a covenant IN which their nearness to God consists. In Eph 1:7, where the blood is more directly spoken of as the instrument, it is "through His blood" [Alford].
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