There are times in our lives when we feel like we’re on the outside. We feel like we’re separated from the people we want to be with, and like we’re alienated from the groups we want to be part of.
It usually takes the actions of another to bring us in from the outside. Maybe it’s a friend who notices our alienation, a person in a position of responsibility who sees that we are cut off from where we want, or need, to be.
In Ephesians 2.11-13 Paul lays out this very situation for the Gentile (non-Jewish background) believers in Ephesus:
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands— that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Because the Gentile believers had been, at one point, without the Messiah and alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenant of promise this had left them, simply, on the outside looking in. Would there ever be a time when they would be welcomed into the promises of God? Spoiler – (Isaiah 60.3)
As it usually takes the actions of another to bring us in from the outside, for the Gentiles it took the blood of Christ to bring us near. Citizenship of Israel counted for a great deal under the Old Covenant: it brought the bearer a special place in the heart of, and the privilege of being near to, God. Whilst that special place in the heart is still true, the privilege of being near to God is now open to all who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 9). It is, simply, only by the shed blood of Jesus and the grace of God that you and I have hope and have God. We have been brought near by the blood of Christ.