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Ephesians 2:17-18 Commentary
AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE
TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY: kai elthon (AAPMSN) eueggelisato (3SAMI)
eirenen humin tois makran: (Psalms 85:10; Isaiah 27:5; 52:7;
57:19, 20, 21; Zechariah 9:10; Matthew 10:13; Luke 2:14; Luke 15:5,6;
Acts 2:39; 10:36; Romans 5:1; 2Corinthians 5:20)
referring to Christ.
(erchomai) means to come or go. Having come (aorist
tense = past
completed action) in His first advent.
S Lewis Johnson
has an interesting comment on this verse writing that...
in verse 17 we read, “And came and
preached peace.” That seems strange, isn’t it? You would think that he
would’ve put, “And he came and preached peace, and then he reconciled
men to himself by the death of the cross.” In fact, if you were in a
Bible class with the Apostle Paul you might raise your hand and say,
“Paul, haven’t you got the order reversed there? You say, he’s abolished
in the flesh the enmity by means of the cross, he’s reconciled us
through the cross slaying the enmity, and then say, and he came and
preached peace. Shouldn’t you reverse those?” Paul would probably say,
“I’m not surprised you asked a question like that. But, I want you to
understand what I mean by “and he came and preached peace,” is this is
preaching by means of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who is the
means by which men preach Christ, so that we preach him, by means of the
Holy Spirit. And that, I think, is the force: “and he came and preached
to you who were far off and you who were nigh.” Ultimately, it is the
word of Christ through the messenger...“Faith cometh by hearing and
hearing through the word of Christ.” (see note
And in the course of the exposition, I tried to make the point that
faith comes by the message, but it’s a message through Jesus Christ.
In other words, it’s Christ in the word that is the saving
instrumentality. So the word is an instrumentality by which
Christ himself, in His messages, reaches us. That, I think, is
perfectly harmonious with this: “He came and preached peace.” Men were
doing it, Apostles were doing it, but they were giving out the word and
Christ Himself was coming to them through the word of the apostles. So
he came and preached peace. I think the order of the words demands that
(euaggelizo from eu = good, well + aggéllo =
proclaim, tell) means to announce good news (gospel) or bring glad
tidings. Literally one could say that Christ "gospelized peace!"
to both Jew and Gentile.
- 52x in NT - Matt. 11:5; Lk. 1:19; 2:10; 3:18; 4:18, 43; 7:22; 8:1;
9:6; 16:16; 20:1; Acts 5:42; 8:4, 12, 25, 35, 40; 10:36; 11:20; 13:32;
14:7, 15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18; Rom. 1:15; 10:15; 15:20; 1 Co. 1:17;
9:16, 18; 15:1f; 2 Co. 10:16; 11:7; Gal. 1:8f, 11, 16, 23; 4:13; Eph.
2:17; 3:8; 1 Thess. 3:6; Heb. 4:2, 6; 1 Pet. 1:12, 25; 4:6; Rev. 10:7;
In the OT
euaggelizo was used of any kind of good news including the joyful
tidings of God's kindnesses especially as they related to the promised
Messianic blessings. In the NT euaggelizo was used especially of
the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of the salvation
through Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God Who took away the sins of the
world. Here euaggelizo is used to instruct men concerning the things
that pertain to salvation, specifically the peace Paul has been
This "[preaching] of peace"--not only
peace between Jew and Gentile but also individual peace with God through
the forgiveness of sins--had long been in God's plan. The promised
Messiah was "anointed" to "preach good tidings unto the meek" first
among the Jews, but then also to "declare my glory among the Gentiles"
(Isaiah 61:1; 66:19). Jesus not only confirmed that He had come in
fulfillment of this prophecy to "preach the gospel to the poor" (Luke
4:18) but also reminded the Jews that He had "other sheep" which were
"not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold; and one shepherd" (John 10:16). Later He
commissioned His disciples to "be witnesses unto me...unto the uttermost
part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Then, through Paul and others, He had
been "preached unto the Gentiles" and "believed on in the world" (1Timothy 3:16). (Morris,
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
(eirene from the verb eiro = to bind or join together what
is broken or divided) (Click
word study on
eirene) means in essence to set
at one again or join together that which is separated. In secular Greek
eirene described the cessation or absence of war. By Christ's
vicarious death He procured peace and by His servants He proclaimed glad
tidings of peace based on His atoning work on the Cross.
85x in NT - Matt. 10:13, 34; Mk. 5:34; Lk. 1:79; 2:14, 29; 7:50; 8:48;
10:5f; 11:21; 12:51; 14:32; 19:38, 42; 24:36; Jn. 14:27; 16:33; 20:19,
21, 26; Acts 7:26; 9:31; 10:36; 12:20; 15:33; 16:36; 24:2; Rom. 1:7;
2:10; 3:17; 5:1; 8:6; 14:17, 19; 15:13, 33; 16:20; 1 Co. 1:3; 7:15;
14:33; 16:11; 2 Co. 1:2; 13:11; Gal. 1:3; 5:22; 6:16; Eph. 1:2; 2:14f,
17; 4:3; 6:15, 23; Phil. 1:2; 4:7, 9; Col. 1:2; 3:15; 1 Thess. 1:1; 5:3,
23; 2 Thess. 1:2; 3:16; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2:22; Titus 1:4;
Philemon. 1:3; Heb. 7:2; 11:31; 12:14; 13:20; Jas. 2:16; 3:18; 1 Pet.
1:2; 3:11; 5:14; 2 Pet. 1:2; 3:14; 2 Jn. 1:3; 3 Jn. 1:15; Jude 1:2; Rev.
Did you observe
the progression? In
Christ is our
In this verse He came and preached
When did Christ
preach peace? John records in one of His first post-resurrection
appearances to His disciples...
When therefore it was evening, on
that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where
the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their
midst, and said to them, "Peace
be with you."...Jesus
therefore said to them again, "Peace
be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."...And
after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them.
Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and
said, "Peace be with
you." (John 20:19, 21,
Note in the
preceding passage, that Jesus sent out the apostles in the power of the
Holy Spirit (John 20:22 "Receive
the Holy Spirit", cf Acts 1:8)
and they obediently went forth and preached peace Luke recording Peter's
"The word which He (Jesus) sent to
the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ
(He is Lord of all)... (Acts 10:36).
records that now all believers...
are ambassadors for Christ, as though
God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be
reconciled to God. (2Cor 5:20)
Later in this same letter, Paul
exhorts his readers to have their feet shod with the "preparation
(firm footing) of the gospel of peace" (see note
Apart from proclaiming peace, there is no way for those in rebellion to
know, understand, and act on the terms of that peace. Years after World
War II there were Japanese soldiers discovered on several islands still
waging war who had never heard of the peace that had been declared in
1945 when the Emperor of Japan surrendered to the Allied forces. In the
same way, there are many today who are uninformed of the good news that
through the Cross of Christ they can experience eternal peace with God,
the One with Whom they are otherwise in perpetual conflict (see "enemies"
"alienated, hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds"
Ruth Paxson writes that...
Having become peace and having
made it, Christ now preaches peace. It was His personal message after
His resurrection (Luke 24:36; John 20:19,21,26). He preached it later
through His apostles, and continues to preach peace through His Word
faithfully given by His ministers. It is God’s clearly declared purpose
to heal the schism made by sin in humanity; otherwise His plan of
salvation would be incomplete. In this present age He would do it
through grace. Peace has not been established on earth because men will
not follow God’s way. But in the age to come, through government the
Lord Jesus Christ shall rule over the earth as King of kings and Lord of
lords. Then righteousness shall prevail and peace shall be its fruit.
(The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian)
Far off (3112)
(makran from makros = far) means a long way off but is
used figuratively here to describe the Gentiles who were separated from
Christ, etc, and thus were a long way off from God.
Makran - 9x
in NT - Matt. 8:30; Mk. 12:34; Lk. 7:6; 15:20; Jn. 21:8; Acts 17:27;
22:21; Eph. 2:13, 17
This preaching of
peace was not only peace between Jew and Gentile but also between
believing Jew and Gentile and God, with Whom they had been enemies and
hostile. This had always been God's plan and had been prophesied, for
example, in Isaiah who recorded the actual words of the promised
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon
me, because the LORD has anointed (mashach - related to the
Hebrew word Mashiach, Anointed One, the Messiah) me to bring good
news (euaggelizo in the
to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to
proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners. To proclaim the
favorable year of the LORD. (Isaiah 61:1-2a) (Comment: Isaiah
61:1-2a was the very passage that Jesus read in the synagogue in
Nazareth, closing the book with the words ""Today this Scripture has
been fulfilled in your hearing." He could not have been much clearer
about Who He was and what His purpose was!)
AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR:
kai eirenen tois eggus:
(Ep 2:13,14; Deuteronomy 4:7;
Psalms 75:1; 76:1,2; 147:19,20; 148:14; Luke 10:9-11)
Those who were
near - the Jews were near but nevertheless just as needy as the Gentiles for they
too were dead in their trespasses and sins. In
Paul list 5 ways the Jews were
nearer to Christ and God - but salvation is not like horseshoes --
nearer to the goal does not count. Only being in Christ counts! Every person, far or
near, Gentile or Jew, has access to God's peace through Christ.
(eggus) indicates a position relatively close to another position
and figuratively refers to the Jews who were "near" to God in the sense
of having Messianic prophecies, a national identity and government set
up by God, covenants that promised salvation by faith, a hope in the
coming of Messiah and the presence of God in their midst (the Tabernacle
in the wilderness, the Temple in Jerusalem).
Eggus - 31x
in NT - Matt. 24:32f; 26:18; Mk. 13:28f; Lk. 19:11; 21:30f; Jn. 2:13;
3:23; 6:4, 19, 23; 7:2; 11:18, 54, 55; 19:20, 42; Acts 1:12; 9:38; 27:8;
Rom. 10:8; 13:11; Eph. 2:13, 17; Phil. 4:5; Heb. 6:8; 8:13; Rev. 1:3;
that was preached to both Gentiles and Jews is a fulfillment of
the a prophecy given hundreds of years earlier, Isaiah recording
"I have seen his (wayward Israel's)
ways, but I will heal him (those Israelites who would humble themselves
and repent of their rebellion and unfaithfulness). I will lead him and
restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating (Hebrew = barah =
to create out of nothing) the praise of the lips. Peace, peace
to him who is far (Gentile) and to him who is near (Jehovah)," Says the
LORD, "and I will heal (rapha cf
Jehovah Rapha - The LORD our Healer)
him." (Isaiah 57:18,19) (Comment: The repetition of
peace is a Hebrew idiom or way of saying that something is
superlative in kind and total in extent! What amazing grace is seen in
Even in His birth peace was
"Glory to God in the highest, And on
earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:14) (Comment:
Who is He pleased with? Those with whom the Lord is pleased are those
who trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace...
For a child will be born to us, a son
will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And
His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)
He promised His disciples,
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I
give to you." (John 14:27).
Like their Master, His disciples are
also to be peacemakers
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called sons of God.
When Jesus sent forth the seventy He
"Whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace be to this house.' And if a man of peace is there, your peace
will rest upon him; but if not, it will return to you (Luke 10:5, 6).
Peace surrounded the ministry of
Jesus as an aura that continually blessed those who believed in Him.
Among His last words to His disciples were,
"These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace." (John 16:33).
The ministry of the apostles and
other preachers of the early church was characterized by
"preaching peace through Jesus
Christ" (Acts 10:36).
The ministry of the Spirit of Christ
is characterized by the giving of
"love, joy, peace" (Galatians
God's kingdom is characterized by
"righteousness and peace and joy in
the Holy Spirit" (Ro 14:17-note).
God is the God of peace...
for God is not a God of confusion
but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (1Cor. 14:33)
Now the God of peace, who brought up
from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the
eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, (Heb 13:20, 21-note)
Now the God of peace be with you all.
Amen. (Ro 15:33-note)
And the God of peace (notice
the "irony" that a peaceful God will crush!) will soon crush
Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (see
Now may the God of peace Himself
sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be
preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ. (see note
><> ><> ><>
The War is Over-
The bitter conflict had finally ended
between the North and the South. The soldiers of the US Civil War were
free to return to their families. But a number of them remained hidden
in the woods, living on berries. They either didn't hear or didn't
believe that the war was over, so they continued enduring miserable
conditions when they could have been back home.
It's something like that in the spiritual realm too. Christ made peace
between God and man by dying in our place. He paid sin's penalty on the
cross. Anyone who accepts His sacrifice will be forgiven by a holy God.
Sadly, many people refuse to believe the gospel and continue to live as
spiritual fugitives. Sometimes even those who have placed their trust in
Christ live on almost the same level. Either out of ignorance or
unwillingness, they fail to claim the promises of God's Word. They do
not experience the joy and assurance that should accompany salvation.
They do not draw from their relationship with God the comfort and peace
He intends for His children. They are the objects of His love, care, and
provision but live as if they were orphans.
Have you been living apart from the comfort, love, and care of your
heavenly Father? Come on home. The war is over!—Richard De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
We fail, O Lord, to realize
The fullness of what You have done,
So help us trust Your saving work
And claim the triumph You have won. —D. De Haan
Christ's victory over death means peace for His saints.
><> ><> ><>
Peace Initiative - It was the night before Christmas in
1870. French and German armies faced each other on the field of battle
in the Franco-Prussian War. A French soldier started walking toward the
German lines. His comrades watched breathlessly, expecting to hear at
any instant the crack of a rifle that would end his life. As he neared
the enemy lines, he stopped and began singing, "Noel, noel! Noel, noel!
Born is the King of Israel!" No shot rang out.
Slowly the Frenchman returned to his ranks. There was silence! Then from
the German side came a lone soldier to that same spot and sang the
German version of the same song. After each stanza both armies united in
the chorus. For a few minutes Christ brought peace to that battlefield.
God is a peacemaker who always takes the first step. Jesus came as a
baby, and when He grew to manhood He preached peace to a warring world.
Then, in the greatest peace initiative this world has ever seen, Christ
made peace between God and man by dying for our sins (see note
Peacemaking efforts may be rejected, but the alternative is continued
hostility. God didn't settle for that, nor should we. Let's take the
first step in healing a broken relationship, even at the risk of being
"shot down." --D J De Haan (Ibid)
O Prince of Peace, keep us, we pray,
From strife and enmity;
Help us to speak with loving words
That quell hostility. --JDB
What this world needs is the peace that passes all misunderstanding
FOR THROUGH HIM WE BOTH HAVE OUR
ACCESS: hoti di' autou echomen (1PPAI) ten prosagogen oi amphoteroi: (Ep
3:12; John 10:7,9; 14:6; Romans 5:2; Hebrews 4:15,16; 7:19; 10:19,20;
1Peter 1:21; 1Peter 3:18; 1John 2:1,2)
(dia) defines Christ as the
"Channel" (and the only One) through which believing Jews and
Gentiles could come into the presence of God. The benefits of our salvation come
through Christ, our Mediator and Great High Priest. We enter in and
draw near through Him, for He is the "Author of salvation"
Hebrews 2:10). He is the Forerunner
having entered Himself through "the veil" (His Flesh - see below) that
we might now have a new and living way into the Holy of Holies, the very
presence of God the Father!
following links to study parallel passages regarding Christ our
"Meditator", the channel of blessing and channel of access -- "through Christ", "through
Jesus Christ" cf
(see also John 10:9, 14:6)
In a parallel
thought John records...
Jesus therefore said to them again,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. "All who
came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
"I am the door; if anyone enters through (dia) Me,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John
Jesus (responding to Thomas' question
of how the disciples could know the way where He was going) said to him,
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father,
but through (dia) Me. (John 14:6)
By this the love of God was
manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world
so that we might live through (dia) Him. (1John 4:9)
In an illustration
of Jesus as "the way through" we read the following devotional...
Dwight Slater, who is a retired
missionary doctor, told me that while serving in Africa he had trained a
brilliant but unschooled man to serve as his surgical assistant. Kolo
was a quick learner, and soon he was able to perform surgeries. A team
of doctors from the United States was in Africa to provide some
short-term help. They were performing operations when they came across a
condition rare in the US but common in Africa. When they weren't sure
what to do, Kolo took the surgical instruments, cut through layers of
tissue and ligaments, and corrected the problem. When the amazed doctors
began quizzing Kolo on the specifics of the complicated procedure, he
answered simply, "I do not know the terms; I just know the way." Many
Christians may not be able to define complex theological terms like
redemption, justification, and propitiation, but they can still be
effective witnesses because they know Jesus, who is the way to God
(Jn14:6). Unbelievers need the simple gospel-that Jesus died for their
sin and that they must accept Him by faith. You don't need to be afraid
to witness. If you know the "Way Shower", you can show others the
way-Jesus Christ! Daily Bread 6/27/00
now the believer's Great High Priest, the writer of Hebrews
we do not have a high priest who
cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in
all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near
(implied that this drawing near is "through Him") with confidence
to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to
help in time of need. (see notes
Hence, also, He is able to save
forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He
always lives to make intercession for them. (see note
Since therefore, brethren, we have
confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and
living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil,
that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the
house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our
bodies washed with pure water. (See notes
Matthew 27:50 records that at the end of the crucifixion "Jesus
cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." which was
contemporaneous with "the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple
was torn in two" as Luke 23:43 relates. The point is that
the rent flesh of Jesus accomplished the rending of the veil separating
the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, thus providing full access to
the throne of God. All those who are now in Christ have unhindered
access to God's holy throne!
Through Him (Christ our Great
High Priest) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to
God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (see note
Consider the following simple study
- observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him
- this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then
take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a
sacrifice of praise...through Him.
[NIV reads "through Him"],
John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16,
Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9
[note], Ro 11:36 [note];
1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18
[note], Php 4:13
Would you like more study on the
wonderful topic of through Him?
Study also the
NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar
phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36,
Ro 1:4, 5-
note; Ro 1:8-note,
Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note,
1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note,
1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note,
He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note,
All things are
from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
practical standpoint, how do we know that we now have peace with God?
Is it not because we can now have bold access to our Father's throne
of grace anytime and any place? Do you take advantage of this incredible
privilege beloved? Probably few of us do enough! May His Spirit so
incline our hearts that they lean more and more in the direction of the
waiting ear of our Father in heaven. Amen.
(amphoteros from ámpho = both, the two) refers to each of
two. We both near and far, both Jew and Gentile.
(echo) means to possess with the
defining this as every believer's continuous possession. In the Old
Testament let us not forget that no Jew save the High Priest had the
privilege of entree into the Holy of Holies, and that but only once per
year on the Day of Atonement. The Cross of Christ has opened the
floodgates of grace so that now every believer has
As John Eadie
in his classic commentary on Ephesians eloquently highlights every
believer's high privilege writing that...
now the most distant Gentile who is
in Christ really and continuously enjoys that august spiritual
privilege, which the one man of the one tribe of the one nation on the
one day of the year, only typically and periodically possessed. (John
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians - Online)
MacDonald applies the truths in this passage to prayer writing
Through prayer any believer can enter
the throne room of heaven, kneel before the Sovereign of the universe,
and address Him as Father. The normal order to be followed in
prayer is given here. First, it is through Him (the Lord Jesus).
He is the one Mediator between God and man. His death, burial, and
resurrection removed every legal obstacle to our admission to God’s
presence. Now as Mediator He lives on high to maintain us in a condition
of fellowship with the Father. We approach God in His name; we have no
worthiness of our own, so we plead His worthiness. The participants in
prayer are we both—believing Jews and believing Gentiles. The
privilege is that we have access. Our Helper in prayer is the
Holy Spirit—by one Spirit. “The Spirit helps in our
weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but
the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot
be uttered” (see note
The One we approach is the
Father. No OT saint ever knew God as Father. Before the
resurrection of Christ, men stood before God as creatures before the
Creator. It was after He rose that He said, “Go to my brethren and
say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God
and your God’.” (John 20:17). As a result of His redemptive work,
believers were then able for the first time to address God as Father.
In verse 18 all three Persons of the
note) are directly
involved in the prayers of the humblest believer: he prays to God the
Father, approaching Him through the Lord Jesus Christ, in the
power of the Holy Spirit. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
(4318) (prosagoge from pros =
toward + ago = bring) literally means "a bringing near" or
providing access (freedom, permission and/or the ability to enter). It
describes a continuous and unhindered approach to God, One Whom we could
never approach in our unredeemed, unholy, sinful state.
Prosagoge was used to describe
the introduction to or audience which one is permitted to have with a
king or other person of high rank. This introduction or audience must be
effected through an officer of court to whom the duty is entrusted.
Prosagoge carries the idea not
of possessing access in our own right but of being granted the right to
come to God with boldness, knowing we will be welcomed. It is only
through our Savior’s shedding of His blood in sacrificial death on
Calvary and by faith in Him that we have union in His Holy Spirit and
have access to the Father. The Spirit is at work to draw us continually
to God (Ro 8:15, 16, 17-notes; Gal. 4:6, 7). Both and one spirit emphasize
again the commonality of Jew and Gentile.
sums up the significance of prosagoge writing that...
Those who once were socially and
spiritually alienated are in Christ united with God and with each other.
Because they have Christ they have both peace and access in one Spirit
to the Father. They have an Introducer who presents them at the heavenly
throne of God, before whom they can come at any time. They can now come
to God as their own Father, knowing that He no longer judges or condemns
but only forgives and blesses. Even His discipline is an act of love,
given to cleanse and restore His precious children to purity and
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
In a parallel
passage in Romans regarding Jesus as our way "through" to God,
Therefore having been justified by
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
(dia) Whom also we have obtained our introduction (prosagoge)
by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the
glory of God. (see notes
The other use of prosagoge in
Ephesians declares that...
in (Christ) we have boldness and confident
through faith in Him. (see note
Notice that prosagoge always
refers to the believer’s access to God through Christ.
What was unthinkable to the Old Testament Jew is now available to all
who come to Christ by grace through faith.
To summarize, from the 3 NT uses of
prosagoge observe that...
1. We have access into grace (Ro
5:2-note) God’s throne is the
throne of grace (Heb 4:16-note).
2. We have access to the Father (Ep 2:18-note). Though He is
sovereign, we can still approach Him as a child does a father (Luke
11:11, 12, 13, Ro 8:15-note).
3. We have access through Jesus Christ (1Ti 2:5). The blood gives us
boldness (Heb 10:19).
4. We have access by our faith (Ro 5:2-note;
Ep 3:12-note). The essential
ingredient is prayer (Heb 10:22-note).
Prosagoge also pictures
fellowship and communion (see
available with the Father through Christ for all who have been redeemed
by His blood! The French word for this is entree meaning freedom
of entry or access. And that is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ
provides for a believing sinner. He clothes him with Himself as his
righteousness, cleanses him in His precious blood, and brings him into
the full unmerited favor (grace) of God the Father. This is a believers
entree. It is a priceless boon to have the right to go to some
lovely and wise and saintly person at any time, to have the right to
break in upon him, to take our troubles, our problems, our loneliness,
our sorrow to him. That is exactly the right that Jesus gives us in
regard to our Father, the All Wise God.
Prosagoge pictures provision
of access into the presence of One Whom we would normally be restricted
from approaching. In the Orient, one who came to see a king needed both
access—the right to come and an introduction—the proper presentation.
You couldn't just waltz into a king's presence. To do so would invite
death. In fact the Persian royal court actually had an official called
the prosagogeus whose function was to introduce people who
desired an audience with the king.
There is an Old Testament story
in the book of Esther which is a beautiful illustration of prosagoge.
Esther sought to plead with King Ahasuerus for the safety of her Jewish
countrymen but she knew what fate might await her for approaching the
King without an introduction (see Esther 4:11). Esther risked her life
by doing this, not knowing beforehand whether Ahasuerus would grant her
an "introduction." Fortunately for her, he granted her grace. Ray
Stedman fills in the details writing that...
"There is a beautiful picture in the
book of Esther that illustrates this: Remember Esther, that lovely
Jewish maiden, a captive in the land of Persia? The king, seeking a
bride, found her and made her his queen. After Esther ascended to the
throne as queen, a plot was hatched against the Jews. The king,
unwittingly, signed a decree that meant death for all Jews in the land
of Persia. Esther's godly uncle, Mordecai, said it would be necessary
for her to go to the king and tell him what he had unwittingly done.
Esther knew that was a dangerous thing, because it was the law of the
Medes and Persians that no one could come before the king without first
being summoned by him. It meant death for anyone to dare come before the
king in that manner. There were no exceptions -- even for a queen -- for
this was the law of the Medes and the Persians and could not be changed.
Unless the king extended his golden scepter to that person, he must die.
Yet Esther knew that she had to dare to take her life in her hands and
go before the king. The story tells us that she fasted for three days
and three nights before she went. I am sure that was to prepare her
heart and her courage. It doesn't say what else she did during that
time, when she was getting ready to come before the king. With a wife,
four daughters, and a mother-in-law in my home, I've observed women
getting themselves ready for some years now. I'm sure that what Esther
was doing was fixing her hair. It probably took three days and three
nights to get ready! Then we are told that she dressed herself in robes
of beauty and glory. When she was all ready, she stepped into the
audience hall of the king, appearing all alone before him. The king was
so smitten with her beauty that his heart went out to her. He stretched
forth his scepter and accepted her. She had access to the king. Dressed
in robes of beauty and glory that do not belong to us -- for they are
the garments of Jesus -- we have access to the King, to receive from him
all that we need to handle any threat that has come into our lives. We
have continual acceptance before him." (excerpt from
Rejoicing in Hope)
F B Meyer writes that...
Prayer assumes a new complexion so soon as we properly appreciate God's
Fatherliness. Granted that it must always be through Jesus, and by the
Holy Spirit, yet, ultimately, it is access to the Father. The
first thought of a little child in any need is Mother, Father. There is
instant movement of eyes, and feet, and voice, towards the one dear
source of help and comfort. And so, when we have learnt to know the
Father, as revealed in Jesus, our heart will be constantly going out
towards Him. The Father's heart has twelve gates, that one of them may
be contiguous to every conceivable position in which his children may be
placed. Of course there will be times when we shall deliberately bow our
knees unto the Father; but there will be many more when we shall have
access to Him in a swift-winged thought, a tear hastily brushed
away, a yearning, an ejaculation (a short sudden emotional utterance), a
loving, restful glance of mutual understanding. Strange that we make so
little of these wonderful opportunities of access to the Father!
Commentary of Ephesians)
IN ONE SPIRIT TO THE FATHER: en
eni pneumati pros ton patera:
(Eph 4:4; 6:18; Zechariah
12:10; Romans 8:15,26,27; 1Corinthians 12:13; Jude 1:20) (Ep 3:14;
Matthew 28:19; John 4:21, 22, 23; 1Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; James
3:9; 1Peter 1:17)
(pneuma) is the Holy Spirit as determined from the context
(and not just because the translation capitalize it!)
(pater) refers of course to God our Father Who art in heaven.
Note the activity
of all three persons of the Godhead in reference to the peace associated
with our salvation. We have access to the Father only through
faith in the Son and by the implementing work of the Spirit.
argue that God is not a Trinity. Their weak argument against the
existence of the Trinity is based upon the fact that the Bible does not
use the word "Trinity" (which is true). Such an argument fails to take
note of such clear passages like Ephesians 2:18 which speak of Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, working as One God!
S Lewis Johnson writes that...
it is through the instrumentality of
the Son in the sphere of the Holy Spirit that we are brought to the
place where we have access to the Father. All the persons of the Trinity
working in beautiful concert: the Son, laying down his life; the Holy
Spirit applying the ministry; and it is the Father who has chosen us as
he said in the beginning and has determined the whole means by which the
program shall be carried out. So that the electing Father, the atoning
Son, the administrating Holy Spirit – all work toward the same end, and
that is that the people of God may have access. That’s why to me,
the doctrine of the sovereign grace of God in our salvation is so
beautiful: the whole Trinity working together in beautiful unison, in
What does it mean to have access?
He’s saying here that it’s not just salvation, in a narrow sense, that
is the aim of the Trinity in salvation. But access – what does that
mean? What’s implied in that? Well now, of course, it’s a great thing to
have the forgiveness of sins. It’s a great thing to know the penalty for
sin, past, present and future, has been paid for by our substitute. But
that is a means to an end. In fact, if you just looked at it from the
standpoint of heaven and the life of the future, you would see that the
atoning work is simply a means to an end. Now, it’s something we’ll
always remember, for he’s the lamb of God who leads the flock to ever
lengthening pastures throughout all eternity. But, what about in the
Now access means that we have the remarkable, glorious privilege
of carrying on a relationship with our Father by virtue of what Christ
has done through the Holy Spirit, in all of the days and months and
years that transpire between the time of our salvation and the time of
our catching up to be with the Lord Jesus. Daily, our life is a life of
access. We’re able, at night, to get down by our bedside, or in our
beds, as we may pray, and lift our voices and say,
“Father, we thank Thee for this day,
that you’ve preserved us and kept us, that you’ve used us, that you’ve
provided for us.”
And then in the morning, you
may offer your prayers as you read the Scripture. And throughout the
day, in the experiences of life, you have a companion, one who is always
with you. Every day for the believer is the Emmaus road experience. We
travel with the Lord Jesus by our side.
Now it is true that for many of us, He is about as unknown to us in our
daily life as He was to his two disciples (on the Emmaus Road), until he
revealed himself. They turned to Him – here He is walking along with
them, the Lord Jesus, about Whom they were speaking – they said to Him,
“Haven’t You heard what happened in Jerusalem over the weekend?” Why He
was the One to Whom it had happened! And it was not until their eyes
were opened that they saw Him for what He was. That’s one beautiful
picture of the life of a Christian; it’s an Emmaus road experience from
conversion to translation to heaven. Access. We have access. We can call
God, Father. We can say, “Our Father.”
We don’t have any record of any individual Jewish man until the days of
the Lord Jesus, lifting up his voice to heaven and saying, “Father.” The
Lord Jesus is the first One Who used that term in the individual sense,
so far as we know. Isn’t that amazing? We take it for granted. Don’t we
pray in our churches,
“Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed by thy name”?
Yes, we do. That’s what’s called
saying the word of God and not really hearing it. I said that many times
in our Presbyterian church, and I didn’t even know what it meant. You
can say good Scripture words and not know what they mean. Don’t say the
word “access” and not come to know what it means.
Access: the opportunity and
privilege to enter into the presence of this God Who is no potential,
provisional Savior, but a definite Savior and Lord. Access.
I guess one of the most vivid things, an illustration, was the
experience of the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee when the sea arose.
That wonderful time when the miracle of the walking on the water took
place. I don’t want to go into the exposition of it, because you are
very familiar with it. But you’ll remember that after the Lord Jesus had
walked on the water, and after Peter had walked on the water and after
he had begun to sink, the Lord Jesus had taken his hand and saved, that
they both came to the boat and the wind ceased. And then they that were
in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying of the truth,
“Thou art the Son of God.”
That’s the proper response, to
worship. Access. Oh, what a privilege it is to have access to the
A Brief Excursus on The
As an aside observe the work of the "Trinity"
in the following passages...
In our redemption and forgiveness
How much more will the blood of
Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself
without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works
to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
In our baptismal testimony
"Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the
Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)
In our experience of regeneration
And because you are sons, God has
sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying,
"Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:6)
In our assurance and fellowship
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
"When the Helper comes, whom I
will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of
truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me (John
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you
all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John
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