Brought Near by the Blood of Christ

by Mike Ratliff

11 Διὸ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί, οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου, 12 ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ χωρὶς Χριστοῦ, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. 13 νυνὶ δὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ὑμεῖς οἵ ποτε ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγενήθητε ἐγγὺς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ. 14 Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, 15 τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας, ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ποιῶν εἰρήνην 16 καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ, ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ. (Ephesians 2:11-16 NA27)

11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, the ones being called “Uncircumcision” by the ones being called “Circumcision,” done in the flesh by hand– 12 that you were at that time without Christ, having been alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers of the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you, the ones once being far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  14 For he, the one having made the two one and having broken in his flesh the partition of the middle wall of hostility is our peace. 15 In so doing he annulled the law of the commandments in ordinances that he might create the two in himself into one new man, making peace, 16 and might reconcile the two in one body to God through the cross having killed the hostility by it. (Ephesians 2:11-16 a personal translation of the NA27 Greek text)

We have been looking at our Justification, which is of course, by grace alone through faith alone apart from works. This truth cannot be challenged by anyone who is devoted to Sola Scriptura and abides to true exegetical standards of Biblical exposition. There are, of course, those who want to add things to this such as “Church Tradition” and “works” et cetera. When I have had face-offs with some of these people they cannot hold their ground unless they first can try to dilute Sola Scriptura in some way. However, I digress. Many others and I have become convinced that the visible church in the West has come under the judgment of God. That is why truth is watered down within and rare. That is why God has taken away solid leadership within it. Look what happened with the Louie Giglio fiasco with President Obama’s Inaugural. I am old enough to remember when the leaders in the Church in this country would never have considered even being a part of such an evil event, but when Giglio was disinvited because he had once preached a Biblically true sermon about how homosexuality is a sin and God is calling all sinners to repentance, what did he do? He gave a half-hearted “apology” and crept away with his tail between his legs. Where was the spirit-filled righteous indignation over such an evil event that is celebrating such a thing as homosexuality as being a celebrated civil right from within the leadership of the visible church?  Continue reading

Three Days and Nights In The Heart of the Earth

by Mike Ratliff

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (Matthew 12:38-41 ESV)

Today is Good Friday. From what we learned in our last post, Do This In Remembrance Of Me, we saw where Passover was a feast instituted by God to be held on Nisan 14 every year. Also, the Jewish day always began at sunset. Therefore, Nisan 14 began at sunset on Thursday and ran until sunset on Friday. At sunset Nisan 15 would begin. The next festival or feast after Passover was Unleavened Bread. This feast was eaten in the afternoon following the Seder, which was the Passover meal. Notice that this feast was held prior to sunset on Nisan 15 so it would still be Nisan 14.

Now, with this in mind let us look at something that is quite troubling to many Christians. In Matthew 12:40 Jesus made this statement, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” However, using our 21st Century methods of calculating time and our Western mindsets we struggle lining up what Jesus said here with the timing of His crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Continue reading