The ultimate mark of shame in royal families is for one to be removed from “the table” – from the position of honor and relationship… to the place of loss and separation. No longer can the rebel or the guilty taste the delectable dishes and enjoy the camaraderie and conversation. They are disinherited – cut off from the family.
From the moment Adam and Eve scurried around the Garden of Eden to cover themselves up with leaves and hide in the bushes, all men and women have hung their shoulders in shame.
“[Adam] said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” (Gen. 3:10)
And they used to walk with God in loving communion in the cool of the day.
Our sin cut us off from God, but it was our own doing…our own rebellion. The shame of sin taunts and haunts all who remain separate from the God of all love and grace. The shame and guilt of pride, envy, lust, greed, anger, hate, profanity, and violence now seems to control every waking moment. Nothing we can do or say or work toward can take away the shame of our sin and restore the relationship that was severed when Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie of Satan rather than the word of God and fell into the pit and shame of sin.
Separate. Far away.
Cut off. Lost.
John Piper writes, “We can cut ourselves, or throw our children in the sacred river, or give a million dollars to the United Way, or serve in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, or perform a hundred forms of penance and self-injury, and the result will be the same: the stain remains, and death terrifies.” (The Passion of Jesus Christ, pg. 51)
But God stepped in with His rescue plan.
God sent His perfect, sinless Son to take the full brunt of our shame upon himself – the punishment we all deserve.
Let’s just pause there for a moment. Jesus the Christ took all the blame. He bore the just wrath of God against sin. He was mocked, whipped, ridiculed, bruised, and crucified for us and for our salvation so that we could be brought back into relationship with God. The apostle Peter penned these gospel-proclaiming words:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
Jesus Christ took our shame so that we could be brought to communion with God at His Table, as one family. Now He calls us sons and daughters, adopted by His grace into His family together through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We have peace with God and with one another (Eph. 1:3-6; 2:11-22).
God draws the lost to the Good News of the Cross so that we may receive a new and eternal relationship with Him. Christ’s blood was the way to peace with God.
God has rescued us through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. So let’s remember Him at His Table as One Family together because of the One Savior: Jesus Christ.
And we will yet again walk with God in a garden in perfect communion in the cool of the day…
“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him…” (Revelation 22:1-3)
Q & A
How does this new, restored relationship with God in Christ change the way…
- …we think about our purpose here on earth?
- …we respond to others still separate from God’s family?
- …we treat all those within God’s family?
- …we think about celebrating the Lord’s Supper – Communion?
For A Deeper Look…
My Interpretive Translation of Ephesians 2:11-13 [Greek Text: UBS 4)
“For the specific reason that you have received eternal salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus (v.8-9) and are now called to work on this earth in the manner God has prepared for you (v. 10), I command you to constantly remember that, in your past spiritual condition, all of you Gentiles (with respect to your physical condition) who are labeled as “Uncircumcision” by those of the so-called “Circumcision” which merely refers to a physical badge produced by the work of human hands, 12 That you all were at that time, prior to your salvation, completely without access and separated from Christ the Messiah, alienated and separated from the religious community and legal citizenship possessed by the people of Israel, and foreign strangers to the covenants of promise given by God, not having any hope, and finally, even completely without the one, true God in the world. 13 But in great contrast to this prior situation, now by your faith in Christ Jesus, you who were in the past far away from all these things previously spoken of, have now entered into a state of nearness, by means of the blood of Christ the Messiah.
*Seen throughout this passage (and particularly in v. 13) is the action of God toward man (objective nature). It was by the personal agency of Christ and the instrument of His own blood that brought those who had no way to the Father and no hope for the future, near to the Savior and reconciled to God. The phrase “the blood of Christ” certainly speaks of the sacrificial atonement made by the Savior on the Cross (H. Hoehner). No longer were the saved Gentiles to live in godlessness and hostility towards God’s chosen people. No longer were they to abide ostracized and separated from the One who created them. No longer were they to act in animosity in regard to the “favored” Jews. Instead through the work of Christ alone, they who were in the past far away (μακρὰν, accusative of measure – extent of space, cf. GGBB, 201-3) now have the divine privileges of a personal relationship with God. Peace now reigned between their souls and the justice of God, and also between the hearts and minds of their Jewish brothers and sisters. Truly, all things “have been made new.”