Chapter 2

The thought of this passage is—striving to be greater. The god of this world is the devil. All fleshly rivalry, is to be a little bit greater or grander, or excelling one’s fellows. “We walked.” Doing the works of the flesh,—emulation, strife. The mind,—the devil in all, ruling over all. “The spirit that now worketh.” Contrast chapter 1:20: God working,— which He wrought in Christ, which He energized in Christ. God’s energy lifting us up to that height where no creature, as such, could ever reach. Here is the devil’s energy, leading men to act according to this world. Then we were dead, and God comes in, in grace, and lifts us to His own presence. The children of the world have no heart for being lifted up where God is. We were such. God’s crash of judgment will come down when we get to that height of glory, as on the Tower of Babel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Haman. God has delivered us from all this. (Jer. 45:5.)

Make me little and unknown;
Loved by God, and God alone.

Instead of caring to be great in the opinion of our fellows, we are to be great in the Judgment of God: in God’s favour, His smile, His love.

Verse 7.—“Ages which are advancing.” This is one of the few hints in Scripture about the eternal state. The chief passages are Rev. 21:1-8, 1 Cor. 15:27, 28. A glimpse is given in 2 Peter 3, “We look for new heavens.” During the millennium, sin will be in the world. Christ will be reigning as Son of Man. In eternity, God will be “All in all.”

Verse 7.—This is a very precious verse. God will not have done with us, no, not when He has brought us into His presence. We might have thought when He had raised us up and seated us together with Him, we should have got to the end; but it is only the beginning. He will be going on and on. Look what He has done in the past. 1. Put away sin. 2. Given everlasting life. Can God go beyond that? Oh, yes. What next? The Holy Ghost has come down and been given to believers. What more? “Strengthened with might by His Spirit,” etc. The Holy Ghost is given on purpose to make plenty of room for Christ. What more? “That Christ may dwell.” (Chap. 3:16-19.) That you may get up to know God (verse 20, 21). Anyhow, we shall get home some day and get beyond that. “In the ages to come,” etc. “Thou shalt see greater things than these.” God has two ways of showing. 1. To show to sight alone. 2. To sight and feeling too. Angels learn the first, saints the second.

In eternity He will be done with the creature, and the creature will be done with itself, and occupied alone with God. Oh, to think of “the exceeding riches of His grace.” We have not learned that yet. To all eternity God is going on. Oh, what a future this opens to us.

“In His kindness to us.” We are the objects of it; we may enjoy it. The only persons He could expend this on, were those He had got up from the very depths of woe. That He may lift them out of all their filthiness of sin, and have all the glory to Himself. Those who know most of God will most glorify Him. “Ages to come.” God fixes our eye on the future, as well as the past. Ages past, show us our badness: ages to come, God’s goodness.

Verse 8.—“Ye are saved.” Not ought to be. Saved from what? From self, the flesh, everything that you were, out of it. Risen life. I am a saved man. Positively, towards God; negatively, from all I was. Grace gives me salvation, faith takes it. Think of two hands, God’s loving hand and your little finger of faith, (Rom. 1:16). The old nature is in us, we are not in it. When the temptation comes, say, “I cannot; I am a saved man.” These are, as it were, bells from heaven, “Ye are saved.” These words could not have been written till Christ said, “It is finished.”

Verses 9, 10.—What a contradiction that sounds. That is a specimen of many others in Scripture. If we are saved, we are created for “good works.” “In Christ Jesus.” Christ Jesus, refers to the Lord in resurrection. The idea is, a risen Christ, risen men. We belong to Him up there.

“That we should walk in them.” What good works? (Ch. 4:1, 2). If God has lifted us up so high, no need to strive to be great: grace can let everything go. Jesus was the Son of God, therefore He was lowly. So He says to us who are saved, walk “with all lowliness and meekness.” So in (Phil. 2:1-3). We can afford to be lowly minded, seeing we are so exalted in Christ. God took particular care to map out what are good works. If we are saved to joy in God, trust all and leave everything to God. Copy Jesus. God was His Father. He let God vindicate Him “leaving us an example,” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Verses 11-17.—This passage shows how Jew and Gentle become one. Verse 11: “Wherefore remember,” etc. He firsts puts me right at the top, and then tells me to look down. Oh, what a way I have to look! We learn that when in heaven we shall look down and remember what we were, and from what we have been saved. Plenty of cause to be humbled.

Seven things to remember. Verses 11, 12: A Jew was naturally a religious man; a Gentile, an irreligious. The distinction originated with God. Christ was “the Light to lighten the Gentiles,” or to bring them to light. Without hope; without God,—Atheists. God would have us remember it. What an awful condition I was in, when His mighty hand lifted me out of it.

Verse 13.—“Far off,” the Gentile; “nigh,” the Jew. The blood of Christ brings God near to man, and man nigh to God. The blood was shed to gratify the heart of God. “Let us draw near.” (Heb. 10:20). One is experimental, the other doctrinal. Once “far off,” “without Christ,” “without God,” now nigh, with Christ, a good hope. I have got to God, God is my Father, Christ my Saviour. A good hope, He will come again. The blood does the whole thing (Rev. 5). See Rom. 5:9, 10: “What is called the blood in verse 9, is explained to be death in verse 10. The outpoured life, the surrendered life.

Verse 14.—“The middle wall of partition.” That is, between Jew and Gentile.

Verses 15-13.—Jew and Gentile; now both one new man in a risen Christ. How are believers to be banded together? Christ is God’s way of union. We have one life. What a blessed way is God’s.

There are three things about Christ and peace. Verse 14: “He is our peace.” Verse 15: He makes peace. Verse 17: He preaches peace. How intent He is that we should have peace: “Peace be unto you.” “Preaching peace” here refers to John 20:It also refers to peace between two believers, Jew and Gentile. Join verses 11-14: both have the same nature. “Of twain, one new man.” When we live on Christ, the more do we feel drawn to each other. God’s remedy for everything is Christ. What a full Christ He is! The Devil seeks to draw all believers from Christ. To the spiritual Christian he comes as “an angel of light.” What is to hinder in my soul every atom of unquiet? Himself: “That in Me ye might have peace.” Christ the Preacher, His servants the under preachers. Christ is continually telegraphing peace down to my soul from the throne of God. If I want something besides Christ in my life, I shall not have peace in my heart. There will be unquietness.

Jesus, Thou art enough
The mind and heart to fill.

Verse 18—“Both have access,” still Jew and Gentile. In verse 16: “Reconciled to God.” Verse 18: Access to the Father. After the cross, all is settled. There is great exactness in Scripture. “One new man,” a new creation, (ch. 4:13, Rev. 12:5, Col. 3:20 and 1:12). “Meet,” through having the new nature, to enjoy the inheritance. “Reconciled to God “is a thing done for ever. “Access to the Father’ is constant. May it be so now. Ch. 3:12: “Access with confidence.” It is a precious little word: not afraid of God. We may run to Him, get into His presence, abide there, feel at home there. Chap. 6:12: These will try and keep us from being in our proper place.

“We have access.” Many things in the New Testament we have. We have “peace,” a “Great High Priest,” “boldness,” “access.” It is our proper portion, our proper place,—right up to Him, where Christ is, where God is,—there is our home.

Verse 18.—Father, Son and Holy Ghost mentioned. Oh, to think, that every Person in the Godhead is interested in our drawing nigh to God,—Christ the way, the Holy Ghost the power. When I draw nigh to God, Christ takes me by the hand, the Holy Ghost fills my heart, and God bends His ear to listen. The children of the world are taken up with transitory matters, God with the whispers of His children. Have I a care? I have a Father, I have access, I have a welcome, a privilege to come at any time and tell my Heavenly Father all about it.

Verse 19.—“No more strangers.” This is not ourselves drawing the deduction, but God Himself. If I have access, I can’t be a stranger. How kind of God,— as if He were so intent upon setting us at our ease in His presence,—to be in the habit of telling Him everything, one of His own family. How wonderful.

Verse 20.—It means the prophets of the New Testament. Thank God, there is a Corner-stone, Jesus Christ Himself. “The Lord Himself shall descend,” etc. My soul is to lean on Him: have to do with Him.

Verse 21.—“In whom every building,” etc. When there are a few souls gathered around Christ, there is a building. Christ first, Christ last, that is the great thing.

Verse22.—“In whom,” etc. “In Christ,” put three times over. Let Christ be the Centre. “Ye are builded,” etc. May the Lord save us from all wilfulness, and give the blessed Son of God His place.