Where the Beginner Begins

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:13

I have a friend who frequently said, “Remember to begin where the beginner begins.” I first thought it was one of the dumbest sayings I ever heard. Yet now I find myself using it! It is a good reminder to try to look through the eyes of one just getting started on the journey you have been on for some time. It certainly applies to our spiritual journey.
According to the Apostle Paul, the place where the beginner begins is quite bleak. He writes, “Remember that at the time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world”
(Eph. 2:12).

The “low lights” of this beginning are:
  • Separate – living outside of Christ
  • Excluded – benefits of citizenship unavailable
  • Foreigners – strangers to the promises of God
  • Without hope – despair for the future
  • Without God in the world – God-less, no eternal reference point

The tendency for those of us who have been Christ followers for some time is to forget the awful reality of the beginner’s beginning.

But a significant shift happens for the believer. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus” (Eph. 2:13). The transition from being far away to being near to God was secured for us in Christ. “Brought near” is passive, indicating an action done to us and for us. Being brought near is a gift from God, undeserved but gratefully embraced.

God drew us near “through the blood of Jesus.” Paul wrote to the Colossians that it was through Jesus God moved “to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:20). When we begin where the beginner begins, we are reminded just how powerful is the blood of Christ. Thank God “the blood will never lose its power!”

“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). We were isolated and alone, disconnected from God’s people.  But now we share citizenship with God’s household, and rightly claim them as our world-wide family. When we begin where the beginner begins, we can receive the church as the gift it is designed to be.

John Stott writes, “It is hard to exaggerate the grandeur of this transition. The new society God has brought into being is nothing short of a new creation, a new human race, whose characteristic is no longer alienation but reconciliation, no longer division and hostility but unity and peace.” As Paul penned, “In him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).

Beginning where the beginner begins, we are reminded what God has done, and how far we have come. This should drive us to worship the One who brought us near and to share him with those still far away. And when you do, "remember to begin where the beginner begins!"

Pastor David

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