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From Alienation to Access: God’s Reconciling Love

by Dr. Tim Valentino, Instructor of Biblical Studies and Applied Theology at Evangelical Seminary

 

Humanity’s spiritual brokenness leads to barriers. The story in Genesis 3 tells us the fall of humanity led to alienation from God, others, creation, and even ourselves. The walls went up because of disobedience to the Creator’s loving command.

The result was shame and nakedness, hiding and blame, hostility and death. There was no longer access to the One we were designed for, the relationship that brings wholeness and flourishing to every human being.

This alienation was the opposite of how God in Trinity exists. The three Persons of the Trinity live in perichoresis, a theological term describing the unbounded, unseparated, mutual indwelling that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share. The Greek word can be rendered as “an unbroken dance of love.” There is always access one to another.

With relational access being a central aspect of God’s identity, separation from the beloved humans could not stand. The Creator would stop at nothing to bring the alienated ones near. Moreover, God would destroy the barrier between alienated people groups—Jew and Gentiles being one prime example.

For through him, we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Ephesians 2:18

 

Who accomplished this miracle—this reversal of alienations? Look again:

 

For through him [God the Son] we [Jews and Gentiles] both have access to [God] the Father by one [Holy] Spirit.

All three Persons of the Trinity worked together to grant Jews access to God. Within the Godhead, there is unrestricted relationship among the divine Persons, and by the Lord Jesus becoming the way to God, people of Jewish heritage have that joyful freedom, too.

Equally, all three Persons of the Trinity worked together to grant Gentiles access to God. People who are non-Jewish have the identical path to intimacy with God. Both groups can savor the Father by the same Holy Spirit, because the Second Person of the Trinity gave his life for their access and reconciliation.

How was this miracle accomplished—this reversal of alienations? Ephesians 2:13-17 tells us:

But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

Jesus went to the cross to destroy every access barrier humanity has. Through him, we no longer have to be alienated from God, from each other, from creation, nor even from ourselves. We have peace. More than that, the God-Man—in unrestricted, total access to the Father and the Spirit—has become one with his people in covenant as we believe into him.

Earlier in Ephesians 2, Paul wrote that believers are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Could we dare to believe that Jesus Christ has lovingly granted us access into the boundary-less, perichoresis of the divine Trinity? As we respond in faith, God heals us of our spiritual brokenness, and the barriers over time crumble away.

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