In Eph 3:12, we read; In Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Two things are immediately apparent in this verse; one is that Paul separates between Christ and God, the other is what makes it possible for us to come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
What is Paul telling us in this verse?
Paul says we can come boldly and confidently into God’s presence because we are in Christ and because of our faith in Christ. What does it mean to have faith in someone? To have faith in someone is to trust someone. If you trust someone, you believe that they are honest and sincere and will not deliberately do anything to harm you. If you trust someone in authority, like a policeman, you believe that they are honest, genuine, will not deliberately do anything to harm you, AND because you trust in them, you will obey what they tell you to do. You choose to obey them because you trust they will not deliberately do anything to harm you, so if they instruct you to do something, it is for your benefit.
Is this the type of faith you have in Jesus? Jesus instructs us in Matthew 23:2-4 to keep the written Torah of Moses, He teaches us to keep the written Torah of Moses in Matt 6:25-34 and promises all our needs will be met if we do. If this is what it means to have faith in Jesus, most Christianity has no faith in Him, considering how they see the written Torah as being abolished and “nailed to the cross.”
Paul is trying to tell us here that if you have faith in Jesus, you trust He is honest, sincere and will not do anything to harm you deliberately. We know He is God, so we know He is someone in authority over us. So when Jesus tells you to do something, you obey His instructions if you trust in Him and have faith in Him.
Paul had this type of trust and faith in Jesus: In Rom 1:1, 6:22, 1. Cor 7:22, 11:1, and Eph 6:6 Paul trust Jesus to be honest, sincere and will not do anything to harm him deliberately. And because Jesus is in authority over Paul, his trust in Jesus manifests in Paul’s obedience to Jesus’s teachings. So what Paul is doing here is showing us what it means to trust in Jesus and have faith in Jesus; it means that you listen to what Jesus taught and obey what He taught us to do.
What are the teachings of Jesus? Matthew 23:2-4, 7:21-23, 6:25-34 are only three of many examples showing us Jesus taught us to obey the written Torah of Moses. Did Paul obey the written Torah of Moses? In the Acts of the Apostles, time and time again, Paul is falsely accused of having abandoned the written Torah and teaching others to do the same. Each time this happens, we see Paul proving his accusers wrong. Paul never stopped obeying the Torah, and he never taught anyone to reject the written Torah of Moses. Why? Because he had faith in Jesus.
Do you have faith in Jesus?
In Eph 3:12, Paul says, in Christ and our faith in Him. So it is evident Paul is speaking of two different things here, 1. in Christ, 2 our faith in Christ. Now that we know what it means to have faith in Christ, what is Paul referring to when he says “in Christ”?
John 15:4, 15:10, 1.John 3:24, 4:17, Romans 11, 1. Chor 11:1 all refers to being in Christ when we imitate the life of Christ. How do we imitate the life of Christ? 1. John 4:16-17, John 15:4, 15:10, 1.John 3:24, Romans 11, 1. Chor 11:1 all say the same thing; when we have faith in Christ, we are in Christ. So when you obey the written Torah as Jesus did, you have faith in Christ, and you are in Christ. If you have faith in Christ and are in Christ, Paul says you can come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
This brings us to the next subject; Paul separates between Christ and God. Does this mean Paul rejects the deity of Christ? No, not at all, but Paul says Christ is not the Father. So what Paul is saying here is that he is affirming Christ’s own statement in John when Jesus says, I am going to my God who is greater than me. He is also having faith in Jesus by obeying Jesus’s teachings because Jesus never taught us to worship Him as God; he taught us to worship, obey and trust Yehovah. So if you have faith in Jesus, you will do what Paul did and what Jesus taught us to do; focus on the Father, Yehovah.
So what Paul is trying to tell us here in Eph 3:12 is this; if we repent from lawlessness and we start living our lives by the written Torah, we can now come boldly and confidently into Yehovah’s presence.
What about the cross in all of this?
If you believe in Jesus, you will obey Jesus’s teachings. Jesus taught us to live by the written Torah of Moses. The written Torah of Moses says we have to make a sacrifice and atone for our unintentional sins. 1. John says we will continue to sin unintentionally for as long as we live. So if you believe in Jesus, you must continually sacrifice for your unintentional sins because you will never be without unintentional sin.
The temple in Jerusalem is gone, so we have no way of going to the temple to make a sacrifice. We are not permitted to make a sacrifice for sins anywhere else; we can only sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem with one exception. The book of Hebrews says our high priest Jesus is now in the heavenly temple working on our behalf as our high priest. So we can fulfill the commandment to sacrifice for our sins by believing in the Blood of Jesus as the continued sacrifice made on our behalf in the heavenly temple.
So if you have faith in Jesus, you desperately need the cross because you can not have faith in Jesus without the cross. But if you have faith in Jesus, you desperately need the written Torah of Moses because, without it, your faith in Jesus is dead and unable to save you. (James 2:14-16)
Is your faith in Jesus a saving faith that allows you to come boldly and confidently into Yehovah’s presence? Make sure it is so you will not be among those who hear “depart from Me, for I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:21-23)