Access to the Father

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:17-18

The last two devotionals have dealt with the way Jesus has united all people in himself to create “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). This comes about, Paul tells us, through the gospel of peace as it is preached both to those who are “near” and to those who are “far off” (v. 17).

We continue now to look at the benefits that flow from this. The first is equal access to God. “For through him [Christ]” Paul writes, “…we both [Jew and Gentile] have access in one Spirit to the Father” (v. 18).

This is one of the great verses of the Bible. It tells us, first of all, that the ultimate goal of the gospel is to bring us back to the Father. He is the source of all life and blessing, the great Architect of salvation, and his desire, in reconciling the world to himself, is that sinners might have “access” to him again.

By this, Paul has in mind confident entry into his immediate presence. This was something prefigured in Israel’s worship. God dwelt among his people, first in a tent and then in a temple, secluded in a “most holy place” only entered by the high priest once a year (Leviticus 16). The writer of Hebrews says that as long as this order of things existed, it indicated “that the way into the holy places is not yet opened” (Hebrews 9:8).

That is what has changed with the coming of Jesus. Now, “through him” we have “access” (right of entry) into the very presence of the Father. The writer of Hebrews stresses that as long there had been no final sacrifice for sins, ordinary sinful people like us couldn’t come into the presence of God. But Christ opened a “new and living way” for all to do that when he went into the heavenly sanctuary carrying his own blood – not that of bulls and goats as the high priest was compelled to do (Hebrews 9:12; 10:19, 20). This is the second thing that Paul mentions in this great verse we are studying – it is “through” Jesus that we have access to the Father. It is what Jesus meant when he said, “no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Thirdly, Paul mentions that this access to the Father occurs “in one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). He is speaking, of course, of the Holy Spirit. It is by his enabling that we can approach the Father as we should. He teaches us what to say and how to say it (Romans 8:26), but more than that, he creates within us the “filial” spirit that prompts us to cry out to God, “Abba Father” (Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:6).

Again, these are glorious truths to be remembered and savoured constantly. For can there possibly be a greater privilege than to enter the immediate presence of God in heaven and call him “Our Father”? That is what we can do in and through Christ.

Closing Thoughts:

  • Does the idea of approaching God thrill you?
  • Do you rest on Christ and rely on the Spirit when you pray?

– Andrew Young