But before we get away from ourselves with how special we are now, Paul puts our feet back on the ground with “wherefore remember.” We must not just see what we are now, we must never lose sight of what we were. From the beginning of chapter 2, Paul had described us as children of wrath and disobedience. Now, he had told us that God had loved us and cared for us in Christ. But we were not always accepted by God. We may be His workmanship now, but there was a time when we were at enmity with God.
In time past, we were estranged from God. We did not desire to obey His laws or His commands, rather, we lived in the ways that we wanted to, always pleasing ourselves. We were a-theos – without God. We wanted nothing to do with Him. We were content to live our lives in sin, pleasing ourselves and denying Him. But being without God had also left us “having no hope.” There was no lasting joy or surety in our Godless lifestyle. Everything seemed to be pointless and the end of our life looked like the end of our purpose. We must remember this, that before God extended his grace to us, and before He declared us to be His workmanship, we were strangers and aliens living apart from Him.
But Paul can never tell of the bad news without returning to the good news. In verse 13, he begins with, “But now.” Yes, we were alienated and strangers. Yes, we were without God. Yes, we were without hope and purpose. But. Now. We are no longer estranged, alone, or hopeless. We are made “nigh by the blood of Christ.” We get to rejoice in this – Jesus died and accomplished for us what we could never accomplish for ourselves. Paul wasn’t bringing us down to leave us down, he was helping us to see the gap between our undeservedness and the grace of God that was demonstrated in the death of Jesus. “Wherefore remember” the “but now.” All those who are now in Christ were at one point aliens and strangers without hope, but now, we have been brought near to God through Christ.
Reflect: Write out the thought behind “wherefore remember” and “but now” in your own words.