Summary: Ephesians 2:14-18 gives us a description of the reconciling work of Christ.
We are currently in a series of sermons on Ephesians 2 that I am calling, “God’s Plan of Reconciliation.”
Ephesians 2 has two main sections. The first is verses 1-10, and the second is verses 11-22. Each section addresses our past, our present, and our future. Regarding our past, the Apostle Paul taught that all people were alienated from God and from one another. Then, he set down our present in which he described our reconciliation with God and with one another. That is what we shall examine today.
Let’s read about our reconciliation in Ephesians 2:13-18:
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:13-18)
Several years ago, Ravi Zacharias described a meeting he had with one of the founders of Hamas (a Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement). Zacharias wrote:
Do you know why the Middle East is in the cauldron of hate? Because it’s living with the logic of unforgiveness. I was talking to one of the founders of Hamas, Sheikh Talal. I was part of a group of people who had gone to the Middle East to try and bring the people together to a peace table. Sheikh Talal gave us a great meal, told us of eighteen years he’d served in prison, and how some of his children had been lost in suicide bombings. When my turn came to ask a question, I said, “Sheik, forgive me if I’m asking you the wrong question. Please tell me, what do you think of suicide bombing and sending your children out like that?”
After he finished his answer, I said, “Sheik, you and I may never see each other again, so I want you to hear me. A little distance from here is a mountain upon which Abraham went 5,000 years ago to offer his son. And as the axe was about to fall, God said, ‘Stop.’” I said, “Do you know what God said after that?” He shook his head. I said, “God said, ‘I myself will provide.’” He nodded his head. I said, “Very close to where you and I are sitting, Sheik, is a hill. Two thousand years ago, God kept that promise and brought his own Son and the axe did not stop this time. He sacrificed his own Son.”
He just stared at me. The room was full of smoke with all of his security people. I said, “I may never see you again, Sheikh, but I want to leave this with you: Until you and I receive the Son that God has provided, we will be offering our own sons and daughters on the battlefields of this world for land and power and pride.”
I could just see the man’s lips beginning to quiver; he was sitting right next to me. Nobody said anything after that…. As we were walking out…Sheikh Talal went quickly and shook hands with everyone, and then he came over to me and grabbed me by the shoulders, kissed me on both sides of the face, patted my face, and he said, “You’re a good man, I hope I see you again someday.”
When you understand [Christ’s grace], it is an unparalleled message. In Hinduism, you pay with karma. In Islam, you never know if your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. But the grace of Christ comes to you and says, “If any man comes unto me I will in no wise cast him out.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians about God’s plan of reconciliation. He had just explained their former alienation from God and one another in verses 11-12. Then, as in Ephesians 2:4, he introduced another great “but” statement in Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near….” How? “…by the blood of Christ.” That is, the Gentiles were “far off” from God spiritually. They had no relationship with him at all. But, by the blood of Christ, they have been “brought near,” that is, they have been spiritually reconciled to God.
Ephesians 2:14-18 gives us a description of the reconciling work of Christ.