Summary: 15th in the series continuing the theme from 14 on the establishement of God's new community.
“A New Community of Peace”
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
B. Paul prayed for their enlightenment 1:15-23
C. Paul detailed our resurrected life in Christ 2:1-10
D. Paul declared our awesome acceptance and reconciliation 2:11-21
1. Our Awful Alienation and Rejection 2:11-12
2. Our Awesome Acceptance and Reconciliation 2:13-21
What powerful words; “But NOW!” The Gospel message really is about “but now!”
It is a bad news / good news story. Beyond this vital truth of reconciliation, there are some additional important concepts that deserve some further consideration.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
The peace that Paul proclaims here is a change in relationship between Jew and Gentile and between all people and God. Peace is a condition or sense of harmony, well-being, and prosperity. The biblical concept means more than the absence of hostility, and it is more than a mere psychological state. There is peace with God, self and others.
The rebellion of Adam and Eve created chaos in our world. The peaceful state of Adam’s relationship with God became disrupted and turned to fear, self-consciousness, guilt and eventually hostility.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.
The angel who announced His birth declared…
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." Luke 2:14
The Jews were required to offer “peace offerings.” The peace offering was a celebratory offering shared between God, the priest and the one presenting the offering. Parts were completely burned on the altar. The priest was given the breast and right thigh. The one offering enjoyed the rest. This was intended to be a communal celebration of God’s blessing.
Jesus became the ultimate peace offering that restores community; community with God and community with the Jews and even peace with ourselves.
27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
He established peace with God and people by creating a new race of people.
He brought about a new sense of harmony and community with God and each other.
He annulled the legally imposed laws that divided Jew and Gentile.
The message of peace with God and each other was a core message Jesus preached.
17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; Ephesians 2:14-17
Because of Jesus there is no long a division between Jew and Gentile. We are all connected in Christ. The New Testament is filled with images that illustrate this new unity. The image of a body with Christ as the head over a multitude of diverse body parts. Paul reminded the Colossians of the unification of all people in Christ.
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:10-11
The issue is Christ. The issue is not nationality, heritage or social standing, but Christ.
He also obliterated the distinction between male and female.
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:27-29
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Ro 10:12-15
This is the age of “WHOEVER.”
Jesus eliminated the basis for all prejudice based on nationality or social standing or anything.
He made all groups into one new people – Christians, followers of Jesus, the church. The Jew/Gentile issue was argued early on in the development of the church. Peter settled the issue at a gathering of church leaders in Jerusalem.