Summary: What a solid foundation we have, built upon the teachings, the writings, the very lives of the Apostles, the Prophets, and Christ as the cornerstone! (#23 in the Every Spiritual Blessing series)
As we come near the end of chapter 2 we see that God has brought us from being dead in trespasses and sins, without God and without hope, strangers to the covenants of promise, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and from the life of God, to being reconciled through the cross, given access to the Father, made fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s own household.
Please note and let it be forever etched in your consciousness, that this is the most drastic change that could ever take place in a human life. From absolute and hopeless death and rejection, we were brought to a position of absolute and unshakable security in the presence of God, our Father. It is very important to see that this was accomplished through His cross, and that it was by one Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit, that both Jew and Gentile now have their access to the Father. It is a change, a reconciliation, a uniting, that could only have been accomplished that way.
Never, if we stayed alive and did good deeds for eternity, could we have had the life that God gives, or the fellowship that is found in Him, or been acceptable in His site, without Christ’s atoning work on Calvary’s cross, and the regenerating, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul has adopted a sort of ‘building’ theme in the closing verses of this chapter to teach us some vitally important truths about the church and her relationship to her Lord.
But before we go there, I want to make some things very clear to you concerning this union, this unity, that has been wrought by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
I was honored to preach at the Uncompahgre Baptist Association Annual Meeting, in Paonia, Colorado this past year. The title of my sermon there was “Scriptural Unity”, and it was taken from these same verses in Ephesians 2. Anyone interested in reading more detail concerning what I’m saying here today is welcome to have a copy of that sermon. For now I’ll just capsulate that message and move on to our main focus for today.
We do a lot of talking in the church, about unity. We sing “We Are One In The Bond of Love” as we hold hands and try not to look each other in the eye because, contrary to what the musicals of the 40’s and 50’s portray for us, we do not like to gaze into one another’s eyes while we’re singing. We feel stupid.
We talk about keeping unity in our dealings with one another, and some pastors spend a very large percentage of their time exhorting their people to stop bickering and work toward unity.
I want you to see that in these verses, when Paul is talking about Christ breaking down the barrier of the dividing wall, and establishing peace by making both groups into one new man, and by His Spirit giving us access to the Father, and making us fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household as beloved children, he is talking about a unity ~ scriptural unity ~ that is entirely brought about by the Holy Spirit of God, in Christ.
That is to say, He assembles us in one body, ushers us into the presence of the Father, through the shed blood of Christ.
This is not a unity that we work toward, not a unity that we could have had any part in establishing. It is the work of the Holy Spirit entirely, and now it is on us only to be diligent in preserving the outward manifestation of that unity, in a bond of peace.
Listen,... I’m speaking in italics now because this is important for you to get...
When believers behave contrary to this unity; that is, when they gossip and backbite and bicker and reject one another, and all the other nasty, unloving, ungodly things that we do to one another, what we are really doing is expressing unbelief. We, by our selfish behavior, are denying the unity that the Spirit has wrought, and in essence, saying ‘I am not united with this one’.
It is the same as saying that the one we are despising is not in the family of God; and what right does any of us have, to say that?
But John was writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he said, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen’.” (I Jn. 4:20)
So you see, we are not under obligation to bring about unity in the body, Christian. We are simply to understand that He has made us into one new man, reconciled to the Father through the blood of His cross, and given equal and 24/7 access to the throne of the Father by His Spirit, and then behave toward one another accordingly.