Summary: Just what does it take to end all the hostility? To see “peace on earth”? Or, as Rodney King infamously insinuated, when will we all be able to “just get along”? How do we achieve unity amidst division and diversity? Thanks be to God, these very
THE SUPREME MYSTERY – THE BODY OF CHRIST
ACT I: Foundations Of A Supreme Mystery – Identification
5. FROM SEPARATION – TO RECONCILIATION (Eph. 2:11-22)
My visits to the Berlin Wall and its downfall.
The Christmas season is upon is and we will once again hear the world proclaim ’peace on earth.’ Have they read the papers?! Do they not own a TV? Peace? Peace? Where is it? All I seem to see and hear about are hostilities. War. Terrorism. Slander. Gossip. Lies and corruption. And I’m not just referring to our churches. . .
Just what does it take to end all the hostility? To see “peace on earth”? Or, as Rodney King infamously insinuated, when will we all be able to “just get along”? How do we achieve unity amidst division and diversity?
Thanks be to God, these very questions are addressed in His Word! Let’s take a look . . .
A.) EXCLUDED STRANGERS (vv. 11-12)
* To appreciate what we have/now are, it is often important if not essential to first remember
where we came from and the disadvantages we once suffered.
* Remember that most of Paul’s converts were not Jews, but “God-fearing Gentiles” who attended
the synagogues with genuine searching and reverence for the God of Israel. There, they were
regularly taught that to truly be a worshiper of God and part of the family and nation of believers,
they would HAVE to not only convert to Jewish beliefs, but also Jewish customs, laws and
ordinances. Chief among these was circumcision (which most God-fearing Gentiles were, for
obvious reasons, not in a real hurry to enact). Without circumcision, they were not Jews, not
members of the synagogue, not protected or blessed by God and greatly restricted.
2.) Fivefold Alienation
* The reason for the Gentile’s alienation (status as excluded strangers) was not cultural or
social, but spiritual:
a.) Without Christ
b.) Without Identity in God’s Nation
c.) Without “the covenants of promise” - God’s Contractual Blessing & Protection
From the time of Abram, God chose from one man to make a covenant to bless the
multitudes. He then separated Israel from all other nations to be the people of His
covenant. By contrast, while God made many promises about the Gentiles, He never
made any to them! Through their covenant relationship the Jews remained near to
God while the Gentiles were ’far off’ and strangers to it.
d.) Without Hope
e.) Without God’s Activity in Their Lives
B.) INCLUDED & UNITED FAMILY (vv. 13-18)
The (Reconciling) Change Agent (v. 13)
* You see, the Jew’s previous nearness to God was contingent on their covenant relationship
which required their perfect obedience to the law. However, no one (not one) could keep the
law and so they too were far from God as their sin created an impenetrable wall between them
and their unholiness and God and His absolute holiness.
* But, now, “In Christ Jesus” the entire situation has been changed and transformed - from
exclusion to inclusion, isolation to intimacy, “far” to “near,” cursed to blessed.
* Not only is Christ’s sacrificial blood our means to redemption (1:7), but it is also the means of
our reconciliation to God.
2.) Breaking the Barriers (vv. 14-16)
* Jesus has reconciled us and become our peace in 2 ways: to Himself and to others.
* “He Himself” is emphatic! It is not a “message” or “truth” or “circumstance” that has
reconciled us, become our peace and broken barriers - but the person of Jesus the Christ!
* The reference is most certainly to the wall within the compound of Herod’s Temple which served
to separate the Court of the Gentiles from the rest of the Temple, with death threatened to any
* By His death and fulfillment of the requirements of the law on our behalf, Jesus nullified that
which truly and spiritually separated all people from God and the Jew from the Gentile - “the
law of the commandments in regulations.”
* In Christ, we are now free to come across the broken barrier in order to come near to God
and then each other as well (1 Jn. 1:3-4). In Christ, Jew and Gentile alike can come near to God
in only one way – as sinners for whom Christ died and forever destroyed and wall that separates
us from Him – and each other!
3.) The “New Man/Race” (vv. 15-16)
* Now that the “barrier” has been abolished, there is no need for the two peoples/communities to
remain separate. Jesus is peace and has replaced hostility with peace, separation with unity.
* Make no mistake the Christian is NOT a hybrid Jew-Gentile, nor an enlightened, or
“higher” Jew or Gentile; Christ did not Judaize the Gentiles or Christianize the Jews. A