Wow is this Sunday’s sermon text a timely one! (But isn’t every Word from God?!?) This Sunday, we take up one of Scripture’s great teachings on reconciliation. Are you ready for that?
Here’s the background. What we find in Ephesians 2 is an incredible example of sin’s power to take anything that God gives us- our intelligence, our looks, our success, our social position, even our race- and to weaponize it to despise and hate those without it. The Ephesians were looking down on those without the law. “We’re better than you. We have the law!” The law with its commands and regulations became a way for “law-having/keeping Jews” to look down on and be hostile toward Gentiles. It was so bad Paul called the law “a dividing wall of hostility.” (Eph. 2:14) Jews and Gentiles needed reconciliation. Walls needed to be broken down.
Here’s the good news: God has put all hostility to death on the cross of Jesus. And have you ever noticed this about Christianity? That life begins in death? That when Jesus died, he rose again? That in his death, our life in heaven was assured for us? Listen in!
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.