ONE, BUT NOT THE SAME
Lord, Help me to see others the way You do.
Read Ephesians 2:11–22
Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhich people-groups do you struggle to relate to or respect?
Starting in the playground, it extends to the debating chamber of the United Nations. We separate ourselves from those who are different. It hardly matters what divides us – we all do it.
Verses 11–13. Having outlined the Gospel’s implications for individual believers (2:1– 10), Paul now fleshes out its corporate impact. It is impossible to separate believers – as soon as an individual trusts Christ, he or she is a member of a people. But there’s a problem. God was the one to split humanity in the past: Jews (‘the circumcision’) and all Gentiles (the ‘uncircumcised’). He had His purposes for the division, but it was always intended to be temporary. Paul also describes the Ephesians’ predicament without Christ (assuming that most were Gentile). Notice the parallels in yesterday’s reading (1–3).
Verses 14–18. Yet, God intervenes! Notice the different descriptions of Christ’s mission to overcome this basic human division.
Verses 19–21. Christ has changed everything through His reconciling cross. That historic act transformed our present identity and community. It also revolutionized our eternal future.
We have no excuse to hide behind human division. In Christ, we belong to God – members together, built and joined in Him (22).
Who were those people to whom you have a hard time relating? What can you do or say to begin breaking down the walls? Maybe the first step is to begin praying every day for someone from this group.
Father, help me to understand more deeply who I am in You. Help me to understand how much You love all humanity.
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