Two Into One
When you pray, thank God that in Christ he has reconciled us to himself and to each other.
Read Ephesians 2:11-22
 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)-  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.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  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,  and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat has Christ done for them and what is the result?
As a child I had an animal picture book, but the pages were split, so that by turning half a page it was possible to produce a weird unknown animal such as an elepotamus. Occasionally this sort of thing actually happens as scientists cross two breeds into a new variety of animal, though not usually as strange as the ones in my book. This is an offense to some religious groups, Jews included (Lev. 19:19). Many in Paul’s day were no less offended by new Christian communities containing both Jews and Gentiles, groups who would never previously have associated with each other. In Jesus, God produced something new (15) and unthinkable to both devout Jews and Greeks. God reconciled people who were previously quite incompatible (11). He gave hope and a way of belonging to those who had been outsiders (12,19), and he removed all barriers to unity (14,15). To emphasize that this is something radically new, Paul compares the new Christian hybrid community to the Temple in the heart of Judaism (20-22). There are many things that threaten to divide the body of Christ, and some of them are very deeply part of us. Yet in Jesus we have a unity that is above all threats.
What barriers divide you from other Christians? What will you do to help to remove them?
Ask God to help you remove any barriers to Christian fellowship in your church and among all Christians you know.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.