PULLING DOWN THE WALL
Lord, thank You for including me.
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.
‘Christ be with me, Christ within me, / Christ behind me, Christ before me, / Christ beside me, Christ to win me, / Christ to comfort and restore me’ (cf., Alexander, 1818–95, ‘I bind unto myself today’, from a prayer of Patrick, 5th century).
Racism bedeviled the early church – the first divisive issue (Acts 6:1). For 2,000 years, racism has dogged the church, still marring its message today. There should be no ‘isms’ in God’s church. Paul stressed that there is no place in the church for divisions of ethnicity, social class, or gender (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11), but it was racism that he singled out to deal with in impassioned detail. Some wish he had had more to say about other divisions, notably sexism, but he only had one life in which to teach. We hardly expect modern theologians to deal in detail with every possible issue! In Paul’s lifetime, the most serious issue threatening the life of the church was racism. No one thought that women could not be Christians, but race was an issue. For Jews who became Christians, Jesus, their Messiah, had fulfilled their Scriptures; many thought that the only pathway to Christ was via their religion and laws. Peter needed a divine vision to see that non-Jews could become Christians (Acts 10) and Paul had to seek advice on whether circumcision still applied (Acts 15).
As part of His eternal plan, God chose His ancient people but, now that Jesus has died for all humankind, all may come to God, including those who once were ‘foreigners to the covenant’ (12). The barriers are destroyed. Pictures flash into my mind of sledgehammers and bare hands destroying the Berlin Wall. The divisions are broken. Those who were distant are brought near. Only when all human beings who have come to Jesus allow themselves to be united again into one community will we become a truly fit dwelling ‘in which God lives by His Spirit’ (22). Only then will we finally become the eternally predestined people of God.
‘Christ beneath me, Christ above me, / Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, / Christ in hearts of all that love me, / Christ in mouth of friend and stranger’ (cf., Alexander, 1818–95, ‘I bind unto myself today’, from a prayer of Patrick, 5th century).
Lord, thank You for breaking down the wall of separation so that I could enjoy the benefits of salvation.
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