The End of Enmity
Lord Jesus, teacher of disciples, tend me and teach me today as I come before Your holy Word now.
Read Ephesians 2:11-22
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.
“Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. God delights to breathe his grace through peacemakers and use them to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice, and encourage repentance and reconciliation” (Kevin Sande).
Up to now, Paul has been talking about salvation in a personal way, but now he addresses the hostility between Jew and Gentile, and the way Christ’s salvation breaks that down. In addressing those from a Gentile background he reminds them of their former status: they were outsiders. Look at the words Paul uses: “excluded,” “foreigners,” “strangers,” “far away,” “without hope,” “without God” (12,13,19). The amazing thing is that they (we!) are now part of God’s people, members of God’s household (19).
The reconciliation between Jew and Gentile has taken place through Christ’s death on the cross. Christ has preached peace to those far off (Gentiles) and those who were near (Jews). Christ’s arms, stretched out in two directions, gather the two enemies together, drawing them into one body–his own. It is an amazing picture of peacemaking and reconciliation. All divisions that lead to strife, bloodshed or violence can be brought together in Christ. When enemies are brought into one body, they are enemies no longer, but members together. They form part of that holy building where Jesus is the cornerstone, and where God himself dwells through the Spirit (20-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-6; Heb. 3:6).
This question of peacemaking and reconciliation is one of the most challenging for our age. Too often, Christians are part of the divisions, the opposing forces which produce conflict and enmity. The challenge of this passage is to break the world’s pattern and allow Christ’s power to reconcile us with people we see as our enemies. Witnessing such Christian reconciliation in action, a journalist friend admitted it had shaken his agnosticism and made him ready to believe that God really did exist.
How can you put peacemaking and reconciliation closer to the center of your life? How can you begin soon?
Reconciling Lord, You reconciled me to Yourself through Your saving work in Jesus. Help me to deal with conflict in ways that glorify You.
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