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Christ The Unifier

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Introduction

Our world is divided. Whether it is about politics, morality, worldview, or race,
In the divided world of 2017, unity is the way
Throughout the course of history, it has been shown that human beings tend . The Chinese built what is known today as the Great Wall of China over a period of over 2,000 years to try to keep out invaders. Beginning in 1961 the East Germans began construction on the Berlin Wall, which was built to keep people from fleeing from East to West Germany. Our country has a wall on our border with Mexico in several places. Even when we build our houses, we build them with walls and then we build another wall around the house for additional privacy and protection.
While we build walls for all kinds of reasons, one thing that all walls have in common is that they cause separation. Sometimes that separation is good and useful, but other times the separation is actually harmful. And in those cases, in order to overcome that harm, those walls have to be torn down.
On June 12th of this year, it was actually the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s famous speech in front of the Berlin Wall where he uttered these words:
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “ Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
A little over two years later, on November 9, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall began. By October 1990, not only was the demolition of the wall complete, but the two Germanys that had been separated by the wall became one.
In , Paul writes about how Christ has abolished the dividing wall that existed between humanity.
Let’s read our passage together again:
Ephesians 2:11–17 ESV
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “ Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Background - Jew and Gentile Audience

14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “ Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
Body
Ok, so as we read this, you can see that this passage is talking about two groups: Jew and Gentile. And if you remember from our first week, we said that this was one of the passages of Ephesians that suggests Paul’s audience was comprised of both Jew and Gentile believers. It might even seem that the church consisted primarily of Gentiles from the way Paul seems be talking to them alone here. Eph 3:1 says, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—“ So in both cases, it seems that Gentiles make up a good portion of the church. And again, we said in week 1 that Ephesus was not in Palestine, but in Turkey. It was a popular place for people to enter Asia Minor. It was a place of tourism, the Temple of Artemis was there (Eph 19:27). It was a pagan center of worship to be sure. So it makes sense that Paul’s audience would be largely made up of Gentiles.
Now, who were gentiles? Gentile was a term that simply meant anyone who was not a part of the Jewish race. This is a term found in the New Testament, although it is rooted in ideas of the Old Testament. In the OT, you have a distinction between the nation of Israel, and the other ‘nations’ (Hebrew ‘goyim’, for nations or people’) In Josh 24:11, Israel was commanded to drive them completely from the land. In Genesis 12:1-7, God made a covanent specifically with his people, in a way that was separate from all other nations, and so in the Law of Moses, the Israelites were commanded to be separate from them. God did not want them to adopt the religious practices of the people around them. So, there was a dual way in which the Israelites were to treat people of other nations. On one hand, they were to be separate from them. Deut 7:1-5 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” So they were not to mix with other nations. Also, in Ezra 9-10, Ezra made it clear that Jews were not to marry with women of other nations. And yet, in Gen 12:3, God made it clear that the children of Abraham were to be a blessing to every nation. “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This is also illustrated in the story of Jonah. And even people like Ruth or Rahab were Gentiles, and yet welcomed into the nation of Israel. So there was a dual aspect of Jews’ relationship with non-Jews.
But as the Babylonian captivity took place, the Jews became subjects of hostile foreign nations. And the persecution of Jews by Greeks and Romans from 400 BC to the NT era made Jews retaliate with hatred toward Gentiles and avoid all contact with foreigners. That is the background to this passage in Ephesians. There was a tremendous separation between Jews and Gentiles at the time. There really is no modern parallel in our society.
By the time of the 1st Century, Gentiles were really separated from Jews. Listen to what William Barclay wrote about this: "The Jew had an immense contempt for the Gentile. The Gentiles, said the Jews, were created by God to be fuel for the fires of hell. God, they said, loved only Israel of all the nations that he had made ... It was not even lawful to render help to a Gentile mother [at childbirth], for that would simply bring another Gentile into the world. Until Christ came, the Gentiles were an object of contempt to the Jews. The barrier between them was absolute. If a Jewish boy married a Gentile girl, or if a Jewish girl married a Gentile boy, the funeral of that Jewish boy or girl was carried out. Such contact with a Gentile was the equivalent of death."
As you can tell, this was quite harsh. But that was how separated the two groups were. Imagine how must Peter have felt when he was on his rooftop and dreamed that God was telling him that the Gentiles were now clean, or Paul when he saw his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus and was later told that he had been chosen to take the gospel to the Gentiles? It must have been quite a change in worldview! But now, let’s imagine that we were Gentiles at that time. As we said, the people of Israel were told that they were to be a light to lighten the Gentiles. They were to show by their behavior just how good life could be under God, so that the nations would come to them to share in their blessings. But imagine you were one of those Gentiles who had come to the land of Israel to join with the people of God. What would you have encountered?
First you would have experienced the contempt expressed in that description we just read. The only possible way you could have associated with a Jew would be if you decided to convert to Judaism. Yet even if you were able to convince Jews that you were serious about worshipping God with them, you would still have found yourself excluded from the center of Jewish worship. When you walked into the Temple courts here’s what you would have found. A 5 foot wall with a sign on it that said something like this: "No foreigner may enter within the barrier and enclosure round the Temple. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death!" Not "Trespassers will be prosecuted", but "Trespassers will be executed!" This is probably what Paul has in mind when he refers to the dividing wall of verse 14. Gentiles could get close enough to look up and see the Temple above them, but they could never enter it. They could never be part of the full worship of God. In other words, they could never enjoy the full benefits of being part of God’s people. Well, Paul says that was the reality for Gentiles before they were saved. Paul says in verse 12 that formerly, the Gentiles were without Christ. That is, missing out on all the benefits he’s spoken of in chapter 1 that come from us being in Christ. He says they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. In other words, they were excluded from all the benefits that God had promised to Abraham, and finally, as having no hope and without God in the world. They were without hope (vs 12), first because they didn’t know about God’s promises (vs 12), but second because as we found earlier in the chapter they’d suppressed what truth they had about God (Rom 1) and instead had turned to the worship of idols.
So it’s interesting here that Paul doesn’t just say, “You know, Jews hate Gentiles and don’t associate with them. But in reality, we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter who we worship. We’re all God’s children, and everyone is the same.” No. He says, actually Gentiles, you were lost, you were without hope. God’s promises really were just made to the Jews in former times, and without those promises, you really didn’t have any hope. That’s verses 11-12.
However…. (You see, there’s a however). However, Christ has now made it possible for you to be in the nation of Israel, and has broken down the wall between you. That’s the message of the verses that follow. The Work of Christ - Reconciliation In order for the Gentiles to be made a part of God’s people, God had to intervene, and he did so in Christ. Verse 13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." How has he done this? Look at v15. “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace”,
The thing that separated the Jews from all the other nations was the Law, given to them to mark them out as separate, as a holy nation. The other nations did not have the Law, and so they continually were not living how God desired them to live. But then Jesus came and perfectly fulfilled the Law, thus removing the requirement for people to obey it completely. Since he himself did it, now the Law was no longer a barrier between Jew and Gentile. All could come to Christ by faith. All had the same access. The result is that, verse 13: “now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. “
Body
Near to who? There are two answers. On the one hand, the Gentiles were now brought near to God. We said already that there was a dividing wall in the Temple. The Gentiles could not draw near to God. But now, through Christ, that wall is broken, and so all peoples could draw near to God in the same way. We saw last week during the morning service, in Hebrews 10:19-22 it said, “19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith,”. Now both Jew and Gentile could draw near to God.
But also, Christ’s death on the cross also brought the Gentiles near to the Jews. Verses 14-16 “14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the [a]barrier of the dividing wall, 15 [b]by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [c] make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, [d]by it having put to death the enmity.” So both Jew and Gentile are one. In Gal 3:28, it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As we saw in Eph 1, God’s great plan for the creation is that all things should be brought together in unity under Christ as head. This includes Jew and Gentile. Christ brings reconciliation between Jew and Gentile so that they’ll form a single body with himself as the head. And in that body, through the cross, he’s reconciled both groups not only to each other, but more importantly to God, thereby putting to death their hostility to one another. If all are accepted before God, and God doesn’t regard either above the other, then there is no longer any reason for superiority or arrogance. The Significance:
So what is the significance of all of this? That is found in verses 17-22 “And 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 our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the [a]saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy [b]temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Here’s what’s cool about this. When it says, “you”, we can read it as if the you is really, “you”. You see, we are Gentiles. We are not of Jewish descent, at least I am assuming most of us are not. If we lived in the time of Moses, we would have been wiped out with other nations, and we would have deserved it. God did not have to have a relationship with any nation. All including Israel were wicked. But he chose Israel for reasons known only to himself, to be his people. All others were doomed. But now, God has made the offer of salvation much more freely available to us. We now are not excluded from God’s people, but able to have a relationship with Hiim, and be counted among his followers. And these last few verses list the benefits that are ours.
1. We now can experience peace. Peace with God and peace with others.
2. We now have equal access to God through the Spirit (v 18) (and we also receive the spirit now) (Acts 10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.)
As we read this, we see that this passage is talking about two groups: Jew and Gentile. And in fact, when Paul was writing the book of Ephesians, he was writing to a church that was comprised of both groups - both Jewish and Gentile believers. Here, in chapter 2, verse 11, it seems that Paul pauses for a moment to specifically address the Gentile audience in the church. He says:
3. We are no longer strangers and aliens. (v 19) (The Gentiles of 1st century were aliens. They did not feel welcome.)
4. But we are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. (God’s child, share the benefits).
5.We share a place with the apostles and prophets (how cool is that vs 20?) And we are counted with Christ, the cornerstone. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. He holds the rest of the building together: "In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord." Paul may be thinking here of the way a cornerstone was used to hold the two sides of a building together. So he’s saying that Christ is the key that binds Jew to Gentile and allows them to grow together into this new temple of God that reaches out and encompasses all people.
6. We are a holy temple (together with each other) 21-22 What does that mean? Application 1. We need to reflect this idea of unity (of being brought together) in a way that is visible If we want to truly reflect the gospel in our lives then let’s make sure that we don’t let personal hurts get in the way of our relationships with one another. Let’s seek and offer forgiveness as freely as God has offered it to us. Let’s show his reconciliation in our personal relationships. This especially needs to be true in the church. 2. This unity that Christ has accomplished should show itself in the way we regard other people. I.e there should be no room for prejudice. Again Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:11 ESV
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
Gal 3:26 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Gal 3:29 “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
Ok, so as we read this, you can see that this passage is talking about two groups: Jew and Gentile. And if you remember from our first week, we said that this was one of the passages of Ephesians that suggests Paul’s audience was comprised of both Jew and Gentile believers. It might even seem that the church consisted primarily of Gentiles from the way Paul seems be talking to them alone here. says, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—“ So in both cases, it seems that Gentiles make up a good portion of the church. And again, we said in week 1 that Ephesus was not in Palestine, but in Turkey. It was a popular place for people to enter Asia Minor. It was a place of tourism, the Temple of Artemis was there (Eph 19:27). It was a pagan center of worship to be sure. So it makes sense that Paul’s audience would be largely made up of Gentiles.
Similarly, in he says,
Ephesians 3:1 ESV
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
It might even seem that the church consisted primarily of Gentiles from the way Paul seems be talking to them alone here. says, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—“ So in both cases, it seems that Gentiles make up a good portion of the church. And again, we said in week 1 that Ephesus was not in Palestine, but in Turkey. It was a popular place for people to enter Asia Minor. It was a place of tourism, the Temple of Artemis was there (Eph 19:27). It was a pagan center of worship to be sure. So it makes sense that Paul’s audience would be largely made up of Gentiles.
So in both cases, it seems that Paul is specifically addressing the Gentile group within the church. And maybe, just maybe, they made up the majority group in that church as well. After all, Ephesus was not in the primarily Jewish area of Palestine, but in modern-day Turkey. It was a popular place for people to enter Asia Minor. It was a place of tourism, the Temple of Artemis was there (Eph 19:27). It was a pagan center of worship to be sure. So it would make sense if Paul’s audience in Ephesus was primarily Gentile.
Now, who were Gentiles? Gentile was a term that simply meant anyone who was not a part of the Jewish people group. This is a term found in the New Testament, although it is rooted in ideas of the Old Testament. In the OT, you have a distinction between the nation of Israel, and the other ‘nations’ (Hebrew ‘goyim’, גֹּוי, for nations or people’).
How was the nation of Israel supposed to relate to the other peoples around her?
The answer is in two parts:

Answer 1 - Be Separate from Them

The first way Israel was supposed to relate to those around them was to be separate and distinct. In , Israel was commanded to drive them completely from the land. In , God made a covenant specifically with his people, in a way that was separate from all other nations, and so in the Law of Moses, the Israelites were commanded to be separate from them. God did not want them to adopt the religious practices of the people around them. also says:
Deuteronomy 7:1–4 ESV
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.
Now, who were gentiles? Gentile was a term that simply meant anyone who was not a part of the Jewish race. This is a term found in the New Testament, although it is rooted in ideas of the Old Testament. In the OT, you have a distinction between the nation of Israel, and the other ‘nations’ (Hebrew ‘goyim’, for nations or people’) In , Israel was commanded to drive them completely from the land. In , God made a covanent specifically with his people, in a way that was separate from all other nations, and so in the Law of Moses, the Israelites were commanded to be separate from them. God did not want them to adopt the religious practices of the people around them. So, there was a dual way in which the Israelites were to treat people of other nations. On one hand, they were to be separate from them. “When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” So they were not to mix with other nations. Also, in , Ezra made it clear that Jews were not to marry with women of other nations. And yet, in , God made it clear that the children of Abraham were to be a blessing to every nation. “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This is also illustrated in the story of Jonah. And even people like Ruth or Rahab were Gentiles, and yet welcomed into the nation of Israel. So there was a dual aspect of Jews’ relationship with non-Jews.
Deuteronomy 7:1–5 ESV
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.
So the Israelites were not to intermarry with the peoples around them. The same is taught in . Again, these commands were not made because the Israelites were somehow superior. says,
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” So they were not to mix with other nations. Also, in , Ezra made it clear that Jews were not to marry with women of other nations. And yet, in , God made it clear that the children of Abraham were to be a blessing to every nation. “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This is also illustrated in the story of Jonah. And even people like Ruth or Rahab were Gentiles, and yet welcomed into the nation of Israel. So there was a dual aspect of Jews’ relationship with non-Jews.
Deuteronomy 7:7–8 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
So even though the Jewish people were God’s chosen people, the Bible makes it clear that it is not because any one nation is superior to all others. Rather, it was because of God’s choice and God’s choice alone. God could have chosen any nation he wanted. But for his own reasons, and out of his own love and mercy, he chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants. So God’s people were to remain separate and distinct from the nations around them.

Answer 2 - Blessed to Be a Blessing

But that’s not the whole story. It is not sufficient just to say that God’s people were to remain seperate from the other nations. For, in , God made it clear that the children of Abraham were to be a blessing to every nation.
Genesis 12:3 ESV
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” So they were not to mix with other nations. Also, in , Ezra made it clear that Jews were not to marry with women of other nations. And yet, in , God made it clear that the children of Abraham were to be a blessing to every nation. “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This is also illustrated in the story of Jonah. And even people like Ruth or Rahab were Gentiles, and yet welcomed into the nation of Israel. So there was a dual aspect of Jews’ relationship with non-Jews.
These are the words that God spoke to Abraham. And Pastor did an entire series on this a few years ago called ‘Blessed to Be a Blessing.’ God’s intention from the beginning was never just to bless Israel and stop there, or just have them keep that blessing to themselves. For this is also the lesson that is taught in the story of Jonah. In that book, God teaches the prophet that His mercy is not reserved only for Israel, but for all nations that truly repent. And we could point to numerous other examples, such as the OT saints Ruth and Rahab, who were also both Gentiles (Ruth was from the nation of Moab and Rahab was a Canaanite), and yet both were welcomed into the nation of Israel, through their faith in God. Or we also could think of the example of Naaman, who was a Syrian, who. Pastor Cruise talked about last week (2 Kings 5).
So, in summary, God’s people were to stay separate from the pagan nations who worshipped other gods. Yet, God’s mercy was meant to extend to peoples from all tribes and nations.

The Prelude to the Time of Jesus: Hostility Grows

Fast-forward a bit in the Old Testament timeline. The nation of Israel splits into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, and a pagan nation conquers them both. God caused Babylon, under the command of Nebuchadnezzar, to rise up and send both Israel and Judah into exile. So, now, the Jewish people came under Gentile control. This continued under the reign of the Medes and Persians. We read about this in Daniel, Ezra and Esther). Then between the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish people came under the control of the Greeks, which finally gave way to the Romans. So from the time of the Exile of Judah (586 BC, to the time of Christ, almost 600 years had past. That meant 600 years of subjugation under pagan (and therefore, Gentile) rulers. So you can understand that by the time of Christ, many Jewish people had a great hatred for the Roman nation, and beyond that, the Gentile peoples who filled her empire. That is the background to this passage in Ephesians. There was a tremendous separation between Jews and Gentiles at the time.
But as the Babylonian captivity took place, the Jews became subjects of hostile foreign nations. And the persecution of Jews by Greeks and Romans from 400 BC to the NT era made Jews retaliate with hatred toward Gentiles and avoid all contact with foreigners. That is the background to this passage in Ephesians. There was a tremendous separation between Jews and Gentiles at the time. There really is no modern parallel in our society.
But as the Babylonian captivity took place, the Jews became subjects of hostile foreign nations. And the persecution of Jews by Greeks and Romans from 400 BC to the NT era made Jews retaliate with hatred toward Gentiles and avoid all contact with foreigners. That is the background to this passage in Ephesians. There was a tremendous separation between Jews and Gentiles at the time. There really is no modern parallel in our society.
Listen to what William Barclay wrote about this: "The Jew had an immense contempt for the Gentile. The Gentiles, said the Jews, were created by God to be fuel for the fires of hell. God, they said, loved only Israel of all the nations that he had made ... It was not even lawful to render help to a Gentile mother [at childbirth], for that would simply bring another Gentile into the world. Until Christ came, the Gentiles were an object of contempt to the Jews. The barrier between them was absolute. If a Jewish boy married a Gentile girl, or if a Jewish girl married a Gentile boy, the funeral of that Jewish boy or girl was carried out. Such contact with a Gentile was the equivalent of death."
This is what it meant
By the time of the 1st Century, Gentiles were really separated from Jews. Listen to what William Barclay wrote about this: "The Jew had an immense contempt for the Gentile. The Gentiles, said the Jews, were created by God to be fuel for the fires of hell. God, they said, loved only Israel of all the nations that he had made ... It was not even lawful to render help to a Gentile mother [at childbirth], for that would simply bring another Gentile into the world. Until Christ came, the Gentiles were an object of contempt to the Jews. The barrier between them was absolute. If a Jewish boy married a Gentile girl, or if a Jewish girl married a Gentile boy, the funeral of that Jewish boy or girl was carried out. Such contact with a Gentile was the equivalent of death."
As you can tell, this was quite harsh. But that was how separated the two groups were. We read the terms ‘Jew’ and ‘Gentile’ but we don’t get it. Yet these two groups were extremely divided. And there was years and years of bad history that separated the two.
So as we read , this is the kind of attitude behind it:
Ephesians 2:11 ESV
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
Paul talks directly to the Gentile audience at this point in the letter. He says, “Remember how you were alienated from God’s people in times past. Remember how you were called, ‘uncircumscion’ by those people (almost in a derogatory way). You can tell that Paul does not agree with the way Jewish people treated Gentiles, because he adds ‘which is made in the flesh by hands’. That is almost a way of saying, “circumscision says nothing about where one’s heart is. It is not a spiritual mark, it only something done to your flesh.” In other words, Paul is speaking out against the deragotory terms that Jewish people used to describe Gentiles. But nevertheless, he says to the Gentile audience, “You remember what that was like, don’t you?”
And certainly they did. At the time of Jesus, there was a giant sign that separated the different sections of the Temple. When Herod completed the 2nd Temple at around 10BC, an outer court was created that Gentiles were allowed to enter in. But if they tried to venture further in, they encountered a large sign in Greek and Latin that read:
“No foreigner is to go beyond the barrier and enclosure that surrounds the Temple. Whoever is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his death which will follow."
“"No foreigner may enter within the barrier and enclosure round the Temple. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death!"
So you can imagine how alienated the Gentile people felt in relationship to the Jewish people.
So imagine how must Peter have felt when he found himself on his rooftop in and heard God telling him in a vision that the Gentiles were now clean - that now Peter could go and associate with and share the Gospel with a Gentile! Or imagine the shock that Paul, a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (), must have felt when he became saved on the road to Damascus and was commanded by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles? Both of these instances must have caused quite a change in worldview!

More Than Just Prejudice - Also a Real Separation from God

But aside from the cultural separation that existed between these two groups, there also was a very real sense in which the Gentiles were separated from God.
Ephesians 2:12 ESV
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
In addition to their alienation from the Jewish people, the Gentiles were also alienated from God. Paul says here that they were without Christ. They did not know him, nor did they know the forgiveness of sins that comes through him. They were also alienated from the commonwealth of Israel (and that isn’t a just a reference to the cultural separation between them and the Jewish people, but it also means that they were not a part of a community - a community of God’s people). It says they were strangers to the covenants of promise. They did not have the Scriptures, so they could not look forward to the coming of the Messiah, or place their hope in God’s promise to one day bring justice and restoration to this world. They knew none of that. And finally, as a result of the previous points, they had no hope in the world.
Well, Paul says that was the reality for Gentiles before they were saved. Paul says in verse 12 that formerly, the Gentiles were without Christ. That is, missing out on all the benefits he’s spoken of in chapter 1 that come from us being in Christ. He says they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. In other words, they were excluded from all the benefits that God had promised to Abraham, and finally, as having no hope and without God in the world. They were without hope (vs 12), first because they didn’t know about God’s promises (vs 12), but second because as we found earlier in the chapter they’d suppressed what truth they had about God () and instead had turned to the worship of idols.
As you can tell, this was quite harsh. But that was how separated the two groups were. Imagine how must Peter have felt when he was on his rooftop and dreamed that God was telling him that the Gentiles were now clean, or Paul when he saw his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus and was later told that he had been chosen to take the gospel to the Gentiles? It must have been quite a change in worldview! But now, let’s imagine that we were Gentiles at that time. As we said, the people of Israel were told that they were to be a light to lighten the Gentiles. They were to show by their behavior just how good life could be under God, so that the nations would come to them to share in their blessings. But imagine you were one of those Gentiles who had come to the land of Israel to join with the people of God. What would you have encountered?
First you would have experienced the contempt expressed in that description we just read. The only possible way you could have associated with a Jew would be if you decided to convert to Judaism. Yet even if you were able to convince Jews that you were serious about worshipping God with them, you would still have found yourself excluded from the center of Jewish worship. When you walked into the Temple courts here’s what you would have found. A 5 foot wall with a sign on it that said something like this: "No foreigner may enter within the barrier and enclosure round the Temple. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death!" Not "Trespassers will be prosecuted", but "Trespassers will be executed!" This is probably what Paul has in mind when he refers to the dividing wall of verse 14. Gentiles could get close enough to look up and see the Temple above them, but they could never enter it. They could never be part of the full worship of God. In other words, they could never enjoy the full benefits of being part of God’s people.
First you would have experienced the contempt expressed in that description we just read. The only possible way you could have associated with a Jew would be if you decided to convert to Judaism. Yet even if you were able to convince Jews that you were serious about worshipping God with them, you would still have found yourself excluded from the center of Jewish worship. When you walked into the Temple courts here’s what you would have found. A 5 foot wall with a sign on it that said something like this: "No foreigner may enter within the barrier and enclosure round the Temple. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death!" Not "Trespassers will be prosecuted", but "Trespassers will be executed!" This is probably what Paul has in mind when he refers to the dividing wall of verse 14. Gentiles could get close enough to look up and see the Temple above them, but they could never enter it. They could never be part of the full worship of God. In other words, they could never enjoy the full benefits of being part of God’s people. Well, Paul says that was the reality for Gentiles before they were saved. Paul says in verse 12 that formerly, the Gentiles were without Christ. That is, missing out on all the benefits he’s spoken of in chapter 1 that come from us being in Christ. He says they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. In other words, they were excluded from all the benefits that God had promised to Abraham, and finally, as having no hope and without God in the world. They were without hope (vs 12), first because they didn’t know about God’s promises (vs 12), but second because as we found earlier in the chapter they’d suppressed what truth they had about God () and instead had turned to the worship of idols.
That was the state of the Gentiles. Without a relationship to the true God, they had no hope at all. And to make things worse, they were alienated from the people of God. There already was a barrier between them, but the Jewish people didn’t make it any better. In fact, they made it worse.
Well, Paul says that was the reality for Gentiles before they were saved. Paul says in verse 12 that formerly, the Gentiles were without Christ. That is, missing out on all the benefits he’s spoken of in chapter 1 that come from us being in Christ. He says they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. In other words, they were excluded from all the benefits that God had promised to Abraham, and finally, as having no hope and without God in the world. They were without hope (vs 12), first because they didn’t know about God’s promises (vs 12), but second because as we found earlier in the chapter they’d suppressed what truth they had about God () and instead had turned to the worship of idols.
And that seems to be the natural tendency of humanity. On our own, the world tends to break itself up into various divisions.
So it’s interesting here that Paul doesn’t just say, “You know, Jews hate Gentiles and don’t associate with them. But in reality, we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter who we worship. We’re all God’s children, and everyone is the same.” No. He says, actually Gentiles, you were lost, you were without hope. God’s promises really were just made to the Jews in former times, and without those promises, you really didn’t have any hope. That’s verses 11-12.
But this is where Jesus Christ is different. He enters into the scene and changes it all -
However…. (You see, there’s a however). However, Christ has now made it possible for you to be in the nation of Israel, and has broken down the wall between you. That’s the message of the verses that follow. The Work of Christ - Reconciliation In order for the Gentiles to be made a part of God’s people, God had to intervene, and he did so in Christ. Verse 13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." How has he done this? Look at v15. “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace”,
However…. (You see, there’s a however). However, Christ has now made it possible for you to be in the nation of Israel, and has broken down the wall between you. That’s the message of the verses that follow.

The Work of Christ - Reconciliation

Verses 13-15 say:
Ephesians 2:13–15 ESV
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
You see, one thing is clear as we read these verses - 1. Left to our own, we walk away from God and from others. On our own, we are alieanted. So if we are to be brought back together, it HAS to be entirely the work of Christ. You see in verses 13-15 that it is Christ who has done all of the acting in this passage.
Ephesians 2:13 ESV
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:13
The thing that separated the Jews from all the other nations was the Law, given to them to mark them out as separate, as a holy nation. The other nations did not have the Law, and so they continually were not living how God desired them to live. But then Jesus came and perfectly fulfilled the Law, thus removing the requirement for people to obey it completely. Since he himself did it, now the Law was no longer a barrier between Jew and Gentile. All could come to Christ by faith. All had the same access. The result is that, verse 13: “now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. “
In order for the Gentiles to be made a part of God’s people, God had to intervene, and he did so in Christ. Verse 13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." How has he done this? Look at v15. “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace”,
He has
Brought us near to one another
The thing that separated the Jews from all the other nations was the Law, given to them to mark them out as separate, as a holy nation. The other nations did not have the Law, and so they continually were not living how God desired them to live. But then Jesus came and perfectly fulfilled the Law, thus removing the requirement for people to obey it completely. Since he himself did it, now the Law was no longer a barrier between Jew and Gentile. All could come to Christ by faith. All had the same access. The result is that, verse 13: “now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Brought us near to God
Has established peace
Made us both into one
Broken down the wall of hostility between ourselves and God, and between each group of people.
All of it is the work of Christ. And notice that even though Paul starts by talking to the Gentiles, saying that “you were once separated from Christ,” and “you were once alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,” notice that Paul does not therefore present the Jews as somehow more virtuous, or as the ones who have made this problem right. For in fact, Paul would later go on to say that the Jews are no better. In he says,
Romans 3:9–10 ESV
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
Romans 3:9 ESV
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
No in fact, Paul groups the Jews together with the Gentiles here in Ephesians. The seperation between Gentile and Jew is just as much of a Jewish problem as it is a Gentile problem. Verse 14 says, “For he (Christ) himself is OUR peace.” - Not just the Gentile’s peace, but OUR peace.
Ephesians 2:16 ESV
and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Ephesians 2:16–18 ESV
and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:1
Again, Paul includes his own Jewish people in this problem by saying that Christ has reconciled ‘us both’ through the cross.
How did he do this? Verse 15 says, “By abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances”. This doesn’t mean that Jesus did away with the law, as if the law were somehow inheritly bad. For remember that Jesus said in:
Matthew 5:17 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
And in fact this verse tells us what exactly he did. He abolished the law in the sense that he fulfilled it. You see, the Jews continually tried to keep the Law. The Gentiles did not. This was a huge difference between them. But Jesus came and fulfilled the law, so that both Jew and Gentile could come to him by faith without having to perfectly keep the law. This is the wall that he broke down between them. And thus, that is why many think that when Jesus died on the cross, and tells us that the Temple curtain was torn in two at the moment of his death, that curtain was the divider between the inner court and the Holy of Holies. This symbolizes the tearing down of the divider between God and man, and also Jew and Gentile.
And so now, the reality is that Jew and Gentile are on the same plane.
Ephesians 2:17–18 ESV
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Ephesians 2:16–17 ESV
and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
Through Jesus’ death, the Gospel is now proclaimed both to the Jewish people and also to the Gentile peoples of the world. For we all have access to the Father.
This is amazing! To think that we (who are Gentiles, I assume, many of us in the room are), were not allowed anywhere near the Temple, and were despised by the Jews, now have equal access to the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ! That is incredible.

Application

So what’s the application here?
it said, “19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith,”. Now both Jew and Gentile could draw near to God.
Near to who? There are two answers. On the one hand, the Gentiles were now brought near to God. We said already that there was a dividing wall in the Temple. The Gentiles could not draw near to God. But now, through Christ, that wall is broken, and so all peoples could draw near to God in the same way. We saw last week during the morning service, in it said, “19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith,”. Now both Jew and Gentile could draw near to God.
Near to who? There are two answers. On the one hand, the Gentiles were now brought near to God. We said already that there was a dividing wall in the Temple. The Gentiles could not draw near to God. But now, through Christ, that wall is broken, and so all peoples could draw near to God in the same way. We saw last week during the morning service, in it said, “19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith,”. Now both Jew and Gentile could draw near to God.
But also, Christ’s death on the cross also brought the Gentiles near to the Jews. Verses 14-16 “14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the [a]barrier of the dividing wall, 15 [b]by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [c] make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, [d]by it having put to death the enmity.”
But also, Christ’s death on the cross also brought the Gentiles near to the Jews. Verses 14-16 “14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the [a]barrier of the dividing wall, 15 [b]by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [c] make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, [d]by it having put to death the enmity.” So both Jew and Gentile are one. In , it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As we saw in , God’s great plan for the creation is that all things should be brought together in unity under Christ as head. This includes Jew and Gentile. Christ brings reconciliation between Jew and Gentile so that they’ll form a single body with himself as the head. And in that body, through the cross, he’s reconciled both groups not only to each other, but more importantly to God, thereby putting to death their hostility to one another. If all are accepted before God, and God doesn’t regard either above the other, then there is no longer any reason for superiority or arrogance. The Significance:
So both Jew and Gentile are one. In , it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As we saw in , God’s great plan for the creation is that all things should be brought together in unity under Christ as head. This includes Jew and Gentile. Christ brings reconciliation between Jew and Gentile so that they’ll form a single body with himself as the head. And in that body, through the cross, he’s reconciled both groups not only to each other, but more importantly to God, thereby putting to death their hostility to one another. If all are accepted before God, and God doesn’t regard either above the other, then there is no longer any reason for superiority or arrogance.

The Significance

So what is the significance of all of this? That is found in verses 17-22 “And 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 our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the [a]saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy [b]temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
So what is the significance of all of this? That is found in verses 17-22 “And 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 our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the [a]saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy [b]temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Here’s what’s cool about this. When it says, “you”, we can read it as if the you is really, “you”. You see, we are Gentiles. We are not of Jewish descent, at least I am assuming most of us are not. If we lived in the time of Moses, we would have been wiped out with other nations, and we would have deserved it. God did not have to have a relationship with any nation. All including Israel were wicked. But he chose Israel for reasons known only to himself, to be his people. All others were doomed. But now, God has made the offer of salvation much more freely available to us. We now are not excluded from God’s people, but able to have a relationship with Hiim, and be counted among his followers. And these last few verses list the benefits that are ours.
Here’s what’s cool about this. When it says, “you”, we can read it as if the you is really, “you”. You see, we are Gentiles. We are not of Jewish descent, at least I am assuming most of us are not. If we lived in the time of Moses, we would have been wiped out with other nations, and we would have deserved it. God did not have to have a relationship with any nation. All including Israel were wicked. But he chose Israel for reasons known only to himself, to be his people. All others were doomed. But now, God has made the offer of salvation much more freely available to us. We now are not excluded from God’s people, but able to have a relationship with Hiim, and be counted among his followers. And these last few verses list the benefits that are ours.
We now can experience peace. Peace with God and peace with others.
We now have equal access to God through the Spirit (v 18) (and we also receive the spirit now) ( The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.)
We now have equal access to God through the Spirit (v 18) (and we also receive the spirit now) ( The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.)
We are no longer strangers and aliens. (v 19) (The Gentiles of 1st century were aliens. They did not feel welcome.)
We are no longer strangers and aliens. (v 19) (The Gentiles of 1st century were aliens. They did not feel welcome.)
But we are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. (God’s child, share the benefits).
But we are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. (God’s child, share the benefits).
We share a place with the apostles and prophets (how cool is that vs 20?) And we are counted with Christ, the cornerstone.
We share a place with the apostles and prophets (how cool is that vs 20?) And we are counted with Christ, the cornerstone. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. He holds the rest of the building together: "In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord." Paul may be thinking here of the way a cornerstone was used to hold the two sides of a building together. So he’s saying that Christ is the key that binds Jew to Gentile and allows them to grow together into this new temple of God that reaches out and encompasses all people.
Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. He holds the rest of the building together: "In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord." Paul may be thinking here of the way a cornerstone was used to hold the two sides of a building together. So he’s saying that Christ is the key that binds Jew to Gentile and allows them to grow together into this new temple of God that reaches out and encompasses all people.
6. We are a holy temple (together with each other) 21-22 What does that mean? Application 1. We need to reflect this idea of unity (of being brought together) in a way that is visible If we want to truly reflect the gospel in our lives then let’s make sure that we don’t let personal hurts get in the way of our relationships with one another. Let’s seek and offer forgiveness as freely as God has offered it to us. Let’s show his reconciliation in our personal relationships. This especially needs to be true in the church. 2. This unity that Christ has accomplished should show itself in the way we regard other people. I.e there should be no room for prejudice. Again “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
We are a holy temple (together with each other) 21-22 What does that mean?

Application

We need to reflect this idea of unity (of being brought together) in a way that is visible
If we want to truly reflect the gospel in our lives then let’s make sure that we don’t let personal hurts get in the way of our relationships with one another. Let’s seek and offer forgiveness as freely as God has offered it to us. Let’s show his reconciliation in our personal relationships. This especially needs to be true in the church.
This unity that Christ has accomplished should show itself in the way we regard other people. I.e there should be no room for prejudice. Again “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26 ESV
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
Galatians 3:29 ESV
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
From the Immigrant Apostle’s Creed
I believe in forgiveness, which makes us all equal before God, and in reconciliation, which heals our brokenness. I believe that in the Resurrection God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time. I believe in life eternal, in which no one will be foreigner but all will be citizens of the kingdom where God reigns forever and ever. Amen.
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