All One in Christ

Christ Jesus provides hope for people from every conceivable background.

Eph. 2:11-22

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.

It is hard to capture the essence of this section with brevity.  It deals with the huge subject of the privileges of Israel before the coming of Jesus.  It also reminds us of the alienation of those who weren’t part of God’s people.  We could suggest the summary as, “the history of the world B.C., but Jesus has now changed it all” but that is a bit vague.

Perhaps better we could suggest that prior to the coming of Jesus, there were two groups of people.  The Jewish people had all the privileges of institutions, customs, history and revelation from God to remind them that there is hope for a fallen world. This was glorious privilege because they could trust God to fulfill his promises of hope.  In that sense they were near to him: if they wanted him! The rest of mankind knew nothing of this but were confronted by an amazing creation which told them there is a great creator.  Both groups, in general, lived a history reflecting sinful hopelessness.

Jesus came to provide an alternative history.  He came to bring peace to all through living the life we should, dying to receive the condemnation we deserve and defeating death which gave the gloom of despair to life.

We learn here then that Jesus came to reconcile people from both groups to God.  In doing so he also broke down the barriers between both.  Jews and Gentiles alike were able to believe in him, know peace with God and enjoy unity with one another.  The key verse here is 17, “and coming he preached peace to you who are distant and peace to those who are near.”

What does this mean for us all?

Firstly, it means that for those who have yet to come to faith, the path is very simple and clear.  Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!  There is no need to become a Jew first, to fulfill any ceremonies or meet some qualification.  He preaches a message of the good news of peace to those who are distant as well as those who are near.

Secondly, those who have enjoyed the privilege of hearing the message of the Bible, growing up in a church, perhaps have a Christian family must not confuse privilege with some sense of superior acceptance with God.  If near through privilege, there is still the need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, whatever our background might be whether Jew or Gentile, from Church or non-Church origins, when we come to faith, we are all one people.  All of us have the same saviour and the same eternal blessedness.  We can simply love our fellow believers.

Prayer: Loving Father help us to make full use of privileges we have of hearing the good news of Jesus Christ.  Trusting in Jesus may we be able to live with great love for you our God and great love for others. In Jesus name. Amen.

A song to listen to: Centre My Life

David Johnston

Living Church – Creek Road