Dispatch Two Hundred Eight

Posted: July 29, 2016 in Forty-Third Bundle
Tags: , , , , ,

EPHESIANS 2:11-22

11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens 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 once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

How did Christ make both groups, the Jews and the Gentiles, into one? How is it that “both of us,” Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), now have access in one Spirit to the Father? The writer believes that Jesus “in his flesh has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” What does that mean?

The “hostility between us” is a function of the dividing wall that separates the saints from the sinners, the “chosen people” from the damned heathen, the insiders from the outsiders. Before Christ, the insiders believed they were pure and set apart from the filth and sin of the world, and, further, that all outsiders were without the hope of salvation.

In his life, Jesus was already breaking down this wall of prejudice and delusional thinking, by reaching out to and confirming the precious value of every “sinner” as well as shaking awake as many of the puritans he could. He showed all of us by his example that ritual purity and Bible-based orthodoxy are not the path into life in its fullness, but that love is – pure, unconditional, and sacrificial love.

His death on the cross – “the blood of Christ” – reveals this divine love with such clarity and power, at least to those few who are open to its message, that all our claims to exclusive possession of truth or to the only way of salvation have been exposed for the “wall of hostility” that they are. This path of love transcends orthodoxy and even religion itself, as the way of redemption and peace and one communion under God.

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