“What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” These are the words of a popular song from many years ago. Perhaps it is true to say that our world is in much greater need of love now, than ever before. There is just so much hostility between different groups of people and we wonder if peace can ever become a reality in today’s world.
The good news is that it is possible for such a world to exist. Jesus has made it possible as the Prince of Peace. But there are conditions for that to happen. We read about those conditions in this passage from Ephesians.
THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:14-16
Ephesians 2:14 “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 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, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
A PRAYER BASED ON EPHESIANS 2:14-16
“Heavenly Father, we thank You that Jesus died to brings us back to You. We thank You that He has made it possible for people from all backgrounds to live in unity in Him. We thank You that in Him we all belong to the one body of Christ He has established in His world. We thank You that forgiveness of our sins and acceptance into Your family are offered freely to us in Him.
Help us to remember the incredible cost it was to Him as He hung on the cross for our sakes, so that we might be wholly committed to Him for the rest of our lives. We ask this in Jesus’ name and for His sake. AMEN.”
SOME NOTES ON THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:14-16
Jesus Is The Source Of Peace
- Eph 2:14 “For he himself is our peace.” Paul, as he wrote, made it emphatic that Jesus Himself is our peace. He as a Person is the agent, the source and the distributor of peace. He was the agent in bringing peace through His death on a cross. He is the source of peace because the peace that exists in Him is to be found only in Him. He is the distributer of His peace as He explained in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
- This peace is not just some abstract feeling but is embodied in a Person. When one has received the Person, one has received the peace in Him. That peace can become manifest in our own experience as we allow the Prince of Peace, Jesus, to rule in our lives. If one does not receive the Person, one cannot receive the peace He only offers in Himself.
What Jesus Did To Establish Peace
- 2:14 “….who has made us both one.” Paul has been writing about the Jews and the non-Jews, the Gentiles. Instead of an ongoing divide between these two groups, a oneness was now possible, but only through Christ. When individuals from both groups received Jesus as Saviour and Lord they were united in Him because they received the same Holy Spirit to indwell them.
- “and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” The wall of hostility appears to have been a reference to a wall in the Temple that separated the Court of the Gentiles from all the inner courts. It was a “hostile” wall because it apparently warned of the danger to any Gentile who tried to enter further into the temple. But Christ by His death had “entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” Heb 9:12. The symbolism behind the wall had been taken away and the way was now open for all to enter into the presence of God, through Him. The way for both Jews and Gentiles to enter into a relationship with God if they came through faith in Jesus.
How Did He Remove The Hostility?
- Eph 2:15 “by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances.” The law with its commandments and associated ordinances created a great barrier between Jews and Gentiles, for the former were meant to live by that law and to fashion their lives according to that law. The Gentiles were under no such obligation unless they wanted to become people of the law themselves.
- But a new thing had happened. Jesus had come. He had come to fulfil the law by obeying it perfectly. At last a human had fulfilled the law in its entirety. Not only that but He died on the cross to bear the punishment for all the transgressions of the law. In that sense the law was fulfilled doubly, by His life and by His death. It was as though it had been abolished as a means of drawing near to God. A new and living way had been established by Jesus and could be entered into, through faith in Jesus.
For What Purpose Did Jesus Remove The Wall Of Hostility?
- “that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.” The two of course referred to the Jews and the Gentiles. But Jesus had united them into one new man in Himself. Because they were one in reality, there could be peace between them, in Him.
- Eph 2:16 “and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility”. The same truth is expressed as in the previous verse, but in different terms. A twofold reconciliation had become possible in Jesus. Believers from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds had been reconciled to God and also to one another through what Jesus had done on the cross in achieving that reconciliation. It meant that as one people united to one another through their faith in Jesus, the hostility could cease. It was inappropriate and unnecessary for the new people of God from different backgrounds to be hostile to one another. They now belonged to one another in the same body of Christ and in the same family of God.
Blog No.296 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 20th October 2018