He himself is our peace, who has … destroyed the … dividing wall of hostility …
The world we live in has lots of divisions among cultures, races, traditions, and even families. Some divisions are natural, but many of them, as we know, are painful and negative.
In the first century, as the church of Jesus began and the gospel spread to many nations, there was deep division between people of Jewish origin and people of other nations. All non-Jewish people were called Gentiles. In our passage for today Paul addresses that separation—and how the finished work of Jesus breaks down the barrier, making “one new humanity out of the two.”
Christians are united into a new reality in Christ. The effect of God’s grace, as revealed in the good news of Jesus, is that Christ “is our peace, who has made the two one.” And as Paul points out, we who are followers of Christ need to live by that sense of unity in Christ.
The “hostility” Paul talks about in this passage was directed toward Gentile Christians. Many Jewish Christians had been saying that Gentile believers weren’t really God’s people unless they followed all the laws of Moses. But Paul pointed out that Christ had fulfilled the law for everyone so that people of every nation could enter God’s family through faith in him. The point is that Christ’s reconciliation is effective for all who follow him, so all believers in Christ are now united in him.
Lord, we pray today that you will forgive us for all the divisions we have caused. Help us to live in the unity that Jesus has made possible for us. In his name we pray. Amen.
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