We are reading in Ephesians Chapter 2 and we come to verse 11.
Therefore – remember. It is always interesting to read of what the Bible instructs us to remember - and when we have a 'therefore', we always need to discover what it is there for - why it is there.
Paul has been teaching theses Ephesian disciples of Jesus Christ that they have been saved by grace - through faith - and this is a gift of God.
It is not by works - not by anything good which we might have done - or think we deserve - so that no-one can boast.
We come to another of Paul's long sentences - because of how you were saved - or rescued - or salvaged from sin for the Kingdom of God - remember what has happened to you - remember what you were - and remember where you are now!
What has happened to these believers in Jesus Christ? They, like us, were born Gentiles - non Jews - and the Jews, the circumcised - those men who carried the mark of circumcision done by the hands of men - had called them uncircumcised - and there were these two groups. It is almost similar to one situation in the Galatians churches - and this letter was written many years later.
Legalism - rituals - pride - can linger on for a number of years.
The Ephesian believers had been - separate from Jesus Christ - excluded from citizenship in Israel - foreigners to the covenants of the promise - without hope - without any assurance - and without God in the world. That is a truly terrible condition to be in.
Again, Paul is quite open and remarkably blunt – yet gracious!
Verse 13 - But now - in Christ Jesus - you who were once far away - have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
It is like being aware of what is across a geographical border which is closed. I remember seeing this in Berlin before The Wall came down - when I went through Checkpoint Charlie.
I thought I would be able to see the Pastor and the lady who had been interpreting for me for three days in New Brandenburg - but they were out of sight - because of the zigzag corridors I had to go through. And you could see families looking at each other with binoculars - and waving - but unable to meet.
Man divides. Man's sins and sin causes divisions of all kinds - and 2,000 years ago there was the deepest division which the world has ever known. It took two forms - Jew and Gentile separated - and man was separated from God. The second one came from God.
Paul had been born a Jew - and was on the other side of the division between Jew and Gentile. He had been a proud Pharisee - proud to have been born on that side of the dividing gulf - and now, he is writing to Gentiles in love. This is a miracle!
He recounts the situation the Gentiles had been in - and we can apply all this to ourselves. BUT - something happened - and it happened on the Cross when Jesus Christ shed His blood.
Verse 14 – HE HIMSELF is our peace – and this is how HE did it - He took the TWO - and made the TWO, ONE! And HE has destroyed the barrier - that closed border - the dividing wall of hostility - by abolishing in His Flesh - the LAW - with its commandments and regulations.
There was a block of stone in The Temple - and on it was written - WHOEVER IS CAUGHT DOING SO WILL HAVE HIMSELF TO BLAME IF DEATH ENSUES. In other words - any Gentile passing this barrier will be put to death. You can stay out there in the Court of the Gentiles - but you come no further. It came from the middle wall of partition dividing the Court of the Jews from the Court of the Gentiles.
This now all begins to make sense.
It was this which led to Paul being arrested in Jerusalem - and imprisoned - and he was falsely accused. He was accused of taking Trophimus past that barrier - beyond that border - and Trophimus was an Ephesian. (Acts 21 verse 29).
The dividing wall had been demolished and destroyed by Jesus Christ. Now, of course, Paul had been doing this spiritually - bringing people into the Holy of Holies.
If Jesus Christ can bring Jew and Gentile together - He can bring any peoples together.
This is another reason for placing our hope and trust in Jesus Christ - and this is why we continue to keep looking to Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ you were separated from us - so disunited from us - that you were really disconnected from GOD.
That is how serious things were.
God had chosen to work through one nation to reach others. This is the way He chose to work. It is like giving children sweets - but by giving them to one child and saying - "Now share these with all the others". That can almost cause a riot. And it did!
"Israel - I give you the promises - the prophets - the Word of Light - the promise of the Messiah - now go and share all this with the world."
“Loving gracious God – as we bow in worship and with thanksgiving – show us clearly what we are in Christ – and teach us the significance of being in Christ and remaining in Christ. We praise You for curtains that have disappeared and diving walls that have been destroyed. We praise you and thank You for everything Jesus did and does. Amen”
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