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Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson

The New Testament teaches a decidedly Godward worldview that unifies all people through the person of Christ.  This worldview will never be realized on earth but it will be realized in eternity.  For over 400 years, our country’s self-inflicted scourge of slavery has brought heartache to so many.  Slavery and its aftermath has been a violent, anti-God, anti-black movement that dehumanized black people for financial gain.  What a terrible sin this has been.  And as we know, this sin still damages people’s lives today.  We should all say Black Lives Matter.

The Bible cares about racial reconciliation. In the New Testament times, the most pressing tension for Christians was the violent, evil, and God-rejecting hatred between Jews and Gentiles.  If you think the New Testament does not attempt to bring these two groups together you are missing a major thrust of the New Testament.  And this means that the reconciliation of all people is central to the work of the gospel.

Look at the following verses: “11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circum-cision, which is made in the flesh by hands– 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated 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 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. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

This expansive, God-glorifying, vision of God’s purposes will never be seen on this earth in its complete glory.  But we can see glimmers of hope and we can be lights in this world.  We can, as we center our lives on Christ and the gospel, (not on the American dream) be people who try to bring peace.  Christ does not preach the gospel now, people do.  Christ does not visit people in jails or hospitals, we do.  And so we must be reconciling people because God is a reconciling God.

I have always thought v. 12 is one of the saddest verses in the Bible, “re-member that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”  Having no hope and without God in the world.  That seems so lonely, so, well, hopeless.  How would I live without God? How would I live without hope?  But that is the true state of affairs for every person apart from Christ.

Yet, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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.”  Could we ever over emphasize the cross of Christ?  Could we ever be guilty of spending too much time teaching and preaching on Christ’s cross?  Could we ever be too humbled by God’s grace?

Every person you meet was created in God’s image.  They all bear His image.  We ought to work for all human beings to come under God’s sovereignty.  Yet, we know everyone will not submit to God.  But our passion ought to be that Christ becomes everyone’s peace (v. 14).  Don’t you sometimes think if people could understand what the gospel is and what Christ offers, wouldn’t everyone want to know this Christ?  And to think that you and I are part of this grand plan,  [so that Christ] “might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross” v 16. I don’t think I will ever get over the cross or ever get over the fact that for unknown reasons to me, I am part of this.  I will spend all of eternity lost in worship wondering why, of all the people He could have chosen, He chose me.  It still takes my breath away.