II. CHRIST HAS, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RECONCILED US TO GOD
Verse 16. The division between the Jew and the Gentile was the result of the division between God and the sinner. True peace with men can only come about from reconciliation to God. Loving our neighbour follows on from loving God.
1. Such reconciliation was ever the purpose of Christ. He came to restore the “old friendship” lost through the fall, by His sacrifice, Rev 13:8. (Reconcile = restore to former harmony.)
2. Reconciliation is only through the blood of Christ. It is “by the cross.” Col 1:20. No forgiveness but by the blood, Hebs 9:22.
III. THE GOSPEL IS, IN ESSENCE, THE MESSAGE OF PEACE
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Ephesians 2:17. That was announced on the Day of Pentecost. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts 2:39.
1. Christ is speaking irrespective of who does the preaching of the gospel. This is what gives this ordinance such dignity.
2. The offer of peace with God must be made before the sinner may avail of it. What an evil thing it is for minister or people to downgrade preaching.
3. See again the grace of God in that the initiative is His alone. He came to the sinner.
4. The sum of the gospel is peace. Have you the peace of God today?
This is a chapter of change and contrasts. Having depicted the misery in which the Ephesians dwelt before conversion to Christ, Paul also detailed their happy estate in Christ. They are no longer “far off” but have been made nigh and it is all because of the blood shed by Christ,v 13.
I CHRIST HAS RECONCILED THE GENTILE CONVERTS TO THE TRUE ISRAEL
1. Ceremonially, the gentile had been cut off from Israel. “That at that time ye were . . . aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” verse 12.
a. Middle wall broken down. The Church of God in the TO had been as a garden, walled off, from which the Gentiles were excluded.“A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed,” Song of Solomon 4:12.
b. Enmity abolished. The Gentiles were the enemies of God against whom a war of opposition must be fought to stop them polluting the house of God. The Gentiles hated the distinctives, Esther 3:8.
Christ abolished this enmity by abolishing (render idle, of no further use) its cause, verse 15. Note just what was abolished. It was the “ordinanaces” — the ceremonies of the Old Testament. Not the whole Law or the whole Commandments but that section called the ordinances, Col 2:14. But these ordinances were at enmity with the Jewish worshipper also. Every sacrifice he made, condemned him as one guilty of death.
2. The Jew and the Gentiles are now one. “To make in himself of twain one new man,” verse 15. Gal 3:26-29; 7-9. We shall partake of Abraham’s blessing, Gen 12:2-3; 7. Matt 5:5.