E Pluribus Unum

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 2:11-18

For he is our peace. (2:14)

In Ephesians Paul teaches very much by contrasts. Running all though this letter is the contrast between what we as Christians were and what we are. Once we were spiritually dead, now we are alive; once we were outside Christ and now we are in him.

In chapter 2 Paul introduces another contrast: the distinction between those within the Law, Israel, and those outside, the gentiles. He develops the contrast by first listing all the things the gentiles lacked; no Messiah, no citizenship in God’s covenant people, no promises, no hope (v. 12). “But now in Christ Jesus”—what a difference being in Christ makes! Now we have been brought near and given peace (vv. 13-14). (It may help you to write down the two categories outside Christ and in Christ—in two columns, listing each set of contrasts point by point, with references.)

Paul shows how God has rooted Christianity in Judaism so that instead of his covenant love being limited to one people, it can spread out into all the world, both making all believers one family and not shutting out anyone who wants to come in. All this is done “through the blood of Christ”—shorthand for his life, death, and resurrection—which gives us “access to the Father by the one Spirit.”

PRAYER

Father, help us to preach the peace Jesus made and is.