Recently, I’ve been meditating on Ephesians 2:11-22. In these verses, Paul continues the same before and after picture as he did in vs. 1-10 by showing us the corporate effects of the gospel. His main thrust is to show how Christ came to reconcile us to God and to each other. The context here is the division between Jews and Gentiles. Paul’s is writing to Gentile believers here to remind them of what they once were. They were not God’s chosen people. They were not connected to God’s covenant with Abraham like the Jews were. They didn’t bear the physical sign of circumcision like the Jews and because of this they were separated from God’s people and separated from Christ. Prior to our salvation we were in the same predicament. We were separated from Christ. Not only that we were aliens and strangers. And the end result … we were without hope and without God. Wow. We could say that like the Gentiles we were once homeless, hopeless, and Godless. We had no home, no hope, and no God because we were completely separated from Him. Our sin separated us from Him. We were far off as it says in v. 13. Far away from God. Far away from his love. Far away from his grace. Far off!
Can you identify with this when you look back at your own life before you became a Christian? I can. I wanted love. I wanted acceptance. And I looked for it in all the wrong places. Thankfully God pursued me in his love through the gospel. We, like the Gentiles, were once far off but now brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ reconciled us to God. He bridged the gap through the cross. On the cross Christ was completely separated from his Father. He yelled out “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” But he had to be separated from his father for a time in order to bring us into fellowship with the Father for all time. 1 Pet. 3:18 says, “Christ suffered once for our sins, the just for the unjust to bring us to God.” His blood brought us to God. When he yelled out, “It is finished!” the separation was killed because he was killed. His body broken for us broke down the walls that separated us from fellowship with Christ such that now we don’t need a sacrifice to come to him anymore. The sacrifice has come in Christ. Christ’s blood has brought us near. His blood has brought us near. We are brought near by his blood. Once far from fellowship, but now near in his arms of love.
Not only are we reconciled to God through the cross we are also reconciled to God’s people. In this passage we see that Christ came to kill the hostility between Jews and Gentiles. This hostility came from this dividing wall. And the wall was the Mosaic law. The law kept the Jewish people separate from other nations, set apart from the Gentiles. But this separation brought pride to the Jews and thus division between Jews and Gentiles. So we see here that Christ came to break down not only the wall that separated us from God but also the wall that separated us from God’s people. He did this by nullifying the law in order to create a new people under a new law—the law of Christ that was based on his love.
So these verses speak of a vertical reconciliation with God and a horizontal reconciliation with God’s people. Verses 14-15 speak of the horizontal reconciliation and verses 16-17 speak of the vertical reconcilation. Essentially this is the gospel. “Christ reconciled us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”So we who were once enemies of God, far off from fellowship, have now been brought near to God through Christ’s shed blood. Such that now we are a different people as it says in vs. 19-22.
We who were once separate are now one body. We who were once aliens are now citizens of His kingdom. We who were once strangers are now members of his family. We who were once without hope now have both a hope and a home. And we who were once without God are now being made into a dwelling place for God.
God is not distant. He is near. Christ is mine. I am his. I am in his embrace. He brought me near by his blood. Such that now I have communion and fellowship with God and with God’s people. I have access to Him. I can have an audience with the King! I can freely approach his throne because He is for me and not against me. I am accepted in the beloved. I am near and not far. Praise be to God!