In my neighborhood, there’s a creek in-between some of our houses. All of our back porches face each-others. We see each other every day from across the creek, but for some reason, even when we know full well who each other are, walking by each other on the street we don’t say anything, see each other at Walmart and avoid eye contact. We live in the same neighborhood, even though we’re all different. The hood has some Egyptians, Presbyterians and even some Minnesota Vikings fans and there shouldn’t be, but there’s a weird barrier there that keeps us from being close. A creek, that’s all it takes. Pathetic. But there are very real barriers that keep people from being close.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:13-18
What Has Kept Me Unconnected?
There was a time that we were lost because our people weren’t a part of God’s people. We were one funky flavor alone in the wilderness. Probably goat cheese and black olive or something horrid like that. Paul says that the reason for that is because there is a major barrier between Jew and Gentile. Throughout the ages, it has led to enmity between them, some versions say hostility. The hostility was felt in the barrier that was there in the law of the Jews that kept them separate from the Gentiles. Their diet, their dress and especially worship. Their teachings on purity and separation, defining holiness in practical ways. And then it was built up from there too, including a very real wall that faced the outer courtyard of the Jerusalem temple that warned Gentiles that they would have only themselves to blame for their death if they passed into the inner courts. There’s hostility there!
The Biggest Unconnection
And that division is the biggest division that has ever existed because it not only separated those people groups, but separated us from God’s people! So, Jesus superseded the biggest division in the world by creating, verse 15, one new human race. Oops, Jesus just solved the problem of war, he created world peace. Something that no religious leader, no military leader, nobody ever has been able to do, Jesus has done it. By giving us something bigger to be a part of than black or white, male or female, upper or lower class.
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It says that Jesus annulled the hostility, which has a legal undertone. In other words, he made any separation between members of God’s household totally groundless. That means that any time there’s hostility or enmity between you and another believer, it is unjustified. Because 15, he put it to death in his flesh. All of our hostility died with him as he died. So now the posture that we have toward each other is peace. The opposite of enmity is supposed to be friendship, but Paul says that we have more than that. We have peace. Like the Hebrew word shalom, it means that everything has been made right. It’s deeper and more settled. Now we’re at peace with God and at peace with everyone who’s a part of this new humanity. It’s all right!
The Power of Connection
What if I have something against another believer? Jesus already forgave it. What if we have unreconcilable differences? There’s no such thing, Jesus has reconciled us in him. Forgive just as you’ve been forgiven. Be patient, bearing with one another. Offenses don’t separate us. They may affect our intimacy, friendship and trust, but for real, we…are…good. Honestly, I don’t even have to talk it out or lose sleep over it or get some Facebook pity. If we’re in Christ, there is nothing and never will be anything that separates us, ever. Have you been living into the connection that you have? What do you need to do to exhibit the deep, unshakable connection you have with other Christ followers?