Updated: May 23
Day 5: Keep the Peace
Read Ephesians 2:11-22
"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 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. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 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, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
Ok, folks, we've finally arrived at the final points of Chapter 2! I don't intend to spend 5 days on each chapter in Ephesians, but there's just so much good stuff packed in here!
Now that our minds and hearts are right with God (after we've worked our way through the first half of this chapter), we need to take a closer look at verses 11-22. Paul is reinforcing a message of unity by emphasizing that Christ has broken down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles, and He has reconciled them both to God. We are all one in Him, with access to the Father through the Holy Spirit.
This was a big deal back in Paul's day because the Jews were the chosen people prior to Jesus coming to earth. Now, ALL people (Gentiles and beyond) are called to unity in Christ. Verses 15 and 16 say Christ is "making peace" and "thereby killing hostility." We are One and should be at peace, without hostility towards each other.
Let's get personal for a second. Is there a lack of peace in your life, or a rising of hostility? If so, these are an indicator that unity is missing. Angst and hostility cannot exist where peace and unity live. When I feel a lack of peace or a rise in anger, my heart's "check engine" light starts to flash. It signals to me that something isn't working right in my relationships with others. It's in these moments that I need to reset my mind vertically (on God), and then look at the relationships around me (horizontally) to identify the lack of unity and work on restoring it (with God's help).
As believers, we are all called to something greater than ourselves. We "are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit" (verse 22, emphasis added). Living together and working together can be difficult, if we're being real. But we should be able to look beyond ourselves and recognize that we are ALL called to the same purpose, and we have a responsibility to each other and to God to maintain unity.
Spend some time taking stock of your peace. Is there any anger, hostility, angst, anxiety, or a lack of peace? If so, pray it out and ask God to help restore peace and unity.
You are so great and mighty and awesome. I thank You for wanting peace and unity for Your children. I want that too. Lord, please point out opportunities where I have been at fault for a lack of peace or a rise in hostility. Please change me. Help me to make it right where I have been wrong. And for times when it's outside of my control, please help me to restore peace where I am able. Amen.