Afraid to live?
Afraid to die?
We have the answer. “He is our peace.”
Ephesians chapter 2 verse 11:
“Remember,” – Good to remember, “the hole of the pit whence ye are digged,” (Isa51:1).
This is of course not so much remembering our sin! Rather remember the “mercy” (v4), “love” (v4) and “grace” (v5,8) of God.
“The humility which springs from the removal of our sins must ever be deeper than that which springs from the discovery of them. The former connects us with God: the latter has to do with self.” (CH Mackintosh p313)
Sometimes we might be tempted to think that now we’re saved, we’ve something to glory in, but all we are is what Christ has made us (2:8,10)
“Gentiles,” & “Circumcision,” is “in the flesh.”
This DIVISION of humanity is at the level of the FLESH. (2:11-17)
The new and eternal DIVISION of humanity is at the level of the SPIRIT. (2:1-10)
1. Those who are DEAD – Spiritually (v1-3)
2. Those who are ALIVE in Christ – Spiritually (v5-10)
Reconciliation therefore must also be at the level of FLESH (v15)
“Flesh,” - Sometimes used of muscle tissue; It is used in this way in the last mention of, “flesh,” in NT (Rev19:21).
More often in the Bible the idea od the flesh is used of the “fallen human nature,” eg when speaking of the “Works of the flesh,” (Gal5:19), cf Eph2:13
Flesh can also be used in the sense of a “living humanity,” John 1:14, Hebrews 5:7, Ephesians 5:30, the word ‘flesh’ is used in this sense here.
Note the 5 fold condition, mainly relative to the flesh:
“Without Christ,” – refers to the Messianic hope in the context, cf. Romans 9:5 “The God of Hope,” (Rom15:13). “Without God,” thus, “no hope,”
“Christless, stateless, friendless, hopeless & Godless.” (W. Hendricksen)
“No Hope,” A deep source of problems and of despair in our society. A deep seated problem underpinning spiraling suicide rates amongst the young, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse. Do we have a genuine care and thought for others? If so ought not this to spur us onto evangelism?
“But now,” – The turning point of Division at the level of the Flesh
cf. 2:4 – Turning point of Division, at the level of the Spirit.
Position – “in Christ Jesus,”
Reconciliation: Notice the Sphere of Reconciliation (v14-15)
“in His flesh” & “in Himself” (v15)
“He is our peace,” – Peace in a person, compare John 20:19, Isaiah 9:6
PEACE with God & PEACE with one another this is OBJECTIVE PEACE
There is also the personal experience of that peace consider the illustration of this in Mark 4:35,39,5:1
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still,” (Mark 4:39) : This is a SUBJECTIVE PEACE.
When Christ presents redeemed humanity to God, doesn’t present a humanity that is divided. Chris presents a united humanity to God.
It is significant that it was at the level of the flesh there was division (2:11).
Thus division is put away at the LEVEL OF THE FLESH (2:15).
Consider also the division at the LEVEL OF THE SPIRIT (2:5).
“Flesh”(v15), significant choice of words. Not just the death of Christ, as indicated by, “Body,” or “Blood,” but indicates the life of Christ (John1:14, Hebrews 5:7, Ephesians 5:30), given in death (Romans 7:4), to abolish the law, but continuing on as a new humanity (2:15). Cf. Luke 24:39.
“These ordinances had their sphere of action in the flesh. But Christ (as living in connection with all that), being dead, has abolished the enmity to form in Himself of the two – Jew and Gentile – one new man…” (JND)
Consider the Peace Offering of Leviticus chapter 3:
Peace that on the basis of shed blood (Leviticus 3:8)
Peace that was on the basis of a sacrifice (Leviticus 3:6)
In the peace offering we note that God and the Priest and the offerer all having a portion (Leviticus chp7). This is a unique scenario in the law of the offerings!
We are able to describe a procedure characteristic of the Peace Offering, found also in the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:9), but only as the sin offering relates back to the Peace Offering (Leviticus 4:10).
This procedure is performed upon the sacrificial animal. We note that in the Peace Offering that the priest is always to be careful to remove, “The caul above the liver,” (Leviticus 3:4,10,15).
There is only one organ that is above the liver & kidneys; that is the DIAPHRAGM
The priest was always careful to take the animal, to remove the diaphragm, the organ that divided the animal in 2 parts, chest and abdomen, “the middle wall of partition,” and to make, “both one.” The New Testament believer would understand this.
There was to be no division in the peace offering.
What Christ has made, we keep.
“in His flesh” & “in Himself” (v15) - the Sphere of Reconciliation
Saved Jew & Saved gentile both in Christ; brought together with that dividing wall between them taken down forever as it was in the peace offering, both are now part of a New Humanity in Christ.
The Means of Reconciliation (v16)
“By the Cross,” – The Means cf. “In his flesh,” (v15) – The Sphere
“The Cross,” – Put away the law, which prevented Jew & Gentile coming together, (Rom7:4)
“The Cross,” – Put away sin, which prevented Jew & Gentile coming to God, (Heb9:26)
Bible teaching from Paul's letter to the Ephesians chapter 2. "He is our Peace". A message from our systematic bible study in the Ephesian epistle. Join us as we preach and study through the letter to the Ephesians, in this expository verse by verse Bible Teaching series. Yours by Grace in Christ, Dr J Stewart Gillespie.