Travel around the world and you will evidence of barriers, not just physical but cultural, economic, racial walls that need to be broken down. In the Apostle Paul’s century, the major division was between Jews and Gentiles. As he pens the next paragraph in chapter two of his letter to the Ephesian church he focuses in on the work of Jesus Christ, the greatest Peacemaker the world has ever seen.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hositlity, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hositlity. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
Christ himself – Paul doubles the emphasis on the person of Christ. Christ not only provides peace or grants peace, He IS peace. How does Jesus Christ evidence Himself to be the Prince of Peace? Through His death, through His finished work upon the cross.
Just exactly did He accomplish?
1) He destroyed the barrier. The division (physically evident in the temple), the barrier that kept Gentiles in their court, away from the ‘true worshippers’ was rendered needless as Christ died, gaining equal access for all who would believe in Him. He provides entrance into the very presence of God.
2) He abolished the law with its endless ‘do this’ and ‘do that’ and pronounced it all ‘done.’ Did He not cry out “Paid in full?” Elsewhere Paul assures us that Christ is the end of the law (Romans 10:4). The law was powerless to save us (Romans 8). Following the law brought NO peace, but a sense of condemnation. Trusting in Christ ….being justified by faith we have peace with God.
3) He joined all believers in Himself. Now Jews and Gentiles, blacks and whites, upper class and lower class, rich and poor, etc…., are all one in Christ. HE reconciled enemies to each other and to God at the cross. How tragic that we destroy the peace Christ purchased by living in isolation from each other. What does this say about segregation in our churches
4) He proclaimed a message of peace. He was the expositor of a sermon of peace. He lived peace. He brought peace. He obtained peace. He announced peace with God and invites us to extend this same invitation.
The hymnwriter nailed this truth with the words,…..
“In Christ there is no East nor West, in Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love Throughout the whole wide earth.
In Him shall true hearts everywhere Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord, Close binding humankind.
Join hands, then, members of the faith, Whatever your race may be!
Whoserves my Father as His child Is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both East and West, In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him Throughout the whole wide earth.