A New Relationship in Christ
Our faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a new beginning. Old things pass away, and new
things are created. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul tells us that we become a new person when we are
born again. Here in Ephesians chapter 2, Paul tells us that in Christ Jews and Gentiles lose their being Jews and being Gentiles and are formed or created into one new entity, the church. The blessing of the Gentiles was often addressed by Old Testament prophecy, but the birth of the church is something new and unexpected.
I. The Person of Our Reconciliation (Eph. 2: 13)
A. The word “but” here emphasizes a great transition. Previously we saw the word “but” when Paul was showing us how God redeemed us and here the word “but” shows us how God reconciled us.
B. The word reconcile means to change from enmity to friendship; to restore a relationship (Mt. 5:24; 1 Cor. 7:11). Through Christ’s sacrifice, believing sinners are brought into reconciliation with God (2 Cor. 5:18-20; Co. l 1:20-21; Heb. 2:17).
C. Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons. Theologically it refers to the change of relationship between God and man. We are naturally children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and are at enmity with God (Eph. 2:11- 15); but, “…we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (Rom. 5:10). Because of the death of Jesus, the Christian’s relationship with God is changed for the better. We are now able to have fellowship with Him (1 Jn. 1:3) whereas before we could not. So, we are reconciled to Him (Rom. 5:10-11). The problem of sin that separates us from God (Isa. 59:2) has been addressed and removed in the cross. It
was accomplished by God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:18).
D. Jesus Christ removed the barrier between man and God; and he broke down the wall separating Jews and Gentiles. It was the blood of Christ that was the ransom price for redemption, Eph. 1:7.
E. The Jews were monotheistic, moral, and had a worship centered in legalism. The Gentiles were polytheistic, immoral, and had a worship centered in immorality. Both were brought into union with Christ at salvation. There is now no distinction.
Illustration 1: A Little Child Shall Lead Them
A most touching sight was witnessed at Ellis Island, when a Swiss hatter and his child arrived from
France, and were detained on a complaint lodged by the man’s wife, who had come to this country
two years ago. There had been a cruel misunderstanding between herself and her husband, and in
their estrangement, she had obtained a legal separation and come away, and now sought to obtain
custody of her child. The wise and kind-hearted commissioner of immigration brought the estranged parents together in one of his rooms, and the little girl, who had not seen her mother for two years, threw herself into her arms, crying: “Mama, you mustn’t go away any more, but must come and live with Papa and me.” Both parents were visibly affected by this childish appeal for a reconciliation, and the commissioner, believing that the parents should be reunited, if only for the sake of the child, urged them to mutual forgiveness. His appeals, reinforced by those of the little girl, were successful—they concluded to bury the past, a clergyman was called to reunite them in marriage, and the little girl led them away to a new life on American soil. It was a new fulfilment of the old prophecy which says: “A little child shall lead them” (Isa. 11:6).
Bible Illustrations – Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today.
II. Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14)
A. He is this is peace in the sense of reconciliation; the removal of the barrier reconciles man to God. “He keeps on being our peace.” It is the individual to whom God gives peace, not a group. God has no plans to bring about happiness or peace by changing people’s social status or organizational affiliation through salvation. The Lord’s plan is to give every believer love, joy, peace, all the fruits of the Spirit and blessing of Christian living, in the present situation.
B. The peace of God is that comfort and encouragement and tranquillity of mind and heart which He gives obedient saints (Col. 3:15). Jesus gives peace and comfort to His followers as they faithfully serve Him (Jn. 14:27; 16:33). The believer enjoys this peace only as he casts his care upon God in prayer (Ph. 4:6-7). Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and is enjoyed by believers who allow the Spirit of God to rule their lives (Col. 3:15). Peace comes to a person’s heart when he meditates upon God’s love and protection (Isa. 26:12).
Illustration 2: Illustration 3: Statistics
A former president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and historians from England, Egypt,
Germany, and India have come up with some startling information: Since 3600 B.C. the world has
known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars, large and small, in
which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed would pay for a
golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick.
Since 650 B.C. there have also been 1656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The
remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved.
In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night
before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of
assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep
as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength
of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we! Source unknown
III. Christ abolished the Law (2:15-16)
A. The animosity between believing Jews and Gentiles ceased because by Christ’s death (in His flesh suggests His actual physical death). He rendered the Law “inoperative” (katargesas) in believers’ lives. Jews and Gentiles were enemies because the former sought to keep the Law with its commandments and regulations (Col 2:14,21-23), whereas Gentiles were unconcerned about them. This difference was like a barrier between them. But now that the Law is inoperative (“Christ is the end of the Law” (Rom 10:4), Jewish-Gentile hostility is gone.
B. Christ had two purposes in ending the hostility:
1. The first purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. The word “new” ( kainon) means new or fresh in character or quality rather than new in the sense of recent in time (neos). This “new man” (Eph. 2:15), or “new humanity,” is also called ” one body” (v. 16), the church. In the church, Gentiles do not become Jews, nor do Jews become Gentiles. Instead
believing Jews and Gentiles become Christians, a whole new single entity.
2. Christ’s second purpose in destroying the enmity was to reconcile both Jewish and Gentile believers to Himself in… same body (Eph. 3:6). This reconciliation was accomplished through the cross, by which Christ killed (put to death) the enmity between people and God. Though He was put to death, He in turn put to death the Jewish-Gentile hostility. In 2:14 the reconciliation is between Jewish and Gentile believers, and in verse 16 the reconciliation is between people and God. Reconciliation (removal of enmity) between man and God is mentioned elsewhere by Paul (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Col. 1:20).
IV. Peace and Unity preached (Eph. 2:17-18)
A. “And came and preached peace to you…” (Eph. 2:17); This is the wonderful Message of the Prince of Peace. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…” (Jn. 14:27). “He preached peace” to both Jew and Gentile, “to the far-off ones” and “to the nigh ones.” By the Cross and after the Cross Christ could preach that message. Note:
1. Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14).
2. Christ made peace (Eph. 2:15).
3. Christ preaches peace (Eph. 2:17).
B. “For through him we both have access…” (Eph. 2:18): God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit unite in welcoming the once heathen Gentile and the once proud but sinful Jew “unto the Father.” The Three all share in the work of redemption. The Spirit of Adoption enables both Jew and Gentile to cry, “Abba, Father.” Both pray to one Father. Hence, we are all brethren.
Illustration 3: True Peace
Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a beautiful evening
scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees
surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently browsing; a little cottage, the
setting sun—all spoke of perfect rest. The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black
clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes
of water covered with foam. One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to
strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all
danger, pouring forth its sweet notes of joy. It is the second painter who could describe the peace
that passeth all understanding which is the Lord Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God in the heart of the
redeemed. One can only have peace with himself if he has peace with God.
from Illustrations of Bible Truths
The barrier between God and man was removed by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ including the dividing wall between the Jews and the Gentiles. It was made possible by the shedding of His blood on the cross. Through Him we have peace with God.