Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breaking Down Walls

Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

14 Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας, τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ,

This verse falls in the middle of the second half of Ephesians 2.  Here Paul is explaining how the Jews and Gentiles have been brought together by Christ.  I go through this verse every week as I review Ephesians and every time I go through this passage I fail to understand how this can be satisfactorily explained in a Dispensational context.  To me, this seems to be part of the Ephesians road away from Dispensationalism.

It's easy to lose the grandeur of this passage when I read this through 21st century Gentile eyes.  But if I transport myself back to being a first-century Gentile I begin to see why this is so great.  The temple had a section for Gentiles, but you had to be a Jew to get to the holy place.  And of course the Most Holy Place was only accessible by one Levite per year on Yom Kippur.

Here Paul emphasizes that Christ has made both Jew and Gentile into one.  The curtain in the temple was torn when Christ died on the cross.  Galatians 3:28 tells us that in Christ there is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile.  If you were a first-century Gentile in Palestine and you really wanted to pursue God you would really be kept at arm's length.  You couldn't approach Him because you were not a Jew.  But as Paul writes to those folks he explains that the distinction doesn't matter anymore.  It is all about Jesus and His finished work in His life, death, burial, and resurrection.

Keep in mind that Gentiles were considered unclean.  Apart from Christ we are all unclean.  The good news is that we can all be washed completely clean in the blood of Christ.  Are you ready to leave the filth behind?

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