HE IS OUR PEACE
Dealing with religious prejudice.
Ephesians 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
How do we get the Jewish church to become one with the Gentiles?
Being aware of the context in which our title is included makes us understand that the word, “our” refers to both Jewish and Gentile believers! And we also read in this verse that “he hath made both one!” That is, there is but one church, one body of Christ, for his cross has made it so!
The Apostle Peter was first sent by the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. He was sent to Cornelius, a Roman centurion (Acts 10:1), to preach the gospel. Before he went, the Lord gave him a physical hunger, then let down a sheet from heaven containing “all manner” of beasts, creeping things, and fowls of the air. Some of these were things heretofore ceremonially unclean to the Jews under the law. But upon the command of God to, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat,” neither the physical hunger, nor his religious prejudice would allow him to partake. Then the Lord makes a glorious statement concerning us Gentiles! He tells Peter, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou unclean!”
It seems that Peter has learned his lesson as evidenced in his preaching to Cornelius’ household. Also, in the Jerusalem council, as recorded in Acts chapter 15, he is still abiding in the truth of his Joppa vision. He not only tells those assembled that they should not put the yoke of the ceremonial law upon believers, which neither their fathers, nor themselves were able to bear; but he gives a great statement in verse 11. There he says, “But through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we (Jews) believe in order to be saved according to which manner they (the Gentiles) also believed.” (Interlinear). He is saying that as I saw the way Gentiles are saved, that’s the way we Jews are also to be saved!
And even though Peter slips into Jewish prejudice again, as recorded in Galatians 2:11-18, and is admonished by the Apostle Paul, yet this profound statement of his, as recorded in Acts 15:11, proves to be the key to seeing the relation of believing Jews to believing Gentiles! They are Mutually Lost and require a Mutual Grace!
There Is No Difference!
The issue of Jews versus Gentiles has puzzled many, even to this day! Good, sound men of the church, though correct in many other doctrines, have stumbled at this. And many have, and still do, mislead the church regarding this matter. Let us go to the Scriptures, the final authority!
Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. The depravity of the unbelieving Jew is exactly the same as the depravity of the unbelieving Gentile! They have a Mutual Depravity!
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
HE Is Our Peace
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. The Lord Jesus Christ alone is Savior to all sinners, whether male or female, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, slave or freeman! All sinners must come to God by Him! Now reread verse 15 listed in our text listed above. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; Not only did the Savior’s sacrifice of his own body abolish our enmity with God and His law, but his sacrifice also made of the two groups (Jews and Gentiles), “ONE new man!” THAT is how he made peace with God and peace between Jew and Gentile. They both have a Mutual Sacrifice!
This is what was meant when the apostles referred to Christ as being the Saviour of all mankind! They were not saying that Jesus died for all the sins of all men without exception! If this were so, all men without exception would be in heaven! But they were saying that Jesus alone, is the only Saviour of all kinds of men! 1John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
God alone tore the temple vail! He made the way into the Holy of Holies for all! At the time of the tearing of the temple vail, in order to end the old covenant, he tore His Temple’s vail, (John 2:21; Matt 27:51), the flesh of the Son of God, to provide entrance into the new covenant! Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
The Like Gift
Not only are Jews and Gentiles Mutually Depraved, and require a Mutual Sacrifice, but they are both inhabited by a Mutual Spirit! Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. There are no second class citizens in Christ’s kingdom! All are covered in his rich blood! All are inhabited by the Third Person of the Trinity! 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
God started out to have a people to dwell with, and dwell in! (John 14:17). He chose a Gentile named Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldees. He made him the Father of the faithful (Romans 4:16). And from him came the Jewish culture, within which came “the seed,” which is Christ! Gal. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And that seed, planted into death at Calvary brought forth the entire church – Jew and Gentile, slave or free, male or female! (John 14:24).
Pastor Gene Breed