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HE IS OUR PEACE – Ephesians 2:14-18

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on March 15, 2017 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; March 15, 2017 from Ephesians 2:14-18

Theme: In Christ, both Jew and Gentile are brought together in peace before the Father.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

There was a time, in His earthly ministry, when Jesus presented Himself to the religious leaders of the Jewish people as “the good shepherd” who “gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He said that, as the good shepherd, He knows His sheep—and is known by His own. In that context, He was speaking about those Jewish people who heard Him and believed on Him; and He affirmed that He laid down His life for them. But He then went on to say something remarkable in verse 16: “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Our passage in Ephesians 2:14-18 shows us that these “other sheep” that were not of the Jewish fold are the Gentiles who would also believe on Him. Together, they—believing Jews and believing Gentiles; together in Christ—would constitute “one flock”, with Jesus as their one “shepherd”.

This section of Ephesians is a passage which highlights the new unity brought about between believing Jew and believing Gentile in Christ. Verses 11-13 speak of how we Gentiles who were far away are now brought near to the God of Israel; and verses 19-22 speak of how the believing Gentiles are now made fellow citizens and fellow members of God’s household. And verses 14-18—our passage this morning—shows us how the dividing wall between them has been broken down. It’s summarized the idea that Jesus Himself is our “peace”.

Notice …


Paul wrote, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation …” The peace being spoken of is not an inner, tranquil state of being. Jesus certainly brings that about for us too (John 14:27). But rather, the peace that Paul is speaking of is the end of the inherent enmity that existed between Jew and Gentile. God is not the God of the Jew only, but also of the Gentiles (Romans 3:29); and Jesus is the ‘peace’ that brings those two otherwise-irreconcilable groups together. He has made both “one”.

In order for them to be reconciled into one, the point of division between them needed to first be removed. That point of division was the law given through Moses—with its rituals and ceremonies and ordinances. Archaeologists tell us that in the temple of old, there was a wall that separated the Gentiles out of the Jewish court; and an inscription was found on that wall that warned that no Gentile was to go past that wall on pain of death. Men erected that physical wall; but it represented a true division that God had established by His law. In Christ, however, the dividing wall created by the law is removed; and now, “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek” (Romans 10:12).


Paul goes on to say that Jesus is our peace, “having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances …” That wall of the old temple was an illustration of the division created by what we might call the ‘ceremonial’ law given specifically to the Jewish people—laws that stipulated how the Jewish people were to conduct themselves with respect to feasts, and foods, and fasts, and offerings, and sacrifices, and clothing, and cleansing, and circumcision; all the specific outwardly-focused rules and rituals and religious regulations that set the Jewish people apart from everyone else. No one could approach God but by conformity to those ceremonial ordinances; and they were given distinctly to the Jewish people. This dividing wall of the ‘ceremonial’ law thus created an inherent enmity between Jew and Gentile; thus making the Jewish people unique from all people (see Romans 2:17-20; 3:1-2). But we need to understand this carefully. Jesus didn’t abolished this enmity by somehow abolishing the whole moral law itself (which is summarized in the Ten Commandments; and which, according to Jesus Himself in Matthew 5:17, was perfectly fulfilled by Him). Instead, by fulfilling all the righteous requirements of the whole law of God on our behalf, and by paying—in His own person—the debt for our failure to keep God’s holy standards, He thus rendered the necessity of the ceremonial aspects of the law obsolete; and therefore abolished the enmity created by that ceremonial law.

As Paul puts it in Colossians 2:14, Jesus “wiped out the hand-writing of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” And as Paul now tells us in Ephesians 2:15b, He did this, “so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace …”; with Himself as the center-point of this new unity. The basis of the enmity is now removed; so that through Christ, there are not now two distinct people but one—both made one in Him. What a great peace this is! It has completely reconciled the two most otherwise-irreconcilable groups the world has ever known and has now made them one! As Paul puts it in Galatians 6:15, “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”


Paul goes on to explain why Jesus did this. It’s so that His promise in John 10:16 could be kept—that He could bring in His sheep who were not of the Jewish fold; so that there would be one flock and one shepherd. He writes; “and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity”.

Note that Paul stresses that Jesus reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in “one body”. The idea here is not that we are now unified in one body (although that is a true description of the church). Rather, the idea is that it is by the one body of Christ as an offering—sacrificed on the cross—that this reconciliation is brought about. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once or all” (Hebrews 10:10). By His sacrifice on the cross for us, Jesus has satisfied the requirements of the law, and has put to death the enmity between Jew and Gentile.


And more than simply bringing about that peace, Jesus has announced it. Paul writes, “And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.” When Jesus rose from the dead, and first appeared to His disciples, that—according to Luke’s Gospel—was the first thing Jesus said them: “Peace to you” (Luke 24:36). That, of course, was a greeting of peace; but it is a peace that could only be enjoyed and experienced because true ‘relational’ peace with God had now been brought about by Jesus. For forty days after His resurrection, Jesus walked this earth and appeared to His disciples; preparing them to go out and declare that peace to all people. And that’s what they did! The Greek word that is here translated “preach” is euaggelizō—’to proclaim good news’ (from which we get the word “evangelize”). Jesus came and ‘proclaimed the good news’ of peace.

It’s probably significant to note that in the original language, this verse reads, “And He proclaimed good news unto peace to you who are far off” [that is, the Gentiles], “and peace to you who are near” [that is, the Jews]—as if He gave a particular, individualized proclamation of “peace” to both groups; and as if He stood between them equally as the great Unifier. Truly He is—with respect to both parties—our peace!


And it’s not just that believing Jews and believing Gentiles now have peace through Christ with one another. They both have peace together with God; and are now free to approach Him. Paul said, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” A believing Jew and a believing Gentile may now approach God together! The word “have” is in the present tense of the verb—suggesting an ongoing, continual access to God the Father. This is because both parties are now indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. And also, notice how—in verse 18—each Person of the Trinity is highlighted again as all playing their part in our salvation (see Ephesians 1:4-14).

* * * * * * * * * *

In another passage in John’s Gospel, we’re told of the prayer that our Lord prayed before He went to the cross. In it, He spoke of the glorious outcome of this great unity that He would bring about. Speaking of His apostles, He said:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:20-23).

What an eternal blessing it is to be brought together—in peace—into the one flock of the one shepherd!

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