December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”—Ephesians 2:13–16 (NIV)
All around the world barriers, borders, walls, and labels have been created to divide and destroy.
The color of your skin.
The language you speak.
Your political affiliation.
Your religious affiliation.
There’s so much at work in this world dividing and creating walls of separation and hostility between us. All around us, every day, for even the most insignificant things, these barriers cause us to wage war against one another, making us far away from God and far apart from each other.
Today’s verse speaks of this division between humanity: the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles. In Ephesians 2:12 (NIV), Paul explains, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”
This is incredibly important. Why? Because it identifies the only true division that really existed in humanity: the distinction between Jew and Gentile. Of all our human distinctions and divisions, this is the one that really counts because it was made by God. And it’s a covenantal distinction, not a racial, political, or cultural one.
The children of Abraham were under the covenant of God as His nation and His people. But God made a promise to Abraham that “through [his] offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18 NIV). And that offspring was Jesus, who came to reconcile us to God and to one another! He came to make peace between all humanity and God, bringing down the walls of division between us.
Now, because of Jesus, Ephesians 2:13–14 (NIV) declares, “You who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Galatians 3:28 (NIV) further emphasizes this point: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Do you see it? Jesus came to tear down every wall and unite us as one people under one accord with one heart and one mission! And in order for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to act as His ambassadors to those who are far away from Him, we must never forget that we share the same story. You and I were once enemies of God, far away, hopeless, and helpless. But He brought us near by the blood of Jesus; He gave us new life and citizenship in heaven. This means, your neighbor who is a different race, your coworkers who hold different political beliefs, your family member whose lifestyle you don’t agree with . . . they’re not so different from you! They’re people Jesus came for, died for, and called you to make disciples of. They’re not your enemies!
Erase the lines in the sand, break any chains of racism, sexism, or classism in your heart, reach across party lines, bridge the cultural divide, and share the good news of Jesus, because “as God’s chosen people . . . clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness . . . gentleness and patience . . . and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12–14 NIV).
Pause: What are some dividing labels that have been placed on you or that you’ve bought into as it pertains to you or others? How have these divisions impacted you?
Practice: Pray for those in your community who are far away from God. Pray this season will be one of revival and awakening, where God will mobilize His people to help others cross the divide and be brought near to Him.
Pray: Father, I thank You today for tearing down the wall between You and me. Thank You for Jesus, who made it possible for me to come into Your presence, receive Your grace, and be adopted into Your family. I pray You would use me, God, to be a peacemaker and barrier breaker in the world as the Spirit works in and through me. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.