This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down!
Meditation on Ephesians 2:14-19
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 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; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
The wall has been broken down! No, we are not talking about the house that the foolish man built upon the sand. Nor are we speaking about the Berlin wall that was torn down. And we are not referring to the wall that President Trump is building on our southern border with Mexico. The subject is God. God has “broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” The Apostle Paul wrote about the wall of hostility that existed between the Jews and Gentiles. This was not a literal wall. Paul used a figure of speech. He was describing the Gentile believers in Ephesus. They were once afar off and called the Uncircumcision. They had been without Christ, and were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. But they have been brought near. There is in Christ no separation between Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles were no longer strangers to the covenants of promise. The barrier between Jew and Gentile was erased by the blood of Christ Jesus!
The wall of separation was a wall of enmity. The Gentiles hated Israel when Israel was in the land of Canaan. Think of the many battles of Israel against the Philistines, the Moabites, Amorites, Canaanites, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Oh, there is still bitter enmity. It is not of Gentiles against Israel, but the world against the church of Jesus Christ. This is a enmity that God created after Adam’s fall into sin (Gen. 3:15).
In the Old Testament, God chose to save His people from the line of Seth, and later the line of Abraham. God had a relationship of love and grace only with the descendants of Jacob. Salvation, adoption, glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises pertained to the Israelites (Rom. 9:4,5). Jesus Christ in His human nature, especially on the cross put to naught the law of commandments. In His entire life and especially on the cross He took away the curse of the law. Jew and Gentile had been under the curse of the law because of their sin.
By breaking down the wall of partition, the wall of hostility, God brought peace between the Jews and the Gentiles. The purpose of God was to make one out of the two, to create of the two in Himself one new man, making peace. It is the union of Israel and the Gentiles. The separation between Israel and the Gentiles has ceased, and they have become one. After the blood of the cross, the separation has been taken away. For Christ Himself is our peace. Christ is our peace in relation to God. But that is not the idea of the apostle in our text. Christ has of Jew and Gentile made one new man, so making peace. “One new man” refers to the union of Israel and the Gentiles. They are one in their salvation. As Paul put it in Gal. 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abrahams’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” So Christ in Himself is the principle of the union between Jew and Gentile, making peace, forming out of the two His church. Jew and Gentile are reconciled to God in one body through the cross.
What does this mean? First, that all people are in the state of guilt. Second, it means that we were under the wrath of God and must be punished. Third, there is only one way in which our state of guilt can be changed into a state of righteousness and favor. Fourth, we could never do that ourselves. Only Jesus Christ could bear our guilt and punishment willingly and in love to God. He did that all of His life, but especially on the cross. What a Savior! Bearing the terrible wrath of God in behalf of His people, He reconciled us to God. The cross is the means.
What does Christ now do? He preaches peace to us. This preaching of Christ takes place after His death and resurrection. He came by His Spirit and through the apostles in the ministry of the Word. And this is how He still comes today, preaching peace. How precious then are our worship services in which the preaching of the gospel is central. The subject of the preaching is always Christ Jesus. This is the reason why the church today must do missions. God has His people in every tribe, nation, and culture. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19). Are you excited as you behold Christ gathering and building His church from Jew and Gentile?
We’ve a story to tell to the nations that shall turn their hearts to the right, A story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and right, For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noon-day bright, And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, The Kingdom of love and light.
e’ve a Savior to show to the nations who the path of sorrow hath trod, That all of the world’s great peoples might come to the truth of God. For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noon-day bright, And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, The Kingdom of love and light. H. Ernest Nichol
Far and near the fields are teeming, With the sheaves of ripened grain. Far and near their gold is gleaming O’er the sunny slope and plain. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us Lord, to thee we cry; Send them now the sheaves to gather. Ere the harvest times pass by. James Thompson
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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