Friday, June 5
Reconciled both ways
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1-3, Psalm 45, Ephesians 2
Ephesians 2:14–18 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
In Ephesians 2, Paul describes how Jesus has reconciled us both ways: first to God and then to each other. Verses 1-10 tell how we were dead in our sin, but God made us alive in Christ. We are saved by grace through faith; it is God’s gift to us! Verses 11-22 tell how humanity was divided racially, but God brought peace to us and made us “one new people”.
The racial divide between Jew and Gentile was deep and hostile and hateful. Yet Jesus bridged that divide and brought the two groups together. Notice the phrases:
- He brought peace to us.
- He united us into one people.
- He made peace.
- He created one new people from the two groups.
- We are one body now.
- He reconciled both groups to God.
- Our hostility to each other was put to death.
- All of us can come to the Father.
Jesus reconciled us both ways: to God and each other.
Notice that peace with God comes first before peace with each other. I need my heart to change first, and I need to be reconciled to God so that can happen. Sharing the gospel of Jesus, helping people be reconciled to God is the first and best thing we can do to help them be reconciled to each other.
The gospel is both spiritual and social—it is reconciliation both ways. Anyone who uses it to foster racism, to pit one group against another, has failed to understand the gospel. Racism is heresy. It is anti-gospel. It is a sin against God’s work of bringing all of us to Himself and each other.
This is why Christians should lead the way in racial reconciliation. Paul, the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles, was the leading racial reconciler of his day. We should be following his example.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be agents of your peace—peace with God and peace with each other.