Friday, December 7, 2012

Unity, Not Uniformity

The lesson (Ephesians 2:11-22) taught by Apostle Paul talks about the estranged relationship between the Jews and the the Gentiles.  There were barriers between them.  They felt even coming into contact with one another would make them unclean.  The Jews, with their prejudices, looked at the Gentiles as being without hope and beyond God's saving grace.  Apostle Paul's letter was written to the Church in Ephesus, which was primarily a Gentile community, and they, too, could be guilty of spiritual pride.  Paul reminds the Jews, the Gentiles and us that we were all at one time unclean before God, without Christ in our lives, without hope and having not received the Word of God, but now through the blood of Christ Jesus the barrier is broken, and we should not look on those who are different from us as being without hope, for Christ is the only one who can cleanse us and bring unity.

In Ephesians 2:14, "For He is our peace,..." speaks of the peace that Jesus and Jesus alone can provide.  Jesus did not just bring peace, He is our peace.  So when an individual receives God's salvation, they find peace with God and peace with one another.  It is the merger of the old self and the new self in unity through the blood of Jesus (Roman 5:1).  The unity with ones self and others is only possible because Jesus died on the cross and became the means of our reconciliation with God.  Hence, it is necessary for the Word of God (the Cross) to be preached by those with the Holy Spirit to those already in Christ and those who have not received His saving grace.

As Paul speaks to the church in Ephesus, he talks about the unique life of  the community of believers, who derive their source of life and power from God through the Holy Spirit.  Believers draw strength from each other as they face the circumstances of life.  Because of common faith, goals and worship experiences, there is a common bond.  There is one God, one Lord, one Savior, one church. We are no longer strangers or foreigners.  We are fellow saints in God's house.

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