For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:14
The goal of God from the beginning of time has been for people to live in right relationship with him. And even when humanity rebelled and rejected God, he continued to relentlessly pursue us. Ultimately, that pursuit led to God sending Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our hostile rebellion—his death in our place. And because of this great act of redemption, we can now have peace with God. As our fighter verse says, Jesus himself is our peace. This is what it means to be reconciled.
Peace with God is an incredible gift. Freedom from the guilt and shame that plague us. Freedom from the ugly self-righteousness and self-condemnation. No more warring against our Creator. When a person turns from their sin (repentance) and trusts in Jesus Christ (faith), he finally realizes that he has been fighting a losing battle. The promise of God becomes a reality: God’s grace is always greater than our sin (Romans 5:20). Hallelujah, this is truly good news!
But that’s not the end of the story…
One of the most important implications of being reconciled to God is that we can now be reconciled to each other. When Paul says God “has made us both one,” he is referring to Jews and Gentiles. People groups that could rattle off their differences all day. And yet, Jesus Christ has done what no other person could ever do – he has destroyed the dividing wall between them. In other words, the differences that divide us are like the waves on a seashore compared to the depth of what unites us, which is like the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the ocean).
The gospel is so powerful that it takes known enemies and doesn’t just turn them into friends, but makes them family. We must understand and embrace this truth. It is not just a secondary issue for us as Christians. This is crucial to the health and witness of the church.
The local church should be a beautiful picture of unity within diversity. The local church should model for the world what it means to live at peace with people who seem to be so radically different. The local church should be the place where sin is lovingly confronted, offenses are graciously forgiven, and struggles are carried together. God has designed the church to be an entity where people live in harmony.
This takes work. It takes a laying down of my pride and my “rights.” It takes sacrifice to forgive and to forebear. It takes love to invest in people who are different than me in so many ways. But, it is worth it! And remember that God has done everything needed to empower us to live this out. This is the power of being in Christ and Christ being in us. Let’s live this out to the glory of God.