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
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22
The Bible is God’s grand narrative story of how He wants to live with us. He wants to be our God, and we will be His people.
The Bible’s opening paints the picture of God creating a beautiful garden and placing the man and woman in that garden. But that garden wasn’t meant only for them. It was meant for God too. Many scholars see the language and design of the Garden of Eden as that of a temple for God. The Garden was the first earthly temple- a model of the heavenly temple not made by hands. God’s dwelling place where all would come to be with Him and worship Him.
After the sinful fall of man, God did not give up on His desire to live with us. He designated a group of people, the Israelites, to be his people and build an earthly temple that would also model the heavenly temple. He gave them a promised land that would model Eden. God would live among His people and they would be able to meet with Him again.
But of course this was very limited. Because of sin there were rules upon rules for how to approach God. Strict regulations reflected God’s holiness. Walls divided man from God. Blood needed to be shed for there to be any kind of access to God.
Soon, because of their sin, God would leave this temple and not return to it. Instead He would return AS the temple. Jesus’ incarnation was God once again dwelling with us. Tabernacling with us. Jesus was the living, breathing temple. His body was the dwelling place of God. He is God. Now approaching God was as easy as walking up to this man on the street. Blind men came. The impure touched him. Lepers were cleansed. Sinners were forgiven. All without rituals and all without walls.
But not without shed blood. Ultimately, as our Fighter Verse says, Jesus would tear down the wall in his flesh. His death is what allowed for the removal of all walls. All barriers gone. No more hostility.
Today the church is the dwelling place of God. His temple. His garden. This has been made possible by Christ. The story of God’s quest to live with His people is finding its place in you and me corporately. We are the next chapter until the final culmination when God will remake the earth, and the City of God will descend and we will live together forever.
Until that day the church is the very place where God dwells. His holiest place. And now the only wall dividing us from God is our own faith. All who believe in the sacrifice of Jesus may enter the presence of God. And He will be their God, and they will be His people.