New Relationships In Christ!
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Sin kills us all in our relationship with God. It makes God far away and attaches our hearts to things which are self- destructive and do not ultimately satisfy. Jesus, because of the love and grace of God resolves this for us.
Sin also creates chaos in relationships with other people. And that is what this passage of Scripture is about today. God, through Christ has provided a way for us to have peaceful healthy relationships with others.
- The Past Problem: Divided Relationships
This section bears similarities with v. 1-3 in terms of the negative impacts of sin.
- Jew and Gentile
- “Called uncircumcised”
- Done apart from faith or decision.
- Male and female divide here too! It is not mentioned here, but in Galatians 3 Paul says it this way:
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
- Gentiles and the Blessing of God
Reread v. 12
- separated from Christ—this is the whole problem and the whole hope.
- excluded from citizenship in Israel
- foreigners to the covenants of the promise (blessing of God)
- Gentile court in the temple balances this
- Gentiles and God
- without hope: John 14:6
- without God:
- Present Provision: United Relationships in Christ
- You are brought near to God and His life
By the sacrificial death of Jesus. The picture is a reversal of angels with swords at Eden.
- Jesus made the two into one
It is God’s will that we might be united with others. (This idea is EXTREMELY prominent in chapter 4:3-6
- He has reconciled the one
- Jesus does it all
- He destroys the barriers between people. He elevates everyone!
- He makes one new humanity
- He brings the far off near
- He redeems all who will be redeemed by His blood. (There is no gracious redemption apart from Christ. There are personal consequences and payment for sins!)
Ways in which Jesus is the reality of the Old Testament shadows.
He is the crusher of the serpent’s head, the seed of the woman, Noah’s ark before and through the flood and the rainbow after. He’s the Abraham’s seed and Abraham’s ram, He’s Jacob’s wrestler, ladder and blesser.
He is the prophet like Moses. He is the pillar of cloud and fire. He is the rock in the desert, the snake on a pole and manna every day. He is the Passover Lamb, the scapegoat and the one who fulfills every part of the law.
He is David’s shepherd, Solomon’s wisdom and the forsaken one of Psalms 22. He is the Beloved that is ours and the Eagle on whose wings we wait. He is the cleanser of Joshua the High Priest and the reason Hosea loves Gomer. He is Ruth’s Boaz and Mordecai’s Esther. He is our Great High Priest, Truthful Prophet and Good King.
Jesus fulfills every picture of God’s grace in the Old Testament!
In Matthew Jesus is the Herald of the Kingdom of God, in Mark the Suffering Servant, in Luke He is the Son of Man, and in John, the Son of God. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn from the dead and the Chief cornerstone. He is the Word of God, the one and only Son of God who makes God known, He is the giver of new birth, the giver of living water, the Messiah, the one equal with God. He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the I AM. He is the gate for the sheep, the good shepherd, the One who is one with the Father, the Resurrection and the life, the Teacher and Lord who washes feet. He is the Way the Truth and the Life, the Father’s image revealed, the vine that causes people to bear fruit and the giver of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus rips the veil, He pays the debt, makes people both perfect forever and progressively holy. He justifies, redeems and propitiates, He personally provides enough righteousness in His one sacrifice for all the people who have ever lived to be right with God forever.
We have no need of anything farther. And God has never had any other plan. Jesus does not replace anyone or anything, any more than your body replaces your shadow. He is God’s eternal plan for the salvation of mankind, period.
Jesus does it all.
III. Present Purpose
- Family and citizens
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
God’s kingdom. God’s house.
- A new corporate identity
Not built upon the covenants, but fulfilling the covenants. Jesus is the reason for the Old Covenants! There is no competition between the Old and the New. The New makes the Old meaningful!
Built upon the Apostles and the prophets.
Jesus is the first and most crucial foundation piece. And we are all bricks built on the foundation.
Building, Bride, Body. Corporate metaphors that describe the common identity of all who are trusting in Jesus.
- The new temple
The old temple was the center of worship. It was the place where the presence of the glory of God came. First the tabernacle, then the temple. It was God’s house and everyone was excluded from His presence by the veil.
Now, we, all of us together are corporately to be filled by the glory of God in the person of His Holy Spirit. It is God’s design for us. And not just us, but all who follow Jesus Christ. This is why we can say that where two of us are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is with us. He is with us because the Holy Spirit is with us.
What should we expect to happen when the Spirit fills God’s people? The glory of God will be manifested!
What can we do to aid this happening?
- Be built on the foundation of Jesus and the Apostles teaching. Take it seriously, follow Jesus’ commands.
(Acts 2: Apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, prayer and service)
- Serve, love, give! (Act like Jesus did with people)
- Worship God together all the time and in every place. Be overtly grateful. Give God the glory for the good things that He has done.
Awe, gratitude, peace, joy, love, praise, worship will be the result.