Before God ushered in the Church, Paul acknowledges, Jews were the accepted insiders while the Gentiles were the excluded outsiders. But now, he insists, these barriers of exclusivity, both religious and racial, have been dismantled.
So to what extent has the elimination of these barriers been reflected in our congregations?
Interact with God’s Word
- What characteristics differentiate people in your church from those in other churches in your community—theological perspective? Age? Political persuasion? Race? Economic status? Intelligence? Appearance?
- Is it fair to consider any of these to be dividing walls?
- In what specific ways (vv. 14, 16, 18) has Jesus’ death removed the walls that people erect between themselves?
- How, according to verse 15, did Jesus break down the “wall of hostility” between two groups?
- Do you think that continuing to think and react in terms of separate groups undercuts Christ’s sacrifice for you?
- Spell out how the unity of the Church involves each member of the Trinity (v. 18).
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God for wisdom to discern the extent to which the diversity of His Church universal ought to be duplicated in your local fellowship.
14 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.