Thursday, March 6, 2014
One in Christ
Good evening friends,
Today's reading is a powerful statement of what God does in Christ. Paul thinks about how he as a Pharisee saw the world before Jesus: humans were fundamentally divided into Jews and everyone else. That meant Jews were (and are) connected to God through a special and unbreakable promise. Everyone else was far away from God. In Christ, everyone now has access to God. And we who try to follow Jesus are one body, no matter what differences we might have. That's a strong statement about what we share; we have plenty of work to make that unity more obvious in everyday life.
11So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” —a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.