|The Gospel of Genesis||Exodus to the Unknown||Exodus, a Walk of Faith||Levitcus, Serving God||Numbering God's Warriors|
|The Pilgrim way||Love and Obey God||Our Fathers Faith, Review||The Barrier has been Removed||For He is our Peace.|
|The 4 R's of Salvation||The R's Continued|
|For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Ephes. 2:14|
Man's war with God. Paul uses an illustration from the Jewish Temple of the day to teach an important Biblical truth that the enmity the break in fellowship between man and God has been resolved. There was fixed a partition a barrier, if you please, to divide the Jews from the Gentiles during Temple worship. This barrier is used in this passage to teach an important truth about the relationship between man and God. The fact is that man is at war with God. Romans 5:10 says that while we were enemies we were reconciled to God. The original for our word peace as used in our passage depicts the cessation of war between these two parties. While that war wages there cannot be a coming together of God and man for man considers God to be his enemy. The wonderful application of God's Redemptive plan is that man, when he responds the call of the Gospel, is reconciled to God (not the other way not God reconciled to man man to God).
The Justice of God demands a payment of death and damnation. God has never been at war with man. However, there is a Biblical truth that addresses the relationship of God and man where the character of God must be satisfied with regard to sinful man. This truth is addressed in Romans 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" This facet of truth we will cover at a later time, as God permits.
So then, this illustration is not used merely to show that there is no Jewish / Gentile distinction or enmity during the church age, although that certainly is true. No. It is used to depict the wonderful truth that the barrier that once existed between man and God has been removed! In verses 11 through 13 Paul speaks to the Gentiles as a people who were "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: " Jesus Christ is our Peace He is the only means by which we can be brought into a peaceful relationship with God.
" and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us " The original is very interesting. The picture here is that of a loosening of all the masonry with the idea of tearing down the wall.
Paul is not teaching that the Gentile is reconciled to the Jew and as a Jewish proselyte now along with the Jew has access, in peace, to God. No. Both Jew and Gentile now, through Christ, have peace with God together. Because of this, both Jew and Gentile have peace with each other because they both are Christ's (Galatians 3:28). This is the fundamental teaching of Ephesians 2:14.
The Barrier consists of several "blocks," if we can use the illustration of an unbreachable wall. Last week we covered the Barrier of man's total depravity and part way into his enslavement to sin. Please turn back to last week's lesson to God's Provision for man's enslavement... From there we will go to The Barrier of the curse of the Law. Then return to this lesson.
For the wages of sin is death; ... Romans 6:23a
When Adam sinned in the garden he plunged all of mankind into death. God told Adam "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:17. Adam rebelled against God and death is now passed on to every man.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- ...  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:12, 14. These are the "wages" of sin - Adam, our father, has plunged all man into this terrible penalty even though none of us participated in that original sin. The wages come in two parts. The first part is the death of every man.
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your
flesh,... Col. 2:13a
The second part is man's servitude to death. Death has a present and a future reign in the existence of the unbeliever. We, as sinners, are spiritually dead - we cannot fellowship with God because we are spiritually dead and anyone who worships God must do so in Spirit and Truth. Then there is the future reign of death - eternal separation from God in the lake of fire - hell. Later on that subject.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15, NIV
The present reign of death produces fear and bondage to it. Satan takes advantage of this fear and rules in the lives of men because of it. This reign of fear further exacerbates the futility that man has that there is nothing he can do to appease an angry God.
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,  having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col. 2:13-14, NAS.
Paul uses a word picture out of Roman times where a man stands condemned by the court and is standing before the court as a document containing the damming evidence against him is being read. By way of application the sinner stands before the court of God and hears the damming evidence against him. Listen to Lenski: "God issued the decrees, he acted like the Roman emperor; he issued them in a written document with his signature and his seal affixed. This describes the divine law exactly: 'written and engraven in stones' (II Cor. 3:7) and demanding, 'Thou shalt! Thou shalt not!' It is too narrow a view to say that this document of the law was given only to the Jews. Rom. 3:9-20 (note v. 19) shows that, by giving this law to the Jews, God shut every mouth and made the whole world guilty before him. By condemning the Jews this law condemned every man on earth."
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Col. 2:15, NAS
Jesus paid this debt! When he took his place on the cross all of these "documents" were nailed on the cross - over his head. He has taken all these offensive decrees of judgment away and has made a public display of Satan and his cohorts - Satan no longer has the reign of death over us. The picture here is of the conquoring general returning from a successful campaign. With him he brings the spoils of the battle including the defeated enemy. There were two displays going on when Jesus hung on the cross. First, God was showing the world how much he loved them - at the same time Satan was being made shamful in defeat. Jesus had the victory that day. Satan no longer has the rule over the sinners of the world. Salvation is offered to every man as a free gift.
Paul Harvey, the radio commentator has a portion of his commentary called "The Rest of the Story." Here is the rest of the story regarding our debt of sin:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
John 3:36 says it completely: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." It's that simple. If a sinner goes to hell it is not because of his sins, in the strict sense of the word. A sinner goes to hell because he choses to do so by rejecting Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior. Eternal life is a free give. We merely have to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and we do have eternal life.
So then, the Expiatory work of Christ (He paid the debt of our sin) and the Eternal Life given freely concludes the matter of our sentence of death and our bondage to death. God's wonderful plan has included every aspect of our redemption from sin to an eternal place by his side in heaven.
|1. John 4:23, 24|