Vs. 16 "And That He Might Reconcile Both Unto God In One Body By The Cross, Having Slain The Enmity Thereby."
The Term "Both", As We Stated In Our Last Lesson Is a Reference, To The Two Diverse Races, Jews And Gentiles. Their Native Differences, As With All Races Was a Means Creating a Measure of Estrangement. Yet, These Differences, Being Alone, Could Not Generate The Strife And Enmity Which Existed Between Jews and Gentiles At The Time Of Christ And The Apostles.
"The Middle Wall of Partition" (Vs. 14) i.e., The Mosaic Law, Forbid the Jews to Have Any Religious or Social Intercourse with the Gentiles (Deut. 7:3, Lev. 20:26, Neh. 13:3, Etc.). Yet Israel misconstrued God's Gracious Favor in Giving Them the Law, And Eventually Assumed They Were Morally Better than the Gentiles, Whereby a Policy of Exclusiveness Was Adopted By Them As Related To Gentiles They Unduly Emphasized The Wall In The Temple Which Separated The Court Of The' Gentiles From The Main Sanctuary. It Was This
Policy of Extreme Exclusiveness That Gave the Impetus To Enmity and Hostility Existing Between Jew And Gentiles.
Paul, In Retrospect, Looking Back On The Perfect Life, Sacrificial Death, And Resurrection Of Christ, Says, In Verses 14-16 That Christ Has Taken Out Of The Way That Which Separated Jew And Gentile, That Is The Law, And In So - Doing He Also "Slain The Enmity Thereby."
Vs. 17 "And Came And Preached Peace To You Which Were Afar Off, And To Them That Were Nigh."
Upon Reading This Text The Question Arises, "How And When Did Christ Preach Peace To The Gentiles?" First, We Know It Was Not During His Earthly Ministry, For His Public Ministry During That Time Did Not Go Beyond The Bounds Of Judea. Secondly, 'We are Irresistibly Driven to the Conclusion That Christ's Coming To Preach Peace To The "Afar Off" Was After His Death On The Cross, For It Was By The Blood Of His Cross That Reconciliation Was Made For The Elect, And Peace Is The Fruit Of Reconciliation.
Col. 1:20 "And, Having Made Peace through the Blood of His Cross…"
Seeing It Was after His Work of Reconciliation on the Cross That Christ Came And Preached Peace To The Gentiles We Conclude, This Preaching Was Done By The Holy Spirit, Using The Church As The Medium Through Which The Message Of Peace Was Brought.
Paul Has Been Be-Laboring The Fact That, There Is Now, This Side Of Christ's Death, No Reason Whatsoever For The Continuation of The Enmity and Hostility between Jews and Gentiles,
1. First, Christ Has Removed the Law Which Israel Misapplied
2. Secondly, Christ's Death Reconciled an Infinite Number of Men From Every Race, And Distinction,
3. Thirdly, Man Cannot Be Reconciled To Man In The True Sense Until He Is Reconciled To God. (Read - Isa. 57:19).
Vs. 18 "For Through Him We Both Have Access by One Spirit Unto The Father."
Reconciliation And Peace Being Accomplished By The Death Of Christ For His People, (Consisting Of Jews And Gentiles). The Benefits Of Christ's Atonement Being Reconciliation And Peace, And Inherent In These Are Every Benefit Purchased By Christ For His People. All Of These Benefits Were Given Into The Hands Of Holy Spirit In The Eternal Covenant Of Redemption, And It Is His Ministry To Apply The Benefits To Those For Whom They Were Purchased.
"Access," As Used In the Text Speaks Of Unobstructed Entrance To The Presence Of God. "Both," Places Jews and Gentiles on the Same Level as To Approach to the Throne Room of God. In The Mosaic Economy Only the High Priest Could Enter the Holy Of Holies, and Then Only Once Each Year. But With the Death of Christ the Veil Was Rent, Nullifying the Office of the Earthly High Priest, Thus It Is, Paul Says,
"Having Therefore, Brethren, Boldness To Enter Into The Holiest By The Blood Of Jesus, By A New And Living Way, Which Hath Consecrated For Us, Through The Veil, That Is To Say, His Flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20).
The Privilege of "Access" To God Is Shared By All Believers, and the Way unto God Is By Christ Jesus, and He Ever Makes Intercession for the Believer, Thus the Way, or Access unto God Is No Longer Restricted To Once A Year, But Is Continually Open,
Vs. 19 "Now Therefore Ye Are No More Strangers And Foreigners, But Fellow Citizens With The Saints, And Of The Household Of God."
The Reconciling Work of Christ Was Effective In Abrogating The Alienation Between Believing Jews And Gentiles, and, They Are by The Term "Fellow citizens" Seen To Be Equal In The Eyes of God. However, We Need To Take Note That The Emphasis Is 0n The Fact That Gentiles Have Been Elevated To Equality With Believing Jews, They Are, Now Beneficiaries The Same As Jews, They Are Not Less Privileged Than The Jews. In Christ Jesus National Distinctions Have Been Erased As Far As Election Is Concerned.
"Fellow citizens" No National Barriers.
Vs. 20 "And Are Built Upon The Foundation Of The Apostles And Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself Being The Chief Corner Stone."
We Are Not To Understand By These Words That "The Apostles And Prophets" Are A Part Of The Actual Foundation Of Salvation From Sin, Rather That They Were Apart From Christ, The Original Messengers Of The Truth That Salvation Is By The Free And Unmerited Favor Of God, Manifested In The Giving Of His Son, We Hear Paul Say, "For Other Foundation Jesus Christ. Thus, Can No Man Lay Than That Is Laid, Which Is Jesus Christ" (1st Cor. 3:11). "..Jesus Christ Himself the Chief Cornerstone." In The Gospel Foundation, That Is In The Proclamation That "Grace And Truth Came By Jesus Christ," Christ Is The Cornerstone. A Corner Stone Is The Stone Placed In The Corner, Or Angles Of The Foundation Or Sub-Structure Where Two Sides Meet, And By Which They Are Held Together. The "Chief Cornerstone" Is The One, If Removed The Whole Building Would Collapse.
Vs. 21 "In Whom All The Building Fitly Framed Together Groweth Unto An Holy Temple In The Lord.''
From The "Household Of God" In Vs. 19, We See A Building Being Fitly Framed Together. That Is, From the Family of God a Particular Building Is Being Built, Note, It Is "Fitly Framed Together.'' In The Family Of God There Are Diverse And Uneven Stones, in The Family Of God There Are An Infinite Number Of Varying Opinions About Any Doctrine You Can Mention. But In the Church Many Living Stones From the Family Of God Are Brought Together, And The Rough Edges Are Smoothed Out On The Anvil Of God's Word.
There Is No Way Possible the Phrase "All the Building" (Vs. 21), Can Refer To Christendom In General, and Yet Be Consistent With the Expression "Fitly Framed"(In the Same Verse). "All the Building Fitly Framed", May Be Applied To the Church Institutionally, But It More Appropriately Fits The Local Church. "Groweth Unto An Holy Temple In The Lord", It Is The Lord That Adds To His Church, We Do Not Mean To Infer That Anyone Besides Christ Adds To The Family Of God, But The Family Of God Will Never Grow Unto An Holy Temple In The Lord, Simply Because It Takes Fitly Framing Together To, Be A Holy Temple Of The Lord.
Vs. 22 "In Whom Ye Also are Builded Together For an Habitation of God through the Spirit."
"Ye Also", Is A Reference to the Local Church at Ephesus, They Were At the Time, "an Holy Temple In The Lord." "They Were Builded Together." This Certainly Teaches That There Was Unity And Harmony In The Church At Ephesus. While "Ye Also" Is A Reference To The Local Church At Ephesus, The Term "Also" in The Text Reaches Out And Touches Other Visible Local Churches. Each One, Along With the Church at Ephesus Had Become an Habitation Of God Through The Spirit.''
While, The Holy Spirit Is With Each Individual Believer, He is With Each N.T. Church in a Special Way. The Church Is God's Pillar And Ground Of The Truth, And His Executive Body In The World. His Special Presence with the Church Is What Enables The Church To Stand Successfully Against The Gates Of Hell. The Church As An Institution Received Its Authority And Energy On The Day Of Pentecost (Acts 2) By Baptism With The Holy Spirit, And The Sovereign Holy Spirit Has Been With The Lords True Churches Ever Since. It Is By This Indwelling Of The Church By The Spirit That Christ Keeps His Promise To The Church, Wherein Me Said, "I Am With You Alway, Even Unto The End of the age. Amen Matt. 28:20