For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… Ephesians 2:14
Paul had a real mess on his hands: one group that was especially militant, willing even to kill to retain their status as God’s chosen people. The other group, having been saved to serve and follow their new-found Lord, wanted only the liberty to be free from the bondage of their old lives. The militants knew they had lost their special privilege by willing servitude of other masters and dared not go back. And the new converts sought the engrafting promised by a God who “loved the [whole] world.”
There was no earthly power that could bring the two together. No speeches; no negotiation; no government beaurocracies; and no conciliatory measures.
God had a resolution. Tear down the wall of enmity that separated the two and make them one through the death of his only Son. “For all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), and all equally needed the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the grace that is available to ALL without favoritism. Paul would tell the new disciples (those who were longing to be part of the Kingdom God was building), “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). One people with equal access to the Lord and Father of all.
The Law would not be disbanded; it would be interpreted through the words spoken on the Mount. The new life for all parties meant new hearts and a new Master. First the structure and then the indwelling.
Working out the solution to unity would be, is, difficult. God had opened the way to salvation, transformation, and freedom through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but it was up to the new faith community, the Church, to implement what God had begun. And there were instructions: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you” (Matt. 18:15). Or when one party had harmed another,“…if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23, 24).
Living and applying this new faith would be destructive to the old nature, but it would create a Body, and it would build a temple for the Holy Spirit within each life. Walking by faith would be difficult, but it would glorify Christ, and it would bring freedom and reconciliation.
Father, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” he meant US. Here we are. Use us. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.