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Peace to His People

Scan the headlines of recent news- papers or news channels and it will not take long to realize that our world is full of crisis, war, and terror. We live in a world without peace. For many, peace is also lacking on a spiritual level. There is emptiness, depression, addiction, and strained relationships.

That makes our reading from Ephesians 2 all the more important. Scripture tells us four different times that through Christ there is now peace, and that peace comes in two significant areas. First, there is vertical peace with God Himself. Those who were once separated from Christ and alienated from God’s covenant “have been brought near in the blood of Christ” (v. 13). We are no longer strangers to God; those who were once distant and separated from God have a new relationship with Him.

Second, there is now horizontal peace between two previously antagonistic groups. Jew and Gentile alike have been brought together in Christ. Previously outsiders, Gentiles have now been brought together with God’s people. He has “made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility” (v. 14). Through the cross, God has created “one new humanity out of the two, so making peace” (v. 15).

That image of peace was proclaimed in several prophets of old. Through Haggai, God had declared a new temple, which is the church, and “in this place I will grant peace” (Hag. 2:9). Likewise, Micah promised a new shepherd-king who would defend God’s people and provide safety and security. As God declared through Micah: “He will be our peace” (Micah 5:5). The world may still seem in chaos and turmoil, but God’s people have a peace “which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). We have been brought into relationship with God and one another!

Apply the Word

God’s people should demonstrate reconciliation and peace; yet the church is often filled with strife and division. With whom are you at odds in the family of God? Seek out that person today and find ways to begin healing the relationship towards true peace in Christ. In doing so, you are living into the picture and promise of Ephesians 2.

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister. 

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