“For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

         When you come to Christ, you are not only brought into a body, but you are also brought into a place where you stand before God on a par with anybody.  I stand with you and you stand with me on equal footing.  So today there should never be a point of separation for believers on any basis at all.  If you are a believer in Christ it makes no difference who you are; you and I are going to be together throughout eternity.

         “For He is our peace,”
         Literally:  “For he is our peace”– He Himself, not just what He did (necessary as that was and is).

         He Himself  is our Peace with God and so with each other (Jews and Gentiles). Christ Himself, not just what He did (necessary as that was and is). He is our Peace with God and so with each other (Jews and Gentiles). He is the Establisher of our Peace. The Author and Ground of our peace Peace in the widest sense: first, between man and God, verses vv. 16-18; and then, as a consequence of this, between Jews and Gentiles, verses 14-15.  All which is to be understood, not only of peace between God and man, but also between man and man. 
         Paul is telling the Ephesian believers that it is the Crucified Christ Himself that brought them nigh. Says Paul, they are at peace. They worship the same God. They (Jew and Gentile believers) have the same Savior. They depend on the same atonement. They have the same hope. They look forward to the same heaven. They belong to the same redeemed family. Reconciliation has not only taken place with God, but with each other. The best way to produce peace between alienated minds is to bring them to the same Savior. That will do more to silence contentions, and to heal alienations, than any or all other means.

                 PEACE:  (eirênê)–This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, shalom, which was also the standard greeting among Jewish people.

         There is an evident allusion here to Isa. 57:19–“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to {him that is} far off, and to {him that is} near, saith the LORD, and I will heal him.” The peace that Paul is referring to is that by which a union in worship and in feeling has been produced between the Jews and the Gentiles. Formerly they were alienated and separate. They had different objects of worship; different religious rites; different views and feelings. The Jews regarded the Gentiles with hatred, and the Gentiles the Jews with scorn.
          Bring men around the same cross; fill them with love to the same Redeemer, and give them the same hope of heaven, and you put to end alienation and strife. The love of Christ is so absorbing, and the dependence in His blood, ,  so entire, that they will lay aside these alienations, and cease their contentions. The work of the atonement is thus designed not only to produce peace with God, but peace between alienated and contending minds. The feeling that we are redeemed by the same blood, and that we have the same Savior, will unite the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the high and the low, in the ties of brotherhood, and make them feel that they are one. This great work of the atonement is thus designed to produce peace in alienated minds everywhere, and to diffuse abroad the feeling of universal brotherhood.

         who hath made both one,
         Literally:  “the {One} making both one”–Both Gentiles and Jews. He has united them in one society.  The old distinctions are destroyed. All are on the same footing before God.

        BOTH ONE:  (ta amphotera)–They both” (Jew and Gentile). Jesus had said “other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (John 10:16).

         There was a very great and deep-rooted enmity betwixt Jews and Gentiles, until Christ purchased their peace and reconciliation. The Jews derided, scorned, and hated the Gentiles as unclean, compared them to dogs and swine. The Gentiles reproached the Jews for circumcising their flesh, esteemed them, of all nations, the worst; and would hold their nose at the Jews when they met them, and cry, O faetentes Judaei!–O you stinking Jews!” and turn away their eyes from them.|
        Christ has formed one Church out of the believers of both people.  Race and national distinctions vanish in Christ.  If all men were really in Christ, war would disappear.  The uniting of both Jew and Gentile into one church, was one blessed effect and sweet fruit of the purchase of the blood of Christ. Christ's offering of Himself was intended as a sacrifice for enmities between man and man, as well as for enmities between God and man: He Who is our peace, has made one out of both.

         “hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
         Literally:  “having broken down the middle wall of partition”–The contrast in this passage is really between the Jew and Gentile. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Peace that has been made between them.
The middle wall, the fence, or partition, has been broken down.  Christ has made a new man or woman.  We have been put together in Christ, and He has made peace.  We have peace with God, and we should also have peace with each other.      

                 Flavius Josephus, the First Century Jewish historian gave us a vivid description of the Temple.  He said that when one passed from the first into the second court of the Temple, there was a stone partition three cubits (4-5 feet) high.  Upon this partition were pillars which contained signs declaring that no foreigner (non-Jew) could go into the sanctuary.  These signs declared death to any non-Jews who dared to enter into the Temple.

Temple Inscription

         The Temple partition held back the Gentiles from really worshiping God or to even come to Him.  Also, the Ceremonial Law, was another type of partition which, till the death of Christ, separated Jews and Gentiles.  It is to be noticed that Paul was arrested and condemned by the Jews in Jerusalem on the basis of a false accusation that he hat taken an Ephesian by the name of Trophimus, beyond this barrier (Acts 21:29ff). 

But now, Christ has removed such barriers, and now the gospel is preached to the Gentiles, those who were afar off, and to the Jews who were nearBOTH can  now come to God openly, and without any restrictions.  By abolishing the law of Jewish ordinances, Christ has removed that which kept the two parties, not only in a state of separation, but also at variance.

Temple of Herod

The uniting of both Jew and Gentile into one church, was one blessed effect and sweet fruit of the purchase of Christ's blood.  The feeling that we are redeemed by the same blood, and that we have the same Savior, will unite the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the high and the low, in the ties of brotherhood, and make them feel that they are one. This great work of the atonement is thus designed to produce peace in alienated minds everywhere, and to diffuse abroad the feeling of universal brotherhood.

“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”

“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity,”
Literally:  “in His flesh causing to cease the enmity”-

         HAVING ABOLISHED:  (katargêsas)–Having brought to naught or put an end to it.  The old enmity to go.  The feeling of animosity and hostility had to be replaced by a s ense of fellowship.

        THE ENMITY:   (tên echthran)– Between the Jew and the Gentile. The coming of Christ meant making peace between Jew and Gentile, by removing the cause of the division.  The enmity between Jew and Gentile was the middle wall of partition.

The idea here is, that the Ceremonial Law of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility existing between them. That made them different people, and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them. They had different laws; different institutions; a different, religion. The Jews looked upon themselves as the favorites of Heaven, and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation; the Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the peculiar institutions with scorn.

        IN HIS FLESH:   (en têi sarki autou)”–Literally:  “in the flesh of Him.”  By His death Christ abolished the Ceremonial Law, which was the cause of the enmity and separation between Jews and Gentiles.. Of twain; of the two parties, Jews and Gentiles, Christ created One new body, of which He should be the Head.

         By His incarnation and death He not only made an atonement for sin, but He appointed the Doctrine of Reconciliation to God, and of love to each other, to be preached in all nations; and thus glory was brought to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will were diffused among men. peculiar ceremonial laws, of course the cause of this alienation ceased.
        God’s reconciliation is already complete.  If you will be reconciled, you will be brought into a new body; a body of believers.  The contrast in the passage is really between the Jew and the Gentile.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the peace that has been made between the two.

          “even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances”
          Literally:  “the Law of the commandments {consisting} in ordinances.”
This Law was “the partition” or “fence,” which embodied the expression of the “enmity” (the “wrath” of God against our sin, and our enmity to Him, v. 3).

        “For if they which are of the Law {be} heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect”
        “Because the Law worketh wrath; for where no law is
{there is} no transgression” (Rom. 4:14-15).

        “Moreover the Law entered, that the offence might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20).

         Christ has in, or by, His crucified flesh, abolished the barrier, so far as its condemning and enmity-creating power is concerned–“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing to His cross” (Col. 2:14), substituting for it the law of love, which is the everlasting spirit of the law, and which flows from the realization in the soul of His love in His death for us.
         Translate what follows, “that He might make the two (Jews and Gentiles) into one new man.” Not that He might merely reconcile the two to each other, but incorporate the two, reconciled in Him to God, into one new man; the old man to which both belonged, the enemy of God, having been slain in His flesh on the cross. Observe, too, ONE new man; we are all in God's sight but one in Christ, as we are but one in Adam.
         This does not refer to the Moral Law, which was not the cause of the alienation, and which was not abolished by the death of Christ, but to the laws commanding sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc.. This constituted the peculiarity of the Jewish system. These were the reason for or cause of the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were abolished by the great sacrifice which the Redeemer made.  And of course when that was made, the purpose for which these laws were instituted was accomplished, and they ceased to be of value and to be binding. The word “ordinance” means decree, edict, law, (see Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; 17:7; Col. 2:14).

It is clear that the dividing wall of hostility is the Law of Ordinances (the Mosaic Law).   The Law is used in three senses in the Scriptures:
1.     It is used as the covenant of works, which means that God agrees to give life to all who perfectly obey His commandments and death to any who fail in any part.
2.     The Law sometimes referred to the Moral Law as a standard of conduct.
3.     The Ceremonial Law which the Jews were under and the Gentiles were not.

         “to make in Himself of twain one new man,”

Literally:  “that He might in Himself create the two into one man”–Thus, the difference between Jew and Gentile being destroyed, both are made in the church one new race, “a royal priesthood, a chosen nation, a peculiar people” (I Pet. 2:9).

        NEW:  (kainos)-This word means more than just “new in point of time.”–kainos means “new in quality.”  A thing that is kainos is new in the sense that it brings into the world a new quality in itself which did not before exist.

         Paul is saying that Christ brings together Jew and Gentile, and from them both He produces one new kind of person.  It is not that He makes all Jews into Gentiles, or all of the Gentiles into JewsOn the contrary, they still remain Gentile and Jew.  This unity which Christ has wrought is not done by blotting out all racial characteristics.  Rather it is done by making people of all races and nations into Christians.  This oneness in Christ is in Him, and not in any external change.
         Of the two–Jews and Gentiles–one new spiritual person; that they might be united. The idea is, that as two persons who had been at enmity might become reconciled, and become one in aim and pursuit, so it was in the effect of the work of Christ on the Jews and Gentiles. When they were converted they would be united and harmonious.
         But understand this:  the Gentiles do not just rise to the status of Jews, but both Jew and Gentile alike become something new and greater.   One new body, of which He should be the Head.  So now, Jew and Gentile need no longer be separated from each other; and now, having broken down the dividing wall and made the two groups one.

“so making peace.”
Literally:  “making peace”–Thus alone can it be done. Christ is the peace-Maker between men, nations, races, classes.  Primarily between all and God, secondarily between Jews and Gentiles; He being “our peace.”  This “peace-making” precedes its publication (v.  17).

“And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

“that He might reconcile both to God)
Literally:  “and might reconcile both in one body to God”–That the Jews and Gentiles, believing on the Lord Jesus, might lay aside all their causes of contention, and become one spiritual body, or society of men, influenced by the Spirit, and acting according to the precepts of the Gospel.

This was another of the effects of the work of redemption, and indeed the main effect. It was not merely to make them harmonious, but it was that both, who had been alienated from God, should be reconciled to Him.

        RECONCILE:  (apokatallaxêi)–This Greek word used by Paul is the word used of bringing together friends who have been estranged. This word is found in the N.T. only here and in Col. 1:20–“And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, {I say} whether {they be} things in earth, or things in heaven.”

         This expresses not only a return to favor with one, but so to lay aside enmity that complete amity follows; to pass from enmity to complete reconciliation.  First, He makes them one and then He presents them as one to God to whom He reconciles them by the blood of His cross.  God’s reconciliation is already complete.  He is ready to receive all if they are ready to come.  If you will be reconciled to God, you will be brought into a new body (a body of believers) and it does not make any difference whether you are Jew or Gentile, or white, or brown, or red, or black, or green with red and yellow polka dots all over you.
         This was another of the effects of the work of redemption, and truly its main effect. It was not merely to make those of both races harmonious, but it was that both, who had been alienated from God, should be reconciled to Him. This was a different effect from that of producing peace between themselves, though in some sense the one grew out of the other. They who are reconciled to God will be at peace with each other. They will feel that they are of the same family, and are all brethren. On the subject of reconciliation,

“in one body to God by the Cross”
Literally:  “in one body to God through the Cross”–In one body; in one spiritual body, namely, the Christian church. By the cross; by His bloody death on the cross as an expiation for sin.

The “one new man” of verse 15 of which Christ is Head (1:23), the spiritual church. Paul piles up one metaphor after another to express his idea of the Kingdom of God (the church, the body, the commonwealth of Israel) with Christ as King.

“having slain the enmity thereby”
Literally:  “slaying the enmity in Himself”– By annulling the Jewish ceremonial law, which was the ground of the enmity between Jews and Gentiles.

         Not only had Christ abolished the Law of Commandments and ordinances in His own flesh, thus removing the hostility between Jew and Gentile, but having removed the hostility made them one.  He then proceeded to reconcile them to God “in one body.”
         Not only the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, but the enmity between the sinner and God. He has by that death removed all the obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God and on the part of man. It is made efficacious in removing the enmity of the sinner against God, and producing peace.

        THEREBY:  (en autôi)–Literally:  “In Himself.”  On the Cross He slew the enmity between Jew and Gentile.

In the ancient Persian court there was an official called the  prosagôgeus.  It was his function to introduce people who sought an audience with the king.  It was a supreme privilege to have this right.  That is exactly what Christ Jesus has done for us with God. He became our prosagôgeus to introduce us to God the Father.

“and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them which were nigh.”

“and came and preached peace to you”
Literally:  “And coming {He} proclaimed peace to you”–This is not teaching the “universal brotherhood of man and the universal Fatherhood of God”  as some false teachers attempt to make it say. 

Such teaching is pure heresy!  That is an abominable teaching out of the abyss of hell itself!  A true brotherhood is composed of those who are in Christ.  A man may have white skin, but if he is not a child of God, he is NOT my brother.  On the other hand, a man may have skin as black as midnight, or have brown skin, or yellow skin, or red skin, and if he is a child of God, then he is my brother. 

        PREACHED PEACE:  (euêngelisato eirênên)-Literally:  “He gospelized peace” to both Jew and Gentile alike.  “He came” of His own free love, and “announced peace” with His own mouth to the apostles (Luke 24:36; John 20:19, 21, 26); and by them to others, through His Spirit present in His Church (John 14:18).

  “which were afar off,”
  Literally:  “to the far off {ones}”–That is, to the Gentiles.

“them which were nigh”
Literally:  “to the near {ones}”–That is, to the Jews who, in their outward relation, were nigh to God.

To both groups He preached peace with God, and thus with one another. There is peace to both the Jewish and Gentile believers because of their new position, but also because something new has come into existence.  Paul often refers to this as the “new man.”  It is not that the Gentile has been elevated to the status of the Jew; on the contrary, God has elevated both to a high plane.

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