The illusive experience of peace has people all over the world raising barriers that separates them from all others because each one thinks peace can only be made on my selfish terms. This has separated nations, races, cultures, religions, families and even marriages. So when the subject of grace enters into this conflict, people get resentful. Grace given means there is something I need that I cannot do for myself. Grace does away with self-centered independence that considers its position the one to which every other must come. Fences and barriers of one kind or another have been erected to maintain that independent attitude. This ultimately becomes a wall of hostility between people that divides and embitters them against others. It is to address this matter that Paul has written these words guided by the Holy Spirit.
The words at the beginning of this chapter describes who we were. it is sometimes a good thing to go back and remember we were dead, depraved, disobedient unto God and under the domination of Satan’s power. The wonders of love, grace and mercy from God enters this dark scene and everything has changed from what we were to where we are – seated in heavenly places in Christ. All believers in Christ are in that wonderful position. No longer is there separation. Now we are brought near to God through Christ, and as a result, near to each other. But even more – we have been reconciled to God and to those who had been separated by the “middle wall of partition.” God in an act of grace destroyed the barriers people had made between them. The dividing barriers between old and young are removed when we come together at the feet of Jesus. The differences between male and female or beautiful and plain are gone when our minds and hearts are focused on our Savior. Educational barriers are not an issue when true worshippers have their minds “stayed” on our blessed Lord. Nationalities and politics have no place or control over those who know Christ who “is our peace.” He is the essence and virtue of peace that crosses all barriers and breaks them down by the power of the Gospel of peace. The color of skin does not remain a problem to those who are “looking off unto Jesus.” He has “made of one blood all nations of men.” So the outward appearance is only that which covers the inner man. It is from within that love, grace, holiness and all the fruit of the Spirit is made manifest. Even religious bias is removed when our convictions are based on the Word of God and we are willing to obey God’s truth.
We may wonder at the words, “one new man.” Out of two opposing groups has come one of the miracles of grace that becomes real to us by faith. Enmity, ordinances, opinions are now set aside and a new living entity has been created, Hostility has been put to death. Those who were far away are brought near. Not only is Christ Himself our peace, but He has made peace. He “made peace through the blood of His cross” between us and God. Now He makes peace between divergent groups of people, and makes us “one in Christ, one body in the Lord.” The enmity between Jews and Gentiles has been dealt with by His reconciling work, as well as the enmity between sinners and God. Christ is the Peace-Maker. By Christ’s death for us, we now go beyond the barriers to live a new life as “one new man” in the kingdom of His dear Son.” Reconciliation has been made, and its effects are far reaching. Christ is our peace – the essence of what peace is, and is the Peace-Maker between opposing parties – both men and God. Now He came and “preached peace” to both Jews and Gentiles, and through Him and what He has done, the Holy Spirit indwells us and gives us constant access to our heavenly Father at the throne of grace.
A whole new vista opens up to our eyes because of the work of reconciliation that our Lord accomplished. “Now” – now beyond the broken down barriers; now that we are made “one new man; now that peace has been made – everything is different. Now God has established His own new household. He has made something entirely new that was not seen nor understood before. His household is the church for which Christ died. That church is not a motley gathering of people who come and go at their own whim. It is composed of citizens of the kingdom of God. It began when our Lord Jesus Christ was here and established its position by being the Chief Corner Stone. It is compared to a temple, a dwelling place for God, in which holiness, righteousness, peace and all His divine attributes have a place to be displayed and used for the benefits of all parts of the temple. Every one in this temple is a saint – set apart for the Lord. Everyone in the body of Christ is a true believer in Him. Only God Himself knows who they all are. Some may think they are in the habitation of God because they choose to be. Others think they are in the temple because of their religious affiliation. Others because of family ties. This is not like a local gathering of people as a church. There may be those in a local church who are not even saved. They are not children of God. In the universal church – the habitation of God – each one is placed there by the Spirit of God, not by the choice of men.
From that Chief Corner Stone, there was set in place the apostles and prophets who received from the Lord Jesus Himself the truths that must be taught to those who would be added to the church. That heritage, that foundation has not changed and cannot be changed by the opinions and doctrines of men. God dwells in this temple. It is His church, not ours. The temple is the center from which true worship, praise, thanksgiving and service spreads out to the world. The plans and arrangements people make in their local congregations does not necessarily reflect what God has designed in the “holy temple in the Lord.” Much that is done in a local church is designed to appeal to men and women and attract them to attend that particular place. This holy temple in the Lord that is being built is “fitly framed” by God so that each piece is a suitable part to the whole.
We cannot see this great church that has been in the process of being built for nearly 2000 years. Only the infinite God can see what it looks like today as piece after piece is being added from people all over the world coming into His kingdom by faith in Jesus Christ. This unification has taken place and all parts are being unified into one glorious temple. This is being done by the Lord “in whom” we have been made a part of the “habitation of God” – the Father. The Holy Spirit is actively working to bring about the conclusion of the building by having the Gospel preached throughout the world by those He has filled to declare the way of salvation. What a privilege it is to be a part of such a magnificent work.