Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Messiah: Fulfillment of the promise.Ephesians 2:11-22
Vs: 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
In Hebrew the word shālōm also means "completion and fulfillment of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship. It carries the ideas of peace, wholeness, wholesomeness, reconciliation, blessing, restoration. It is a very wonderful and broad word. Paul says in Ephesians 2:14 that Christ himself is our peace, our Shalom, our healing and wholeness, and the one who brought an end to the tension between us and God that our sin had created.
The second chapter of Paul's letter to the congregation at Ephesus is very important. It contains some foundational doctrines: the doctrine of the total depravity of man; the doctrine of salvation by grace alone and the new relationship between Jews and Gentiles. With the coming of the Son of God, and His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and the giving of the Spirit of the Messiah, something new and radical, had taken place, both for Jews and Gentiles.
In the Temple, there was a wall beyond which Gentiles could not pass. They had to remain outside of the Temple. This wall separated Gentiles from the presence of God, and it also divided Jews and Gentiles.But now the barrier of the dividing wall is gone. Messiah Himself broke down this barrier, just like He broke down the other barrier in the Temple, the veil, which separated humanity from God. When Jesus died on the Cross, the great veil in the Temple itself, that shut out almost all of humanity from the presence of God on Earth, was torn in two, from top to bottom, showing that access to God, atonement from God, the forgiveness of God, the welcoming embrace of the Father, was available to humanity in a whole new way!
In the same way, when the Messiah died, the barrier that separated Jews and Gentiles was likewise removed. Because of what Messiah did on the cross, both Jews and Gentiles have a new and better and equal access to the presence of the living God. Both can worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Both are equally loved and accepted by the Almighty.
When we confess our sins and put our faith in Jesus, he transforms us from being enemies into friends and welcomes us. He removes our old garments of sins and gives us each a new white cloak that covers us in his holiness. Instead of seeing someone purely defined by their ethnicity or country of origin, wealth, gifts or talents or political party or any other thing, we see them as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, as valued members of the family of God. We see each other’s differences and we admire and appreciate them.
It is easy to go to a church with people who look like us, think like us, and act like us. One never needs to stretch his thinking or challenge long-held beliefs. One can hang out with people of the same culture and background. Being one in Christ means we are one with brothers and sisters all over the world, no matter their race or culture. The church is becoming more global and diversified as the gospel reaches all corners of the earth. Do not show partiality to others who are different from you. Show the love of Christ. Welcome people of all backgrounds to your church and fellowship. Reach out and make friends with people who are different from you. You may find that you will be challenged and grow in your faith.
Lord Jesus, bring each of us into the unity for which you lived and died and now intercede before the throne of God. Amen.
Thought of the Day
The intricate history of God’s initial promise realized so fully at Jesus’ first coming increases confidence that the rest of God’s promises will be fulfilled at Jesus’ second coming and after that, into eternity.
Marthoma Church of Greater Washington