Ephesians 2:11-18 – Reconciliation and Unity through Jesus

This section of the Bible points out a vivid contrast: division versus unity. For identification purposes, the Jews sometimes were called “the Circumcision,” while the Gentiles, that is, non-Jews, were called “the Uncircumcision” (Ephesians 2:11). Whether intentional or not, such nomenclature seemed to accentuate the division between the two parties.

The Israelites had been designated the chosen people of God. Before God’s Son came into the world, the Gentiles were on the outside looking in, without God, without the Christ, and without hope (2:12).

Between the Gentiles and Jews stood a “wall of separation” (2:14). Before the Messiah came in the flesh, in general, there were no pleasant associations between the Jews and non-Jews. The law of Moses stood as a separator: the Israelites were committed to following it, but the Gentiles were not. Enmity kept the Gentiles and Jews apart from one another (2:15).

In His infinite wisdom, God had a plan to bring the Jews and Gentiles together. How could that ever be accomplished? Through His Son. Gentiles were “brought near by the blood of Christ” (2:13). Jesus serves as peace . . . a peace offering, so to speak, to get Jews and Gentiles together (2:14).

The Christ “has made both one” (2:14). In the context, the word “both” points to Gentiles and Jews. From the two, He has created “in Himself one new man” (2:15). The “new man” is a new person in the Christ, called a “Christian” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Racial and biological distinctions still exist, but in the Christ, Jewish and Gentile Christians are one family, the children of God (Galatians 3:26-28).

On the one hand, through the cross Jesus reconciled Gentiles and Jews to one another. By that same cross, He also reconciled them both to God (2:16). It is clear that being reconciled to God was an individual, conditional matter, as was the once- separated Jews’ and Gentiles’ reconciliation to each other. The reconciliation of any parties, who for any reason have been at odds with one another, can be brought about only when they accept the gospel and treat one another as equal members in God’s family.

A big factor in the unity among first-century Jewish and Gentile saints was the fact that Jesus abolished the law of commandments, that is, the law of Moses (2:15). He was a promoter and preacher of peace (2:17) — the Prince of Peace provided the gospel of peace (6:15) to bring folks into His kingdom of peace (Romans 14:17), leading to eternal peace.

Roger D. Campbell