Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (Ephesians 2:16, NLT).
How difficult it must have been for these two ethnic groups to come together and fully accept one another as loved by God and then to carry out the great commandment of Jesus “to love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Paul describes their differences in detail: the Jews excluded the Gentiles, and the Gentiles’ sinful pursuits offended the Jews. Within the early church, many Jewish believers would not accept the Gentiles as saved unless they adhered to the law. But Christ did not die and rise again so that we could be better rule followers. Instead, he united all believers into a family by “ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations” (v.15). In so doing, he ends the hostilities and brings us all peace.
I need to be aware of allowing “walls of hostility” to arise between me and other believers. Insisting that other believers abide by my ideas is an act of hostility against those for whom Christ died. Even worse, insisting on my way displaces Christ as the cornerstone and fails to honor the price of my own inclusion among the people of God, Christ’s own death.
Father, Open my eyes to walls I’ve erected between me and other believers. Grant me your grace to let go of my own ideas and allow Christ’s love to destroy these barriers to unity. Forgive me for devaluing the sacrifice of your Son who died to join me together with others into the temple where you live by your Spirit. May your church be united in love and filled with the peace of your Son, in whose name I pray, Amen.