For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22 ESV)
Jesus is our peace. There was a time when the living God would visit men through the holy of holies in the temple. Only one guy could go in there one time a year. Others could approach from some distance. Jewish men could get the closest. Jewish women the second closest. Everyone else – Gentiles – could come, but only so close. There was a railing around the Temple complex – the soreg – that determined how close a Gentile could come to the Temple. Thank God, when Jesus gave up his life on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn from the top down, signifying it was God who tore it, and God made himself available to all mankind in equal measure through Jesus.
The veil didn’t matter; anyone coming through Jesus can have intimacy with God. The soreg didn’t matter; Jew and Gentile alike could come, and if any did come to the father, they did have to come through the Son. Ephesians 2:14 tells us, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”
Yes, Jesus is our peace with each other. Any who come to Jesus can access the father, and any who would access the father must come through Jesus. All distinctions matter not. Red, yellow, black and white; rich and poor, fat and skinny; old and young; educated or not; every tribe, every tongue, every nation – Any can come to God through Jesus. We don’t have to be divided by distinctions; we can be one in him. He is our peace, that is, if we will come unto him.
Jesus made peace. Ephesians 2:15 continues to tell us about Jesus as the peacemaker: Jesus made peace “by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.”
Jesus didn’t kill the law; Jesus killed the sin the law revealed. Whether Jew or Gentile; whether one knew the law or not, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Whether religious our entire lives, or secular up until this moment, we are all sinners. Whether we knew exactly what sins we committed – what law we broke – or not, we have indeed broken the law.
In Jesus, God forgives all who come to him. In Jesus, those who’ve been under the law and knew it, and those who broke the law without ever knowing it stand on equal ground: separated from the father. In the end, as Paul says in Romans 7, the law is holy and just and good, but no one has been able to keep it perfectly, so those who knew the law ought to see God more clearly, but they also are in the same amount of need of those who did not know the law.
In this way, Jesus puts all men on equal ground again. Now, for all who come to Jesus, he cleanses them from all unrighteousness, and makes them one body, wherein he might dwell and move and work upon this earth, thus making peace between people who were once separated by knowledge or ignorance of God’s law. Through his work, Jesus made peace so that he “...might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:16 ESV) Would you like to kill hostility? Come to Jesus; he has made peace possible for all men with one another and for any man would come, Jesus has made peace between them and God.
Jesus preached peace. Yes, Jesus spoke to all of mankind. Jesus spoke to the ones who were close to God – knew him by his law and continued keeping of his covenants with Israel – and to those were far off – we Gentiles.
Jesus bade any and all to come to him, and to trade their heavy burdens for his light burden. To those who knew the law, Jesus came and offered them a trade; they bore the burden of their sin because the could not keep the law, and Jesus offered them the burden of grace instead. Law lives in failing duty; grace lives in willing response. To those where bore the burden of looking for God in many gods, and rocks and trees and rivers and the sun and so forth and so on, Jesus offered to trade them the lighter burden of knowing God through himself for the heavier burden of blindly thrashing about in spiritual search. Jesus preached his peace – himself – to all, and he still does. Paul said, “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:17 ESV)
Do you want peace with others? Do you want peace with God? Do you hear Jesus calling?
Come to Jesus. Join the people who are at peace with God and others. Join those who’ve answered God in Christ Jesus. Be at peace. Know peace. Enjoy peace with God and with man.
Surely, God will dwell in such a house, and move in such a body.