BY ABOLISHING IN HIS FLESH THE
ENMITY: katargesas, (AAPMSN): (note that the phrase "in
His flesh" "en sarki auto" is found in the Nestle-Aland Greek
text at the end of verse 14) (Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21,
By abolishing in His [own crucified]
flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances
[which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one
new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.
modifies "broke down" in Ep 2:14
from kata =
intensifies meaning + argeo = be idle from argos =
ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon =
word study on
katargeo) literally means to reduce to
inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something
ineffective and so to render powerless, null and void. To cause
something to come to an end or to cease to happen. The
in this context depicts a once for all completed action in the past.
The word abolish
simply means “to nullify.” The Law no longer holds sway over either Jew
or Gentile, since in Christ believers are not under Law but under grace.
writes asks how did Christ abolish the law
How did he do this, especially since
he said in his Sermon on the Mount, “Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to
fulfill them” (see note
Christ fulfilled the moral law, keeping all its requirements, but he
abolished the Jewish ceremonial law. Thus, the requirements of the
ceremonial law (the washings, the Sabbath restrictions, etc.) which had
been such a barrier were gone. And since he fulfilled the moral law,
taking away its condemnation, all have free access through grace (cf. 2
Corinthians 3:6-15). The gospel is now, “For it is by grace you have
been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift
of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8, 9), and
because of this we fly across the barrier to God! (Hughes,
R. K.: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Crossway Books)
The Net Bible note
adds that "abolishing" can be translated...
“rendered inoperative.” This is a
difficult text to translate because it is not easy to find an English
term which communicates well the essence of the author’s meaning,
especially since legal terminology is involved. Many other translations
use the term “abolish” (so NRSV, NASB, NIV), but this term
implies complete destruction which is not the author’s meaning here. The
verb katargeo can readily have the meaning “to cause something to lose
its power or effectiveness”, and this meaning fits quite naturally here
within the author’s legal mindset. A proper English term which
communicates this well is “nullify” since this word carries the
denotation of “making something legally null and void.” This is not,
however, a common English word. An alternate term like “rendered
inoperative [or ineffective]” is also accurate but fairly inelegant. For
this reason, the translation retains the term “nullify”; it is
the best choice of the available options, despite its problems. (The NET
Bible Notes. Biblical Studies Press)
word study on
In His flesh
- In context Paul refers to the physical death of Christ, which the Father made possible
when the fulness of the time came,
God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law. (Galatians
Comment: The Divine Son of God was also the Son of Man,
born by the Spirit of a woman and so fully God and fully Man, His
perfect Humanity being necessary so that He could abolish the enmity in
His physical flesh and free us from our sins by the New Covenant
in His blood.
By the sacrifice of his body on the
cross. It was not by instruction merely; it was not by communicating the
knowledge of God; it was not as a teacher; it was not by the mere
exertion of power; it was by his flesh--his human nature--and this can
mean only that he did it by his sacrifice of himself. It is such
language as is appropriate to the doctrine of the atonement--not indeed
teaching it directly--but still such as one would use who believed that
doctrine, and such as no other one would employ. Who would now say of a
moral teacher that he accomplished an important result by his flesh? Who
would say of a man that was instrumental in reconciling his contending
neighbors, that he did it by his flesh?... No man would have ever used
this language who did not believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for
sin. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary).
from echthros = enemy, hostile) means
hostility, a reason for opposition, enmity, hatred. Enmity
suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed whereas
hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.
6x in 6v - Luke 23:12; Rom 8:7; Gal 5:20; Eph 2:14, 16; Jas 4:4
Echthra is that spirit that looks with evil suspicion on anyone
of a different race, tongue, nation, or creed. It is the “attitude of
heart and mind that puts up barriers and draws the sword,” but Christ
has broken down the barrier and has taught us to love those who are
refers to the personal and national prejudice and exclusiveness between
Jews and Gentiles a result primarily of the separating influence of the
Mosaic legal system. Christ abolished this at Calvary effecting a great
reconciliation and uniting hostile members of the human family. Christ,
the prophesied Prince of peace, is the world’s only hope of lasting
peace! Let us therefore "pray for the peace of Jerusalem", realizing
this is a prayer in essence for our Lord to return. Maranatha!
enmity Barnes explains that...
The idea is, that the ceremonial law
of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of
the hostility existing between them. That made them different people,
and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them.
They had different laws; different institutions; a different, religion.
The Jews looked upon themselves as the favorites of Heaven, and as in
possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation; the Gentiles
regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the peculiar
institutions with scorn. When Christ came, and abolished by his death
their peculiar ceremonial laws, of course the cause of this alienation
ceased. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
writes that the enmity between Jew and Gentile was...
"hatred which rose like a party wall,
and kept both races at a distance. Deep hostility lay in their bosoms;
the Jew looked down with supercilious contempt upon the Gentile, and the
Gentile reciprocated and scowled upon the Jew as a haughty and heartless
bigot. Ample evidence is afforded of this mutual alienation. Insolent
scorn of the Gentiles breaks out in many parts of the New Testament
(Acts 11:3, 22:22; 1Thess. 2:15), while the pages of classic literature
show how fully the feeling was repaid. This rancor formed of necessity a
middle wall of partition, but Jesus, Who is our Peace, hath broken it
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians - Online)
WHICH IS THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS
IN ORDINANCES: ton nomon ton entolon en dogmasin katargesas, (AAPMSN):
(Galatians 3:10; Colossians
2:14,20; Hebrews 7:16; 8:13; 9:9,10,23; 10:1-10)
order of words in the Greek is "the enmity in his flesh, the law of the
commands in ordinances having done away" which signifies that our Lord
abolished the Law by His death on the Cross.
(nomos) in its primary meaning relates to that which is conceived as
standard or generally recognized rules of civilized conduct.
The law, etc., depends in
construction on having abolished, and is not in apposition with the
enmity, as A. V. The middle wall of partition, the enmity, was dissolved
by the abolition of the law of commandments. Construe in His flesh with
having abolished. Law is general, and its contents are defined by
commandments, special injunctions, which injunctions in turn were
formulated in definite decrees. Render the entire passage: brake down
the middle-wall of partition, even the enmity, by abolishing in His
flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Ephesians 2)
(entole from entellomai = order, give commandments) is
most common of the words meaning commandment, stressing the authority of
the one commanding, while éntalma (G1778), a religious commandment,
stresses the thing commanded. It refers to law in general.
is added by the translators for continuity.
(dogma from dokéo
= to think) refers to a fixed and authoritative decision or requirement
(see the "decree" [dogma] of the emperors in Lu 2:1, Acts 17:7).
writes that in classic Greek dogma...
stems from the verb dokeo (think,
suppose, imagine, conclude), and means opinion, conclusion, belief. It
occurs only 3 times in the pre-Socratic writers and always in connection
with Pythagoras. From Xenophon onwards in the fourth cent. B.C. it has
the following meanings: (1) opinion (in ordinary speech); (2) a doctrine
(in philosophy, e.g. Epicurus, De rerum natura, 14, 1, 15 and 28); (3) a
decree of God (in religious writers); (4) a decree, ordinance, edict (in
official language, with the emphasis on public promulgation). (See
Arndt, 200.)...Where dogma is used in a general, secular sense as an
official, public decree, it has only indirect theological
significance...With the death of Christ, the law with all its
commandments and ordinances “is removed from the world as a factor in
salvation”...The use of dogma is, therefore, all the more surprising
when used in a positive sense (cf. above OT) for teaching that is
binding on the whole church. Acts 16:4 lays the foundation for the idea
of dogma as an ecclesiastical decree, requiring intellectual assent. It
runs the risk of turning the gospel of Christ into legalism. On the
other hand, the pressure from the Judaizers forced the Jerusalem council
to take a stance in defining their attitude. The dogmata of the council
were in fact decrees proclaiming liberty within a defined area rather
than a series of tight restrictions. (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
The basic meaning is “what seems to
be right”: a. “opinion,” b. “principle,” c. “resolution,” d. “decree,”
and e. “the law.” The verb means “to affirm an opinion,” “to establish a
decree,” “to publish an edict.”
1. In the NT sense d. occurs in Lk. 2:1; Acts 17:7; Heb. 11:23.
Colossians 2:14 (note)
the reference might be to the new edict of God but in 2:20 we definitely
have legal ordinances (sense e.), so that the real point in 2:14 is that
Christ has canceled these. Eph. 2:15 carries a similar reference to the
ordinances of the law.
3. In Acts 16:4 the term is used for the resolutions of the apostolic
council. The apostolic fathers then adopt the term for the teachings of
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
refers to a formal statement concerning rules or regulations that are to
be observed -- the idea is a formalized sets of rules which might refer
to an ordinance, a decision or a command. This is the primary meaning of
dogma in Ephesians 2:15. Dogma thus refers to the rules and
requirements of the law of Moses, in this verse specifically referring
to the "ceremonial laws" or ordinances covering the various aspects of
the Jewish feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and
purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for
the unique separation of Israel from the nations. Paul is saying that
"in His flesh" on the Cross, Jesus abolished or made to no effect these
used of certain decrees of the apostles relative to right living
(see Acts 16:4)
Dogma can refer to
something that is taught as an established tenet or statement of belief
especially used in ancient Rome to describe the public decrees of
the Roman Senate.
used 5 times in the NT (Luke;
and is translated: decree, 1; decrees, 3; ordinances, 1. Dogma is
found in the
only in Daniel (Da 2:13; 3:10, 12, 29; 4:6; 6:8ff, 12f, 15, 26)
The law consisted of decrees or
commands. Dogma is used for God’s laws and the external precepts
of the Mosaic Law. It referred to a legal obligation which was a binding
law or edict which was placed on a public place for all to see.
English, dogma means something held as an established opinion; a
definite authoritative tenet; code of authoritative tenets; doctrine or
body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and
authoritatively proclaimed by a church -- if one is "dogmatic" he is
unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing
In the late Judaism of the first century AD, Philo and Josephus
understood the Mosaic law as a system of holy tenets, referred to as the
dogmata of a divine philosophy. As the most exalted of all
systems, it was superior to the doctrines of the rest of ancient
The Law of Moses
was a single legislative code which was in turn composed of separate,
formal commandments, which in turn consisted of dogmas or decrees
covering many, if not most, areas of life.
The Law did set up
Israel as God’s chosen earthly people, but unfortunately many Jews
became arrogant and treated Gentiles with contempt. The Gentiles
responded with deep hostility, known all too well as anti-Semitism. And
yes, it still exists even in the Church of Jesus Christ!.
explains what was abolished writing that...
The Law was divided into the moral
law and the ceremonial law. He didn’t abolish the moral law.
That has always been here and is fulfilled when we obey the Lord Jesus
Christ (eg, Mt 5:18, 19-see notes
The moral law says that we love God with all of our heart and our mind
and our strength, and we are to love one another (Ro 13:9, 10-see notes
That is always there and is morally built in. He did not make that
obsolete. He did not make that ineffective. What He did do was to render
ineffective the ceremonial law. It says here, the "commandments
contained in ordinances". In other words, what He did was put
religion to death. No longer could the Jew say,
"Oh, I sacrifice. I go to the Temple.
I worship on the Sabbath. I do this. I do that. God loves me more than
He loves you."
Oh, no. He took all the external
stuff and threw it out. He says, "Now there is only one way to God, and
that’s through Me. You can’t work your way up the ladder." (Ephesians 2:15-18 Christ the
Author of Our Peace - 2)
has some instructive comments on this section writing that...
The greatest barrier between Jew and
Gentile was the ceremonial law, the Law of commandments contained in
ordinances. The feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and
purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for
the unique separation of Israel from the nations were abolished. That
God’s moral law was not abolished is clear from the phrase contained in
ceremonies. His moral law reflects His own holy nature and therefore can
never change (cf. Matt. 5:17, 18, 19)...All the ceremonial laws which
distinguished and separated Jews from Gentiles were obliterated. Before
Christ those groups could not eat together because of restricted foods,
required washings, and ceremonial contamination. Now they could eat
anything with anyone. Before Christ they could not worship together. A
Gentile could not fully worship in the Jewish Temple, and a Jew would
not worship in a pagan temple. In Christ they now worshiped together and
needed no temple or other sacred place to sanctify it. All ceremonial
distinctions and requirements were removed (cf. Acts 10:9,
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16;
11:17, 18; Col. 2:16, 17), (MacArthur,
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
SO THAT IN HIMSELF HE MIGHT MAKE
THE TWO INTO ONE NEW MAN: hina tous duo ktise (3SAAS) en auto eis ena
kainon anthropon: (Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21,
22) (Galatians 3:10; Colossians 2:14, 20; Hebrews 7:16; 8:13; 9:9,10,23;
10:1-10) (Ep 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10)
So that (2443)
(hina) introduces a purpose clause.
- He is the medium or means of reconciliation.
Make - more
literally "create". This work was a new creation on a new foundation
with the cornerstone being Christ Himself.
He might make
(ktizo) was a word meaning to create something out of nothing
such as God in the act of creation of the universe, but in the present
context referring to a spiritual creation, the church, an entity that
had never existed prior to this time. In fact, there is no mention of
the church in the Old Testament, although many commentators who espouse
a non-literal interpretation of Scripture, have wrongly interpreted many
of the promises God specifically gave to Israel as being applicable to
Paul had just used
the same verb, ktizo, pointing to the saints, each one
representing God's new creation in Christ.
For we are His workmanship,
created (ktizo) in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand, that we should walk in them. (see note
Paul uses ktizo
two more times in Ephesians, the first referring to God's creation of
To me, the very least of all saints,
this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches
of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the
mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created
(ktizo) all things (see notes
(Paul instructs the Ephesian saints
to) put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created (ktizo) in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (see
(duo) is the cardinal number 2 here referring to the "duo" of Jew
and Gentile now joined together.
(heis) is the cardinal numeral one and in this verse defines that
which is united as one in contrast to being divided or consisting of
separate parts. Heis speaks of oneness, unity and identity, Jew
and Gentile united in position and privilege. Now race and national
distinctions disappear as Paul explained to the Galatians writing
There is neither Jew nor Greek
(Gentile), there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male
nor female; for you are all one (heis) in Christ Jesus.
[word study]) means new in kind or quality, unprecedented, unheard of,
new in sense that it brings into the world a new quality of thing which
did not exist before.
The Net Bible
Notes explains that...
In this context the author is not referring to a new individual, but
instead to a new corporate entity united in Christ... This is clear from
the comparison made between the Gentiles and Israel in the immediately
preceding verses and the assertion in
that Christ “made both groups into one.” This is a different metaphor
than the “new man” of Eph 4:24; in that passage the “new man”
refers to the new life a believer has through a relationship to Christ.
(The NET Bible Notes. Biblical Studies Press)
Kainos signifies qualitatively new in contrast to néos which
indicates temporally new or new with respect to age. Neos is new
simply in point of time; a thing which is neos has come into existence
recently, but there may well have been thousands of the same thing in
existence before. A pencil produced in the factory this week is neos,
but there already exist millions exactly like it. Kainos on the
other hand is new in point of quality, new in sense that it brings into
the world a new quality of thing which did not exist before.
In the present
context the thing which had never existed was believing Jew and
believing Gentile together as one entity.
Judaism, a pagan Gentile coming to know God is thought of as if he had
been created by whoever helped him to attain knowledge of God
denotes the new and miraculous condition that is emphasized especially
in the church age. Thus we see kainos as a key term in eschatological
statements -- the new heaven and earth in Rev 21:1; 2Pe 3:13-note,
new Jerusalem in Rev 3:12; 21:2, new wine in Mk 14:25, the
new name in Rev 2:17; 3:12, the new song in Rev 5:9, the
new creation in Rev 21:5. This new creation, which is the goal of
hope, finds expression in Christian life (2Cor 5:17). The new aeon has
come with Christ. In him Jews and Gentiles are one new man (Eph
2:15). Believers are to put on the new nature that they are given (Ep
4:24-note). God’s saving will
is worked out in the promised new covenant that Jesus has
established (Lk 22:20; 1Cor 11:25; He 8:8-notes.;
This is a better covenant (He 7:22-note), infallible (Hebrews
8:7), everlasting (Heb
13:20-note), grounded on higher promises
(He 8:6-note). The fact that the
old and the new cannot be mixed (Mk. 2:21, 22) stresses the element of
distinctiveness. The new commandment of love has its basis in
Christ’s own love (Jn 13:34).
One new man
- Corporately not individually. In other words, this truth in this
context refers to Christ's body, the church, which is in turn composed of
individual new creations
in Christ (cf 2Cor 5:17).
Note that God is not making a new world, but a new man. God makes no
attempt to improve world conditions by repairing the old systems, but He
replaces the old, earthly nationalisms by a new order whose citizenship
is of heaven.
summed up this new entity (one new man) when he said,
“For there is no distinction between
Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for
all who call upon Him; for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord
will be saved’ ” (Ro 10:12-13).
The church is new in the
sense that it is a kind of organism that never existed before. It is
important to see this. The NT church is not a continuation of the
Israel of the OT. It is something entirely distinct from anything that
has preceded it or that will ever follow it. This should be apparent
from the following:
1. It is new that a Gentile
should have equal rights and privileges with a Jew.
2. It is new that both Jews and Gentiles should lose their
national identities by becoming Christians.
3. It is new that Jews and Gentiles should be fellow members of
the Body of Christ.
4. It is new that a Jew should have the hope of reigning with
Christ instead of being a subject in His kingdom.
5. It is new that a Jew should no longer be under the law.
The church is clearly a new
creation, with a distinct calling and a distinct destiny, occupying a
unique place in the purposes of God. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Clement of Alexandria wrote
“We who worship God in a new way, as
the third race, are Christians.”
The Epistle of Diogenes calls
believers “this new race.”
In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North,
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
gives a striking illustration...
"Let us imagine that there are two
statues, one of silver and the other of lead, and then that both shall
be melted down, and the two shall come out gold. So thus He has made the
Eadie explains one new man
One new man—both races being now
enabled to realize the true end of humanity; Gentile and Jew not so
joined that old privilege is merely divided among them. The Gentile is
not elevated to the position of the Jew—a position which he might have
obtained by becoming a proselyte under the law; but Jew and Gentile
together are both raised to a higher platform than the circumcision ever
enjoyed. The Jew profits by the repeal of the law, as well as the
Gentile. Now he needs to provide no sacrifice, for the One victim has
bled; the fires of the altar may be smothered, for the Lamb of God has
been offered; the priest, throwing off his sacred vestments, may retire
to weep over a torn veil and shattered temple, for Jesus has passed
through the heaven “into the presence of God for us;” the water of the
“brazen sea” may be poured out, for believers enjoy the washing of
regeneration; and the lamps of the golden candelabrum have flickered and
died, for the church enjoys the enlightening influences of the Holy
Spirit. Spiritual blessing in itself, and not merely pictured in type,
is possessed by the Jew as well as the Gentile. (John
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians - Online)
THUS ESTABLISHING PEACE:
poion (PAPMSN) eirenen:
(Ep 4:16; 2Corinthians 5:17;
Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10)
(poieo) means to make or produce. The
speaks of the continual
effect to make peace between Jew and Gentile at all times and seasons
because the barriers that separated them have been torn down at the
Cross. All are on equal footing at the foot of His Cross.
(eirene from the verb eiro = to bind or join together what
is broken or divided) (Click
word study on
eirene) means in essence to set
at one again or join together that which is separated. In secular Greek
eirene described the cessation or absence of war. Christ has established
peace between Jew and Gentile by removing the cause of hostility,
by imparting a new Spirit indwelt nature, and by creating a new union,
the body of Christ. The Cross of Christ is God’s answer to racial
discrimination, segregation, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and every form of
strife between men. Paul relates this same truth in Colossians affirming
that the saints have...
put on the new self who is being
renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who
created him--a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek
and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and
freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (see notes
- see especially
paraphrases (Col 3:11) as follows...
“Christ is all things and in all
things. Christ has dispossessed and obliterated all distinctions of
religious prerogative and intellectual preeminence and social caste;
Christ has substituted Himself for all these; Christ occupies the whole
sphere of human life and permeates all its developments.” (Lightfoot).
sums "Christ is all and in all" (Col
"Christ, as the all-sufficient Lord
and Savior, is all that matters. His Spirit-mediated indwelling in all
believers, of whatever racial-religious, cultural, or social background
they be, guarantees the creation and gradual perfection in each and in
all of “the new man, who is being renewed for full knowledge according
to the image of him who created him.” Thus, most appropriately, the very
theme of the entire letter, namely, “Christ, the Pre-eminent One, the
Only and All-Sufficient Savior,” climaxes this passage." (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. New Testament Commentary Set, 12 Volumes. Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House)
Wayne Barber has an interesting discussion of what Jesus did when
He abolished "in His flesh the enmity"...
The word "abolished" is katargeo. That is the word that means to make
useless, to render ineffective. He gave them a brand new way. Jesus
abolished the Law.
He said it was an enmity. The word "enmity" here in this context
means the cause of enmity. What was the cause of enmity between the Jew
and the Gentile? It was their Laws and their observances, which they
thought made them more spiritual than anybody else and had become their
source of pride. Jesus put an end to the cause of the hatred that
existed between the Jews and the Gentiles. How did He do it?
It says, "by abolishing in His flesh the enmity" There are two things
that are brought into that.
First, by living a sinless life, Jesus fulfilled the Law, which no man
could do. Once He fulfilled it, He was qualified to take it from
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God
did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an
offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the
requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk
according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (See notes
Not only that, when He took sin upon Himself, He satisfied the curse of
the Law. He became a curse for us.
"CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE " [Gal 3:13]"
The Scripture says. The curse of the Law was satisfied, therefore,
rendering the Law ineffective when a person comes to Jesus Christ [Ro
7:1-6]. The person who rejects Jesus is guilty of all points of the Law.
If a person comes to Christ, the Law has no effect whatsoever in his
life to ever condemn him again. In Christ we find the fulfillment of
that Law [Ro 8:3-4]. We find what we are looking for, that is the
oneness that we need with God.
In effect, what Jesus did when He came He lived the sinless life and
went to the cross and made the Law obsolete and rendered it ineffective.
What He also accomplished did was that He took all the Jewish customs
("the dividing walls") and all the Jewish observances and made them
useless. Jesus put an end to external religion and replaced it with an
internal relationship with the Father through Himself.
When He established peace, the Jew could not say, "Ah, but we honor the
Sabbath." Jesus says, "What Sabbath?" "Oh, we have a dividing wall."
Jesus would say, "What dividing wall?" The Gentiles on one hand ended
paganism when they came to Christ, and the Jews had to end "religionism"
when they came to Christ. You see, sin is sin. All of the external
things they were doing that separated them from the Gentiles made them
feel that pride that God put to death on the cross. He has brought in
something now that is absolutely brand new. He removed the barriers to
But do you know what people have done? They don’t want to relate to
Jesus and have peace with Him. Therefore, they come up with the exact
same thing the Jews did. If you want to know what you are like in the
flesh and what I am like in the flesh, study Israel. They are a picture
of the vine of flesh in the Old Testament. They had to have everything
external. They had no internal relationship with God. God said, "I have
come in and made a new order. I didn’t raise the Gentiles up to the
level of the Jews. I didn’t lower the Jews to the level of the Gentiles.
I raised them both up into a brand new man, brand new to this world. The
world doesn’t have a clue about us."
If you will think about it, some of the biggest problems we will ever
face as a church are organizational problems. They will be external
things that have nothing to do with the Word of God. I am going to tell
you something, folks. May God deliver us from ever having the shackles
of what this world does to govern what people think the church of Jesus
Christ is. We are not an organization. We are an organism, which by
necessity organizes itself. We are not here for the sake of
organization. We are here for the sake of the organism, the body of
Jesus. Folks, that means God could care less about how many people we
have in Sunday School if we are not living daily that internal
relationship with Him. Watch us in the conflicts of life. Watch how we
raise our children. Watch how we deal when things go wrong in our
family. Listen, I would rather have somebody who didn’t have a clue
about how to organize but who was filled with the Holy Spirit of God and
exemplified the character of Jesus in everything that he did.
That’s what Jesus did. He raised us out of this thing. He took away
"religionism" from the Jew, paganism from the Gentile and raised us up
to a brand new standard, a person who is a mystery to this world; a
person filled with the Spirit of God, a person who has a divine
relationship who walks in peace with God. As a result of that, he walks
in peace with men. If you are not living in that relationship of grace
which effects peace, then you have a contentious relationship with
someone, and that contention is tied to that which Jesus made obsolete
on the cross.
If you’ve got contention in your heart towards anybody, the key is very
clear. Jesus has come to be the very essence of your peace with God. He
is the enabler of your peace with man. You can’t come to me. You had
better go to Him and get it right with Him [Ro 12:14,17-21]. Once you
get it right with Him, He will enable you to get it right with man. It
never says man will get it back right with you. Oh, he may spit in your
face. Jesus died forgiving all men, and some people still spit in His
face. It is a cycle that goes full circle. But we are to forgive one
another and be at peace with one another. Why? Because Jesus is the
essence of our peace with God, the enabler of our peace with man. (CHRIST,
THE AUTHOR OF OUR PEACE, PT 1)