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Ephesians 2:16: One New Man

Ephesians 2:15–16
[15] 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, [16] and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (ESV)

We talked yesterday about what it means that Christ abolished the Law of commandments.  The ceremonial laws, the feasts, the rituals are no longer needed because Christ fulfilled them.  We are now set free to obey him out of love, not ritual obligation.  Today, I want to focus on what Paul is saying here about making one new man, in place of the two. 

There were Jews, who for centuries had the Law and the sacrifices as the means to find forgiveness and right relationship with God.  You had the Gentiles, who were without God and without hope.  They worshiped all kinds of false gods.  There was hostility between the two.  Christ comes and in his body, sacrificed for ALL, he makes the two one.  We now are one body. 

The Greek word for "new" in this passage means something completely different.  This is significant.  There are Jews who hold on to all of their traditions, and claim to be "Messianic Jews." They are trying to hold on to the rituals and the feasts and traditions that were abolished in Christ.  They are resisting being a part of the new man that God has created in Christ Jesus.  Jesus did not die to make Jews better.  He died to make a whole new race of people.  Jews and Gentiles come to Jesus and are made into something that neither of them were before.

God's purpose was to "reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility."  We need to celebrate together with all believers in Jesus the reconciliation that he purchased with his blood. There is no place for trying to resurrect old traditions and rituals that Christ abolished by his sacrifice.

In what ways have you tried to resurrect old traditions that do not help you in your walk with Jesus?  How are you promoting the unity in the body of Christ that Jesus died for?  Do you see division among Christians?  What are you doing to stop it?