Isaiah 7-8 Ephesians 2
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the blood of Christ’s death. Christ himself is our peace. He made both Jewish people and those who are not Jews one people. They were separated as if there were a wall between them, but Christ broke down that wall of hate by giving his own body.” (Ephesians 2:13-14 NCV)
Whenever people think about Ephesians 2, those grand verses of grace, vs. 8-10, come to mind. The whole chapter is a beautiful picture of our citizenship in heaven. Paul dealt with the enmity between Jews and Gentiles that existed in those times. The Jews hated and looked down on anyone who wasn’t Jewish, and Gentiles, in turn, hated the Jews. Paul approached the problem from a Jewish point of view, but he did so to recognize the truth that God broke down those walls of hate so that there could be peace between Jews and Gentiles who are in Christ. God broke down those walls when He paid the penalty for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
In the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall, two neighbors gather for their annual wall restoration. According to the story, the winter began the process of breaking down the wall between Frost and his neighbor. While Frost ponders why the wall is needed, his neighbor recites the mantra: “good fences make good neighbors.” And so on they work, restoring the wall between them. The first line is telling, though: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” If you believe, as I do, that God controls the forces of nature, we can only presume that God is the one who doesn’t love walls. Walls are unnatural if you think about it. These two neighbors would never meet to tear down a wall that sprung up overnight because walls don’t do that. Someone must put the wall there. God doesn’t love walls, and when it came to the wall between God and man, found in our sin, and the wall between Jews and Gentiles, found through our hate, God tore down that wall. If our citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven, which it should be if we claim to follow Christ, there are no walls. Any immigrant who swears allegiance to the King is automatically accepted as full citizen. Even those who would seek to make themselves enemies of the King by their beliefs and behaviors are welcome should they turn from their wall building and seek the favor of the King. People place barriers between themselves and God, but God seeks to tear them down. When we share His love with others, we join Him as wall destroyers. No gate or wall of hell can stand against He who would break them down to bring peace to those behind their walls.
Oh Lord, I have so many friends who have built up walls. In some cases, they’ve been hurt by people who claim Your name. In other cases, they’ve been blinded to Your grace and forgiveness. Use me to break down those walls as I live and share Your love and grace among them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.