Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 2:16-19, where we see that the Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled to God in one Body and that now we, the believers, are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the household of God.
Ephesians 2:16 says, “And might reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross, slaying the enmity by it.” The word “both” refers to the Jews and the Gentiles. Not only the uncircumcised Gentiles but also the circumcised Jews needed reconciliation to God through the redemption of Christ accomplished on His cross.
Verse 16 says that the Jews and the Gentiles have been reconciled in one Body. This one Body, the church (1:22-23), is the one new man in the previous verse. It was in this Body that both the Jews and the Gentiles were reconciled to God through the cross. We, the believers, both Jews and Gentiles, were reconciled not only for the Body of Christ, but also in the Body of Christ. What a revelation here! We were reconciled to God; we were saved in the Body of Christ.
We usually regard reconciliation as an individual matter; we do not often think of corporate reconciliation. However, the proper and genuine reconciliation is in the one Body. The Body is the instrument, the means, by which we were reconciled to God. According to Colossians 3:15, we have even been called in the one Body.
This corporate concept pervades the New Testament. Our concept, however, is that we were reconciled to God as individuals. But in the eyes of God we have been called in one Body and reconciled to Him in the Body. The exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt is a clear picture of this. In Egypt the children of Israel were, in a sense, far off from God. After they were brought out of Egypt and passed through the Red Sea together, at Mount Sinai they were reconciled to God as one congregation, not as individuals. That was a type of our being reconciled to God in the one Body. We today need to have this corporate concept. Do not think that you have been saved individually. On the contrary, we were saved all together and reconciled to God in one Body.
Originally, we were without God, far away from God. But, through the cross with the blood of Christ, we have been brought back to God in the one Body. As long as we are in the Body, we are one with God. But if we are outside the Body, we are separated from Him.
Our reconciliation to God in the one Body was accomplished through the cross. The cross of Christ, on the one hand, has slain the enmity caused by the ordinances which were given because of the flesh, and, on the other hand, has redeemed us with the blood of Christ shed upon it. It was through this cross that both Jews and Gentiles were reconciled in one Body to God.
Verse 17 says, “And coming, He preached the gospel of peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near.” This refers to the coming of Christ as the Spirit to preach the gospel of peace, which He has accomplished through His cross. Those who were far off are the uncircumcised Gentiles who were separated by the flesh. Those who were near are the circumcised Jews who were brought near by God’s choosing.
The very Christ who died on the cross to slay the ordinances in order to create the new man, and shed His blood in order to reconcile us to God, came to us as the Spirit to preach the gospel of peace. This means that Christ has come as the life-giving Spirit, even as the preaching Spirit. Both those who were far off and those who were near needed to hear these good tidings of peace.
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