Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
It is easy to understand those parts of the Bible that correspond to our natural concept. For example, we readily understand those verses that tell us we are sinful, that we are sinners under God’s condemnation, and that we are in need of God’s forgiveness. However, in 2:11-22 there are a number of matters which do not fit in with our natural concept. For this reason, they are not adequately understood by most Christians when they read Ephesians.
One matter that differs from our natural concept is found in verse 13. Here we are told that in Christ Jesus we “who once were far off have become near in the blood of Christ.” To whom have we become near? We have become near both to God and to one another. However, the emphasis in this verse is that the very blood of Christ through which we have been redeemed, brought back, brings us near to one another. According to verse 12, when we were apart from Christ, we were “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” If we consider verse 13 in the light of verse 12, we shall realize that here the emphasis is upon becoming near to one another. Because we were fallen, we were far off from Christ, from the commonwealth of Israel, and from the covenants of God’s promise. But the redeeming blood of Christ has brought us back. Hence, in this blood we have become near both to God and to God’s people.
Another unusual expression is in verse 17: “And coming, He preached the gospel of peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near.” The subject of this verse is Christ, the One who broke down the middle wall of partition, abolished the law of the commandments in ordinances, and reconciled the Jews and the Gentiles in one Body to God through the cross (vv. 15-16). This very One came to preach the gospel of peace to us who were far off. This is the coming of Christ as the Spirit to preach the good news of the peace which He has accomplished through His cross. When Paul went to Ephesus, Christ went with him. Paul’s going was Christ’s going. Having come as the Spirit in Paul, Christ preached the gospel of peace.
According to this verse, Christ did not mainly preach forgiveness or salvation. Rather, He preached the gospel concerning peace among the peoples. Have you ever realized that such a peace is related to the gospel? The gospel of peace involves not only the peace between man and God, but especially the peace between one man and another. For example, there is a need for peace between Germans and French, and between Chinese and Japanese. Just as there was enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles at the time of Paul, so there is enmity among peoples today. Among the different nations there is no real peace. Instead there is enmity. Hence, there is an urgent need not only for the preaching of the gospel concerning forgiveness, justification, salvation, grace, and regeneration, but also for the preaching of the gospel of peace.
Before the foundation of the world, God chose people from various nations to be part of the one Body and the one new man. Under the sovereignty of God, these different people have been brought together in the church life. According to the natural constitution, it is not possible for Chinese to be one with Japanese or French to be one with Germans. The only way for the different peoples to be one is through receiving the gospel of peace. One day the Lord came and preached peace as the gospel to us. We realized as a result that we are now one with saints of every nationality and race. Today all who believe in Christ have one source, and this source is Christ Himself. Our source should no longer be our culture or nationality; it must be Christ and Christ alone. Once we were divided by our different sources, but now we are one in Christ as the unique source.
It is easy to talk about this matter, but it is difficult to put it into practice. On the cross Christ abolished all the ordinances, and then He came to us preaching the gospel of peace. However, after we were saved and brought into Christ as the one source, the ordinances returned.
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