For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 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, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
(Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV)
With His death on the cross, Jesus removed that which divided Jew and Gentile – the Old Testament ceremonial laws – and in the process created a “new man” that was neither Jew nor Gentile. There was no more barrier between them and hence the possibility of peace among all men was created. We learned this yesterday.
But Jesus’ death did something more than that. It not only reconciled Jew and Gentile, it allowed the human race to be reconciled with God.
People are born separated from God due to our inherent sin [Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8, et. al] and we are powerless to do anything about it [Romans 5:6]. However, we have no more important need than to have our relationship with God restored.
The restoration of this relationship can only happen “through the cross”, although many try to achieve this through other means, notably human effort. Certain groups within Hinduism, for example, believe that sins can be removed by reciting the Hare Krishna mantra.
But the Bible makes it clear that reconciliation is totally the work of God. Our sinful state prevents us from bridging the gap between us and our Creator. So He took the initiative to do so by sending His son to become sin in our place [Romans 5:8, 10] so that, through faith, we can have peace with God [Romans 5:1].
The sad truth is the vast majority of people think they have the power to reconcile themselves to God or, worse, don’t realize they need to be reconciled to God. They think they have good standing with God that will result in them being in heaven one day. But this is not true.
We are enemies of God due to our sinful nature [Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:1]. No amount of chanting, or praying the rosary, or facing Mecca, or good deeds can restore the relationship between man and God that was broken in the Garden of Eden. Only God can do that and the way He made that happen was to send His one and only son to die in our place.
In an ironic twist, Jesus gave up His relationship with the Father and died a human death so that we could have a relationship with God and not have to die a spiritual death (i.e. be separated from God forever – a state known as hell).
God could have left us to die in our sins. But instead, through the cross, He offers us reconciliation. It is now possible for each and every human being to be right with God if they accept, through faith, the work of Jesus on the cross on their behalf [John 3:16].
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