14Our reconciling “Peace” is Jesus! He has made Jew and non-Jew one in Christ. By dying as our sacrifice, he has broken down every wall of prejudice that separated us and has now made us equal through our union with Christ. 15Ethnic hatred has been dissolved by the crucifixion of his precious body on the cross. The legal code that stood condemning every one of us has now been repealed by his command. His triune essence has made peace between us by starting over—forming one new race of humanity, Jews and non-Jews fused together in himself!16Two have now become one, and we live restored to God and reconciled in the body of Christ. Through his crucifixion, hatred died. (Eph.2:14-16 TPT)
Hatred died with Christ. This is good news!
This reality always blows my mind in light of our human experience. Yes, the immediate context here is about Jews and Gentiles, but that includes all non-Jews….in other words, the rest of humanity.
Two things strike me here. The first I already mentioned, that all ethnic prejudice, racial differences, and hatred have been dissolved by the Cross.
Think about that for a moment.
The second is that the “legal code,” or the Law, condemned everyone. So our moralizing and virtue-signaling only shows how ignorant we truly are.
We’ll talk about that another time.
“His triune essence has made peace between us by starting over—forming one new race of humanity…”, meaning all old ways of describing ourselves are irrelevant and obsolete in light of Christ.
I think it was Bernard of Clairvaux who said, “To know God is to love Him.” Of course, he was just saying what John said:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 NIV)
Indeed, it cannot be any other way. As John clarified in the negative, to not love God only means that, while you may have experienced some form of Christian religion, you’ve never actually encountered Him.
To say it another way, there’s no such thing as knowing Christ and not loving Him…and not loving others.
So, for a Jesus follower to make a distinction between ethnicity, or race, or just to hate any human being, is to be suffering from a serious identity dysfunction.
And in loving others, you begin to see the infinite value in all people, and that’s a staggering thought, as C.S. Lewis pointed out so well in his book, “The Weight of Glory”:
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.
The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.
It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.
But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.
We must play.
But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.
Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” – C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (reprint, HarperOne, 2001), pp. 45-46.
Two things here…
“Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.” Yes, there are petty things like ethnic hatred and prejudice in nations and cultures, but that’s not who you are.
“All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.” This point haunts me daily. Do I see my interactions with people in this light?
I think when we stand before God, He will ask us one critical question: “Did you learn how to love?” That will be the only thing that will matter then.
I want to be able to answer that question in the affirmative now. That’s my mission, but I must confess, I fail at it considerably.
Beloved, there is no other version of Christianity; only man-fabricated religions created by people who have not known Love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:19 NIV)
I have been thinking about where you have been. I am delighted that you’re still writing.
Thanks Jeff. I’ve been extremely busy with several projects. Haven’t had time to actually write, although I’ve been thinking about it again.
Welcome back! Love this post. A very important thing to think about as we live in this identity-based culture.
Thanks! I’m sort of back. I wish I had more time to write. I will try to get here more often this year.
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