Notes for Ephesians 3:1-12 Service: January 10, 2016 – Baptism of our Lord
Paul is talking about a ‘great mystery’. That mystery is the inclusion of the gentiles into the promise(s) given to Israel. He has referred to the division that existed between the Jews and the gentiles. That division (wall of enmity) is the Law. This doesn’t mean that the Law is bad. It means that it is a distinguishing hallmark of God’s people.
Through Christ, however, the gentiles have been incorporated into spiritual Israel through the body of Christ. He has abolished the wall of enmity through the cross and his blood.
On a deeper level, one recalls the divisions between brothers in the Old Testament; Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. One received the promise(s), while the other did not. The other was excluded. Only the blood descendants of the recipients of the promise inherited the promises. Division after division. Even the expulsion and permanent cutting off of the Northern tribes (Israel) further divides and eliminates those who can claim the inheritance of the promise(s).
Why, then, did Christ come? To reconcile those who are far off with those who are near. He is the reconciler of the world. He brings about the transformational work of unity through his own body, the church. That happens in this world. The eschatological present exists in Christ’s present body, which is the church.