THE CHURCH MUST MAINTAIN UNITY: Jews and Gentiles

The main theme in the book of Ephesians is that the church (both Jewish and Gentile Christians) must maintain the unity that Christ powerfully created. There are several examples in Ephesians that can validate and illustrate this theme.

Chapter 1:9–10, immediately addresses this theme when Paul states, “and he made known to us the mystery of his will…which he purposed in Christ…to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Eph 1:9–10, NIV). These verses emphasize that the entire reason that Christ came to earth was to redeem both Jews and Gentiles. God’s purpose for sending Christ, the mystery of which is spoken in Ephesians 1:9, was to unite the Jews and the Gentiles together under one head which is Christ. Ephesians 2:11–22 continues this theme. In verse 11–13 Paul discusses the past life of those who were once sinners. They were “…separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12, NIV). The Judaizers thought of themselves as clean because of their heritage and their obedience to the law while they believed that all non-Jewish people were unclean. This caused separation among the Jewish and Gentile Christians. However, verse 14 establishes that it is because of Christ that the church is unified and must maintain a spirit of unity. Paul says, “for he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14, NIV). This verse is referring to the division that existed among the Jew and Gentile Christians. Christ has destroyed that barrier and all people can be united regardless of race ethnicity or culture. All believers are saved through Jesus Christ and for this reason every believer is one in Christ.

Additionally, Ephesians 3:6 shows that it was God’s plan from the beginning to unite Jews and Gentiles that they would become one equal body of Christ. Through Jesus, this was made possible because he eliminated the barrier that divided the Jews and Gentiles “… [creating] in himself one new man out of the two…and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross…” (Eph 2:15–16, NIV).

Ephesians 4 emphasizes that there is one body (Eph 4:4, NIV) and what unites believers in the body is that all are “…called to one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God…” (Eph 4:4–6, NIV). There is no more Jew or Gentile because all believers are united through their faith in Christ Jesus and He has destroyed the wall that separates Jewish Christians from Gentile Christians.

It is important for every believer to strive to maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit amongst one another so that the church can grow and effectively share the Gospel message to the world. Christians can achieve this by adhering to the advice that Paul gives in Ephesians 2:2–3 which says, “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 2:2–3, NIV).

God sent His son so that all people might saved and that together, all believers would be able to honor and serve Him.

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