Monday, May 29, 2006

Ephesians 3:1-13

In this letter, written for circulation among churches in Asia Minor, including Ephesus, Paul put the gospel of Jesus Christ in cosmic perspective, then applied that cosmic perspective to the daily life of followers of Jesus. At the center of this gospel, in both cosmic perspective and personal application, is reconciliation.

The good news of Jesus consists of a twofold reconciliation. One, we are reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Two, we are reconciled to each other by the same.

Reconciliation does not result from coming to agreement. Nor does it result from agreeing to disagree. Reconciliation comes about through death and resurrection in Jesus: death to our old life and relationship; resurrection to new life and relationship; with God and with each other.

Paul knew this intimately. At the time, Jews and Gentiles (i.e., all who were not Jews) did not generally mix. In fundamental ways, they were unlike and at odds. Jews considered Gentiles to be outside God’s special love and grace. Yet God extended his whole love and grace to encompass Gentiles, to include them in the same relationship with him as the Jews enjoyed. For Jews who had become followers of Jesus, this may have been difficult to accept. Paul, however, a Jewish Christian and passionate apostle of Jesus to the Gentiles, attested to the essentiality of God’s all-encompassing, peace-making love and grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This then is the church: the God-reconciled and people-reconciled family of men, women, and children from all races and nations.

From the beginning of history God intended this gospel. It was not an afterthought, an ad hoc response dreamed up by God as a last resort. For ages long God has planned and acted to reconcile all in his love and grace. In Jesus God culminated his plan and action. In Jesus he continues to reconcile. This then is the gospel in cosmic perspective, to be lived out daily: to be reconciled to God and to each other through nothing less than our very death and resurrection in Jesus.

Gregory Strong

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