Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (Ephesians 2:11-16)

It seemed an impossible problem. Humanly, it was! It was only in Jesus’ cross that God solved what people could not.

For hundreds of years there was a significant division between the descendants of Abraham through Isaac (Israel, the Jewish people) and the gentiles (all peoples or nations not Israelite). God created a special relationship with Abraham’s descendants through Isaac. His intent: nurturing these people away from idolatry (the Egyptian experience) so they could lead idolatrous people to the living God (see Isaiah 49:6).

Oh, we humans! Israel never realized nor accepted her God-given mission! Instead, those people thought all God wanted was them. Thus, the people God designed to reach out to other nations decided God did not like other people. The more exclusive they became, the more they rejected other people. Others resented being rejected!

Thus the gap grew into a chasm that was so broad, deep, and dangerous that no human could bridge it. Then God built a wide, sturdy bridge across that chasm, adequate for every age. With that bridge (the cross of Christ) the chasm was tamed, the division ended, the barrier was broken, the dividing wall came tumbling down, and the peace produced by reconciliation became reality. Israelites could be in Jesus Christ, gentiles could be in Jesus Christ, and God’s purposes could be accomplished.

There was a time when I naively thought I could help our “gap.” Call our “gap” generational, sociological, theological, economic, cultural, or anything you wish, but obviously we again created the “gap.” Regardless of your “camp,” we all conclude “I am better than you—besides that, I am correct!” The end result is that we close God’s bridge, ignore His purpose, and attack those in Christ who disagree with “me.”

God challenges all of us: “See what I did in Jesus’ cross, understand My purpose, and pursue My purpose instead of changing it by substituting your anxiety.” Keep God’s bridge open! Take self out of God’s equation. What matters is being in Jesus Christ, not agreeing with what “I” champion. May Jesus Christ forever be bigger than any of us! May each person in Jesus Christ always know that! More than merely knowing it, may we show it! May “I” always help “you” come closer to God!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 30 October 2008

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