Paul is such an interesting writer. Sometimes, he has run-on sentences with no end in sight. Other times, he says something so punchy, so concise, you’re floored.
In Ephesians 1, he has one of those run-on sentences. In Ephesians 2, he tightens things up a bit. He has two proclamations worth noting here.
First, he says, “Saving is all his idea, and all his work.”
The “his” here is referring to God, of course. Paul is talking about our old lives, our lives of sin, and how God saved us from that. It’s mind-boggling really. It was all God’s idea and God’s work. Not ours.
Then, Paul says, “He [God] tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance.”
Here, Paul is referring to the division of Jews and Gentiles (aka the non-Jewish outsiders). In Jerusalem and the temple at that time, a literal wall existed in the temple courts and Paul is claiming figuratively that wall no longer exists between them. There’s no difference. God is saving Jews and non-Jews.
It makes me think of Needtobreathe’s album and song, “The Outsiders.” We, as humans, have all sorts of ways we try to separate, label, classify, codify, name, and box-in The Other.
If you heard someone say, “Yeah, it was that vegan, barista-looking dude who rides his bike to work every day and drinks craft beers. I can’t remember his name, but you know who I’m talking about, right?…” You’d immediately have an image in your head of what that person looks like.
To clarify, being vegan has nothing to do with how someone looks. Working as a barista has nothing to do with how someone looks. Riding your bike to work every day has nothing to do with how someone looks. And drinking craft beers has nothing to do with how someone looks. But, I’m guessing you’d picture a skinny white guy with a man-bun, who wears flannel shirts, brushes his beard, smells of patchouli, and wears tattered Vans.
The stereotypes are so strong and the classifications are so ubiquitous, it’s nearly impossible to avoid. But in Christ, there’s no distinction. We’re all being saved by God’s doing and we’re being built into a beautiful temple. It’s an incredible mystery that God is continuing to reveal, and that’s what we’ll continue to explore in the next entry.