Paul’s world was even more racially divided than our 21st century. Let’s never forget that racism misses God’s mark, God’s goal, the word sin means to miss the mark. God’s goal is for humanity to love each other as expressed through the person of Jesus Christ. It is a sacrificial love. It is a giving love. It is an affirming love. It is an inclusive love. It’s a love that looks like the cross. It’s a love that looks like the empty tomb. And so the apostle Paul, in this racially divided world, gave his life for this revolutionary idea. That the precious blood of Jesus not only forgives sins, but creates a family with different colored skins. And this family is a family of oneness.
Well, let me give you an illustration. So as you can tell from my physique, I don’t eat a lot of salads. But I do from time to time. So I want to give you an illustration that oftentimes we, as human beings, we kind of like to hang out with people who are like us. And so we kind of got lettuce churches, where lettuce likes to hang out. And then you got pepper churches where pepper likes to hang out. And you have onion churches. And then you got bacon bit churches, those are definitely Gentile churches. And then you got tomato churches. And then you got corn churches. Now all of these ingredients are pretty good. But if you put some lettuce in and then you get some of these colorful peppers, oh my gosh. And the onions, Praise the Lord for some good onions. They strong too. You put the onions in there. You need some strong personalities. And then you need some tomatoes. And you got to get some corn. Yep. Corn is good for you, put that in there. And my goodness, you cannot forget about some bacon, right? You just got to just put it on there. And before you know it, you go, “Oh my gosh.” And then you got to get some dressing because what dressing does is it puts all the flavors and it makes all the flavors come out. And so lettuce by itself is good, corn by itself is good, onions by itself is good, tomatoes by itself is good but when you put it all together and you mix it up, you have this salad.
What God wants to do, is he wants to create this salad bowl family where all the flavors and all the textures in Christ have been redeemed. And this is what was happening in Paul’s day, and it’s what happens in our day, is that when we stay isolated with just the sameness, we stay in stuckness. And just like a multifaceted diamond, every time you shape it you get a different glimpse of its beauty. Well Jesus’ church, when you bring all of God’s people together in Christ, it’s our differences that makes us different for the better.
So Paul, in the book of Ephesians is reminding Jews and Gentiles, he’s reminding you and me regardless of what your ethnicity is, that we have been reconciled vertically to God. The word reconciliation means this, that we were divorced and now we’re remarried. It means we were separated, but now we’re together. Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled vertically to God and horizontally to each other, through the redemptive work of King Jesus. That we are now the people in Ephesus, Jews and Gentiles and us in Christ now, that they are now the single multiethnic family, that God promised Abraham. Friends, this is massive.
In Genesis 11, God’s family scatters. In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham, “Through you, I’m going to give you a family and it’s going to be like all the stars. It’s going to be this big old family made up of all the families or ethnic groups on earth. As a matter of fact Ephesians 3:4 says this, “By reading this you’re able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. What is the mystery of Christ? This was not made known to the people in other generations, as it is now revealed to his Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. The Gentiles are co-heirs members of the same body.” Now watch this, “Partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” What’s the promise? The promise God told Abraham, “I’m going to give you a family.” And this is the family that God has always wanted.
The cross is bigger than just individual forgiveness.
You see the cross is bigger than just individual forgiveness. As great as that is, God is saying, “I’m getting my family back.” God is a promise keeper. He’s a covenant fulfiller. That when Jesus came, he was God’s guarantee that he’s going to fulfill his promise. Think about this. Because you’re in Christ regardless of your ethnicity, not only are you forgiven and reconciled, you are the very promise that God Promised Abraham. So how does God and Christ take enemies and make them family? How does he do it? Well, because God creates this new multiethnic family, we are blessed.
In this study, bestselling author and pastor Derwin Gray guides you through this letter to the Ephesians, revealing what Paul’s words meant to his original readers and how they apply to you today. You will be encouraged to learn both the content and the context of the letter and then apply the message to your daily life.