August 17, 2023

“He came to preach peace to those who were far off and those who were near.”  Ephesians 2:17

Ephesians 2:17 is amazing because it shows us that the gospel creates a level playing field! 

In the New Testament culture, there was a major racial division between Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were the good religious people of God who had access to Him because of their heritage and faith. The Gentiles were the outsiders who had no hope of being right with God based on their heritage and upbringing. Paul’s goal in Ephesians 2 is to show how the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ demolishes the division. 

As sinful people, we love to build walls. 

But God loves to tear them down.  

It doesn’t matter where you are from. It doesn’t matter how you were raised. It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t even matter how you have lived. In Christ, the playing field has been leveled because it is only through Him that anyone can be made right with God. In verse seventeen, Paul quotes from Isaiah 57:18-19, “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the Lord, and I will heal him.” 

This is amazing news for the Jew and the Gentile alike because this is a level playing field for all who trust in Jesus. Peace with God is offered to all who believe the good news of the gospel. No matter who you are, what you have done, or where you are from, the wall of hostility has been torn down, and you can have access to God by receiving the gift of Jesus Christ’s perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection.  

As people of God, called to mirror His character, how can we step out in faith to preach peace to those far from God and tear down dividing walls of hostility that remain in our culture? 

Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL

READ MORE ABOUT PAUL’S MISSION TO THE GENTILES in “Why was Paul called the apostle to the Gentiles?” at GotQuestions.org