Online Bible Commentary
Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (NKJV)
The book of Ephesians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
The epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Ephesus, Asia. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to the other churches.
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first three chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ.
The second half, the last three chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the book of Romans.
In the previous passage Paul closed with an introduction of the Christian positional state of conversion. He wrote how Gentiles, prior to becoming Christians were considered inferior to the Jews.
Paul explained how the Gentiles did not have a relationship with God, like the Jews. There was no way that Jews and Gentiles would ever have peace because they were divided in their concept of God.
Now, in this passage Paul tells us that the coming of Christ has brought peace between Jews and Gentiles. Both groups are now able to worship the same God, under Christ.
Paul writes "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" (v. 14). Christ has brought the two groups together and made them one.
Next, Paul writes how Christ accomplished this. He writes "by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace" (v. 15). Christ has set aside "the law", the Jewish commands and regulations, and replaced it with Himself.
Paul continues "and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." (V. 16). The hostility of the two groups was "put to death" by the death of Christ on the cross. No longer would the sin of division rule.
No longer was there Jew or Gentile. There was only Christian. The two groups have been reconciled to one, under Christ.
Previously, in verse 13, Paul had described the Gentiles as being "far away" from God when they worshipped idols. But now, after their conversion, they have "been brought near to God", as Christians.
Now, Paul writes "He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near." (V. 17). Christ came and preached peace to both groups, Gentiles who were far away from God, because they worshipped idols, and Jews who were near to God, because they worshipped the One true God. The two groups can now be at peace with one another because they have come together under Christ, as Christians.
Paul continues "through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." ( v. 18). Both Gentiles and Jews, now as Christians, have access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit who lives in every Christian.
No longer are the two groups divided. They are united together as Christians. There are no longer Gentiles and Jews, just Christians.
Paul expresses this principle when he writes "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household" (v. 19). As Christians, we are all united. We are all members of God's household.
Paul concludes this passage with a description of this house where all Christians reside. He begins with the foundation "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." (v. 20).
The apostles and prophets who told of the coming of Christ and His ministry formed the foundation. Christ Himself is the "chief cornerstone", that which holds the foundation together.
Then, he describes the structure that sits on the foundation. Paul writes "In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord." (v. 21). In Christ, the house becomes "a holy temple in the Lord", held together by Christ Himself.
Not only is the structure a holy temple, but each individual Christian becomes a holy temple. Paul writes "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (v. 22).
Upon our conversion as Christians the Holy Spirit indwells us and lives within us permanently. Our bodies become temples of God, and God lives within us, never to depart.
The positional state of conversion brings all Christians together under Christ. No longer are we separated by race or nationality.
We are united as Christians. We are at peace with one another, and at peace with God. He is our peace.