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Verse 20. And having made peace. Marg., making. The Greek will bear either. The meaning is, that by his atonement he produces reconciliation between those who were alienated from each other. See Barnes "Eph 2:14".

It does not mean here that he had actually effected peace by his death, but that he had laid the foundation for it; he had done that which would secure it.

Through the blood of his cross. By his blood shed on the cross. That blood, making atonement for sin, was the means of making reconciliation between God and man. On the meaning of the word blood, as used in this connexion, See Barnes "Ro 3:25".


By him to reconcile all things to himself. On the meaning of the word reconcile, See Barnes "Mt 5:24; Ro 5:10; 2 Co 5:18.

When it is said that "it pleased the Father by Christ to reconcile all things to himself," the declaration must be understood with some limitation.

(1.) It relates only to those things which are in heaven and earth —for those only are specified. Nothing is said of the inhabitants of hell, whether fallen angels, or the spirits of wicked men who are there.

(2.) It cannot mean that all things are actually reconciled for that never has been true. Multitudes on earth have remained alienated from God, and have lived and died his enemies.

(3.) It can mean then, only, that he had executed a plan that was adapted to this; that if fairly and properly applied, the blood of the cross was fitted to secure entire reconciliation between heaven and earth. There was no enemy which it was not fitted to reconcile to God; there was no guilt, now producing alienation, which it could not wash away.

Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. That is, to produce harmony between the things in heaven and in earth; so that all things shall be reconciled to him, or so that there shall be harmony between heaven and earth. The meaning is not that "the things in heaven" were alienated from God, but that there was alienation in the universe which affected heaven, and the object was to produce again universal concord and love. Substantially the same sentiment is found in Eph 1:10. See Barnes "Eph 1:10".

Much has been written on the meaning of this expression, and a great variety of opinions have been entertained of it. It is best, always, unless necessity require a different interpretation, to take words in their usual signification. If that rule be adopted here, "things in heaven" will refer to God and the angels, and perhaps may include the principles of the Divine government. "Things on earth" will embrace men, and the various things on earth which are now at variance with God and with heaven. Between these, it is designed to produce harmony by the blood of the cross, or by the atonement. As in heaven nothing is wrong; as it is not desirable that anything should be changed there, all the change that is to take place, in order to produce reconciliation, is to be on the part of men and the things of this world. The only effect of the blood of the atonement on the "things" of heaven, in effecting the reconciliation, is to render it consistent for God to be at peace with sinners. The effect on earth is to dispose the sinner to a willingness to be reconciled; to lead him to lay aside his enmity; to change his heart; and to effect a change in the views and principles prevailing on earth which are now at variance with God and his government. When this shall be done there will be harmony between heaven and earth, and an alienated world will be brought into conformity with the laws and government of the Creator.

{1} "having made" "making" {a} "peace" Eph 2:14-16

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