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14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

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14. For he is our peace. He now includes Jews in the privilege of reconciliation, and shows that, through one Messiah, all are united to God. This consideration was fitted to repress the false confidence of the Jews, who, despising the grace of Christ, boasted that they were the holy people, and chosen inheritance, of God. If Christ is our peace, all who are out of him must be at variance with God. What a beautiful title is this which Christ possesses, — the peace between God and men! Let no one who dwells in Christ entertain a doubt that he is reconciled to God.

Who hath made both one. This distinction was necessary. 126126     “Il estoit necessaire que l’Apostre distinguast ainsi les hommes en deux bandes.” “It was necessary that the apostle should separate men into two classes.” All intercourse with the Gentiles was held to be inconsistent with their own superior claims. 127127     “Les Juifs estans enflez du privilege que Dieu leur avoit fait, tenoyent les Gentils pour indignes de communiquer avec eux en sorte quelconque.” “The Jews, puffed up with the privilege which God had conferred upon them, reckoned the Gentiles to be unworthy of being admitted to any intercourse whatever.” To subdue this pride, he tells them that they and the Gentiles have been united into one body. Put all these things together, and you will frame the following syllogism: If the Jews wish to enjoy peace with God, they must have Christ as their Mediator. But Christ will not be their peace in any other way than by making them one body with the Gentiles. Therefore, unless the Jews admit the Gentiles to fellowship with them, they have no friendship with God.

And breaking down the middle wall of partition. To understand this passage, two things must be observed. The Jews were separated, for a certain time, from the Gentiles, by the appointment of God; and ceremonial observances were the open and avowed symbols of that separation. Passing by the Gentiles, God had chosen the Jews to be a peculiar people to himself. A wide distinction was thus made, when the one class were “fellow-citizens and of the household” (Ephesians 2:19) of the Church, and the other were foreigners. This is stated in the Song of Moses:

“When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel: for the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:8,9)

Bounds were thus fixed by God to separate one people from the rest; and hence arose the enmity which is here mentioned. A separation is thus made. The Gentiles are set aside. God is pleased to choose and sanctify the Jewish people, by freeing them from the ordinary pollution of mankind. Ceremonial observances were afterwards added, which, like walls, enclosed the inheritance of God, prevented it from being open to all or mixed with other possessions, and thus excluded the Gentiles from the kingdom of God.

But now, the apostle, says, the enmity is removed, and the wall is broken down. By extending the privilege of adoption beyond the limits of Judea, Christ has now made us all to be brethren. And so is fulfilled the prophecy,

“God shall enlarge Japheth,
and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” (Genesis 9:27)




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