Letter to the Ephesians: Commentary, Part 4 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Ephesians, Chapter 2:14-22, NKJV

Jesus Christ, Our Peacemaker and Cornerstone

Let the Scriptures speak, and let me get out of the way as the Apostle Paul continues to present to the church at Ephesus and all who will read this letter the riches and joys of being a child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, Our Peacemaker (vv.14-18)

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were nearby. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

The Lord Jesus has not only bound us into a new covenant but has also broken down the wall separating Jews and Gentiles. This verse is a reference to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It was the center of worship and sacrifice to God, but also a place of corruption and abuse of what was sacred, which Jesus dealt with when He cleansed it not once but twice in His ministry (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-25). There was within the interior of the Temple a wall that was designed to separate Jewish and Gentile worshippers, not because God had decreed it, but was a legalistic idea of zealous Pharisees and other officials that was punishable by death for violation.

The tearing of the veil in the Holy of Holies at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, done by the hand of God, was symbolic of the reconciliation of God towards humanity, whether Jew or Gentile, to show that the death of Christ was the acceptable and final sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ has made us into one body for service to Him (Luke 23:44-45; Galatians 3:28).

The Lord Jesus also put aside the observance of the Law as a means of maintaining righteousness. The Law of Moses was NEVER designed to be a tool for salvation. If anything, it showed the Jews that they continually fell short of keeping the perfect standard of God (Acts 15:7-11). The Law was also a block of stumbling for Gentiles who had never heard of it.

The only One who ever kept the Law perfectly was the Lord Jesus. His life was sinless, and because of this, He had the absolute authority and ability to take our sins upon Himself as He died on the cross. His death and resurrection were the final reconciliation for both Jew and Gentile, giving all the peace that the Law and our works could never accomplish. He brought peace to the Gentiles steeped in the practices of pagan idolatry by means of the cross. His message of eternal life and true peace is for all (Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 22:9; John 7:37; Romans 10:12). We always have access to God the Father because of Jesus (Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:25).

Jesus Christ the Cornerstone (vv.19-22)

“19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple before the LORD, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. Because of Jesus Christ, they are family, adopted by God to partake of His salvation, grace, love, and mercy and part of His church. (Note: For any Muslim reading this study, I have a question. If your Holy Koran instructs you to listen to the “people of the Book,” which is the Bible, why do you think that this same offer of grace cannot apply to you as well?) The foundation of the true church is Jesus Christ and not any man. Part of it IS built upon the teaching of the apostles, who proclaimed not their traditions or individual interpretations of Scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21) but took their teaching directly from the Lord Jesus and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so (Acts 1:8-11).

Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22, 23; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:4-8). The real church rests upon HIM and NO OTHER. It is a new form of the relationship in which God says to His chosen people that He will be their God and they will be His people. Jesus is the Living Temple who brings His people into His presence to worship and live with Him. He has no wall or boundary. All are welcome. We are the body of Christ forever united with Him (John 10:28-30). This will and can never be altered or broken.

When we come before the Lord Jesus and ask Him to save us, He does so without reservation or an expectation that you will have to do anything beforehand to make yourself approved. No matter who you are or whatever you have done, His blood is sufficient to wash away your sins, heal your wounded heart, forgive you totally, and give you eternal peace and life. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

Our study of Ephesians will continue as we look at the mystery of redemption covered in Chapter 3.