Level Playing Field

Ephesians 2:14-22 Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God. When he came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit. 

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How do you feel about other people? What causes divisions between groups of people? Isn’t it interesting how the Gospel of Jesus Christ promotes reconciliation and repentance of sin by God’s grace, and we get it through our heads to “hate” other people because they are not like us. But we can also think, “how are this person, or this group, and I similar?” Doesn’t this change how we might think about others? Thinking we could be like them?

Now, there are people who will disagree with this, but God does not want His people to divide the world. He wants the world to be reconciled to Himself and for all people to come to faith in Him. We are the ones who want to divide. We are the ones who think because someone is different, then they are bad and shouldn’t be “in the group.”

Does this sound like anyone you might know? As I am writing this, I realize I am describing ME. My guess is that description is also you. It seems to be human nature to be around people who are just like us. This makes us more comfortable. But God, wants us to be engaged in, not influenced by, the world around us. I believe the first thing to do is to come to faith in Christ so that we can be filled with His love, His presence, His life and see the world through His eyes.

Jesus broke all kinds of cultural boundaries, but He did it because He loves. We like to ask the question “What Would Jesus Do?” This is a dangerous question to ask because we know what Jesus would do, we just don’t always want to do what He would do. Jesus leveled the playing field. Because of Jesus there is no separation from lepers and society. Samaritans and Jews. Pharisees and citizens. Jews and Gentiles. Black or white. There is no distinction in any group because Christ breaks the veil we use to separate “us” from “them.”

This reconciliation God did through Christ first restores our relationship and standing with God and then frees us to bring reconciliation and healing to those around us who are “different” from us. Having our relationship with God restored means we allow God to change our lives from the inside out and we allow Christ to lead our lives. It begins with a simple communication and belief. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just about our relationship with God, but also our relationship with other people. This is why Jesus summed up the Law with two phrases, “love God and love people.” The Gospel changes EVERYTHING because now we can realize we are all on the same playing field with God. Some are coaches, some are players, some are caring for the team, some are in the stage of learning, etc. We are all on the same team. The Gospel changes us.

See you tomorrow in Ephesians 3!

#TheGospelChangesUs

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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