Today’s passage: Ephesians 2:11-22
The gospel of Jesus Christ is amazingly simple. Mostly, religion is about proving ourselves worthy of God. It’s about living an upright, moral life. It’s about attaining a standard of life that is superior to the majority of others. It’s about being able to say that we have harshly disciplined ourselves, and that we have attained a level of perfection that is “good enough” for God.
Many have assumed that Christianity falls into this same style of religiosity. We are saved by Jesus Christ, who forgives us our sins. But we must then maintain our salvation by being “good enough” Christians. We must be better than none Christians. We must be in God’s good books. But this is not what Christianity is all about.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been following Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where in ecstatic praise he worships God for all that God has done. Paul understood that true Christianity is less about us, and more about Christ. In Christ, he reminded us, we are perfect. In Christ we have been made into a new creation. In Christ, the old self – ruled by sin – was execute on the cross. In Christ, we have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing (so we don’t have to keep trying to earn God’s favour). In Christ, we have been exalted to the heavenlies, where we are now seated with the Father. In Christ, we are new. We are, as we saw last week, God’s masterpieces.
This week, Paul wants to remind us to remember who we are, so that we can fully “get” what it is that God has done for us in Christ. Sin divides, Christ unites. Jews used to look down their noses at Gentiles – thinking that they alone had the right to consider themselves saved by God. It’s so tempting for us as Christians to assume the same of those in the world.
But Christ is in the business of breaking down walls of division. He is our peace. He brings people from all walks of life together. No matter our past, or our history, or heritage, or gender – if we put our trust in Christ and entrust our lives to him – then we are one.
In Christ, together, this multi-faceted array of humanity becomes the temple of God. The place where God’s glory is revealed in saving and rescuing and uniting into a new people such a diverse array of people. Together in Christ, we are not only God’s family – but also the place where God dwells by his Spirit.
Now that is something worth remembering! Not how well we’ve done, but how good God has been to us!