Are you locked in a never-ending conflict with someone in your family or church? As you look about your community, do you see only people who are like you in color or status? If you follow Christ, then you are called to the work of ending these divisions by being a “peacemaker”.

So what does it mean to be a peacemaker? It’s important that we understand the foundation or ground of peacemaking before we examine its practice. If we fail to drink from the spring of biblical peacemaking, we’ll soon dry up. The Church is filled with social justice advocates who slip into self-righteousness or cynicism or anger or despair because the work becomes too hard or too political.

Ephesians 2 is a classic case study in peacemaking, as the apostle Paul explains to both Jewish and Gentile readers how Christ’s death made these two formerly antagonistic communities into one community built around the love and grace of Christ.

There are a few things a Christian peacemaker must always remember:

We have a common need.

Paul writes in verse 1, “And you were dead in the trespasses in which you once walk.” Jew or Gentile, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, male or female – we all share in a common condition – we are desperately lost in sin which has separated us from God our Maker. We are besieged by evil, both outside of us (we follow the “prince of the power of the air”, vs.2) and inside of us (we struggle with “passions of our flesh”, vs.3). Left in this state, we are “children of wrath”, liable for judgment (vs.3).

Translation: I’m not any better than anyone else.

We receive common grace.

Paul writes in verse 4 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved”. God’s intent is that in “coming ages” he might show “the immeasurable riches of his grace” (vs.7), “for by grace you have saved through faith” (vs.8).

Translation: I’m not any better than anyone else.

We are rescued from sin and reconciled to God by a common Savior.

Verses 14-16 are powerful. “For he [Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (vss.14-16)

Translation: I’m not any better than anyone else.

And finally, we share in a common community.

Paul’s assumption is that every blood-bought soul will find fellowship with every other blood-bought soul regardless of skin-color, gender, economic status or nationality.

Verse 19 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (vss.19,22)

Translation: I’m not any better than anyone else.

What this means is that when we find division in the body of Christ – because of sin or because of skin – we should recoil against it, and do everything in our power to build a bridge of reconciliation to heal the rupture. Because – say it with me – “I’m not any better than anyone else.” And in fact, I need them to be in my life, if I want to experience all that Christ has for me.

To fail to have this instinct is to forget, even deny, all that Jesus’ death was meant to accomplish.



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