Ephesians 2:13-18

Unity (13-15): In Christ, we who were "formerly far off" from God have been brought near to Him.[1] But our salvation didn't end there. In our redemption, Christ also made us into a united community with fellow saints.[2] We are now collectively the "one new man" and "one body." We are the church (1:22-23), instituted by Christ as a new entity with no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. This is truly astonishing! That distinction was set up by God Himself with the Old Testament Law.[3] But in the cross, Christ rendered inactive[4] the requirements for circumcision, animal sacrifices, the temple, etc. for this age. He eliminated the only legitimate basis for segregation among people. If He removed this barrier, anyone who puts up another one in its place is simply out of line! He made us into a united community with no excuse for divisions.[5]

Access to God (16-18): Our access to God is inextricably tied to His church. Peace with God without solidarity with His people is biblically absurd.[6] God wants sinners reconciled to Him as one united harmonious spiritual family.[7] We approach God as His church through the one true access[8] to Him, through Christ. In Him, we glorify God "with one accord… with one voice" (Rom. 15:6).

[1] This nearness is reconciliation with God. This is because "without God in the world" (2:12) was just mentioned. As well, this nearness came "by the blood of Christ," pointing to the forgiveness of sins (cf. 1:7).

[2] This is Paul's point in 2:14-15. "For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one."

[3] God still sees this distinction outside the church, between unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles (1 Cor. 10:32).

[4] "Abolish" is better seen as "render inoperative." ka-tar-ge(καταργέω) literally means to make inactive: not (a []) + work (er-gos [ἐργος]). Christians are not under the law. Cf. Rom. 7:1-6; 10:4; Gal. 3:24-25.

[5] God wants Christian unity. The Lord prayed for it (John 17:20-21), we must maintain it (Eph. 4:3), and the gospel-worthy life demands it (Phil. 1:27). We're all sons of God without distinction (Gal. 3:26-28).

[6] Overly individualized Christianity is unbiblical. This is evident in the heavenly reality of "loosed in heaven" in church discipline (Matt. 18:17-20) and the ecclesiological import of Christian baptism (1 Cor. 12:13).

[7] Cf. 2:15 ("the two into one new man"), 16 ("reconcile them both in one body"), 19 ("of God's household").

[8] "Our access" is literally "the access." There is only one way to God, and it is through Christ (Heb. 10:19-22)!