When sin entered God's creation through Adam, every son of Adam became a divided personality. There is a war raging in our very natures. Paul described it like this: "So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands" (Romans 7:21 AMP). This is the condition of mankind "in Adam." Wars and fighting are only the outward reflections of this inner conflict ( James 4:1).
This division first surfaced between Adam and Eve in the form of a domestic rift. Before this they were "one flesh" and there was no shame in their relationship (Gen. 2:24-25), but now they blamed each other. "It's that women you gave me. It's her fault and yours for giving her to me," says Adam. And Eve says, "It was the serpent in the tree that gave the forbidden fruit to me... the devil made me do it!"
This schism continued on through their descendants, picking up momentum on its downward plunge. Their first children Cain and Abel were so divided that it ended in murder. Sin beget sin until God looked at mankind and observed, "...that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5 KJ2000). Finally, God judged the world by destroying it with a flood, saving only eight. Even from these came more evil.
In the course of God's redemptive plan, this utterly fractured humanity was reduced to two seemingly irreconcilable units, Jew and Gentile, each hating the other, each having nothing to do with the other, calling one another dogs, devils, and infidels. What is the answer to this dreadful problem? How can there ever be world peace?
There is a peace that the world gives and there is a peace that Christ gives. Jesus spoke of His peace to His disciples. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27 ESV).
The world tries to give peace through war. This is reflected in the World War One slogan, "The war to end all wars." The peace at the end of "The Great War" lasted only as long as it took to rebuild the war machines and go at it again! The human race is in constant conflict. From pole to pole there is discord, hatred, strife and war.
Jesus spoke of this in Luke 21:10. "Nation (ethnos) shall rise against nation (ethnos), and kingdom against kingdom. . ." The Greek word ethnos is the word from which we get the English word ethnic. Jesus said that wars would increase in severity and number as we near the end, and that ethnic violence and the ambition to rule (kingdom against kingdom) are the primary causes of war and conquest.
True peace cannot be won by war any more than virginity can be promoted by promiscuity. The peace that Jesus gives goes to the root of ethnic dividedness and puts to death the inner and outer warring of man. This hostility is killed by an act of love so great that it defines love-"greater love has no man than this, that He lay down his life for his friends." Christ's gift of peace is Himself. The hostility is destroyed in Himself. He created in Himself one new humanity from the two, thus making peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
The cross is God's answer for the inner and outer conflicts of men. The cross is the answer for the bloodshed that is occurring around the world today.
For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to them that were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17 KJ2000 - emphasis added)
On the cross, Jesus purchased "peace [on earth] among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14 ESV). Jesus lived, died and rose again to restore all things. As the last Adam He restores a new unified humanity to the Father. In God's sight there is only one race.
The Greek word anthropon, translated man here, is used in scripture for both the individual and of mankind in general (the whole race). It is clear from the context that the general meaning is in use here and that the phrase, "one new man" could be translated, "one new humanity." The translators of the International Standard Version agree: ". . .that he might create in himself one new humanity from the two, thus making peace" (Ephesians 2:15 ISV).
The objective of Christ's death on the cross is one new race, a new creation that is unspoiled by hostility and conflict. Christ killed the power of hostility by submitting to the cross. By the cross both Jews and Gentiles who trust in Him are made one again. We who are in Christ now dwell in heavenly places in Him. This is where "world peace" is to be found.
This peace goes far beyond the peaceful cohabitation of many races, living in a modicum of harmony or armed neutrality. Wuest explains, "The Greek verb eir? means 'to join'; the noun eir?n? refers to the things joined together. To make peace, therefore, means 'to join together that which is separated.'" This peace is the divine joining of the redeemed of all races into one new humanity. He killed the hostility. "He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near" (Ephesians 2:17 NKJV.) For this reason Paul emphatically stated that in Christ there cannot be distinctions along ethnic lines. Christ is our Adam and there is one new race in Him. He is all, and in all!
Because the two have been made one, Jew and Gentile cannot exist in this new creation. As Paul exhorted the Colossian believers:
"Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth'ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:9-11 RSV).
Those who walk according to this new creation rule are the only hope for peace. Without the salt and light they bring, violence will completely fill the earth as it did in the days of Noah. (Genesis 6:13).
How can we preach peace when we who claim to be in Christ are so divided? How can we preach about the two becoming one while we separately rally under so many banners? Have we not lost our savor? Are we not being trodden under foot by men? The enmity of the old creation is very much alive in all that we do in His name. Gathering together, ecumenically, under our separate denominational flags can never restore that witness. This kind of unity is no different than that of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, where love is tolerance and kindness is a disingenuous, halfhearted, superficial smile.
After World War II, a Japanese pastor observed the many diverse and conflicting doctrines that the western missionaries were spreading in his native country. This situation was not well accepted by the Japanese because they saw that truth does not contradict itself. The lack of unity among these missionaries was the real witness. Kokichi Kurosaki wrote about this problem in his book One Body In Christ.
Just as faith in Christ is a new spiritual life in Him, so the Body is a spiritual organism. This makes the construction of the human body and its members very similar to the essential nature of the Ekklesia of Christ. Indeed, the Body of Christ, though not physical, is no less real and practical than our human bodies. Thus, the Ekklesia has real existence, and is one Body, and for no reason should be divided. As a human body cannot live when it is divided into parts, so the Body of Christ cannot live when it is sectionalized. A divided Church is no Church at all in the New Testament sense.
We must yield to God, allow Him to free us from our religious partisanship, and enable us to walk according to His new creation rule. Then we will have a voice for peace in the earth again, a voice that speaks louder than mere words.to top