16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
“Why?” I remember driving my parents crazy with this question. I think all children do. Something within us wants to know the reasons for the reality that surrounds us. In these verses, Paul explains God’s ultimate purpose in his plan for Jews and Gentiles. We get to see the “why” of our Creator’s actions.
God wants to go beyond merely restoring peace among nations; his purpose is to reunite people from all tribes and tongues to himself. The word “reconcile” in the Greek means “to bring back a former state of harmony.” Sin broke the relationship between God and humanity, causing enmity or hostility between the two. But Jesus’ death on the cross opened up the way for reconciliation.
Thanks to Christ, both Jews and Gentiles can be at peace with their Creator. He is Father to both. They don’t need to fear him anymore, afraid that he will pour out his judgment and punishment. Jesus has united them into one body or entity, the church, which in the Bible always refers to people – not to a building or institution.
God goes one step further in giving the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Christ. Since the Spirit lives in the believer, he can bring God close and make him accessible. The concept of God living in a person is hard to wrap our minds around, but it’s incredible to experience. He gives the strength and wisdom that is beyond human ability.
God desires to have a father-child relationship with us. He wants us to be able to approach him without fear and call him “daddy.” He wants to walk with us through the perils of life, guiding and protecting us. Through Jesus, he’s made this possible for all, both Jews and Gentiles.