I believe the word that best defines our current state of affairs is “division.” Where I am in the United States, we are a nation divided… politically, racially, idealistically, emotionally, and in every other way imaginable. Much of the world (and certainly America, which is in the chaos of division) is desperately hoping for peace and unity.
Ephesians 2 reveals a story of two people groups who were as far apart as is humanly possible. They were the Jews and the Gentiles. Jewish people were perceived in the Roman Empire to be a lower class than the Gentiles in every way. And the Jewish people saw the Gentiles as heathen. They thought the Gentiles were so far from God that they wouldn’t even associate with them.
Over much of the past year there has been racial introspection and reflection in America. I believe there has been new realization especially in the white community that change must, must happen… and I certainly hope to be part of the solution. We can grasp some of the divide that remained between the Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus in the years following Jesus’ resurrection. They had only known one another as diametrically opposed groups.
It’s in that context that Paul is writing Ephesians 2. “For Jesus Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” He continues to say that Jesus’ purpose was “to create one new humanity out of the two.” This is powerful language. The apostle Paul is saying that Jesus’ purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two groups, thus making peace.
Since creation God has been the flawless picture of unity. The use of the pronouns “us” and “our” in the Genesis account of creation reveals that God created the human race in his own image. God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit said, let “us” make man in “our” own image. The three perfectly unified, and humans designed in His unified image.
Jesus prayed in the garden just before his death, “Father, make my followers one, even as you and I are one.” Jesus’ prayer was for us to be united as one, committed to be a reflection of God’s image of love and unity. When we submit to his control, that becomes a primary purpose, and it becomes apparent that our true enemy is division.
If we know that unity is God’s nature and method from the beginning of our creation until Jesus’ last night before his death, shouldn’t it be our priority? And if Jesus’ purpose in coming was to create his Church, “one new humanity”, to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22), shouldn’t our purpose be to give him total control?
When we collectively give God control we may be surprised at where our journey takes us, who we are led to embrace, whose story we're asked to hear, whose burden we decide to bear, who we may choose to forgive, how inclusive our love may become, and how much we end up reflecting him!
How remarkable is this thought?!...If we embrace the total and complete control of God over every part of our lives, I believe in the future we’ll look back at what began in 2020 as one of the greatest gifts God could give us -- a new launch into his future of remarkable good and power for you and me.
This Plan was inspired by the teaching series at Dulles Church entitled ‘Seeing 2020 Clearly’, which can be found at www.dulleschurch.org.