I don’t eat a lot of salads. But I do from time to time. So I want to give you an illustration. Oftentimes we, as human beings, we kind of like to hang out with people who are like us. And so we kind of got lettuce churches, where lettuce likes to hang out. And then you got pepper churches where pepper likes to hang out. And you have onion churches.
And then you got bacon bit churches (those are definitely Gentile churches). And then you got tomato churches. And then you got corn churches. Now all of these ingredients are pretty good. But if you start doing this—get a little bit of lettuce, hold on, get a little bit of lettuce and a little bit more lettuce, then you have a bowl of lettuce. But if you add some colorful peppers, oh my gosh. And the onions, praise the Lord for some good onions. They are strong, too. You definitely put the onions in there. You need some strong personalities.
Then you need some tomatoes. Let’s just skyhook those in there like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, put those in there. And you got to get some corn. Yep. Corn is good for you, put that in there. And my goodness, you cannot forget about some bacon, right? You’ve just got to add bacon to all the other ingredients. Before you know it, you go, “Oh my gosh, what a salad.” But you’ve got to include some dressing because dressing makes all the flavors come out. And so lettuce by itself is good, corn by itself is good, onion by itself is good, tomato by itself is good but when you put it all together and you mix it up, you have a great salad.
What God wants to do is to create this salad bowl family where all the flavors and all the textures in Christ have been redeemed. This is what was happening in Paul’s day, and it’s what happens in our day when we don’t stay isolated with just the sameness,—in stuckness. Just like a multifaceted diamond, every time you turn it you get a different glimpse of its beauty. Jesus’ church, when you bring all of God’s people together in Christ, it’s our differences that makes us different for the better.
So Paul, in the book of Ephesians reminded the Jews and Gentiles—and now you and me—that regardless of ethnicity we have been reconciled vertically to God. The word reconciliation means that we were divorced and now we’re remarried. It means we were separated, but now we’re together. Jews and Gentiles have been reconciled vertically to God and horizontally to each other, through the redemptive work of King Jesus. The people in Ephesus, Jews and Gentiles, and now us in Christ are the single multiethnic family that God promised Abraham. Friends, this is massive.
In Genesis 11, God’s family scatters. In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham, “Through you, I’m going to give you a family and it’s going to be like all the stars.” It’s going to be this big old family made up of all the families or ethnic groups on earth. As a matter of fact, Ephesians 3:4 says this, “By reading this you’re able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. What is the mystery of Christ? This was not made known to the people in other generations, as it is now revealed to his Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. The Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body.” Now watch this, “Partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” What’s the promise? God told Abraham, “I’m going to give you a family.”
This is the family that God has always wanted. You see, the cross is bigger than just individual forgiveness. As great as that is God is saying, “I’m getting my family back.” God is a promise keeper. He’s a covenant fulfiller. When Jesus came, he was God’s guarantee that he’s going to fulfill his promise. Think about this. Because you’re in Christ, regardless of your ethnicity, not only are you forgiven and reconciled, you are the very promise that God promised Abraham. Now that’s a revolutionary idea!
Describe your salvation experience—the time when you became vertically reconciled.
Do you need to add to your “salad bowl?” What is your plan for gathering the additional ingredients to enhance the flavor of God in this world?
Father God, thank you for the promise of unity through Jesus Christ.