"Getting On the Other Side"
The Surgeon General used a phrase in his Cornovirus report recently; "getting on the other side," he said, referring to the time when the virus will no longer be a threat. What a relief that will be, and things may get back to where they need to be. Some have called it a "new normal."
As I reflected upon these ideas, I had to admit that life has always been doing, deciding, and acting to get on the other side of something. Get finished with school, for instance; get over some illness, move beyond family conflict, finally settle in to a new job, finally get the boxes gone after a move, and so on. To get through and make things right is to get to the other side. It is a daily effort.
In reality, this is God's effort, too, to make all things right. He wants peace and the absence of hostilities within His creation. Certainly, our world is not there yet; but He has already put in place that which will bring peace. He helps us get to the other side. He has acted in the crucifixion of His beloved Son and created a body of people to share that action; and He wants everyone to get there.
Paul writes, "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations" (Ephesians 2:14-15). Christ is our "peace." He is both peace and peacemaker. His blood brought us near the Father (2:13). His blood was the peace offering to God. It is what He chose to do. He wants peace to reign, and He wants us on His side.
To create peace, He had to destroy what prevented it. He destroyed the "barrier" of hostility and the "dividing wall" of hostility. "Barrier refers to the common rabbinic idea that the law was a "fence" dividing the Jews from all other nations. "Dividing wall" was a reference to the partition of the Jerusalem temple that separated the court of the Gentiles from the temple proper. On it was inscribed: "No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for ensuing death."
In the crucifixion, God destroys these barriers. People can get to the other side. Christ’s “flesh” (2:15) has obliterated all the commandments and regulations of the law. "Abolishing" literally means "to make ineffective or powerless, to bring to a standstill or to put out of action, or to invalidate, nullify, or squash." The crucifixion nullified the law in order to draw us near to God, making us right before Him. It is being moved to other side, and only He could do that.
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