That he might reconcile both - in one body - That the Jews and Gentiles, believing on the Lord Jesus, might lay aside all their causes of contention, and become one spiritual body, or society of men, influenced by the Spirit, and acting according to the precepts of the Gospel.
Having slain the enmity thereby - Having, by his death upon the cross, made reconciliation between God and man, and by his Spirit in their hearts removed the enmity of their fallen, sinful nature. Dr. Macknight thinks that abolishing the enmity is spoken of the removal of the hatred which the Jews and Gentiles mutually bore to each other, because of the difference of their respective religious worship; and that slaying the enmity refers to the removal of evil lusts and affections from the heart of man, by the power of Divine grace. This is nearly the sense given above.
And that he might reconcile both unto God - This was another of the effects of the work of redemption, and indeed the main effect. It was not merely to make them harmonious, but it was that both, who had been alienated from God, should be reconciled to “him.” This was a different effect from that of producing peace between themselves, though in some sense the one grew out of the other. They who are reconciled to God will be at peace with each other. They will feel that they are of the same family, and are all brethren. On the subject of reconciliation, see the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:18.
In one body - One spiritual personage - the church; see the notes at Ephesians 1:23.
Having slain the enmity - Not only the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, but the enmity between the sinner and God. He has by that death removed all the obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God and on the part of man. It is made efficacious in removing the enmity of the sinner against God, and producing peace.
Thereby - Margin, “in himself.” The meaning is, in his cross, or by means of his cross.
The disciples, upon hearing this account, were silenced, and convinced that Peter's course was in direct fulfillment of the plan of God, and that their old prejudices and exclusiveness were to be utterly destroyed by the gospel of Christ. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” SR 291.1
This chapter is based on Acts 12:1-23.Read in context »
Suddenly the discourse was interrupted by the descent of the Holy Spirit. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. AA 139.1
“Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” AA 139.2
Thus was the gospel brought to those who had been strangers and foreigners, making them fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God. The conversion of Cornelius and his household was but the first fruits of a harvest to be gathered in. From this household a wide-spread work of grace was carried on in that heathen city. AA 139.3Read in context »
The hearts of Paul and his associate workers were drawn out in behalf of those who were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Through the untiring ministrations of the apostles to the Gentiles, the “strangers and foreigners,” who “sometimes were far off,” learned that they had been “made nigh by the blood of Christ,” and that through faith in His atoning sacrifice they might become “fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:12, 13, 19. AA 175.1
Advancing in faith, Paul labored unceasingly for the upbuilding of God's kingdom among those who had been neglected by the teachers in Israel. Constantly he exalted Christ Jesus as “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15), and exhorted the believers to be “rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith.” Colossians 2:7. AA 175.2
To those who believe, Christ is a sure foundation. Upon this living stone, Jews and Gentiles alike may build. It is broad enough for all and strong enough to sustain the weight and burden of the whole world. This is a fact plainly recognized by Paul himself. In the closing days of his ministry, when addressing a group of Gentile believers who had remained steadfast in their love of the gospel truth, the apostle wrote, “Ye ... are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:19, 20. AA 175.3Read in context »