“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” Ephesians 2:14–15.
When I think of these verses and a “middle wall of partition” between us and the Heavenly Father, I think of a particular day a few months ago when I was working as a volunteer at a prison in sunny Florida. One of the inmates told me how she longed to have someone (anyone) come and declare a special message from God to her. Something that would let her know what His will was for her life, or something to prove that God even knew about her at all. She was waiting for a “middle person” to provide a bridge to a God who seemed impossibly far away. For a few moments that day I shared with her how that’s exactly what Jesus did: we can come straight to the Father, not through a Temple, not through a Tabernacle, not through an earthly priest or anyone else, but through Jesus!
Although I occasionally make it down to Florida or some of the other southern states, I live in Chicago. If you didn’t already know, January in Chicago is cold. Really cold! Coats are essential! If I take off one coat, I have to put on a different one (or I’ll freeze to death)! Now, another miracle of the verses quoted above is Jesus’ life-changing, transforming power within an individual’s life making us into a NEW person! It is a process of “taking off” the old, and “putting on” the new. What does this look like in my life? It says in Colossians to “put on” a heart of compassion. Compassion has not typically been one of my strong points, but God is making me into a new person! By allowing Him to change me and put a new “garment,” on me, I’ve recently become different, what’s in me towards you has changed. I am growing in my ability to really feel for people when they are hurting.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies [compassionate hearts], kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” —Colossians 3:12–15
Have you ever had someone do wrong to you? I think we all have. Forgiveness is another thing that hasn’t come easy for me. Something I’ve recognized in my own life is that if I have conflict in my heart towards anybody, the explanation is very clear. I need to get right with Jesus, and then He enables me to get things right with others. We are to forgive one another and be at peace with one another. “But why?” It seems like I’ve asked myself that a million times, especially when the hurt is fresh and real. It’s because Jesus is the reason for our peace with God, and the provision for our peace with man. The answer is Jesus. I’ve heard it said, “The way you know a Christian is by how well he lets Jesus be Jesus in his life.”
Jesus Christ removed the barriers to peace between the Jew and Gentile, and person with person, but most profoundly between man and God. He took all of our best efforts, all of our worst deeds, everything, put it all in a big box, and He threw it away. He got rid of our religious efforts forever and replaced it with a relationship with the Father. And He has raised us up into brand new people!
— Laura D.