So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
The Prince of Peace Brought a Sword
I’ve read that a public speaker should always make his most important points at the very beginning or the very end of his speech. Within the first few minutes, the audience is attentive and focused. After awhile, though, everyone begins to drift in and out, reflecting on what they’ve heard or simply becoming distracted. When they sense the speech is drawing to a close, they seem to regain focus.
I assume the same is true of sermons. With that in mind, I’ll give you my two main points right away.
1) Jesus Christ did not come to bring peace to the earth.
During his earthly ministry, he told his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34). Jesus was and is the dividing line that separates all of humanity.
2) Jesus Christ came to bring peace to the earth.
On the eve of his crucifixion, he told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27). He also said, “In me you may have peace” (Jn 16:33). Isaiah described him as the embodiment of peace, calling him, the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). At his birth, the angels praised God because peace had come to the earth (see Luke 2:14).
If you’re still paying attention—how many minutes has it been?—then you may sense a contradiction here. How is it possible that Christ simultaneously brought peace to the earth while also dividing mankind with a sword?
Let’s start with what I believe is the first and most important rule of Bible study: If the Bible says it, then we should believe it. If the Bible says that Christ did not come to bring peace, then we should believe it. If the Bible also says that Christ did come to bring peace, then we should believe that as well. Either these seemingly contradictory truths fit together, or perhaps we’re not capable of understanding them. Regardless, it’s not a mistake in Scripture.
Unity of the Faith
You may wonder what this subject has to do with our passage in Ephesians. Maybe you’ve noticed that Paul is going to great lengths to teach Gentile believers how they became members of the body of Christ.
He spends the entirety of Ephesians 2 showing that God is the one who brought them into the church. Never mind the former division between the Jews and Gentiles. Christ has “broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). Paul says that he has “[reconciled] us both to God in one body through the cross” (Eph 2:16).
In Ephesians 3, he calls this reconciliation, “the mystery of Christ” (Eph 3:4). He says, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6). In other words, the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation was a hidden truth for a long time. It was always God’s plan, but the mystery wasn’t fully revealed until Jesus Christ officially broke down the wall of hostility.
Then as we move into Ephesians 4, Paul says this:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Later, he says that the church should be working together to attain “unity of the faith” and a more mature “knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph 4:13). We are to “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped” (Eph 4:15-16).
In this letter, unity appears to be the thrust of Paul’s message. A vital though often neglected aspect of our salvation is that Christ has joined together people from all walks of life as one body.
Were you once a Jew? Not anymore. Were you once a Gentile? It doesn’t matter. “[Christ] has made us both one” (Eph 2:14). “We are his workmanship” (Eph 2:10). He has “[created] in himself one new man in place of the two” (Eph 2:15).
It stands to reason that unity should be a hallmark characteristic of the Christian church.
On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the very first act of the Spirit was to bring everyone together by supernaturally allowing them to speak and understand one another, though their languages were different. One of the last commandments that Christ gave his disciples before his crucifixion was, “Love one another” (Jn 13:34). In Ephesians 6, Paul refers to the gospel of Jesus Christ as “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15).
In the book of Revelation, John gives us a glimpse into heaven. As everyone is standing around the throne, they are singing praises to the Lamb, saying:
“You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9-10).
If our hope is eternal life, then maybe we should consider with whom we’ll spend that life. Occasionally, I’ll hear a person say that he trusts in Christ for salvation but wants nothing to do with the church. I believe in Jesus, but I don’t like organized religion. He’s going to be severely disappointed when he arrives in heaven to find that he’ll spend eternity with the very people he avoided while on the earth.
To Unite All Things In Him
Have you ever considered why God has saved us? Most of us would answer, “He saved us to go to heaven.” Perhaps we’d say, “He saved us for his glory.” While those answers are correct, they’re not complete either.
Having spent a fair amount of time studying this question, let me offer three possible answers.
1) God saves us to know him and his Son.
In John 17, Jesus prayed:
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3)
According to Jesus himself, the very essence of eternal life is to know God and to know him.
2) God saves us to become like Christ.
In Romans 8, Paul says:
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:28-29)
I suspect that Paul chose his words carefully and intentionally. You might think that he should have said, “God predestined us to be saved or go to heaven.” After all, the word “predestined” refers to our appointed destination. Apparently, though, there is something more important than our location such as our identity. God has predestined us to become like his Son.
3) God saves us to be members of Christ’s body.
What does Paul say here?
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God … being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19; 21-22)
Notice the distinct metaphors which Paul uses. First, we are fellow citizens of one kingdom. Second, we are family members, members of God’s family. Third, we are pieces of a temple, bricks if you will, meant to house God himself. We are equal with one another. We are dependent upon one another. Furthermore, our unity is the grand design of God’s plan of redemption.
God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Eph 1:7). He has given us “all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to [what?] unite all things in him” (Eph 1:8-10).
“When we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). He re-created us in Christ Jesus. We were “separated from Christ,” but Jesus “[reconciled] us both to God in one body through the cross” (Eph 2:12; 16). “So then [we] are no longer strangers and aliens, but [we] are fellow citizens with the saints” (Eph 2:19).
Are you still with me?
Baptized Into One Body
My point is, God saves us not only to know Christ and become like him but also to be joined together in his body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
Biblical Christianity doesn’t exist in isolation, and it never thrives when fractured. Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon once said:
Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.
I pray that you can see the vital significance of Christian unity. We live in a hostile, divisive world, but the church should stand apart as a beacon of peace. If anyone can achieve unity, it should be disciples of Jesus. In fact, Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).
Even the secular world around us craves peace. How many songs have they written about the subject? Do you remember that song from the Eighties, “We Are the World”? Everyone from Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan came together to sing these words: “Let’s realize that a change can only come when we stand together as one.”
“But wait a minute,” you say. “You’re not suggesting that everyone join hands and sing ‘Kumbaya,’ are you?” I wish we would, but no, that’s not what I’m saying. “Kumbaya” is a song calling on God to come by here—that’s what kum bay ya means—and help us.
Even God “desires all people to be saved,” but we know that the Bible doesn’t teach universalism (1Ti 2:4). Not every person will be saved. Not every person is willing to join hands, not under God-given conditions anyhow.
Before I talk about those conditions, there’s an overarching principle that we should keep in mind. According to Ephesians 1, redemption’s grand conclusion is the unity of all things. Again, Paul says, “According to his purpose, which [God] set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:9-10).
Complete and perfect unity is where human history is headed which is a process that has begun already. According to Ephesians 2, God is rescuing people from every tribe, language, and nation from this fallen, broken world. No matter where they started, God joins them together in a single structure, a single family. Praise God.
In turn, Paul implores us to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). He says:
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
So the principle to remember is this: We are striving for unity because unity is the master plan of God. Why does Paul refer to the gospel as the “gospel of peace”? (Eph. 6:15). It is because the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ reconciling sinners to both God and one another.
I Have Not Come To Bring Peace
If that’s true, then why did Jesus claim that he had not come to bring peace? If his ultimate goal is to unite all things in him, then why did he bring a sword? What did he mean by that?
For just a moment, go with me to Matthew 10.
In this chapter, Jesus is preparing his apostles to go from town to town, preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7). The moment Israel had long awaited has come. The King is here. He’s ready to build his kingdom, and he’s looking for citizens to fill it.
Notice how he describes the message in verses 11-13:
“And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” (Matthew 10:11-13)
Christ’s disciples were to offer the people—what?—peace. Once again, the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ making peace between God and sinners. But he also offers a warning: Not everyone will accept that message of peace.
You can imagine how excited the apostles were to finally tell people about the kingdom. But Jesus didn’t want them rushing off with false expectations. In their minds, they may have assumed that everyone wants to hear good news. Don’t we?
You might think so, but that’s not always the case. Paul tells us why in Romans 8. He says, “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God” (Ro 8:7). The fact is, some “will not receive you or listen to your words” (Mt 10:14). In those cases, Jesus says, “Shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.”
We can’t make someone believe. God alone possesses the power to change hearts.
As if rejection weren’t enough, it can get even worse. Jesus tells the apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” (Matthew 10:16-19)
Look at verse 21: “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Mt 10:21-22). Even family members will persecute family members because of their belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is on the heel of these warnings that Jesus says:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)
The timeline of redemption is moving the world ever closer to the unity of all things, but we’re not there yet.
People Loved the Darkness
Paul tells Timothy, “Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2Ti 3:1-2; 4). We still contend “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).
Put another way, divisions will remain so long as sin remains. Strife and conflicts will continue until Christ returns to “[destroy] every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign [in heaven, that is] until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1Co 15:24-26).
That is what Jesus meant when he said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34). The peace he brings is limited in nature. Those who are worthy experience peace in their souls. Outwardly, however, the world will remain as fractured as ever, if not more so.
Plus, believers are prone to encounter the worst of the hostility. Glance up at verse 25. (I’m still in Matthew 10.)
Jesus says, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul [speaking of himself], how much more will they malign those of his household” (Mt 10:25). The masses crucified Jesus. We really shouldn’t expect any better treatment.
Why would anyone hate us? Assuming we follow the Bible’s prescriptions, Christians are the most peaceful people on earth. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus taught, “for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9).
The world hates us because they hate God. In John 15, Jesus tells his disciples:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
God’s people have a convicting presence because we reflect the light of Christ, exposing people’s sin. When talking to Nicodemus, Jesus explained the problem this way:
“The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)
I suppose that if we claimed to be Christians but threw away our moral compass, embracing sins as acceptable, then perhaps the world would love us as their own. But the genuine Christian can’t do that. We are to love what God loves and hate what God hates. As a result, the world hates us.
Believers and unbelievers live on two radically different planes. In Ephesians 2, Paul says that unbelievers are marching to the drum of Satan. They are children of wrath moving toward utter destruction. Believers, on the other hand, are “made … alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). We are “raised … up with him and seated … in the heavenly places” (Eph 2:6).
In short, the sword of Christ divides believers from unbelievers. Eventually, God’s people will enjoy perfect peace and harmony. When Christ comes again, every last division will be permanently removed. But for now, the world remains broken in the midst of a spiritual battle between good and evil, truth and lies, and righteousness and unrighteousness.
The Believer’s Relationship To the Unbeliever
Acknowledging this separation, however, is only half of the equation. More importantly, we need to know its pragmatic implications. If Christ and his gospel are dividing the world into these two groups, then what is the relationship between them? Specifically, what is the believer’s relationship to the unbeliever?
For the sake of time—the experts also tell me that I have only thirty minutes before your attention span turn to pudding—I’ll give you five simple points to consider.
1) Believers must accept our separation from unbelievers.
What do I mean by that? The first part of it is, of course, acknowledging the difference between us. That difference is expressed here in Ephesians 2. Again, Paul says:
You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
“But,” he says, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:4-5). We did walk like everyone else (past tense), but now we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
We now believe differently. We act differently. Our affections and perceptions have changed. We are altogether new creatures from the inside out. As a result, there is friction between the born-again believer and the unbeliever who remains dead in his sins.
By accepting this fundamental separation, I mean that we should acknowledge it and live accordingly.
But how? I’ll let Paul explain it: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2Co 6:14).
There is cause for concern if you feel totally comfortable in fellowship with an unbeliever. Maybe you won’t notice a problem at first, but as time passes and your faith grows stronger, you’ll begin to notice that tension. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself drifting from the same people you once called friends. That’s normal. That’s to be expected.
By the way, the same is true even among family members. In Matthew 10, Jesus said that family will turn against family.
There was another occasion when Jesus’s unbelieving brothers were standing outside, waiting to talk to him. When someone told him that they were out there, he replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” (Mt 12:48). Then, he pointed to his disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:49-50).
Jesus, of course, wasn’t advocating total separation from unbelievers, family or otherwise. He wasn’t suggesting that we stop treating family as family. But the fact is, the relationship between believers and unbelievers is inherently limited. Our views, minds, priorities, likes, dislikes, senses of right and wrong—everything about us is different on a fundamental level.
Do you understand what I mean?
Having said that, my second point is equally important.
2) Believers are not supposed to make the hostility worse.
Jesus taught, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:44-45). In the same sermon, he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers. … Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Mt 5:9; 11).
The Bible does not teach us to fight back. God doesn’t call us to add fuel to the fire. To the contrary, Peter tells persecuted believers:
If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:20-23)
Yes, the separation exists between God’s people and the children of wrath, but we are not supposed to make matters worse by trampling the mission field. Remember that the end game is unity, not separation. While the gospel may divide us now, we’re not trying to be divisive. Apart from sacrificing the truth, we should do everything we can to promote peace.
According to Jesus, “[God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45). We deny God’s example for us if we fail to treat everyone with anything less than love and mercy.
Think of the Westboro Baptists who travel the country to protest funerals. Are they promoting the gospel of peace? Are they following the example of Christ who did not threaten or revile others? No, they spew hatred and elevate the hostility. Worse yet, they do it in the name of God.
Of course, the Westboro Baptists are an extreme example. Let’s talk about you and me. We don’t have to hold up signs that say, “Thank God for dead soldiers,” to fuel the fire. All we need are a few scathing Facebook posts or a spiteful tone in conversation to encourage a rejection of our faith.
Before I get ahead of myself—
3) Believers are commanded to make disciples.
Again, the end of salvation is unity. In the meantime, God commands us to treat this world as a mission field where we attempt to unify as many as possible around the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Go therefore,” Jesus said, “and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). In John 4, he tells his apostles, “Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (Jn 4:35). Even the despised Samaritans—they were in Samaria at the time—were part of the mission field. Don’t trample the mission field; harvest it. Plant seeds. Water the budding crop. Pray that God will give growth.
Do you think the Westboro Baptists are making disciples? No, they’re not. In fact, they’ve driven away some of their own members, turning them away from Christianity altogether.
What about us? I beg you to examine yourself. What example are you setting? How are you representing Christ and his church online and offline? What tone do you use? What words do you say?
Consider Paul’s example. He said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1Co 9:22). Time and time again, we may instantly turn people away with our presentation of the gospel, assuming that that what’s supposed to happen. Not necessarily.
Paul preached the gospel to unbelieving Jews in Ephesus for two months before they told him to leave. Paul understood his purpose. His goal wasn’t to force the gospel down someone’s throat. Evangelism is not a drive-by shooting. He understood that God called him to make disciples. Yes, we are to be bold, but we are also to be patient, loving, and gracious. We are to be understanding.
Don’t trample the mission field.
4) Believers are commanded to love unbelievers.
I’ve covered this point already, but let me add that loving someone is not the same as fellowship. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you have to be close to them or spend a lot of time with them. Even so, I can’t stress the importance of love enough.
Just remember that truth, spiritual gifts, faith, even good works—none of it means anything without love. Paul says:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
So what is this all-important love?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is not describing a love that is exclusive to husbands and wives. It is not a love shared between only believers. Love is love, and the Bible teaches us to love even our enemies.
5) Believers are commanded to pray for unbelievers.
To be clear, our love for unbelievers should not be superficial. We are not to pretend to love, but we are to actually love from the depth of our hearts.
For example, listen to the angst in Paul’s voice when he says, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for [Israel] is that they may be saved” (Ro 10:1). Earlier, he said, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Ro 9:3).
Even Jesus stood outside of the city of Jerusalem, a city he intended to judge for their rejection of him, and he wept. He didn’t weep for himself; he wept for them, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Lk 19:42).
It makes me cringe when I hear Christians talk about unbelievers as though God’s coming judgment of them is a thing to be celebrated. God himself said, “I have no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Eze 18:32). His judgment may be righteous and necessary, but it’s never desirable.
The hearts of believers should be filled with an unquenchable passion to see people saved, united with us by God’s grace. Even when they reject the truth and we are forced to shake the dust from our feet, we shouldn’t walk away with a satisfied grin, thinking, That’s their problem. Praise God for the doctrine of election. No, Jesus wept for them. Paul prayed for them.
Paul tells Timothy:
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Our love and concern for others should run so deep that we are in constant prayer for them. Think about that. We should be on our knees pleading to God on their behalf.
But what are we prone to do instead? We separate ourselves completely. We publicly revile them even though the Bible says, “God judges those outside” (1Co 5:13). In our pitiful attempts to evangelize, we say, “Here are the facts. If you won’t accept them right here and now, then I’m out of here.” Praying for them rarely crosses our minds if ever.
Strive For Unity
As I said in the beginning, Jesus did not come to bring peace. That’s an unfortunate reality. Please remember, though, he is the Prince of Peace. His ultimate purpose is to unite all things in him. Consequently, our purpose is to strive for unity, not greater division.
Weigh your heart. Examine yourself. Did peace motivate your last status update on Facebook? Was your last attempt at evangelism shaped by a desire for unity? Is your behavior or tone one of patience and kindness?
If not, I encourage you to read Ephesians 1-2 over and over again until you remember who you were before you “heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him” (Eph 1:13). Remind yourself daily that you, too, were “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph 2:1).
I also said in the beginning that Jesus came to bring peace. Specially, he brought peace to his elect people. He brought peace to those who are “no longer strangers and aliens, but … fellow citizens with the saints” (Eph 2:19). So why then are even believers divided? The church has more cracks and fractures than we can count.
We’ll save that question for next week.