For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Ephesians 2: 14-16

Jesus did all of this a very long time ago. Yet, we are still not living in the reality of what is described here. For there is certainly more than just a little hostility out there in the world, and I cannot see an end to it soon. We just find new reasons to dislike others, to fear them and to seek to keep ourselves separate and apart from many of the people in our world. We can even contemplate and fabricate compelling arguments for the need for these barriers and the laws or rules that are enacted in order to enforce them. In this environment, it is easy to justify the expenditure of extraordinary sums of money on this process of separation, and we name all of it as necessary, acts carried out for the sake of national pride, and in the name of religious purity.

So, you might come back at me with a statement about the fact that Paul, in this letter, was not talking about the same things that I am in the words above, and I will agree with you, to a point. However, I think that Paul’s deeper concept here is one of re-creation or of restoration of that which God designed and devised to be the state of being in our world. When humanity was formed up and established on this earth by the hand of God and with His breath breathed into our lungs, we were not intended to be separated by race, nationality, social or economic status, or by the way that we worship God. These divisions and separations have all come about in the aftermath of our sinful rebellion against our Creator. So, Paul may have been talking specifically about the very broad divisions of Jews and Gentiles, but when that discussion is extended out to its fullest reach, I contend that it is about every form of separation and division that might exist in our world.

Jesus came to break down all of those walls. He entered into His destiny in order to give us the way and the means by which God’s heart for restoration of His creation could begin to be carried out in our world. Now it is our responsibility and duty to follow Christ into that same work of restoration. Where there are divisions, we need to seek reconciliation. As there are barriers to fellowship, Christ’s people must reach out to share a table of grace, understanding, and peace. When people proclaim nationality or other forms of human-devised superiority, Christians and Christ’s church need to raise up a chorus of praise to our only true and sovereign King Jesus as we also stand up and risk defiance of power that is established in this world so that the valid power of the cross is what the world sees standing tall above our heads. There is one road that leads to peace in our world, one path to reconciliation of humanity to God, and a singular way into an eternal relationship with God, and this is the one that takes us to the cross and that leads into the arms of Jesus the Christ.    

So, faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10: 17

 

Our news is filled with voices, or at least with the words of people whose opinions have a great impact on the world where we live. The expressions of these opinionated voices are followed by an unimaginable volume of others who weigh in on what the original speakers had to say and on what it means. Our society lacks for neither the expression of life-altering edict or for the flood of response to it. Wading into this stream of thoughts and ideas is something that we can’t keep ourselves from doing. It is actually important to engage with the big issues of our times and to have an opinion on them ourselves. Yet, it is very easy to get sucked under by the powerful current that this stream generates. We can lose sight of who we are and of why we were granted minds that can think and hearts that contain passion.

 

In all of the words that come our way, there are only a few that contain absolute truth. Among the vast array of voices that are speaking at any given time, only one provides life-giving answers. So, when we attempt to respond to what we hear from the basis of our own intelligence and frame our arguments out of national pride, historic understanding of governance, or a general sense of doing what is right; we will inevitably fall short of stating the whole truth as it is set out in the Word of God. Solutions for what is sick, corrupt, and demented in our society will not be achieved by having the loudest voice in the room. Our world, especially its leaders, needs only one thing in order to travel its course in a righteous arch. That is faith in the one and the only Creator God of this universe.

 

As Paul tells us, faith comes through hearing. This is the deep soaking in of the truth that flows out of the mouth of its source. This hearing is not resident in the ears or even in the neuro-pathways that lead to our brains. The hearing on view is something that happens in and with the totality of our beings. When we are confronted with the sort of anti-God thinking and the decisions that come out of it in our world, our first response needs to come out of God’s spoken and time-tested Word of Truth. The first action that we engage in should be prayer and meditation on that word. The voice that we desperately require in these times is that of God, Himself, whose Spirit will reveal to us the righteous words to utter in response to the evil that surrounds us. The times that we are in are seriously dark and ever darkening. Living well in them requires that we have faith. We must trust in the everlasting and unalterable victory of Christ over the satanic evil of this world. Additionally, we each need to answer God’s call to speak up with a voice that is filled with the gospel of Jesus Christ.