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. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17)
Notice the emphatic position of Christ. For he himself is our peace. Jesus alone is our peace. He must be because we could not create peace for ourselves. We’re the ones who created sin and division. By nature, we are selfish creatures which is inherently divisive. James rhetorically asked:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)
If there is to be peace between us, then we must die to self. And where does self go to die? It dies on the cross of Christ. In Galatians 2, Paul confessed:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Without the cross, there is no dying to self. Without dying to self, there is no peace between us.
John MacArthur told the story of a battle that was taking place between the Germans and the Americans during World War II. As you would expect, the fighting was brutal. I’m sure that the hatred between the two sides was incredible, to say the least. But the battle came to a surprising halt when a three-year-old child wandered into the middle of the field.
That’s a beautiful picture of what happened when the Prince of Peace came into this world. Isaiah prophesied, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6).
Jesus stepped right into the thick of the battle, and he created peace. Within the church, we can see it. Though we may struggle at times, male and female, black and white, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, Republican and Democrat— We all live together in unity. Whatever divided us in the past no longer matters.