Jeremy Sarber

One new man in place of the two

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 2:15-17)

Jesus has created one new man or one kainos. By kainos or new, Paul doesn’t mean a newly manufactured thing. For instance, you may purchase something that is brand new. It’s still in the original box and shrink wrap. But Paul is talking about something that has never existed before. Everything about it is new. It is unique and remarkable.

In other words, Christ has not merely converted Jews and Gentiles into Christians. No, he has created Christians. The former identities cease to exist. That is why Paul could say to the Romans, There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him (Ro 10:12).

I read a story from World War II where a soldier needed to bury the body of a fellow soldier who had died in battle. He found a nearby Catholic church and asked the priest for permission to use a plot in their cemetery. But the soldier wasn’t Catholic, so the priest refused.

The soldier decided to bury his friend just outside of the cemetery’s fence. Once he did, he left and returned to his unit. The next chance he got, he walked back to visit the grave of his friend, but he couldn’t find it. It had seemingly disappeared.

As it turned out, the priest had felt guilty for denying the soldier. By the time the soldier returned, he had torn down the fence, moved the line just past his friend’s grave, and rebuilt it.

In a much deeper, more profound sense, that’s exactly what Christ has done. He moved the fence that once separated two distinct groups, making them one. On the cross, he brought all of God’s people together not only to himself but also to one body together. The alienation was nullified. The hostility was turned to peace.