“But God . . .” Those two words must be the most hope-filled ones known to humankind. In vv. 1-10 Paul describes the grim past of his audience. Sharing the plight of all humanity, they were bent toward rebellion against God, their lives dominated by sin and Satan (vv. 1-3). “But God . . .” And what did God do for them and for us?: 1) He made us alive with Christ—Christ’s Resurrection is our own; 2) He raised us up with Christ—Christ’s Ascension is our own; 3) In heaven, he seated us with Christ—Christ’s Coronation is our own (vv. 4-7). We are not mere spectators to the cosmos-shifting events of Christ’s life! God takes these remarkable actions not because of any merit in us but because of His grace (vv. 8-9) and intends believers to live in solidarity with Jesus and practice “good works” (v. 10).
If vv. 1-10 teach that we live in solidarity with Jesus, vv. 11-22 teach that we live in solidarity with others as part of His church. Jesus’ death has both vertical benefits in establishing the believer’s relationship with God (vv. 1-10) and horizontal ones in cementing our relationships with others (vv. 11-22). Through His Cross, Jesus demolishes all that divides Gentile believers from Jewish ones, including the misuse of the Law to widen the gulf (vv. 11-18). But Jesus also builds something—an amazing, new temple composed of believers. Gentiles, once excluded from worship in the sacred places of the temple, now join Jewish believers in becoming one. And we too become part of God’s church, “a holy temple in the Lord” (vv. 19-22).
Through the grace of God, you have the privilege of living this day in solidarity with Jesus and your fellow believers.
Walla Walla University