What is the wall of separation (Ephesians 2:14)?

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By BibleAsk Team


The “Wall of Separation” – Ephesians 2:14

In Ephesians 2:14, the apostle Paul employs powerful imagery to describe the profound reconciliation accomplished through Christ’s redemptive work. This “wall of separation” serves as a metaphorical barrier that once divided humanity but has been dismantled by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

The historical context points that Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul during his imprisonment in Rome, likely between AD 60-62. The city of Ephesus, located in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), was a cosmopolitan center of trade, culture, and religion. Within this diverse context, various social, ethnic, and religious divisions were prevalent, creating barriers between different groups of people. Against this backdrop, Paul addresses the Ephesian believers, emphasizing the unity and reconciliation accomplished through Christ.

Jewish-Gentile Division

One of the primary divisions addressed by Paul in Ephesians is the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. In the ancient world, Jews and Gentiles were separated by religious, cultural, and social barriers. The imagery of the partition wall may have been derived from the barrier in the Temple separating the court of the Gentiles from the court of the Jews. Beyond this wall no Gentile dared go.

This wall symbolizes the legalistic regulations of the Mosaic law that functioned as a dividing wall, preventing Gentiles from fully participating in the covenant community of Israel. This wall included various ordinances and commandments, such as circumcision, which served to separate Jews from Gentiles and reinforce their distinctiveness. “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands” (Ephesians 2:11).

Dismantling of the Wall

Paul proclaims that through Christ’s death on the cross, this wall of separation has been abolished (Ephesians 2:15). The sacrificial death of Jesus accomplished reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles, breaking down the barriers that once divided them. Through His atoning sacrifice, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Mosaic law and provided a way for both Jews and Gentiles to be reconciled to God and to one another.

Unity in Christ

The abolition of the wall of separation results in the creation of a new humanity, united in Christ (Ephesians 2:15). Paul emphasizes that in Christ, believers from every nation, tribe, and tongue are made one body, sharing in the same inheritance, blessings, and promises (Ephesians 2:16-18). This unity transcends ethnic, cultural, and social distinctions, as all believers are now members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Implications for the Church

The dismantling of the wall of separation has profound implications for the life and mission of the church. It calls believers to embrace a vision of unity. It challenges us to confront the prejudices, biases, and divisions that exist within the body of Christ and to strive for genuine unity and fellowship. But this unity doesn’t compromise the truth. This unity must be build on the Scriptures (John 17:17).

In conclusion, the “wall of separation” mentioned in Ephesians 2:14 symbolizes the barriers that once existed between Jews and Gentiles, as well as between humanity and God due to sin. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, this wall has been abolished, and reconciliation has been accomplished. Believers are now united in Christ, forming a new humanity characterized by harmony, peace, and reconciliation – a unity that doesn’t compromise the Biblical truths. As we reflect on this powerful metaphor, may we be inspired to pursue unity and reconciliation in our relationships and communities, bearing witness to the transformative power of the gospel in our world today.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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