[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
Enemies into Friends by Jonathan Holmes
Read: Ephesians 2:11-22
Individuals who have received the salvation of God offered through the life and death of Jesus Christ are not then left alone to fend for themselves. They are brought into community with other believers. This is called horizontal reconciliation. Vertical reconciliation happens when both the Jew and Gentile have been brought to God (16-17), given access by the Spirit (18), and are indwelt by Him (19-22). When we think of what Jesus’ life and death accomplished, our minds naturally go to vertical reconciliation, but let’s take a moment and reflect on the beauty of the horizontal reconciliation that has been provided.
Horizontal reconciliation is presented by Paul through a then-now contrast. It is explained through past alienation (12, 19), exclusion (13), and present reconciliation (16), found in unity (15-16), and results in the message of peace (17). Horizontal reconciliation is where the barriers of race, gender, position, power, etc. are removed and believers are united in the life and death of our Savior Jesus Christ.
In our passage the content of Paul’s command is that the Ephesians remember their position before Christ and the position they now have through both vertical and horizontal reconciliation. The result of Christ’s sacrifice is that Jews and Gentiles are created into one group, abolishing the hostility and creating peace that they might have access to the Father. They now stand a group who are all citizens of God’s household, centered on Christ and unified together in him as a dwelling place for the Spirit.
Once enemies of God, now sons and daughters of the most high. Once enemies of those around us, now citizens together through the life and death of Jesus Christ.
- What is vertical reconciliation? How does vertical reconciliation make horizontal reconciliation possible?
- Are there areas in your life that you need to surrender to God in order to provide horizontal reconciliation with someone?
Prayers for Lent
- Thank God for the reconciling power of Jesus’ life and death.
- Ask God to show you where you have prevented horizontal reconciliation in your own life.