In this verse, Paul describes how Christians should be. They should not be enemies of each other; they should not oppose each other in a cruel or fierce manner. Christ died so that they could have a right relationship with God. Their relationship with God should also bring them into right relationship with other people, and especially with other Christians. They are brothers and sisters in Godís family, so they should love each other (1 John 4:19-21). Those things that separate other people no longer separate them. God has brought them together to be his holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10).
In particular, Paul is referring to the difference between Israelís people, called the Jews, and people from other nations.
All the first Christians, including Paul, were Jews. Often Jewish Christians found it difficult to accept Christians from other nations (for example, Galatians 2:11-14). The Christians from other nations often disliked the Jewish Christians (Romans 14:1-15). That is not how God wants his people to behave. The gospel (Godís message about Christís death on the cross) is Godís good news, both for Jews and for people from every nation (Romans 1:16). Therefore, the arguments between those two groups should have ended with Christís death on the cross.
It is never right for Christians to have bitter or jealous attitudes towards other people. God wants Christians to act in kindness, even towards their enemies (Romans 12:19-21). However, Christians should still oppose what is evil. They should not imagine that the Christian message is a message about political peace. Rather it is about the kind of peace that brings a right relationship with God and with other people.
Next part: The good news of the gospel (Ephesians 2:17)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.