Bible Subjects

Ephesians 2:15 Which law of commandments did Christ abolish?

Ephesians 2:15.

“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.”

Some theologians and Bible commentaries say that this text says that the law of commandments, that is the Ten Commandments, was done away with at the cross.

Which law are we talking about in this text? To find out, let us investigate the chapter.

Who is Paul talking to in this chapter?

Ephes 2:11. 3:1. Church members who were Gentiles and were called by the Jews uncircumcision.

What is the subject of the chapter?

Ephes 2:1-3. Gentile members who walked in sin like the world.

Ephes 2:4-10. We are saved by grace and not by works.

Ephes 2:11-12. These members were called Gentiles, uncircumcision and without hope.

Ephes 2:13. Gentiles from this church, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephes 2:14. 16. Christ has made both Jews and Gentiles one, by breaking the wall of separation between them.

Ephes 2:15-17. Christ abolished the law of commandments contained in the ordinances, which separated the two: Jews and Gentiles.

Ephes 2:18. The believing Gentiles have now access to the Father through the Spirit.

Ephes 2:19. The Gentile believers are no longer strangers and foreigners, but citizens and members of the household of God.

Ephes 2:20-22. In Christ, both Gentile and Jewish believers are built together into a holy temple in the Lord.

The next question we can ask ourselves is what divided the Gentiles from the Jews?

Ephes 2:11. The Gentiles were called uncircumcision.

Ephes 2:12. The Gentiles were without Christ and aliens from the covenant of promise, having no hope.

Ephes 2:13. The Gentiles were not allowed to participate in the blood offerings in the temple.

Heb 9:22 without blood there can be no forgiveness of sins.

Ephes 2:14. Christ broke down the middle wall of separation between the Jew and Gentiles.

Ephes 2:15. A law was abolished through Christ, so that the Jew and Gentiles could be both one.

Ephes 2:16. That action through the cross, reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God.

Ephes 2:18. Before the cross the Gentiles did not have access to the Father.

Ephes 2:19-22. Before the cross, the Gentiles were not citizens of Gods kingdom and his temple.

In Ephes 2:11 it says that the Gentiles were called uncircumcised. Why does a Gentile have to be circumcised to be a Jew? Gen 17:1-14. God commanded that Abraham and the male descendants of his household, should be circumcised as a sign of a covenant between him and his people.

Was this sign of circumcision only to be used for Jews?

No! There were no Jews or Israelites at the time of Abraham. The Israelites came after Jacob was born. What about the strangers who attached themselves to Abrahams household? Did they have to be circumcised? Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be a native of the land.

What does Paul say about circumcision in the time of the New Testament?

1 Cor 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. So Paul is reinforcing his beliefs in the Ten Commandments of God in this text. They were not nailed to the cross. Furthermore, the rite of circumcision was done away with when one became a Christian in the time of Paul.

Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love.

Rom 2:28.29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart.

What was it that separated the Jews from the Gentiles in Ephesians chapter two?

In Ephes 2:14 it says that there was a middle wall of separation. What is this middle wall of separation? At the temple in Jerusalem there was a wall built around the temple, to prevent access for Gentiles to enter and participate in the sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. Gentiles were not allowed into the temple area because to the Jew it was defiling the holy place Acts 21:28.

After the crucifixion of Christ a Jew or Gentile Christian did not need to come to the temple for forgiveness of sins, because Christ broke down this middle wall of separation. Ephes 2:14. All both Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father for the forgiveness of sins 1 Joh 1:9. As a result of what Christ did for us on the cross, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile because they are all one in Christ Gal 3:28.

What does Ephesians 2:15 mean with the light of information previously given?

“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.”

Firstly, we shall interpret the word “law” in this verse in relation to the subject of the chapter and that is the law of circumcision which separated the Jews from the Gentiles. Fx. Exodus 12:43-50 If a stranger amongst you, wishes to celebrate the Passover feast or belong to the people of Israel and offer sacrifices in the tabernacle, he should be circumcised. This was a law from God. Then in addition, there came laws of ordinances for those who wished to be a citizen of Israel. Fx. Leviticus chapters 1-27. This law of circumcision which separated the Jew from the Gentile was abolished at the cross making peace between Jew and Gentile through Christ. He created them into a new man through his sacrifice.

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