Ephesians 2:11-22 The Great Debate DAY 1

In the early church a great debate persistently raged with the potential to divide the church, invalidate the gospel and divert believers from the essential centrality of the person of Jesus and his vicarious death. Ever since then similar debates have taken place within the church having the impact of creating division through adding additional criteria for salvation or introducing some form of hierarchy of the people of God. In Paul’s day the issue was whether those of Jewish heritage, defined as members of the circumcision, had a prior and superior claim to being the people of God therefore without conforming to the practice of circumcision other races will remain excluded from the “household of God”. v20 This was despite God’s revelation to Peter regarding the conversion and baptism in the Spirit of Cornelius’ household in Acts 10 and the outcome of the council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15:2-35) This illustrates how persistent division within the church can be, even when there had been very clear revelation from God and unanimity between the apostles. Whilst the circumcision debate may now have died away to a minute section of the Christian church other divisions over hierarchy and whether an individual can be considered a Christian remain rampant and harmful within the church. Examples in the contemporary church are how across denominations racism has been identified as a systemic sin and has repeatedly been failed to be repented of and eradicated from the practice, governance and heart attitudes within the church. Similarly, we see Christians establishing hierarchies over forms of worship style and allegiances to human leaders. This raises the question then in the wider world, ‘In what way does the Christian church differ from what they hold to be the world “without God”? v12 Paul’s response is this happens when the focus of thought and faith does not entirely focus on the person of Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished.