A Kingdom Without Borders
By Cody Nygard, Director of Discipleship and Connection
One of the most under-valued passages of scripture is Ephesians 2:14-16,
For [Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
The two groups divided by a wall? “Us” and “Them.” The wall of hostility? Our prejudice toward the Other. The solution? Christ.
This concept is reiterated in Galatians 3:28,
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
And again in Colossians 3:10-11,
[you are] being renewed in knowledge according to the image of [your] creator, where there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
And again in Romans 10:12-13,
“There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Need I continue? Do you see the pattern? The gospel is inherently about ending division and uniting all people under one banner: Children of God.
The theme for our Wesley Nights for this Fall will be “A Kingdom Without Borders.” We’ll look especially at the book of Acts, and how the Holy Spirit constantly pushed the disciples to break down dividing walls in their society in order to bring the liberating gospel of Christ to everyone. It was not easy for first century Jews to eat with Gentiles, to pray with Samaritans, to work alongside their Roman oppressors. Yet the Holy Spirit would not let them do otherwise. This is just as difficult a lesson to learn today as it was 2000 years ago; and yet this lesson is needed more today than ever. Our world is divided, and whether or not we choose to acknowledge the dividing walls all around us, they exist. We may say everything looks fine, but we are called to be united in more than name only. We are called to be one people, God’s people, united by the love of Christ, poured into our world by the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul Church has decided to sponsor a refugee family from a different part of the world, which practices a different faith than we do, who speaks a different language than us. We will help them because it is the right thing to do. We will share with them the love of Christ because we can do nothing else. This is who we are as the redeemed children of God, ambassadors for Christ, Spirit-filled evangelists of a better way of life that does not include reinforcing the walls of hostility around each other but tearing them down with love. We will help them because the gospel compels us to. There is no other gospel than the liberating gospel.
Whatever walls there are in our world, racial, social, economic, national, they are no boundary for the gospel. No walls prove to be an obstacle for the love of God. We are called to share this gospel, this radical, liberating love, beyond all borders until this whole world is united in one, as the Kingdom of God.