The New Man

There is no longer Jew and gentile, only the new man.

Ephesians 2:14–18 (ESV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

That he might create in himself one new man in place of the two,” is, yet again, a purpose construct. But the mystery here is what does Paul mean by, “one new man”?

Well, for starters, the Greek work (kainon) that’s translated as “new” has the sense of unknown or unheard of. It means totally new, totally different, not just refreshed. Also, the dividing wall is a reference to the separation between the Jews and the gentiles – probably specifically to the wall in the temple that keeps out the gentiles.

So, the one new man in place of the two is a continuation of the point in the previous passage about the extension of the gospel to the gentiles. There is no longer Jew and gentile, just the new man.

But this new man isn’t like the Jew or the gentile before. It’s something else.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

And this leads somewhere glorious. Now through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. This new man is specially empowered by God.

That’s us.

We’re supposed to be awed by our access in one Spirit to the Father. Consider how unreasonable that is.

Why would God have any interest in direct contact with us? Even if He’s gotten over being furious with us over our sin, aren’t we still boring? Wouldn’t a relationship with us be a colossal waste of time?

That’s the great mystery. God has a goal in all this. That goal has something to do with our growth in Christ. Somehow that glorifies Him.

That does make some sense. We don’t start out worth much, but we’re useful displays of His glorious workings. We’re projects.

This is a bit intimidating. The work isn’t finished when we confess Christ as Lord; it’s just starting. Our walk with Christ exists for the purpose of glorifying God.

Walk with purpose.

The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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