“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
Jesus made possible peace with God. It is through Jesus: (1) Man can be justified. Justification may be defined as: the state of one who has been declared to be, or counted as, just or righteous. Man is justified by the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9). (2) Man can enter a state of grace. The reference is to the state of having received forgiveness of sins (cf. Ephesians 1:7). (3) Man can have a heavenly hope. In one sense, He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27). He is the basis of our hope. Christians can joyously live anticipating “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
Man accesses this peace conditionally. (1) He is justified by faith (Romans 5:1). He must trust God and His plan for salvation (Romans 1:16). Saving faith is obedient faith (Hebrews 11). It is not a mere mental assent (James 2:24). Obedience is required (Hebrews 5:9). (2) He accesses grace by the faith (Romans 5:2). The definite article is present in the original language. The reference is to the message of the New Testament (cf. Acts 6:7; Galatians 1:23; Jude 3). Personal faith should be based on the objective system of faith, the word of God (cf. Romans 10:17).
“He Himself is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 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, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Ephesians 2:14-16).
He (Jesus Christ) is our (this includes Jew and Gentile) peace. (1) He provides peace between God and man (Ephesians 2:16). He through the cross reconciles both (Jew and Gentile) to God. This reconciliation occurs in one body (church cf. Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23). The plan was not to reconcile Jew and Gentile in different bodies, but in one body. (2) He provides peace between man and man (Ephesians 2:14-15). He has made both (Jew and Gentile) one (cf. Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). He has broken down the middle wall of separation. This is speaking of the religious distinction between Jew and Gentile. Wayne Jackson comments, “The imagery possibly was taken from the four-and-a-half-foot wall in the temple are that separated the court of the Gentiles from the sacred area reserved for Jews. It had death warnings posted at intervals (two of which have been found), forbidding Gentiles to pass beyond (cf. Acts 21:28-29). The barrier was literally broken with the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. In principle, it was broken down with the abolition of the Mosaic system at Calvary. Others see the symbolism as a reference to the rending of the temple veil at the time of Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51). Whatever the background, the language symbolized the fact that the religious wall separating Jews from Gentiles was gone” (Jackson, A New Testament Commentary, pp. 389-390). Furthermore, He has abolished the enmity. Thayer comments “by meton(ymy) i.q. cause of enmity.” He abolished the law of Moses (which separated Jew and Gentile) through the cross.
“And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:17-18).
Jesus preached peace. He preached it to both those who were afar off (Gentiles cf. Ephesians 2:11-13), and those near (Jews). Jesus earthly mission was not focused on the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24; Matthew 10:5-6). However, He did commission the apostles to go make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:20). It is because of this He can be said to have preached peace to both.
Both (Jew and Gentile) have access to the Father through Jesus. This access is available by the Spirit. What does this mean? Compare Ephesians 2:18, 20 with Ephesians 3:3-6. Ephesians 2:18, 20 reads, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father… having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 3:3-6 reads, “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)… it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” The Holy Spirit revealed the saving message of the gospel of Christ. The Holy Spirit revealed that this message is for both Jew and Gentile. We with joy should say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).