|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-18 Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ was their Peace, the author, centre, and substance of their being at peace with God, and of their union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.
Verse 16. - And that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross. Exegetical of preceding statements, and making emphatic the fact of reconciliation to God on the same footing and by the same means; both were to be reconciled in, one body (see Ephesians 4:4) and by the cross. No preference was to be given to the Jew facilitating his union to Christ: the Gentile was to be taken into Christ's body as readily as the Jew. In reference to the sense in which reconciliation was effected by the cross of Jesus, some say it was only as the cross demonstrated to men the love of God and his willingness to bless them; while others maintain very strongly that it was as providing a satisfaction to God's justice for their guilt, and thus enabling him to receive and bless the sinner. Not only the analogy of other passages of Scripture as well as of this Epistle justifies the latter view, but preeminently the words, "by the cross." If Christ had only to proclaim God's friendship toward sinners, why should he have suffered on the cross? The cross as a mere pulpit is hideous; as an altar it is glorious. The love of God is ill revealed, if it subjected Jesus to unnecessary agony. The love of both Father and Son is indeed commended, if the agony was voluntarily borne by the Son, and permitted by the Father, as being indispensable for the pardon of the sinner. 'Αποκαταλλάξῃ denotes the whole process of reconciliation (see Eadie). Having slain the enmity thereby (or, thereon). "The enmity" is the same as at the beginning of ver. 15 - the enmity of man to God. The destruction of this enmity is one of the effects of the cross, though not the only effect; it is necessary to root out the enmity of the carnal mind. That this is the meaning here seems plain from Romans 5:10, "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." The apostle there makes no allusion to the enmity of Jew and Gentile to each other, but to this wider fact - τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς ἔχθρα εἰς Θεόν. If any words can denote the result of a propitiatory sacrifice, it is surely "reconciled to God by the death of his Son."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that he might reconcile both unto God,.... This is another end of the abrogation of the ceremonial law: the Jews had run up a long score against the ceremonial law, as well as against the moral law; and Christ by fulfilling it for them, and thereby abrogating it, reconciled them; and the Gentiles could not be reconciled together with them, without the abrogation of it: and this reconciliation of them is made to God, who was the person offended; and who yet first set on foot a reconciliation, in which his glory is greatly concerned; and reconciliation with others depends upon reconciliation with him: and this is made
in one body by the cross; by which "body" is meant, the human body of Christ, which the Father prepared for him, and he assumed, and that in order to make reconciliation for his people; and is said to be "one" body, because it was in one and the same body, which he reconciled both Jews and Gentiles unto God, and in or by one sacrifice of that body; reconciliation being so effectually made by it that there is no need of a reiteration: or the sense is, he reconciled them into "one body"; into one mystical body, the church, of which he is head; and this he did "by the cross", that is, by his blood shed on the cross, or by his suffering the death of the cross; which shows that reconciliation is made in a way of satisfaction to the law and justice of God, by Christ's bearing the penalty of the law, and suffering the strokes of justice on the cross; and expresses the efficacy of his blood and sacrifice, and the greatness of his condescension and love:
having slain the enmity thereby; the ceremonial law, as before; and the slaying it is the same with abolishing it; unless the enmity between God and man is meant, which was slain by removing the cause of it, sin; and which laid a foundation for the slaying of it in the hearts of his people in regeneration, when sin is made odious to them, and they are reconciled to God's way of salvation; hence being slain in both senses, peace with God can never be broken.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Translate, "might altogether reconcile them both in one body (the Church, Col 3:15) unto God through His cross." The Greek for "reconcile" (apocatalaxe), found only here and in Col 1:20, expresses not only a return to favor with one (catallage), but so to lay aside enmity that complete amity follows; to pass from enmity to complete reconciliation [Tittmann].
slain the enmity—namely, that had been between man and God; and so that between Jew and Gentile which had resulted from it. By His being slain, He slew it (compare Heb 2:14).
thereby—Greek, "therein"; "in" or "by the cross," that is, His crucifixion (Col 2:15).
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