Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances.—In this difficult passage it will be well first to examine the particular expressions. (1) The word rendered “to abolish” is the word often used by St. Paul for “to supersede by something better than itself”—translated “to make void,” in Romans 3:31; to “bring to nought,” in 1Corinthians 1:28, and (in the passive) “to fail,” “to vanish away,” “to be done away,” in 1Corinthians 13:8-10. Now, of the relation of Christ to the Law, St. Paul says, in Romans 3:31, “Do we make void the Law? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law.” The Law, therefore, is abolished as a law “in ordinances”—that is, “in the letter”—and is established in the spirit. (2) “The law of commandments in ordinances.” The word here rendered “ordinance” (dogma) properly means “a decree.” It is used only in this sense in the New Testament (see Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Hebrews 11:23); and it signifies expressly a law imposed and accepted, not for its intrinsic righteousness, but on authority; or, as Butler expresses it (Anal., Part ii., Ephesians 1), not a “moral,” but “a positive law.” In Colossians 2:14 (the parallel passage) the word is connected with a “handwriting” that is a legal “bond”; and the Colossians are reproved for subjecting themselves to “ordinances, which are but a shadow of things to come”; while “the body,” the true substance, “is Christ.” (See Ephesians 2:16-17; Ephesians 2:20-21.) (3) Hence the whole expression describes explicitly what St. Paul always implies in his proper and distinctive use of the word “law.” It signifies the will of God, as expressed in formal commandments, and enforced by penalties on disobedience. The general idea, therefore, of the passage is simply that which is so often brought out in the earlier Epistles (see Romans 3:21-31; Romans 7:1-4; Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 2:15-21, et al.), but which (as the Colossian Epistle more plainly shows) now needed to be enforced under a somewhat different form—viz., that Christ, “the end of the law,” has superseded it by the free covenant of the Spirit; and that He has done this for us “in His flesh,” especially by His death and resurrection. (4) But in what sense is this Law called “the enmity,” which (see Ephesians 2:16) was “slain” on the Cross? Probably in the double sense, which runs through the passage: first, as “an enmity,” a cause of separation and hostility, between the Gentiles and those Jews whom they called “the enemies of the human race”; next, as “an enmity” a cause of alienation and condemnation, between man and God—“the commandment which was ordained to life, being found to be unto death” through the rebellion and sin of man. The former sense seems to be the leading sense here, where the idea is of “making both one”; the latter in the next verse, which speaks of “reconciling both to God,” all the partitions are broken down, that all alike may have “access to the Father.” Comp. Colossians 1:21, “You, who were enemies in your mind, He hath reconciled;” and Hebrews 10:19, “Having confidence to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated to us, through the veil, that is to say His flesh.”
For to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.—In this clause and the following verse the two senses, hitherto united, are now distinguished from each other. Here we have the former sense simply. In the new man “there is neither Jew nor Gentile,” but “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:12). This phrase, “the new man” (on which see Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10), is peculiar to these Epistles; corresponding, however, to the “new creature” of 2Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15; and the “newness of life” and “spirit” of Romans 6:4; Romans 7:6. Christ Himself is the “second man, the Lord from Heaven” (1Corinthians 15:47). “As we have borne the image of the first man, of the earth, earthy,” and so “in Adam die,” we now “bear the image of the heavenly,” and not only “shall be made alive,” but already “have our life hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). He is at once “the seed of the woman” and the “seed of Abraham”; in Him, therefore, Jew and Gentile meet in a common humanity. Just in proportion to spirituality or newness of life is the sense of unity, which makes all brethren. Hence the new creation “makes peace”—here probably peace between Jew and Gentile, rather than peace with God, which belongs to the next verse.Ephesians 2:15-18. Having abolished in his flesh — By the sufferings and death endured therein; the cause of enmity between the Jews and Gentiles, even the law of ceremonial commandments, contained in ordinances — Consisting in many institutions and appointments concerning the outward worship of God; such as those of circumcision, sacrifices, clean and unclean meats, washings, and holy days; which, being founded in the mere pleasure of God, might be abolished when he saw fit. These ordinances Jesus abolished, that he might make in himself — That is, by uniting them to himself as their head; of twain — Of Jews and Gentiles, who were at such a distance before; one new man — One mystical body, one church, renewed by the Holy Ghost, and uniting in one new way of gospel worship: so making peace — Between the two kinds of people, and even laying a foundation for the most sincere mutual love and friendship: And, or moreover, to complete this blessed work of making peace, that he might reconcile both, as thus united in one body, and animated by one spirit, not merely to one another, but unto God, by his death on the cross — By which he expiated the guilt of sin, and rendered God reconcileable, and ready to pardon the penitent that should believe in Jesus; and by which he procured for mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles, the Holy Spirit to work repentance and faith in them, and destroy that carnal mind, which is enmity against God, (Romans 8:7,) and all those sinful passions which are connected therewith, and which render men odious in his sight, and hostile to one another. And came — After his resurrection; and preached peace — By his authorized ambassadors, (to whom he had committed the important trust of treating with sinners in his name and stead, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20,) to you Gentiles, which were afar off — At the utmost distance from God; and to them that were nigh — To the Jews, who were comparatively nigh, being his visible church. For through him — Through his mediation, his sacrifice and intercession; we both — Believing Jews and Gentiles; have access — Have liberty of approach; by one Spirit — Inspiring us with faith, hope, and love, and rendering us sincere, spiritual, fervent, and constant, in our prayers, praises, and all acts of worship and service: unto the Father — That is, unto God as a Father reconciled in Christ, and beholding us with paternal eyes of love, complacency, and delight.
In his flesh - By the sacrifice of his body on the cross. It was not by instruction merely; it was not by communicating the knowledge of God; it was not as a teacher; it was not by the mere exertion of power; it was by his flesh - his human nature - and this can mean only that he did it by his sacrifice of himself. It is such language as is appropriate to the doctrine of the atonement - not indeed teaching it directly - but still such as one would use who believed that doctrine, and such as no other one would employ. Who would now say of a moral teacher that he accomplished an important result by "his flesh?" Who would say of a man that was instrumental in reconciling his contending neighbors, that he did it "by his flesh?" Who would say of Dr. Priestley that he established Unitarianism "in his flesh?" No man would have ever used this language who did not believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin.
The enmity - Between the Jew and the Gentile. Tyndale renders this, "the cause of hatred, that is to say, the law of commandments contained in the law written." This is expressive of the true sense. The idea is, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility existing between them. That made them different people, and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them. They had different laws; different institutions; a different religion. The Jews looked upon themselves as the favorites of heaven, and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation; the Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the unique institutions with scorn. When Christ came and abolished by his death their special ceremonial laws, of course the cause of this alienation ceased.
Even the law of commandments - The law of positive commandments. This does not refer to the "moral" law, which was not the cause of the alienation, and which was not abolished by the death of Christ, but to the laws commanding sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc., which constituted the uniqueness of the Jewish system. These were the occasion of the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were abolished by the great sacrifice which the Redeemer made; and of course when that was made, the purpose for which these laws were instituted was accomplished, and they ceased to be of value and to be binding.
For to make in himself - By virtue of his death, or under him as the head.
Of twain one new man - Of the two - Jews and Gentiles - one new spiritual person; that they might be united. The idea is, that as two persons who had been at enmity, might become reconciled and be one in aim and pursuit, so it was in the effect of the work of Christ on the Jews and Gentiles. When they were converted they would be united and harmonious.
the law of commandments contained in—Greek, "the law of the commandments (consisting) in ordinances." This law was "the partition" or "fence," which embodied the expression of the "enmity" (the "wrath" of God against our sin, and our enmity to Him, Eph 2:3) (Ro 4:15; 5:20; 7:10, 11; 8:7). Christ has in, or by, His crucified flesh, abolished it, so far as its condemning and enmity-creating power is concerned (Col 2:14), substituting for it the law of love, which is the everlasting spirit of the law, and which flows from the realization in the soul of His love in His death for us. Translate what follows, "that He might make the two (Jews and Gentiles) into one new man." Not that He might merely reconcile the two to each other, but incorporate the two, reconciled in Him to God, into one new man; the old man to which both belonged, the enemy of God, having been slain in His flesh on the cross. Observe, too, ONE new man; we are all in God's sight but one in Christ, as we are but one in Adam [Alford].
making peace—primarily between all and God, secondarily between Jews and Gentiles; He being "our peace." This "peace-making" precedes its publication (Eph 2:17).Having abolished; abrogated, taken away the power of binding men.
In his flesh; not the flesh of sacrificed beasts but his own flesh: before he mentioned his blood, and now his flesh, to imply the whole sacrifice of Christ, comprehending his flesh as well as blood. The ceremonies had their accomplishment in Christ, and so their abolishment by him.
The enmity; by a metonymy he so calls the ceremonies, which were the cause and the sign of enmity between Jew and Gentile: the Jews hated the Gentiles as uncircumcised, and the Gentiles despised the Jews for being circumcised.
Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances: either, by
the law of commandments, the apostle means the law of ceremonial rites, and by the word which we render
ordinances, he means doctrine, and then (the word contained not being in the Greek) the sense is, that Christ, by his doctrine or commandments, abolished those ceremonial rites: the word commandments seems thus to be used, Deu 16:12 1 Kings 2:3 Ezekiel 18:21. Or else (which yet comes to the same) the word rendered ordinances signifies such ordinances as depended upon the sole will of the lawgiver; and is, Colossians 2:14, taken for ceremonial ones, and so is to be taken here. This the apostle seems to add, to show what part of the law was abrogated by Christ, viz. nothing of the moral law, but only the ceremonial.
For to make, or create, or form, in opposition to abolish.
In himself; by union with himself, as the Head, in which the several members agree.
Of twain; two bodies, or two people, Jews and Gentiles.
One new man; i.e. new body, or new (viz. Christian) people. As the body of a commonwealth is one civil person, so the body of the church is in a like sense one person.
So making peace, between Jew and Gentile, having taken away those ceremonial laws, which were the cause of the difference between them.
even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; which consisted of many precepts, and carnal ordinances; and is so called because it was an indication of God's hatred of sin, by requiring sacrifice for it; and because it was an occasion of stirring up the enmity of the natural man, it being a burden and a weariness to the flesh, by reason of its many and troublesome rites; and because it was the cause of enmity between Jew and Gentile: the Jews say (g), that Sinai, the mount on which the law was given, signifies "hatred"; and that it is so called because from it descended "hatred" or "enmity" to the nations of the world: now this Christ abolished, "in his flesh", or by it; not by his incarnation, but by the sacrifice of his flesh, or human nature, and that as in union with his divine nature; but not until he had fulfilled it in himself, which was one end of his coming into the world; and then he abolished it, so as that it ought not to be, and so as that it is not, and of no use and service; and that because it was faulty and deficient, weak and unprofitable, as well as intolerable; and because there was a change in the priesthood; and because it was contrary to a spirit of liberty, the great blessing of the Gospel; and that there might be a reconciliation and a coalition between Jew and Gentile, as follows:
for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; which explains what is meant before by making both one; and expresses the strictness of the union between Jew and Gentile, they became as one man; and points at the manner in which they became so strictly united; and that is by being made new men, or new creatures, by having a work of grace upon their souls, and so baptized into one body, and made to drink of one and the same Spirit; the foundation of which union is in himself; for Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free, are all one in Christ Jesus; he is the cornerstone in which they all meet, and the head to which the whole body is joined.Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Ephesians 2:15. Τὴν ἔχθραν] This, still included in dependence upon λύσας, is now the μεσότοιχον broken down by Christ: (namely) the enmity. It is, after the example of Theodoret (comp. τινές in Chrysostom), understood by the majority (including Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Clarius, Grotius, Calovius, Morus, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Meier, Holzhausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette) of the Mosaic law as the cause of the enmity between Jew and Gentile, in which case the moral law is by some included, by others excluded. But, in accordance with Ephesians 2:14, the reader is led to nothing else than the opposite of εἰρήνη, i.e. to the abstract enmity; and in the sequel, indeed, the abolition of the law is very definitely distinguished from the destruction of the enmity (as means from end). Hence the only mode of taking it, in harmony with the word itself and with the context, is: the enmity which existed between Jews and Gentiles, comp. Ephesians 2:16. So Erasmus, Vatablus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, and others, including Rückert and Bleek; while Hofmann turns the notion of ἔχθρα into the mere ἀπαλλοτρίωσις of Ephesians 2:12, and, referring it to the estrangement on the part of the Gentiles towards the theocracy hated by them, removes the distinctive mark of reciprocalness demanded by the context. Quite erroneously, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, and lately Harless, hold that the enmity of the Jews and Gentiles towards God is meant. In accordance with the context, Ephesians 2:14, the μεσότοιχον can, in fact, only be one separating the Jews and Gentiles from each other, and not something which separates both from God; and how mistaken is such a view also on account of what follows! for the Mosaic law might be conceived of as producing enmity towards God so far doubtless as the Jews are concerned (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:19), but never as respects the Gentiles, who stood aloof from all relation to the Mosaic law (Romans 2:12).
ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ] does not belong (as Lachmann also punctuates it) to τὴν ἔχθραν, so that “the national hatred in His people” would be meant (Chrysostom, Bugenhagen, Schulthess, Engelwelt, p. 193); nor yet to λύσας (Oecumenius, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Rückert, and others), because in that case this mention of the death of Jesus would be irrelevantly dissevered from the modal definition τὸν νόμον καταργήσας, to which, in the nature of the case, it belongs as an essential element; but it stands with an emphasis suitable to the context (comp. αὐτὸς γάρ, Ephesians 2:14) at the head of the specification that now follows, in what way Christ has effected what was said in Ephesians 2:14 by αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν … ἔχθραν: so that He by His flesh has done away with the law, namely, when He allowed His flesh to be crucified (Colossians 1:21 f.), dissolved thereby the tie with the law that brought men under curse (see on Galatians 3:13), and thus opened up the justification through faith (Romans 3:21 ff.), whereby the institute of the law was emptied of its binding power (comp. Romans 10:4 ff; Romans 7:1 ff.; Colossians 2:14). The moral commands also of the law had thereby, while not ceasing to be valid, ceased to be held as constituent elements of the law-institute as such justifying in the way of compliance with it; and its fulfilment, and that in augmented power, now proceeds from the new vital principle of faith (Romans 8:4), on which account Christ, although He is the end of the law (Romans 10:4; comp. 2 Corinthians 3:11), could nevertheless say that He had come to fulfil the law (Matthew 5:17), and Paul could assert: νόμον ἱστῶμεν, Romans 3:31. Hofmann imports into the ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ the thought: in and with the doing away of His life in the flesh, in respect of which He was an Israelite, Christ has rendered the appertaining to His community independent of the religious-legal status of an Israelite. As though the atoning death of Christ, in the usual dogmatic sense of the apostle, had not been most distinctly indicated already before by the ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Ephesians 2:13, as afterwards by the ἀποκαταλλάξῃ κ.τ.λ., Ephesians 2:16, and by the προσαγωγή, Ephesians 2:18! This meaning is not here, any more than at Colossians 1:21 f., to be exegetically modified or explained away.
τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι] to be taken together, yet not in such a way that ἐν stands for σύν (Flatt) or καί (Koppe, Rosenmüller), but as: the law of the commandments consisting in injunctions, whereby the dictatorial character of the legal institute (as a whole, not merely partially, as Schenkel imports) is exhibited. The genitive τῶν ἐντολῶν denotes the contents of the law, and ἐν δόγμασι the essential form in which the ἐντολαί are given. The connecting link of the article (τῶν) before ἐν δόγμασι was not requisite, since we may correctly say: ἐντέλλεσθαί τι ἐν δόγματι or ἐντολὴν διδόναι ἐν δόγματι, and therefore ἐντολὴ ἐν δόγματι may be conjoined so as to form one conception. Comp. on Ephesians 3:13; Romans 6:4; Galatians 4:14; Galatians 3:26. This view of the connection is adopted, after the precedent of many older expositors, by Rückert, Matthies, Meier, Winer, pp. 123, 197 [E. T. 169, 257], Bisping, Schenkel, Bleek. Comp. also Buttmann, neut. Cr. p. 80 [E. T. 92]. If one should, with the Syriac, Arabic, Vulgate, Pelagius, Chrysostom and his successors, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Holzhausen, and others, including Fritzsche, Diss. in 2 Corinthians 2. p. 168 f., refer ἐν δόγμ. to ΚΑΤΑΡΓΉΣΑς, there would result—even apart from the fact that with our mode of connecting ἘΝ Τῇ ΣΑΡΚῚ ΑὐΤΟῦ, this construction is not even possible—the wholly untrue and un-Pauline thought that Christ has through injunctions abolished the law. No doubt some have imputed to ἐν δόγμασι the sense praecepta stabiliendo (Fritzsche), in doing which they had in view the evangelical doctrine of faith and the gratia universalis (see Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Theophylact, Estius, Bengel, and others). But even thus the sense remains untrue and un-Pauline, seeing that the doing away of the law has taken place not at all in a doctrinal way, but by the fact of the death of Christ (Romans 7:1 f.; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14). And what a change would be made in the meaning of the word δόγμα, which in the N.T. signifies throughout nothing else than injunction (Colossians 2:4; Luke 2:1; Acts 17:7; Acts 16:4; comp. Plat. Legg. i. p. 644 D; Xen. Anab. iii. 3. 5, vi. 6. 8; Dem. 774. 19; Herodian, i. 7. 6; 4Ma 4:23 f.)! The distinction ought not to have been overlooked between ἐντολή and ΔΌΓΜΑ, which latter puts the meaning of the former into the more definite form of the enjoining decree. A peculiar view is taken by Harless (followed by Olshausen) likewise connecting ἐν δόγμ. with ΚΑΤΑΡΓΉΣΑς, and holding that ἘΝ denotes the “side on which that efficacy of the death of Christ exerts itself;” Christ did not render the law ineffectual in any such capacity as ΣΚΙᾺΝ ΤῶΝ ΜΕΛΛΌΝΤΩΝ, or as ΠΑΙΔΑΓΩΓῸΝ ΕἸς ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ, but on the side of the δόγματα (“in reference to the commanding form of its precepts,” Olshausen). Incorrectly, because ΔΌΓΜΑΣΙ must of necessity have had the article, and because it is nowhere taught that the law is done away only in a single respect. The Mosaic legal institute as such, and not merely from a certain side, has in Christ its end (Romans 10:4); the σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων in the law has only a transient typical destination (see on Colossians 2:17), and the work of the ΠΑΙΔΑΓΩΓΌς is at an end with the attainment of maturity on the part of his pupils (Galatians 3:24 f.). Incorrect also is the view of Hofmann, p. 377, who, likewise taking ἘΝ ΔΌΓΜΑΣΙ as modal definition to ΚΑΤΑΡΓΉΣΑς, and for the expression with ἘΝ comparing 1 Corinthians 2:7, finds the meaning: by the very fact that Christ has put an end to precepts generally, He has invalidated the O. T. law of commandments. The statement that Christ has put an end to δόγματα generally, i.e. to commanding precepts in general, is at variance with the whole N.T., which contains numberless definite commands, and, in particular, with the teaching of Paul, who even places Christianity as a whole under the point of view, Romans 3:27; Romans 9:31, Galatians 6:2Ephesians 2:15. τὴν ἔχθραν: to wit the enmity. Many (Luth., Calv., De Wette, etc.) take this to be a figure for the Mosaic Law. But the ἔχθρα is in antithesis to the εἰρήνη of Ephesians 2:14, and the specification of the Law comes in later. It is better, therefore, to take the ἔχθρα here in the abstract sense of hostile, separating feeling. But is it the enmity of Jew and Gentile to God (Chrys., Harl., etc.) or the enmity between Jew and Gentile? The statement of the μεσότοιχον as a mid-wall between τὰ ἀμφότερα decides for the latter. The argument in favour of this view is stronger still when the former view is connected with the idea that the ἔχθρα is the Mosaic Law. For the Mosaic Law could not be said to have been the cause of hostile feeling on the part of Gentiles to God.—ἐν τῇ σαρκί αὐτοῦ: in His flesh. The term σάρξ is taken by some (Stier, etc.) in a sense wide enough to cover Christ’s incarnation and His entire incarnate life. But, apart from other difficulties, this is inconsistent with the definite mention of His blood and His cross. The term refers, therefore, to His death, and means His crucified flesh (cf. Colossians 1:22). The great difficulty here, however, is the connection. Some attach the phrase immediately to τὴν ἔχθραν (Chrys., etc.), “the enmity which was in His flesh,” as if the idea were “the hatred in the human race generally” or “the national hatred,” the hatred in the Jewish people. But this would require τήν before ἐν σαρκί, and furnishes at best a forced meaning. Most commentators connect it with καταργήσας, supposing it to be put emphatically first. So it is taken, e.g., by Meyer, who makes ἐν σαρκί begin the new clause. The RV takes the same view, but brings the ἔχθραν under the regimen of the καταργήσας—“having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law”. There is much to say in support of this, especially in view of the Pauline statements in Romans 3:21; Romans 10:14; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14, etc. On the other hand there is an awkwardness in bringing in the predication before the verb, and the parallelism is broken (cf. Alf.). It is best, therefore, to attach the ἐν σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ to the λύσας (Calv., Rück., Alf., etc.). The form of the sentence is better kept in this way. The appropriateness of the use of λύσας is then seen; for the verb λύειν (= subvert, dissolve), is equally applicable to the μεσότοιχον and to the ἔχθραν, the phrase λύειν ἔχθραν being common in ordinary Greek. On the other hand καταργεῖν is much less applicable to ἔχθραν. So the sense is—“who in His crucified flesh (i.e., by His death on the cross) broke down the middle-wall of the partition, to wit the enmity” (i.e., the hostile feeling between Jew and Gentile).—τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας: having abolished (or, in that He abolished) the law of commandments (expressed) in ordinances. Further statement of the way in which Christ by His death on the cross removed the separation and the hostile feeling between Jew and Gentile viz., by abrogating the dividing Law itself. The Law is now introduced, and the term ὁ νόμος is to be taken in its full sense, not the ceremonial law only, but the Mosaic Law as a whole, according to the stated use of the phrase. This Law is abolished in the sense of being rendered inoperative (as καταργεῖν means), and it is defined as the Law τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν. What is the point of the definition? The article, which is in place with the ἐντολῶν, is omitted before the δόγμασιν, as the latter makes one idea with the former and further is under the regimen of a prep. (cf. Win.-Moult., pp. 139, 149, 151, 158). The Law is one of “commandments-in-decrees”. What is in view is its character as mandatory, and consisting in a multitude of prescriptions or statutes. It enjoined, and it expressed its injunctions in so many decrees, but it did not enable. The Law was made up of ἐντολαί and these ἐντολαί expressed themselves and operated in the form of δόγματα, ordinances. The word δόγμα in the NT never means anything else than statute, decree, ordinance (cf. Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7; Colossians 2:14; in Hebrews 11:23 it is a variant for διάταγμα). Hence it cannot have any such sense here as doctrines, evangelical teaching (Theod.), evangelical precepts (Fritz.), the faith (Chrys.). Some taking the ἐν as the instrumental ἐν make it = “having abolished the law by injunctions” (Syr., Vulg., Arab., Grot., Beng., etc.). But the NT uniformly speaks of the abrogation of the condemning law as being effected by Christ’s death, never by His teaching, or by evangelical precepts. Another turn is given to the sentence by taking ἐν in the sense of “in respect of,” “on the side of” (Harl.), as if the idea were that the abrogation of the Law was limited to its mandatory side,—to the orders contained in it. But this would require τοῖς before the δόγμασιν; nor is it the way of the NT to speak of the Mosaic Law as done away by Christ only on one side.—ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαυτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον: that He might create in Himself the two into one new man. Statement of the object of the καταργεῖν. The masc. δύο is introduced now, instead of the ἀμφότερα, with a view to the ἄνθρωπον. One man was to be made out of the two men. The κτίσῃ is better rendered create with the RV than make with the AV. A new creation is in view. For ἐν ἑαυτῷ of the TR (with    , etc.) αὐτῷ is to be preferred as the reading of    , etc. (LTTrRV); WH gives αὑτῷ. In either case the sense is “in Himself”; not “by it” (Grot.) as if the reference were to Christ’s doctrine, nor “through Himself” as if it were διʼ αὐτοῦ. The new creation and the new union have their ground and principle in Christ. What was contemplated, too, was not simply the making of one man (ἕνα ἄνθρωπον) where formerly there were two, but the making of one new (καινὸν) man. The result was not that, though the separation between them was removed, the Jew still remained Jew and the Gentile still Gentile. It was something new, the old distinctions between Jew and Gentile being lost in a third order of “man”—the Christian man.—ποιῶν εἰρήνην: making peace. The εἰρήνη is still peace between the estranged Jew and Gentile, and the ποιῶν (pres., not aor.) belongs to the object expressed by the ἵνα. In carrying out that purpose He was to make peace the one with the other.
 Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.
 Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.
 Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.
 Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.
 Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.
 Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.
 Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).
 Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.15. having abolished, &c.] Lit., The enmity, in His flesh, the law of the commandments in decrees, annulling. In this difficult verse our best guide is the Ep. to the Romans, esp. Romans 7:1-6, Romans 8:2-3, passages very possibly in mind when this was written. See also the closely parallel passage, Colossians 1:21-22. With these in view we may interpret this to teach that the Lord, by His death (Colossians 1:22), “in the likeness of the flesh of sin” (Romans 8:3), broke (“annulled”) for all believers their condemning relations with the Law (in the highest sense of the word Law), as a preceptive code, prescribing but not enabling,—a code imposing absolute decrees as the absolute condition of acceptance; and thereby, ipso facto, brought to an end the Mosaic ordinances with their exclusions, which existed mainly to prefigure this Work, and to enforce the fact of its necessity, and incidentally to “fence in” the race through whom the Messiah, as the Worker, was to come.
The passage thus teaches that Christ has “annulled” the old antipathy between Jew and Gentile, by what He did in dying. But it cannot teach this without teaching also the deep underlying truth that He did it by effecting relations of acceptance and peace between Man and God; not putting aside the Preceptive Law as a thing obsolete, but so “going behind it” in his Atonement as to put believing man in a different relation to it, and so, and only so, removing the external hedges of privilege and exclusion. Comparing Colossians 1:21-22, it is plain that this greater reconciliation lies, in the Apostle’s thought, behind the lesser, though the lesser is more immediately in point.
“The commandments in decrees” are, doubtless, in part, the “touch not, taste not,” of ceremonial restrictions; but not these only. They are the whole system of positive edict, moral as well as ceremonial, taken apart from enabling motive, and viewed as the conditions of peace with God.
“The enmity, even the law &c.,” may be fairly paraphrased, “the enmity, expressed and emphasized (under the circumstances of the Fall) by the Law, by its existence and claims as preceptive Law.”
for to make] In order to create. “It is a new creation,” 2 Corinthians 5:17; where the reference is to the regenerate individual, as here to the community of the regenerate.
in himself] Perhaps, in Him. But the reference is in either case to Christ, the subject of the whole context. Cp. Colossians 1:16, where “In Him were created” is used of the First Creation. In both Creations, Old and New, Christ is the Cause and Bond of being. The New Man, like the Universe, exists and consists by vital union with Him.
one new man] The phrase “new man” occurs only here and Ephesians 4:24, where see note. Here the great organism of the saints, Jew and Gentile, is viewed as, so to speak, one Person; a view closely akin to that of the “One Body” of Christ; 1 Corinthians 12, &c. “We are all in God’s sight but one in Christ, as we are all one in Adam” (Alford).
The Old Race is solidaire with its Head, Adam, by solidarity of Nature in itself and of standing towards God. So the New Race is solidaire with its Head, Christ, in Whom, and at once, it both receives the standing of justified acceptance for His Merits, and derives “Divine Nature” by His Spirit. And solidarity with the Head seals the mutual solidarity of the members. As the Old Race is not only men, but Man, so the New Race is not only new men, but New Man.
so making peace] Here, as just above, the immediate thought is of the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in Christ, but behind it lies the thought of that greater reconciliation which is expressed fully Ephesians 2:18; “access through Christ, for both, in one Spirit unto the Father;” and just below.Ephesians 2:15. Τὴν ἔχθραν, enmity) The Jews held the Gentiles in abomination; the Gentiles treated the Jews with scorn on account of circumcision, the Sabbath, etc.—ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in His flesh) So, in one body, Ephesians 2:16, [i.e. by His suffering and death.—V. g.]—τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν) the law of commandments, viz. ceremonial.—ἐν δόγμασι, in ordinances, in decrees) belonging to the Gospel, by which mercy was set forth to all, Colossians 2:14, note. [See the same words with the very same meaning, Acts 16:4; Acts 15:28.—V. g.]—καταργήσας, having abolished) Each ἐν [ἐν δόγμασιν and ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ] is construed, as we have already intimated, with this participle. Christ abolished, by His flesh, the enmity; [He abolished] the law of commandments by spreading over the whole world the ordinances of the Gospel. But if the expression, in ordinances, belonged to ἐντολῶν, of commandments, the expression, in His flesh, would not have been placed before, but after it. It is written, as it were, in the style of a lapidary [stilo lapidari].
 The arrangement being such that the alternate pieces of stone match.—ED.
Τὴν ἔχθραν, the enmity,
ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, in his flesh;
τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν, the law of commandments,
ἐν δόγμασιν, in ordinances,
καταργήσας, having abolished.
—τοὺς δύο, the two) He elegantly omits men; for formerly they had scarcely maintained the name of men. The two, who were Jew and Greek.—καινὸν, new) by taking away the oldness of the letter.—ποιῶν, making) The participle making depends on the verb, might create (κτίσῃ); and having slain depends on might reconcile: each of them has the power of explaining, which is derived from what immediately precedes.—εἰρήνην, peace) This peace-making precedes its publication, Ephesians 2:17.Verse 15. - (To wit, the enmity.) It is a moot point whether τὴν ἔχθραν is to be taken as governed by λύσας in ver. 14, or by καταργήσας in the end of this verse. Both A.V. and R.V. adopt the latter; but the former is more textual and natural. Another question is - What enmity? Some say between Jews and Gentiles; others, between both and God. The latter seems right; where "the enmity" is so emphatically referred to, it must be the great or fundamental enmity, and the whole tenor of the passage is to the effect that in the removal of the enmity of the sinner to God, the abolition of the enmity between Jew and Gentile was provided for. In his flesh. These words are not to be connected with the enmity, for then they would require τὴν before them, but with λύσας (ver. 14) or καταργήσας (ver. 15). In his flesh, crucified, broken, for our sins, Christ virtually broke down the enmity (comp. Colossians 1:22). Having abolished the law of commandments in ordinances. Some think that "in ordinances" (ἐν δόγμασι, doctrines) denotes the means by which the Law was abolished - by means of doctrines, i.e. the doctrines of Christianity. But New Testament δόγμα is not equal to "doctrine." "In ordinances" limits the law of commandments. The law abolished or superseded by Christ was the law of positive requirements embodied in things decreed, evidently the ceremonial law of the Jews; certainly not the moral law (see Romans 3:31). By removing this, Jesus removed that which had become the occasion of bitter feelings between Jew and Gentile; the Jew looking down proudly on the Gentile, and the Gentile despising what he deemed the fantastic rites of the Jews. That he might create the two in himself into one new man. The idea of a corporate body comes here into view. Christ's object was not merely to restore individuals, but to rear a Church, composed of many units incorporated into one body. This idea is prominent in the rest of the Epistle. Hence the strong word κτισῃ, create; not only is every believer a new creation, but the corporate organization into which they are built is also a creation. The two are made "one new man;" the Gentile is not turned into a Jew, nor the Jew into a Gentile, but both into one new man, thus removing all grounds of jealousy. This transformation is "in himself;" in vital union to Christ they are formed into one body. No Church connection of man with man is the true connection, unless it is founded on a mutual connection with Christ. So making peace; that is, between Jew and Gentile. The peacemaking with God, as we have seen, is referred to in the first words of the verse; this at the end is the subordinate peacemaking, the result of the other.
The enmity immediately follows the middle wall of partition, and should be rendered in apposition with and as defining it, and as dependent on brake down, not on abolished: the middle wall which was the enmity. It is used abstractly, as peace in Ephesians 2:14. The enmity was the result and working of the law regarded as a separative system; as it separated Jew from Gentile, and both from God. See Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15; Romans 5:20; Romans 7:7-11. For abolished, see on cumbereth, Luke 13:7, and make without effect, see on Romans 3:3.
The law of commandments contained in ordinances (τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν)
The law, etc., depends in construction on having abolished, and is not in apposition with the enmity, as A.V. The middle wall of partition, the enmity, was dissolved by the abolition of the law of commandments. Construe in His flesh with having abolished. Law is general, and its contents are defined by commandments, special injunctions, which injunctions in turn were formulated in definite decrees. Render the entire passage: brake down the middle-wall of partition, even the enmity, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances.
For to make (ἵνα κτίσῃ)
Rev., that He might create. See on created, Ephesians 2:10. The work was to be a new creation on a new foundation.
As the medium of reconciliation.
Of the twain one new man (τοὺς δύο εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον).
The Greek is livelier: make the two into one new man. Καινὸν new, emphasizes the new quality; not newness in point of time. See on Matthew 26:29.
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