Ephesians 2:16
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
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(16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body.—In this verse the latter subject opens—the reconciliation of all to God. On the reconciliation of man to God, see the great passage 2Corinthians 5:18-21. But it should be noted that in the original the word used here and in Colossians 1:20-21 (and nowhere else) is a compound signifying not simply to “conciliate,” but properly to “reconcile,”—that is to reunite those who were originally united, but afterwards separated by the sin of man. This brings out the profound idea, which so especially characterises these Epistles, of a primeval unity of all created being in Christ, marred and broken by sin, and restored by His manifestation in human flesh. Note that the passage in the Colossians (on which see Notes) has a far wider scope than this passage—“having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him (I say), whether they be things on earth or things in heaven.” On the other hand, this passage characteristically still lays stress on the idea “in one body”—that is, as throughout, His mystical body, the Church—although probably the phrase is suggested here by the thought of the natural body of the Lord offered on the cross, which is clearly referred to in Colossians 1:21. There is a similar connection of thought in 1Corinthians 10:16-17, “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we are all one bread, and one body.”

By the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.—In this verse (in accordance with the context) “the enmity,” which by His death He “slew,” is the barrier between God and man, created by sin, but brought out by the Law, as hard and rigid law, “in ordinances” of which St. Paul does not hesitate to say that “sin took occasion by it,” and “by it slew” man (Romans 7:11). This is illustrated by the cognate, though different, metaphor of Colossians 2:14, where it is said of Christ that He “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which was contrary unto us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Compare also, in Galatians 2:19-20, the connection of spiritual “death to the Law” with our partaking of our Lord’s crucifixion: “I, through the Law, am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. . . . by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” By His death Christ has both redeemed us from sin, and also “redeemed (properly, bought) us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13).

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.And that he might reconcile both unto God - This was another of the effects of the work of redemption, and indeed the main effect. It was not merely to make them harmonious, but it was that both, who had been alienated from God, should be reconciled to "him." This was a different effect from that of producing peace between themselves, though in some sense the one grew out of the other. They who are reconciled to God will be at peace with each other. They will feel that they are of the same family, and are all brethren. On the subject of reconciliation, see the notes on 2 Corinthians 5:18.

In one body - One spiritual personage - the church; see the notes at Ephesians 1:23.

By the cross - By the atonement which he made on the cross; see Colossians 1:20; compare the notes at Romans 3:25. It is by the atonement only that men ever become reconciled to God.

Having slain the enmity - Not only the enmity between Jews and Gentiles, but the enmity between the sinner and God. He has by that death removed all the obstacles to reconciliation on the part of God and on the part of man. It is made efficacious in removing the enmity of the sinner against God, and producing peace.

Thereby - Margin, "in himself." The meaning is, in his cross, or by means of his cross.

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).

And that he might reconcile both unto God; another end of Christ’s abolishing the ceremonial law, viz. that he might reconcile both Jew and Gentile (all the elect together) unto God: and in this respect especially he is our peace.

In one body; either both people united as one mystical body, or rather this one body here, is the body of Christ offered up to God as the means of reconciliation, Colossians 1:22.

By the cross; i.e. by the sacrifice of himself upon the cross.

Having slain the enmity thereby; the enmity between God and man, by the expiation of sin, the cause of it. Of this enmity the ceremonial law was a witness, Colossians 2:14, as well as a sign of that between Jew and Gentile.

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.

And that he might reconcile both unto God in {o} one body by the cross, having {p} slain the enmity thereby:

(o) He alludes to the sacrifices of the Law, which represented that true and only sacrifice.

(p) For he destroyed death by death, and fastened it as it were to the cross.

Ephesians 2:16. Continuation of the sentence expressive of the design. Christ has by His death done away with the law, in order to make the Jew and the Gentile into one new man (Ephesians 2:15), and (and consequently) so to accomplish the reconciliation of both with God, that they should as one body be reconciled with God through the cross, after He has slain thereon the enmity which hitherto existed between them.

καί] is the and of the sequence of thought; from what was before said resulted the way and manner of the reconciliation of the two with God; hence also ἀποκαταλλ. is prefixed.

ἀποκαταλλάσσω, only here and Colossians 1:20; in the other Greek writings only καταλλάσσω is preserved, which is not distinguished from διαλλάσσω (in opposition to Tittmann, Synon. p. 101; see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 276 ff.). The composition with ἀπό may, after the analogy of other compounds with ἀπό (comp. ἀποκαθίστημι, ἀποκατορθόω, al.), denote again (Calvin: “reduxerit in unum grogem,” also Harless), but it may also (comp. ἀποθαυμάζω, ἀποθεραπεύω, al.) strengthen the notion of the reconciliation. The latter is better adapted to the context (ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι; and see Ephesians 2:18). In opposition to Hofmann’s conversion of the notion into that of the restoration of fellowship with God, see on Colossians 1:20. We may add that ἀποκαταλλ. does not apply to the mutual reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles (Grotius, according to whom τῷ Θεῷ is then equivalent to ut Deo serviant!), but, as the express τῷ Θεῷ says (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:20), to the reconciliation of both with God, whose wrath, namely, against sinners Christ has by His ἱλαστήριον changed into grace. Comp. on Colossians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Romans 5:10.

τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους] not again τοὺς δύο, because they are now conceived as united, comp. Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:18.

ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι] is held by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Beza, Calovius, Calixtus, Wolf, Bengel, Zachariae, Koppe, Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Harless, Hofmann, Lechler, and others, to be the body of Christ; by the offering up of one body both are reconciled with God. But how superfluous in that case would the διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ be![154] Moreover, Christ is in fact the subject, and how could it be said of Christ that by a single body He has reconciled both with God, or—as Hofmann gives to the meaning a turn quite departing from the N.T. and especially the Pauline doctrine of atonement—that He has made a single body (His body, namely) to be their unity embracing them in the like fellowship of God,[155] since in fact the case of a plurality of bodies on the part of Christ was not even as an abstraction conceivable? This inappropriateness, hardly excusable by the reference to τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους, and not removed by the pure invention of a contrast to the many bodies offered up under the O. T. (Calovius), would only cease to be felt, if God were the subject, so that Paul might say that God had by the surrender of one body reconciled the two (2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21) with Himself. Hence Ambrosiaster, Oecumenius, Photius, Anselm, Erasmus, Bucer, Calvin, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Grotius, Michaelis, Morus, and others, including Meier, Holzhausen, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Winer, Bleek, have rightly found in ἓν σῶμα the unum corpus, which is formed of the Jews and Gentiles united into a εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος. Comp. on ἓν σῶμα, Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 3:15. Christ has reconciled the two in one body, i.e. constituting one body without further separation—the two portions of humanity as one whole—unto God. How entirely is this mode of taking it in keeping with the whole context! See especially Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 2:14.

ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ] after he shall have slain, etc.; for it is inserted in the second half of the affirmation of design which begins with the ἵνα of Ephesians 2:15, so that it is correlative to the ποιῶν εἰρήνην of the first half. On ἀποκτ. Grotius correctly observes: “idem hie valet, quod modo λύσας, sed crucis facta mentione, aptior fuit translatio verbi ἀποκτείνας, quia crux mortem adfert.” And the ἔχθρα (here personified) is not to be explained otherwise than in Ephesians 2:14; hence not the law (Michaelis, Koppe, Holzhausen), nor the hostile relation of the Jews and Gentiles towards God (most expositors, including Rückert, Meier, Harless, Hofmann), but the enmity of the two towards each other. The aim of the apostle was not to explain the nature of the atonement in general as such, but to show how Christ has reconciled with God the Jews and Gentiles combined into unity, and to this end it was pertinent to say that He had cancelled the enmity which had hitherto subsisted between them. The aorist participle, we may add, affirms not something simultaneous with ἀποκαταλλ. (ita ut interficeret), but something preceding (after that He has slain), so that the relation of time is conceived of otherwise than in the case of the correlative ποιῶν εἰρήνην, Ephesians 2:15. Paul, namely, has conceived the matter thus: Christ has desired by His death on the cross to cancel the mutual enmity between Jews and Gentiles (see on Ephesians 2:15), and then by means of this death to reconcile both, who should now in this manner be united into one aggregate, ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι with God. In reality these are indeed only different sides of the effect of the death of Christ on the cross, not separate and successive effects; but in the representation unfolding the subject, in which Paul will here, as in a picture, set the matter before us in its various elements, they appear so, and this is in keeping with the whole solemn pathos which is shed over the passage.

ἐν αὐτῷ i.e. on the cross. The reference to σώματι (Bengel, Semler, Hofmann, following Tertullian) falls with the correct explanation of ἐν ἐνὶ σώματι. The reading ἐν ἑαυτῷ (F G, 115, codd. in Jer. Arab. pol Vulg. It. Goth. Syr. p. Ambr. Aug.) would yield the same sense as that reference to σώματι, but is a conformation to Ephesians 2:15, in accordance with which Luther also translated “through Himself.”

[154] Hofmann, after Tertull. c. Marc. v. 17, attaches it to the following ἀποκτ., by which, however, the emphasis that manifestly lies on ἀποκτ. is pushed forward to διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ.

[155] “In His person subsists the newness of human nature for them, and in His body, wherein [as a bodily living man] He has gone unto God, they have the place where mankind is restored to communion with God,” Hofmann, p. 380. With this explaining away of the atonement it was no doubt consistent to connect διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ with ἀποκτ., and to refer back ἐν αὐτῷ to the ἓν εῶμα. The simply correct rendering is given, e.g., in the version of Castalio: “ut in sese ex duobus conderet unum novum hominem faciendo pacem, et ambos uno in corpore reconciliaret Deo per crucem peremtis in ea inimicitiis.”

Ephesians 2:16. καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους: and that He might reconcile them both. Further statement of object, the καί continuing and extending it. Only at this point is the prior and larger idea of the reconciliation to God introduced, and even now it is in connection with the idea of the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile. For τοὺς δύο we now have τοὺς ἀμφοτέρους, not “the two” but “both of them together,” unity being the aspect in which they are now presented. The ἀπο- in such compounds has sometimes simply an intensive meaning (ἀποθαρρεῖν, ἀποθαυμάζειν, ἀποκαραδοκεῖν, ἀπεκδέχεσθαι, etc.); sometimes, though less frequently, the sense of again (ἀποδίδωμι, ἀποκαθίστημι, ἀποκατορθόω, ἀποκαταλαμβάνω). It is doubtful which is the force of the ἀπο- here. In the context, it is true, so far as the relations of Jew and Gentile to each other are dealt with, we have simply the idea of a state of separation into two hostile camps giving place to a state of unity. But in the present clause the larger truth of a reconciliation to God is in view, and this favours the idea of a restoration to a condition which had been lost. The form ἀποκαταλλάσσειν occurs in the NT only here and in Colossians 1:20-21. In the LXX and once in the NT (Matthew 5:24) we have also διαλλάττεσθαι. But the two appear to be practically indistinguishable. As derivatives of ἀλλάσσειν they both convey the idea of a change, not primarily in feeling (which is expressed by ἱλάσκεσθαι and its compounds), but in relation, and in mutual relation, on the side of God to man and on the side of man to God (cf. Romans 5:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).—ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ; in one body through the cross. This cannot refer to Christ’s body (Chrys., Beng., Harl., Hofm.), as if the point were either the reconciliation of two parties by one body, or the one offering of Christ that needed no repetition (Hebrews 7:27, etc.), or, again, the one sacrifice as contrasted with the multitude of the Levitical oblations. These are ideas alien to the context, and they are the less appropriate because Christ Himself is the subject of the ἀποκαταλλάξῃ. The reference is to the Jews and Gentiles now making one body; cf. the ἒν σῶμα in 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:4; and especially in Colossians 3:15. His object was to bring the two long-sundered and antagonistic parties as one whole, one great body, into right relation to God by His cross. The διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ belongs rather to the ἀποκαταλλάξῃ than to the following ἀποκτείνας (von Soden).—ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ: having slain the enmity thereby. For ἐν αὐτῷ there is a variant reading ἐν ἑαυτῷ, slenderly supported (F 115, etc.); and some propose ἐν αὑτῷ (von Soden). But this ἐν αὐτῷ refers to the σταυροῦ, and the idea is not that Christ slew the enmity in Himself, but that He did it “by the cross,” or, as some take it (Alf., etc.), “on the cross”. The ἔχθρα here, again, is not the Law itself, nor the enmity of Jew and Gentile to God (though most take it so), but rather the ἔχθρα previously mentioned—the enmity between Jew and Gentile. Further, the ἀποκτείνας which might denote an action coincident with that denoted by the main verb, or might define the way in which the latter was made good, seems to have its proper sense of priority—“after He had killed”. He had first to kill this enmity between the two before He could bring them both into right relations to God in the way indicated, viz., in one body, as one great, united whole.

16. reconcile both unto God] The Gr. verb here rendered “reconcile” occurs elsewhere (in exactly the same form) only Colossians 1:20-21; but a form nearly identical occurs e. g. Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. The idea of the verb is on the whole that of the propitiation of an alienated superior, to whom offending inferiors are, with his consent, led back as accepted suppliants. God (2 Corinthians 5:19) “reconciled the world unto Himself” by providing, in His Son, the Divine pacification of the Divine displeasure against the world. Christ “reconciles us to God” by being and effecting that pacification. Hence Reconciliation, in practice, nearly approaches to both the ideas, Atonement and Justification. The Lord, here, “by the cross,” reconciles the Church to God; effects its acceptance; secures the “non-imputation of trespasses” (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Both:—here in the masculine plural; both great groups, Jewish and Gentile believers.

in one body] A phrase in contrast (see last note) to “both;” the two groups become the One Body, the One Man, of Ephesians 2:15.

by the cross] The only mention of it in this Epistle. Observe here, as consistently in the N. T., the isolation of the Lord’s Death from His Life-work, where ideas of atonement are in view; a fact most suggestive of the doctrine that that Death was a true and proper propitiatory Sacrifice, an altar-work, and not only a supreme act of self-sacrificing sympathy with man’s need and God’s holiness. For on the latter view there is no clear line of demarcation between the Death and the self-sacrificing Life.—Cp. the parallel, Colossians 1:20 (“the blood of the Cross”), and see above on Ephesians 1:7.

having slain the enmity thereby] I.e. by the Cross, the Atoning Death.—“The enmity:”—that spoken of Ephesians 2:15; immediately, that between Jew and Gentile; ultimately (for this underlies the conditions of the existence of that other) that between man and God (Romans 8:7).—“Slain:”—a word chosen, instead of e. g. “cancelled,” “abolished,” because the work was done through death. What was really, in final effect, executed at Calvary was the obstacle to peace; whether peace in the sense of the harmony of redeemed souls, or peace in the sense of reconciliation to God, the basis of the other. Cp. Colossians 2:14.

Ephesians 2:16. Ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι, in one body) fixed to the cross. To this is to be referred in (by) one spirit, Ephesians 2:18; comp. Ephesians 4:4.—ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν, having slain the enmity) By His death, He slew the enmity against God Himself.—ἐν αὐτῷ) in Him, viz. in His body.[33] Comp. what goes before.

[33] Engl. Vers. has thereby, seemingly referring to the cross; “by it.” But Ephesians 2:15, “Having abolished the enmity in His flesh” shows Bengel’s view to be correct.—ED.

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." Ephesians 2:16Might reconcile (ἀποκαταλλάξῃ)

Only here and Colossians 1:20, Colossians 1:21. See on Colossians 1:20. The new man precedes the reconciling in Paul's statement, though, as a fact, the order is the reverse. The verb contains a hint of restoration to a primal unity. See on Ephesians 2:12.

Thereby (ἐν αὐτῷ)

Or upon it - the cross.

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