For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
1. Every man by nature, in himself, and without Christ, is at war and enmity with God, with His Church, and chiefly those in the Church who are truly regenerate.
2. This enmity could only be removed by Christ's bloodshed and death.
3. The uniting of both Jew and Gentile in one Church is a branch of the peace which Christ has purchased.
4. From the apostle's designing the ceremonial law by a metaphor taken from houses divided by a mid-wall, or from an orchard, garden, or inclosure, separated from the outfield by a dyke or wall of rough stones, we learn several things relating to the nature, use, and duration of the ceremonial law, which are the grounds of the similitude. And first, as a wall is built by the owner of the enclosure, so the ceremonial law was by God's own appointment (Deuteronomy 32:8; Exodus 25:40). Secondly, as a rough wall is made up of so many hard, unpolished stones, not covered over with lime or plaster; so the ceremonial law consisted of many ordinances (Hebrews 9:10), and those very difficult to be obeyed, and an intolerable yoke (Acts 15:10). Thirdly, as a wall or hedge encloseth a piece of ground for the owner's special use (which therefore is more painfully manured), and separateth that enclosure from the outfield which lieth about it; so the ceremonial law did serve to enclose the people of Israel, as the Lord's own garden and vineyard, for bringing forth fruit unto Himself (Isaiah 5:7), and to separate them from all the world besides (Deuteronomy 4:7, 8), as being a worship wholly different from and contrary unto the superstitious rites and worship used among the Gentiles (Deuteronomy 12:2), and containing strict injunctions unto the Jews to avoid all conformity with the Gentiles in their garments (Numbers 15:38), cutting of their hair (Leviticus 19:27), and such like. Fourthly, as a rough wall is but weak and ruinous, as not being built with cement or mortar to make it strong, and therefore but to endure for a season, until the owner think fit to enlarge his enclosure and take in more of the open field; so the ceremonial law was not to last forever, but only for a time, until Christ should come in the flesh, and take in the Gentiles within the enclosure of His Church, who were before an open field, not possessed nor manured by Him; after which there was no further use of the mid-wall.
5. So long as the ceremonial law did stand in force and vigour, the Jews and Gentiles could not be united into one Church: for seeing by that law the chief parts of God's worship were restricted to the Temple at Jerusalem; therefore, though scattered proselytes of the neighbouring nations did join themselves to the Church of the Jews, and in some measure observed the way of worship then enjoined (Acts 8:27), yet there was a physical impossibility for the generality of many nations far remote from Jerusalem to have served God. according to the prescript of worship which then was: besides, there was such an habituate and as it were a natural antipathy transmitted from one generation unto another among the Gentiles against the ceremonial worship, that there was little less than a moral impossibility of bringing up the body of the Gentiles unto a cordial joining with the Jews in it: for the apostle showeth the ceremonial law behoved to be abrogated, in order to a union betwixt these two, while he saith, "Who hath made both one, and broken down the middle wall of partition between us."
6. Whoever would make peace betwixt God and himself, or betwixt himself and others, he ought seriously to think upon those things which stand in the way of peace, and set about the removal of them, if it be in his power, and chiefly those evils in himself, of pride, vain-glory, self-seeking, and a contentious disposition, which are great obstructions in the way of peace (Philippians 2:3, 4); else, whatever, be his pretenses for peace, he is no real follower of it: for, Christ intending to make peace betwixt Jew and Gentile, did take away whatever might have impeded it; He even "broke down the middle wall of partition between them."
Parallel VersesKJV: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;