The death of Jesus Christ does not do away with law but with enmity. The enmity of the law concerns the penalties that come with the law, for a law always has penalties. The enmity of the law can also be considered those prejudicial things that were expressed in prohibitions that separated Israel from other peoples and nations. However, because we believe in Christ and therefore have Him in common, the enmities and prejudices that have kept us separated begin to break down.
The end of verse 15 is interesting: ". . . so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace." It is easy to be drawn into thinking that, when He calls the unconverted person, or when He calls, say, a Gentile, and brings him in contact with the Israelite, that the Gentile will be brought up to speed, brought up to the same level as the Israelite. That is not what Paul is saying here.
He is saying this: Christ is bringing the Israelite and the Gentile together, and He does this by melting them both down and putting them together into one. That is an altogether different picture! Notice, he writes, ". . . to create in Himself one new man from the two." From two, He makes one. He melts them down and mixes them together because neither one of them is any good.
We must begin to approach our relationships with one another from that standpoint. The Israelite should have an advantage because of his introduction to God, at least in terms of having available the Word of God, the covenants of God, and so forth. But "to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48), and the Israelites squandered their advantage (Amos 3:2). So the Israelite is no better.
God is melting them both down and creating a new man, one new man. Notice Paul's use of "create." A Master Craftsman, an Artisan, is at work on all of us. He instructs us, chastens us, does whatever is necessary to blend us all together into what? Into the image of the one that we have in common—Jesus Christ. He is creating us, not into an image of an Israelite, not into an image of a Gentile, but into the image is of Jesus Christ. That is the direction we are headed.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 4)