Anthropologist say there are 3-4 major races among the people of earth. When the races are combined, there are up to 30 racial subgroups.
The “races” and “racial subgroups” breakdown into smaller categories commonly referred to as “People Groups.”
The Joshua Project reports that there are as few as 9,800 or as many as 24,000 people groups, depending on how you classify a people group.
Another Missions based organization sets the number at 11,741 people groups, of which:
3,178 are unengaged with the gospel
Would it surprise you then to learn that God does not look at humanity that way? He sees and categorizes us in one of three ways…
Gentile: Not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.
Saints: Reconciled: Born a-new in Jesus Christ.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22, ESV
Gentiles: far off – not reconciled
Gentiles historically hold a specific position in the order of things. VS12:
Alienated from commonwealth of Israel (Jewish nation)
Strangers to the covenants of promise given to Israel
Devoid of hope for the future
Devoid of a right relationship with God
This means that Gentiles historically, by nature of who they are, are not only separated from God, but are nowhere near a connection point to Him. FAR REMOVED
VS’14-19 show that this creates a natural dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles which results in certain animosity between the two.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Lk7_DWv1PGI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
What is the nature of this division?
The Law that came through Moses.
Jews: near – not reconciled
Stopping short of reconciling Israel to God, the Covenants of Promise as well as the Law, shortened the distance between God and fallen Jews.
Truth Point: being of the stock of Israel was NOT an automatic point of reconciliation with God. Like Gentiles, Jews are born in sin, cut off from a right relationship with God.
Unlike Gentiles however, they were born into a “people group” to whom God had chosen to reveal Himself, giving them every advantage possible to know the truth and act in faith toward it.
What was God’s purpose in this? Scripture indicates God never intended to leave the Gentles high and dry in pre-determined condemnation. But that Israel would be a “shining city on the hill,” helping the Gentile nations come to know and worship God.
Saints: a new people group.
Keep in mind what Paul is doing here. He is trying to help the believers in Ephesus, most of which were converted Gentiles, understand what God had done to bring them across the bridge of reconciliation and what that means for them. VS13
Truth Point: The sacrifice of Jesus (His blood) took away the distance between Gentiles and God, and now like the Jews, they are near, on equal footing, with reconciliation in reach.
What is this “threshold” for reconciliation? JESUS! VS14
Jesus made peace possible. He broke down the dividing wall of hostility. HOW?
Abolish = to nullify… to take away its power to imply guilt.
Jesus did this by fully fulfilling the Law. Romans 8:1
In Christ Jesus, Jews are no longer Jews, Gentiles are no longer Gentiles, both become one new people Group = Saints. Vs15
As SAINTS, we are reconciled not only to God but to each other. VS16; Galatians 3:27
Benefits of our New Identity
1.Access to God by one spirit: VS18
1 Corinthians 12:13
2. Citizens of God’s Kingdom Vs19a
3. Members of God’s family Vs19b
Perhaps THE greatest blessing here is that the that God’s relationship to us changes from that of JUDGE to FATHER.
4. Holy Temple built as God’s dwelling Vs22
Ephesians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20