Because of the resurrection, all of humanity has been brought together in unity and peace. It sounds ironically false, doesn’t it, so much so that we almost break out in laughter? We know that humanity wretches under tremendous tumult, from starvation to war, political wrangling, protests, violence, sex trafficking, slavery, injustice and every imaginable immorality. We must remember, though, that what God has done is still true. Humanity continues to rebel against Him, and so forces the catastrophe of humanity that we see.
In the musical Les Miserables, in the song “I Dreamed A Dream,” Fantine reminisces about a time when life was good and full of hope, but it got dashed on the rocks by men’s cruelty and savagery. This text by Paul shows the completely opposite picture: What is normal on earth is men’s wickedness and corruption, and it is only by God’s gift of grace that we are still alive (frankly), civilized, and able to love, show kindness, and forgive. The biblical picture is that without God we are nothing more than brutes: separated from God by nature and by behavior, enemies of each other, and outside of all hope without divine intervention. The real picture is dramatically bleak and desperately dark.
“But now.” In Christ a light has come shining in the darkness, a whisper of hope and life, a promise of freedom and joy like a stream in the desert. Into our world has broken a song of redemption and love, a peaceful melody of togetherness and family. Jesus has come and, by the most brutal act men can assault on other men, has obliterated the barriers that hold men in slavery. He has not just offered a chance to get better, but instead holds out the unbelievable offer of a world made new because all life can be recreated in conformity to the Prince of Peace, the Divine Healer, the Great Physician. Though hostility put him to death, in the Great Reversal He used that to put to death their hostility, blowing up the barrier and instead building a bridge. The result is peace, freedom, reconciliation, friendship, belonging, and access to the Father. Therefore anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, feasting on the riches of His resources, a full member of the household of God with all its inheritance benefits.
But all of this is not talk for “the sweet by and by,” but a reality now in real time between honest-to-goodness people. It’s not a pipe dream but a reachable ideal. Later in the book Paul will explain the dynamics that make it all work. For now his point is that the foundation is laid, the drawings are in hand, the permits are secured, the supplies are procured, and the work crew is assembled.