In Ephesians 2:15, Paul writes, “by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man... .”
The “man” in this verse is not the Greek word meaning “a male.” It’s the Greek word that refers to the human race. Paul is saying Christ’s work has produced a new humanity or human family of fellowship that can include all people.
Who is included in this family? Both Jews and Gentiles who are saved by the blood of Christ. We can expand this to include everyone since Pentecost (Acts 2) who has obeyed the gospel and who maintains genuine faith and repentance while producing the good works of holiness.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
This is the universal or invisible church. Salvation belongs only to those who are united with Christ and with all other believers in the church whose true borders only God can know.
Is the visible church important, then? Yes. In the New Testament, God has revealed the way he wants his church to exist. He has revealed what he wants it to believe and to teach and how it should be structured.
“There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-5).
Back to Paul, when he says there is now “one new man in place of two,” this is because both Jews and Gentiles are now in union with Christ and are therefore united with each other. Verse 18 tells us this unity is accomplished and sealed by the fact Jesus has given us all the same gift of the Holy Spirit in baptism (immersion).
“For through him we both have access in one spirit to the Father.” Paul also emphasizes the spirit-based unity strongly in 1 Corinthians 12:13.
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and were made to drink of one Spirit.”
Remember: When Paul wrote, the main division or hostility was between Jews and Gentiles, but what he is saying here applies to all divisions, all prejudices and biases, all racist attitudes, and all hostility toward any groups and individuals. All can all be broken down through Christ in his church.