Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
What does it say?
- Gentiles were called “uncircumcised” by the Jews.
- Jews called themselves “the circumcision”.
- Circumcision is done to the body.
- Circumcision is done by the men.
- The Ephesians were formerly separated from Christ.
- The Ephesians were excluded from citizenship in Israel.
- The Ephesians were foreigners to the covenants with God.
- The covenants were covenants of promises.
- The Ephesians were without hope.
- The Ephesians were without God.
- The Ephesians were once far away from Christ.
- Christ brought the Ephesians close to God.
- The Ephesians were brought close to God through the blood of Christ.
- Christ is our peace.
- Christ has made the Gentile and Jews one.
- Christ has destroyed the barrier between Jews and Gentiles.
- Christ has destroyed the hostility between the Jew and Gentiles.
- Christ abolished the law.
- Christ abolished the law in his flesh.
- The law had commandments and regulations.
- Christ’s purpose was to create a new man out of the Jews and Gentiles.
- Christ purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles.
- God purpose was to reconcile both the Jews and Gentiles to God in the one new body.
- Christ reconciles the Jews and Gentiles to God through the cross.
- By the cross Christ put to death the hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles.
- Christ preached peace.
- Christ preached peace to those who were far from God.
- Christ preached peace to those who were near to God
- We have access to the Father
- We have access to the Father through Christ
- We have access to the Father by one Spirit
- The Ephesians were no longer foreigners.
- The Ephesians were no longer aliens.
- The Ephesians were citizens with God’s people
- The Ephesians were members of God’s household
- The household was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
- Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the house.
- In Jesus we, as the building, are joined together.
- We rise together to become the temple of the Lord.
- The Ephesians were being built to become a dwelling for God.
- The Ephesians were becoming a dwell where God lives by His spirit.
What does it mean?
The Ephesians were Gentiles. And as gentiles they did not were not circumcised. Circumcision was a requirement of the Mosaic law. It was one of the ways that Jews marked themselves as being separate from the cultures around them. They had been separated from the world by God Himself. It was an indication they were God’s people.
Paul points out that previously the Ephesians were separated from God. They were foreigners to the promises of God. They were excluded from the benefits of citizenship of the nation of God. They had no hope of participating in the promises of God. They were uncircumcised. But Christ, by his work on the cross, brought them reconciled them to God.
Paul builds on the theme he previously established. The Ephesians have done nothing for their salvation. They were chosen by God. They were brought to God because of God’s grace. They were brought to God through faith and not anything they had done. And even the faith was not their own, but was given to them by God as a gift. Now Paul backs up and runs at it again in case they missed it the first two times. They were brought near to God through the work of Christ. They cannot even claim it was because of being born into a family of God’s people. They were foreigners. They were aliens.
The Ephesians are now members of the one body. Christ tore down the barrier the law established separating Jews and Gentiles. But the Ephesians are not now simply mixed in with Jews. They are part of a new body, a body which is holy, a body in which God dwells.
Since the Ephesians are now part of the new body of Christ, the church (Eph 1:22), they have access to the Father through Christ. They have peace with God because Christ, who is himself God, is our peace.
How does it work?
The grace and mercy of God is once again outlined. Not only did we not do anything to deserve the gift of salvation that God has given. As gentiles, we cannot even claim a birth right. It is all God’s grace and mercy. It is the work of Christ not our work. It is not even our luck of being born into the right family. It is all God! Understanding what God has not and you have nothing to do with it is the key component of the Christianity. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
It is Christ who is making a new body out of two people groups. Two groups who were once divided and separated by a great wall. Previously, we were at war with God and each other. It is Christ who reconciles us to God. It is Christ who torn down the wall between Jews and Gentiles. And it is because of the work of Christ we have access to God the Father. And because of the work of Christ we are no longer aliens or foreigners. We are part of the family of God. We are members of the household.
Praise God for the grace he has shown us through Christ. Praise God for the mercy he has given us. We were in rebellion against Him. Rather than the punishment we deserved, we have been reconciled to Him though the Christ’s work on the cross.
The reconciliation is so complete that not only are we simply at peace with God, but He dwells with us. God dwells in us corporately, as the church. Christ is building one body. The church is the temple Christ is building. Christ is rising up a new body, the body of the church. Paul labors the point here and elsewhere that there is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile. Together we are the church. And the church is built by Christ upon the foundation of the Apostle and prophets. But it is Christ who joins us together.