Our Spiritual Union with God happens only through Jesus’ propitious sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross, and His poured out life and blood…
“I must die or get somebody to die for me. If the Bible doesn’t teach that, it doesn’t teach anything. And that is where the atonement of Jesus Christ comes in.”
— Dwight L. Moody
In chapter 2, Paul tells the Ephesian Christians:
As Gentiles, you were once spiritually alienated from Israel, but now you have been spiritually united with them into a living spiritual temple of God.
In the first half of Ephesians chapter 2, Paul traced the salvation of individual Gentiles and Jews.
Now he advances to the abolition of their former national differences, to their union in Christ, and to their formation into the church, a holy temple in the Lord.
In verses 11 and 12 the apostle reminds his readers that prior to their conversion they were Gentiles by birth and therefore outcasts as far as the Jews were concerned.
First, they were despised. This is indicated by the fact that the Jews called them Uncircumcision.
This meant the Gentiles did not have the surgical sign in their flesh that marked the Israelites as God’s covenant people.
The name “uncircumcised” was an ethnic slur, similar to the names that people use today for despised nationalities.
We can feel something of its sting when we hear David say concerning the Gentile Goliath, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26).
Before Christ’s coming, Gentiles and Jews kept apart from one another. Jews considered Gentiles beyond God’s saving power and therefore without hope.
Gentiles resented Jewish claims.
Christ revealed the total sinfulness of both Jews and Gentiles, and then He offered His salvation to both.
Christ breaks down the walls of prejudice, reconciles ALL believers to God, and unifies us in one body.
Pious Jews considered all non-Jews (Gentiles) ceremonially unclean.
They thought of themselves as pure and clean because of their national heritage and religious ceremonies.
Paul pointed out that Jews and Gentiles alike are unclean before God and need to be cleansed by Christ.
In order to realize how great a gift salvation is, we need to remember our former, natural, unclean condition.
Have you ever felt separate, excluded, hopeless?
These verses are for you.
Christ’s love overcomes all feelings of alienation and brings outsiders into the body of believers.
Jews and Gentiles alike could be guilty of spiritual pride—Jews for thinking their faith and traditions elevated them above everyone else, Gentiles for trusting in their achievements, power, or positions.
Spiritual pride blinds us to our own faults and magnifies the faults of others.
Be careful not to become proud of your salvation.
Instead, humbly thank God for what He has done, and encourage others who might be struggling in their faith.
New Living Translation
13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us.
He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations.
He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.
16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
Christ has destroyed the barriers people build between themselves and others.
Because these walls have been removed, we can have real unity with people who are not like us.
We have true reconciliation with God and with each other. Because of Christ’s death, we are all unified, on the same side, citizens of the same Kingdom (2:14); our hostility against each other has been put to death (2:16); we can all have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (2:18); we are no longer strangers or foreigners to God (2:19); and we are all being built into a holy temple with Christ as our chief cornerstone (2:20-21).
There are many barriers that can divide us from other Christians: age, appearance, intelligence, political persuasion, economic status, race, theological perspective.
We stifle Christ’s love when we befriend only those people whom we like or with whom we share similar characteristics.
Fortunately, Christ has knocked down the barriers and has unified all believers in one family.
The Holy Spirit helps us look beyond our potential barriers to the unity we are called to enjoy.
Focus on the cross, which unites all believers.
By His death, Christ ended the reason for angry resentment between Jews and Gentiles, caused by the Jewish laws that favored the Jews and excluded the Gentiles.
When Christ died, He accomplished the purpose of that whole system of Jewish laws.
Then He took the two groups who had been opposed to each other and made them parts of Himself.
“One new people” refers to the single entity that Christ made out of the two. Thus, He fused all believers together to become one in Himself.
SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
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