1. It should be evident by now that one of Paul's purposes in writing this epistle was to help answer his own prayer for the Ephesians; that they might know such things as:
a. What is the hope of His calling - Ephesians 1:18
b. What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints - Ephesians 1:18
2. In the first half of the second chapter, Paul has spoken of the wonderful grace of God as expressed in their "personal" salvation - Ephesians 2:1-10
3. Paul now speaks in more "general" or "corporate" terms, especially as it relates to the salvation of the Gentiles and how they became "fellow heirs" - Ephesians 2:12-22
a. This is an important section, as it pertains to the mystery to which Paul refers - Ephesians 3:3-6
b. But this passage is also important because it describes "us", as most of us are likely "Gentiles" rather than Israelites
c. And it also makes clear what our condition can be today, either "outside" of Christ, or "through" and "in" Christ!
A. THE GENTILES' CONDITION "WITHOUT" CHRIST
1. "Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel" - Ephesians 2:12
a. They were not part of the state of Israel
b. They were not included together with God's "chosen people"
2. "Strangers from the covenants of promise" - Ephesians 2:12
a. Promises and covenants were not made with them
b. Promises such as "...to be God to you...and I will be their God" - Genesis 17:7-8
3. "Having no hope" - Ephesians 2:12
a. Hope springs forth from promises made
b. Being strangers from the covenants of promise, they did not have the hope the Jews did
4. "Without God in the world" - Ephesians 2:12
a. In one sense, they did have God, as He did not leave Himself without witness - Acts 14:17
b. But they did not have the true knowledge of God, a knowledge that provides righteousness, peace and the joy of salvation
B. THE GENTILES' CONDITION "THROUGH" CHRIST"
1. Can now be "one body" with the Jews - Ephesians 2:13-16
a. Because of Jesus, who is "our peace"
b. Because of Jesus, who broke down the "middle wall" of division
1) That "law of commandments contained in ordinances" which once separated Jews from Gentiles
2) By His death on the cross, he abolished that which created "enmity" between Jew and Gentile
3) I.e., the law of Moses given at Mt. Sinai
c. Because of Jesus, who "made peace" by reconciling both Jew and Gentile to God in the body through the cross
2. Can now share access to the Father with the Jews - Ephesians 2:17-18
a. Because of Jesus, who came and "preached peace" to those "afar off" (Gentiles) and those "near" (Jews)
b. Because of Jesus, for "through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father"
1) The access to the Father is "through Him" (Jesus) - cf. Romans 8:34
2) The access to the Father is "by one Spirit" (Holy Spirit) - cf. Romans 8:26-27
C. THE GENTILES' CONDITION "IN" CHRIST
1. They are now "fellow citizens with the saints" - Ephesians 2:19
a. Before, they were "aliens" from the commonwealth of Israel and "strangers" from the covenants of promise
b. But now, they are "fellow citizens" with God's people
2. They are now "members of the household of God" - Ephesians 2:19
a. Before, they were "without God in the world"
b. But now, they are members of "God's family"
3. They are now part of "a holy temple in the Lord" - Ephesians 2:20-22
a. Before, they "without God in the world"
b. But now, God dwells in them through His Spirit!
A. UNDERSTAND WHAT ONE'S CONDITION "OUTSIDE" CHRIST TRULY IS
1. A person is still an "alien" and "stranger", with no participation in covenants and promises that God has with His people today!
2. A person has no basis for hope, and must go through life without the blessing of God guiding them in this world!
B. UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED "THROUGH" CHRIST
1. He has brought to an end the Old Law; we should not seek to be justified by the Law - Galatians 5:4
2. He has sought to unite all into one body; we should not try to undo the work of Christ on the cross through religious division - Ephesians 4:1-6
C. UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAVE BECOME "IN" CHRIST
1. We have become "fellow citizens with the saints" in the wonderful kingdom of God; let's live accordingly! - cf. Romans 14:16-19
1. Though Paul may have been speaking in "general" or "corporate" terms, I trust that we have seen the implications of what he has said affects each of us "personally"
a. With salvation coming to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, we each benefit greatly on an individual level
b. With salvation coming to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, we each bear an individual responsibility to live up to our "holy calling" as God's kingdom, God's family, and as God's temple!
2. What is YOUR condition in regard to Jesus Christ?
a. Are you still "outside" of Christ?
b. Have you benefited from the work that was done "through" Christ on the cross?
c. Are you living as a person should who is now "in" Christ?
-- Don Treadway, August 2008 --