SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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Theme: The church is a temple; the material for temple construction; the method of construction; the meaning of the construction
This chapter begins with the little conjunction and; so it really continues the thought of the first chapter. Paul had been talking about that incredible power that raised Jesus from the dead. We shall see that this power is the same power that regenerated us, when we were dead in trespasses and sins, making us alive in Christ. That is resurrection power. It is this power that all of God's children experience when they believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13) and accept His only begotten Son as Saviour and Lord (Jn.3:15-18,36; 3:3-8; 5:24).
This chapter gives us a beautiful vision of our conversion. It connects the change in us with the awesome miracle which took place in our Redeemer. The redemption which is in Christ Jesus is the power of God unto salvation. It is a supernatural force, which is at work upon us in the Word of Christ. It is a resurrection-power that turns death into life. And it is a power coming from love. The love which went out to the slain and buried Jesus, to raise Him from the dead, is the same love that bends over us as we lie in the grave of our sins. It raises us from the dust of death to sit with Him in the heavenly places (verses 4-6).
The person who walks the Earth a sinner against God . . . is in fact . . . a dead man because of the fact of his transgression against the pure God! They are spiritually dead! The destiny of sin lies on the unforgiven soul. It carries death and judgment with him/her where ever he goes! Those sins go to bed with him/her at night, and wake with him in the morning. Those sins take part of everything he/she does every hour of the day. Those sins CANNOT be forgiven EXCEPT by believing God and accepting His one and only Way of salvation (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). Unless those sins are forgiven, they will go with the person to Judgment Day, when they shall hear words from the Almighty Judge Jesus, which they do NOT want to hear! Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV)
Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV) . . . Only JESUS can save your soul from an eternal Hell! Only Jesus can reconcile us in one body unto God (verse 16), where we sit not alone, but together in the heavenly places.
Paul has by no means exhausted the theme of salvation. The converts are to be reminded what they have been delivered from, as well as what they have been lifted up into. They must look down into the pit, into the grave of sin, from which God’s amazing grace called them out and set them free. They shall be happier and the more secure, because the more humble they are, the more clearly they shall see the astonishing height to which that grace of God has carried them up, into the heavenly places (verse 6), where their Lord is.
Never for a moment does the Gospel, in its flights into grace and glory, forget the wonder and the miracle of God’s mercy. The love of God for "the world" (Jn.3:16); the reaching out, the effort of His eternal Heart in mercy to mankind makes up His divine Image. But all of this must go along with the constant memory that man has fallen by his own iniquity, and lies guilty by the wayside. Man is not just a sufferer; he is a runaway, a criminal, rebelling against the holiness and purity of Almighty God! God’s eternal love is concerned with him, but His eternal justice condemns him to death. Man's self-ruin finds him not only guilty but alienated and still resisting His maker. His destruction expresses that in the Fall, he does not love God, he does not choose God. He lays the blame anywhere, except on himself.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ and our redemption by Him, our regeneration by the Holy Spirit, is the only thing that can save us from Hell. BEWARE!!! There has never been a heresy that it did not lack an estimate of sin, and it always is is an insufficient estimate of something which God hates, and is the reason of proven error; but it is also the death of true spiritual joy.
Paul, the Apostle is determined to remind the Ephesians of their past (and ours), and of the absolute and unconditional mercy of God which had lifted them out the grave of sin, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What a difference! Paul teaches he mercy of God, as he shows them their sin.
The Material for Temple Construction (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (KJV)
And you hath he quickened . . . consider; The greatness of his power to us-ward, and to you that were dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.1:19). It means to give spiritual life by the infusion of a vital principle, (the work of regeneration), whereby men are enabled to walk with God in newness of life.
Who were dead . . . spiritually dead, in the grave of our sins, destitute of spiritual life, because one who is dead, has NO ability to live a life for God.
In trespasses and sins . . . Col.2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (KJV) Paul means all kinds of sins, habitual and actual, less or greater; or lustfully and coldly. Sin is the cause of spiritual death; and where sin reigns, there is a poverty of spiritual life.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (KJV)
Wherein in time past ye walked . . . walked in a continual sinful course of life. Being alive to sin, they (we) are dead in sin . . . because sin deadens us to any spiritual good.
According to the course of this world . . . we should NOT be conformed, configured or fashioned to this world (Rom.12:2). According to the course is according to the ways of men in the world, both in manners and religion. We are to walk in the Light with Jesus, NOT walk in darkness!
According to the prince of the power of the air . . . the devil, or the prince of devils (Mat.12:24,26). Of the powers, as they are called (Eph.6:12) . . . devils, or powers of darkness, are organized under Satan as their prince, who sets up a kingdom to himself, opposing Christ. Of the air . . . they are in the air, by God's permission; ready to tempt men, and do mischief in the world.
The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience . . . since the coming of the Gospel, and that spirit still continues to work today. Worketh in . . . effectually works, rules and governs them (2 Tim.2:26). The children of disobedience . . . are unbelievers, those addicted to disobedience, obstinate sinners.
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (KJV)
Among whom also we all . . . Paul places himself among them, although not guilty with them as an idolater as were the Ephesians, yet he had been a blasphemer, and a persecutor (1 Tim.1:13).
Had our conversation . . . walked in the same way, after the course of the world (1 Pet.4:3).
In the lusts of our flesh . . . flesh is here taken more generally for depraved natures, the whole standard of corruption in man.
Fulfilling the desires of the flesh . . . the inferior and sensitive faculties of the soul, as appears by the opposition of the flesh to the mind.
And of the mind . . . the will of the flesh is the unrenewed nature of man. Unless Jesus comes into a person’s heart, their mind is prompted to fulfill those fleshly tendencies. This was true of the heathen, as well as the unconverted Jew.
And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others . . . Paul seems to speak of sinful habits; and from the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, they as a result became second nature to them. Children of wrath are persons wide-open to Hell, because of the impurity of their hearts and the wickedness in their lives. We see here that the fallen, apostate nature produces the fruits of unrighteousness (Gal.5:19-21). The bad tree produces bad fruit (Mat.7:16,20). Children of wrath is the same as son of perdition (Jn.17:12; 2 Thes.2:3), son of death (Rev.20:15), meaning persons exposed to God's displeasure, because of their sins.
Our past is not at all pretty. We all walked according to the spirit of the age. We all conformed to the society and life-style of the world. We all were walking according to the prince of the power of the air (verse 2), the demonic spirit that energizes the children of disobedience (Eph.2:2; 5:6; Col.3:6). Satan simply takes people and leads them where ever he wants them to go, IF we allow him to do so! BEWARE!!!
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (KJV)
Rich in mercy . . . God’s mercy is abundant. Here we see the riches of mercy, like the riches of grace (Eph.1:7; Ps.51:1; 86:5).
For his great love . . . the fountain from where His promised mercies to us proceed, are the riches of mercy His from awesome love. God shows mercy to us miserable creatures because He loved us from eternity, with a love of good will towards us.
Wherewith he loved us . . . both Jews and Gentiles; there being the same original cause of the salvation of both (Gal.3:29).
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (KJV)
Even when we were dead in sins . . . (Eph.2:1; Rpm.5:6,8,10). God, who is rich in mercy (verse 4) . . . has made us alive. It does not mean that He quickened us when we were dead in sin; it means that He loved us even then, and made provision for our salvation because of His abundant mercy. His love to the children of wrath; love to those who had no love to return to Him; love to the estranged and to the lost. That is TRUE love! It is the most sincere and pure love, NOT like that of men. This kind of love can come from Almighty God Himself!, but such only as God bestows. Man loves his friend, his family . . . God loves His enemies, and strives to do good to them.
Hath quickened us . . . has made us alive (verse 1).
Together with Christ . . . in connection with Him; or in advantage of His being raised up from the grave. The meaning is, that there was/is such a connection between Christ and those whom the Father had given to Him (Jn.10:29). Jesus’ resurrection from the grave involved their resurrection to spiritual life. (Rom. 6:5). Everywhere in the New Testament, the close connection of the believer with Christ is affirmed. We are crucified with Him. We die with Him. We rise with Him (Rom.6:3-11; Col.2:12). We live with Him. We reign with Him. We are joint heirs with Him (Rom.8:12). We share His sufferings on Earth (1 Pet.4:13), and we shall share His glory with Him on His throne one day (Rev.3:21). I am not worthy of Jesus!
By grace ye are saved . . . (Rom.3:24; 5:1,9; Tit.3:7). Paul's mind was full of the subject of salvation by grace, and he again adds it here, as a point which he would never have them (and us) lose sight of.
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (KJV)
And hath raised us up together . . . we are raised from the grave of sin to the life of faith, in connection with the resurrection of Jesus, and in virtue of that. So close is the connection between Christ and His people, that His resurrection made theirs certain (Col.2:12; Rom.6:5).
This can be understood of a further degree of spiritual life in the progress of sanctification given to believers in this world; or rather, the resurrection of the body, which is said to be raised together with Christ, because it is to be raised by the same power that raised Him up, and by advantage of His resurrection, in which we have fellowship with Him, as being united to Him.
And made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . Jesus is our Head and representative.
Our spiritual rebirth (verse 5), places us into the family of God (Jn.1:13-14; 3:3-8), and will permit us to one day sit together in heavenly places with Jesus.
God has His arms outstretched to a lost world today as He says, "You may come IF you will come My way." My friend, this is God's Universe, and He is doing things His way, and shall continue to do so! He makes the rules in His Universe and He says that you MUST come His way. He loves you, no matter how great your sin is. His grace is greater than the greatest sin. You can be forgiven . . . . BUT . . . you MUST come His Way (Jesus).
Since sin is out of the will of God, when you sin, you turn your back on Him. This will keep you from experiencing the love of God and the grace of God! There is just ONE Way to be reconciled to God and that is through His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16). If you will come to God the Father through Christ, He will save you and you will experience His love and His mercy. God is rich in mercy.
Only by believing God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepting Christ Jesus (Jn.3:15-18,36), will God lift you out of your spiritual graveyard. Only God can "raise us up together, and make us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV) Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV) . . . You do things God’s Way or you will eternally regret it. There are some MASSIVE, well-known churches (cults) that teach otherwise! BEWARE!!! Believe God . . . NOT man (Mat.15:9).
For comment on heavenly places, see end of this chapter.
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (KJV)
That in the ages to come . . . in all succeeding generations as long as the world continues. The sense is, that the riches of Divine grace, and His Divine kindness, would be shown in the conversion of Christians and their salvation to all future times. Such was God’s love to those who were lost, that it would be an everlasting monument of His mercy, an eternal and unchanging proof that God is good! We are raised up with Christ, and are permitted to partake of His honor and glory, so that others may for ever be impressed with a sense of His Divine goodness and mercy to us.
He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us . . . (1 Tim.1:16). God's kindness to us believers in this age, since Christ's coming, is such an example of the exceeding riches of his grace, and should be an encouragement to future generations to embrace the same Christ in whom we have believed. The exceeding riches of his grace . . . the abundant and overflowing riches of grace. This is Paul's favorite expression, an expression so beautiful and so full of meaning that it should often be repeated, because we learn from this, that,
Through Christ Jesus . . . and ONLY by and through Jesus, whom God conveys ALL salvation benefits to us.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (KJV)
For by grace are ye saved . . . grace is the free favor (kindness) of God (verse 5), are ye, even ye Ephesians (Gentiles), who did not have such Promises made to them as did the Jews had (verse 12), are saved, from from your calling to your glorification (verses 5-6).
For by grace are ye saved . . . by God’s kindness and mercy, NOT by our own merit, and certainly NOT because we have any claim on it. This is a favorite doctrine of Paul, as it is with everyone who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity (Rom.1:7; 3:24; Eph.6:24).
Through faith . . . God’s grace bestowed on us through our faith, in connection with believing (Rom.1:17; 4:17).
And that not of yourselves . . . salvation NEVER proceeds from yourself or anything that you do. True faith is the gift of God. It exists in the mind only when the Holy Spirit produces it there, and is, in common with every other Christian blessing, traced to His activity on the heart. God justifies the believer, not for the value of his belief, but for the value of Him (Jesus) in whom he believes. The start of faith, as well as the increase of faith, is from the Holy Spirit of God, by an internal enlightenment in the soul. However "faith" comes by the means which man must benefit himself of, that is, hearing the word of God (Rom.10:17), and prayer (Lk.11:13), even though the blessing is completely of God (1 Cor.3:6-7).
It is the gift of God . . . salvation by grace is God’s gift to us. It is NEVER of merit; it is exclusively by favor. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV)
Not of works . . . no works whatsoever, and not any obedience to the ceremonial law (Rom3:20,27).
Lest any man should boast . . . IF works contributed to salvation, think how much bragging would be going on! People would glory in their own works or worth, as men always do, and if they think they have anything of their own which contributes to their salvation, boasting would abound (Rom.3:27; 4:2). God is SO wise!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)
For we are his workmanship . . . we are created or formed by Him, not only in the general sense in which all things are made by Him (Eph.3:9; Col.1:16), but in that sense which means by the new creation (2 Cor.5:17). Whatever peace, hope, purity or anything that we have, has been produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22-23; Eph.5:9; Phil.1:11; Col.1:10). There is not a stronger expression anywhere in Scripture to mean the agency of God works in the conversion of men, or the fact that salvation is entirely by grace.
Created in Christ Jesus . . . (Jn.1:13-14; 3:3-8; 2 Cor.5:17).
Unto good works . . . this refers to a holy life; the plan for which we have been created in Christ is, that we should lead a holy life. The main object was not to bring us to Heaven . . . it is that we should be holy. Paul held more firmly than any other man to the position, which men are saved by the mere grace of God, and by a Divine agency on the soul . . . but it is certain that no other man ever held more firmly that people must lead holy lives, or they would have no evidence that they were the children of God.
Which God hath before ordained . . . this means to prepare beforehand, then to predestinate, or appoint before. The proper meaning of this passage is, "to which good works God has predestinated us, or appointed us beforehand, that we should walk in them."
That we should walk in them . . . that we should live holy lives. The word walk is often used in the Scriptures to mean the course of life (Rom.6:4). For what are we created? For good works. When we get to the last part of this Letter, we will be told how we are to walk in a way that is worthy and acceptable to God. While we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph.1:3,20; 2:6; 3:10), we are to walk here on Earth in a way that will bring honor and glory to His Holy Name.
Ephesians 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (KJV)
Wherefore remember . . . the plan of this is clearly to excite gratitude in their bosoms for that mercy which had called them from the errors and sins of their former lives to the awesome privileges of Christians. It is indeed, a good thing for all TRUE Christians to "remember" what they were. No ability of the mind can be better used than to produce humility, remorse, gratitude and love, than our memory. It is certainly well for us to recall our former sins; to consider the hardness of our heart, our alienation from a good God, and our stubborn unbelief. It is well that we remember our wandering away from God, and our guilt, until our heart is touched by the Holy Spirit, and we are then made to FEEL. The converted Ephesians had much guilt to remember and to mourn over in their former life; and so does every single soul who is converted from the devil’s child, to God’s child (Rom.8:16-17; Eph.5:1; 1 Jn.3:10; 5:2). Thank You Jesus!
That ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh . . . not Jews, but Gentiles, under the power of the flesh, and subject to the control of their carnal appetites and pleasures.
Who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision . . . Jews were called Circumcision and Gentiles Uncircumcision (verses 11-16; Col.3:11).
In the flesh made by hands . . . contradicting the circumcision of the heart (Rom.2:28-29; Col.2:11-12; Deut.10:16; 30:6; Jer.4:4). They had externally adopted the rites of the true religion, BUT although it was not proof that they had the circumcision of the heart, or that they were the true children of God. In the flesh . . . carnal, unregenerate (Rom.8:8-9), or uncircumcised in the flesh, as well as in heart (Eze.44:7). These had neither had the grace indicated, nor any sign representing it. Paul speaks of the carnal Jews, who had the circumcision of the flesh which was made with hands, but NOT that of the heart (Rom.2:28), made without hands (Rom.2:29; Col.2:11).
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (KJV)
That at that time ye were without Christ . . . without knowledge of Him, or any interest in Him. Being without Christ is the base of all other miseries, because Christ is the Foundation of all good. The Ephesians had no knowledge of the Messiah, had not heard of Him and had not embraced Him.
Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel . . . the Christian church was first started and confined to the Israelites.
And strangers from the covenants of promise . . . meaning Gentiles were not familiar with the Jewish covenants in which the great Promise of Christ and salvation by Him was made. The covenants were several (Gen.3:15; 12:3; 17:7; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; Ex.3:14-15; 4:5; 29:45), as that with Abraham, and that by Moses, and differed in some ways, but the Promise in them was one and the same. The Gentiles were strangers from those covenants of promise.
Having no hope . . . the Gentiles had no hope beyond this life on Earth; for they were without Christ, and without the Promises.
And without God . . . they did have some general knowledge of a God, but knew nothing of the saving knowledge of Him, as NOT knowing God in Christ. They lived without God, neglected Him, and so were neglected by Him, as they walked in their own ways . . . just like millions today!
In the world . . . they were of the congregation of the wicked, and is here opposed to the church.
What does it mean to be lost?
#1. "Without Christ." This is the best definition of a lost man. It is the opposite of being in Christ.
#2. "Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel" or, alienated from the citizenship of Israel. That is the correct definition of a Gentile. The Gentile had no God-given religion like Israel did. They had no right to go back in the Old Testament and take the Promises that God made to Israel and then apply them to themselves. But, consider: Galatians 3:27-29 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (KJV) . . . Christ makes the difference!
#3. "Strangers from the covenants of promise." God had made certain Promises to the nation Israel. The covenants which God made with Israel are still valid, but no Gentile has any right to them. God has promised the children of Israel the land of Israel . . . all of it. They will get it someday, but it will be on God's terms, NOT their terms. http://www.hisservants.org/israel_promised_land_h_s.htm
The Promise Jesus has given to me is, ". . . I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also" (Jn.14:2-3).
#4. "Having no hope." Consider the religions (cults) of the world. They have NO hope. NO cult can promise resurrection and are very obscure about what happens after death. The cults offer NO hope at all. They insist on rituals and rites which mean nothing in our acquiring eternal life.
#5. "And without God in the world." This does not mean that God has removed Himself from man . . . it means that man has removed himself from God. A person is without God because of choice. He is in the darkness, wandering around like a blind man with the rest of lost humanity. This is a terrible condition that is not at all necessary! http://www.hisservants.org/truth_about_salvation_h_s.htm
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (KJV)
But now in Christ Jesus . . . but now the Ephesians had heard the Gospel, and believed, and were in Christ, in the Kingdom of God, united to Christ by the Holy Spirit and faith. Being in Christ, is the exact opposite of being in the world (Eph.1:12).
Ye who sometimes were far off . . . Gentiles were far off meaning far away from God, far away from His church and far away from His Promises. They once had no communion with Jesus by His Spirit. Paul means a spiritual distance, and seems to be referring to Isa.49:1,12. The Gentiles mentioned were alienated from God in their hearts, as well as removed from His people.
And made nigh . . . but now brought close to God and His people by Christ, and taking part in their privileges, and their right to the Promises to Israel.
By the blood of Christ . . . the value of Jesus’ death, atoned sin, made a way for the Gentiles to approach to God, so they too could enjoy the Gospel blessings.
In the Temple, there was the court of the Gentiles off to the side. Gentiles were permitted to come, but they were far off. But now, the Gentiles who are in Christ, all has changed. The Gentiles who were without Christ; now are in Christ. The distance and barriers which separated them from God have been removed because of Jesus' death on the cross. They have been made nigh (close), NOT by their efforts or merits, but by the Blood of Christ for He is our peace (next verse), who hath made both one. Only Jesus can do this!
Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; (KJV)
For he is our peace . . . wonderful words! Jesus is our Peace-maker, our Mediator of peace, between God and man, and between Jew and Gentile (Gal.3:27-29). He is called our peace, as elsewhere our righteousness (1 Cor.1:30), our redemption (Rom.3:24), our salvation (Heb.5:9). God the Father is said to reconcile us (2 Cor.5:19), BUT . . . Christ alone is our Peace.
Who hath made both one . . . both Gentiles and Jews, uniting them in one body (Gal.3:27-29), or one people, or one new man (Eph.3:15).
And hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us . . . He took away the ceremonial law, which separated the Jew and Gentile, as seems in the next verse. It seems to be an allusion to that wall of the Temple which separated the Jews and the Gentiles. That wall separated the worship service when the Gentiles came in. Because of Christ's death, we are all one. We Gentiles can all have full access to the Father by the Holy Spirit; we are no longer strangers or foreigners to God.
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (KJV)
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity . . . by the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus’ Body on the cross; in his flesh (Col.2:14) . . . not the flesh of sacrificed beasts but Jesus’ own flesh. Before Paul mentioned His Blood (verse 13), and now His Flesh, to imply the WHOLE Sacrifice of Christ, meaning His flesh as well as His Blood. The ceremonies had their fulfillment in Christ, and so too their abolishment by Him. Having abolished . . . eliminated, repealed, taken away the power of binding men. The enmity . . . between the Jew and the Gentile; the cause of hatred, the law of commandments contained in the law. The idea is, that the ceremonial law of the Jews, on which they so much prided themselves, was the cause of the hostility existing between them. That made them different people, and laid the foundation for the alienation which existed between them. They had different laws; different institutions; a different, religion. The Jews saw themselves as the favorites of Heaven, and as in possession of the knowledge of the only way of salvation. The Gentiles regarded their laws with contempt, and looked upon the unusual institutions with scorn. When Christ came, He abolished by His death their unusual ceremonial laws, and this alienation ceased.
Even the law of commandments . . . the law of positive commandments. This does not refer to the moral law, which was NOT the cause of the alienation, and which was NOT abolished by the death of Christ. It means the laws commanding sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc., which established the uniqueness of the Jewish religious system. These laws were the reason for the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and these were abolished by the great Sacrifice that the Redeemer made. When Jesus died, the purpose for which those laws were founded was accomplished, and they were of no more value and were no longer binding.
Contained in ordinances . . . the word ordinance means decree, edict, law (Lk.2:1; Acts 16:4; 17:7; Col.2:14). By ordinances, Paul means doctrine, and the sense is, that Christ, by His doctrine or commandments, abolished all those ceremonial rites. Paul seems to add, to show what part of the law was repealed by Christ, nothing of the moral law, just the ceremonial.
For to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace . . . of the two, Jews and Gentiles, one new spiritual person; that they might be united. Just as two persons who had been at enmity might reconcile, and become one in purpose and pursuit, so it was in the result of the work of Christ with the Jews and Gentiles. When the Gentiles were converted they would be united and in harmony. In himself . . . in union with Himself, as the Head, in which the several members agree. Of twain; two people, Jews and Gentiles. One new man . . . one new body (Christians). So making peace, between Jew and Gentile, having taken away those ceremonial laws, which was the cause of the argument between them.
Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (KJV)
And that he might reconcile both unto God . . . another result of Christ's abolishing the ceremonial law, was that He might reconcile both Jew and Gentile (all the elect together) unto God: and especially in this respect, He is our Peace.
In one body by the cross . . . both Jews and Gentiles united as one spiritual body (the Christian church), because the Body of Christ was offered up to God as the means of reconciliation (Col.1:22). By the cross . . . the once for all Sacrifice of Himself upon the cross (Heb.10:10).
Having slain the enmity thereby . . . the enmity (hostility, hatred) between God and man, by the making amends of sin. The word “expiation” does not appear in the New Testament, nor in the Old Testament in the KJV, but it very accurately describe a part of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Expiation means “to cover sin” and/or “to cleanse sin.” Expiation means our sin is removed through the grace of God because of Jesus’ well pleasing Sacrifice on the cross (Mk.1:11; Lk.3:22; Col.1:19; 2 Pet.1:17). Expiation is atonement, making amends, reconciling . . . and that truly this is one of the awesome results of Jesus’ atoning death for us. He paid sin's penalty for us!
Ephesians 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (KJV)
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh . . . partly in person, as to the Jews, and partly by His apostles, whom He appointed to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 2:39; 13:42,46; 15:7-9,14). To you which were afar off . . . the Gentiles who were far from the knowledge of the truth, from Christ, and salvation by Him. To you which were afar off . . . (Isa.57:19; Eph.2:13; Acts 2:39). To them that were nigh . . . the Jews were close to God compared to the Gentiles, nigh by their knowledge of God and His law, and the Promises of the Messiah.
How many people today are afar off . . . considering they most likely have a Bible in their home? So sad! Pick it up and read it! It can save our soul from eternal Hell!
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (KJV)
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father . . . through Jesus, our Mediator and Peace-maker, who has reconciled us to God . . . we have access, and are admitted into the Presence of God, by one Spirit unto the Father . . . by the Holy Spirit, who is our Guide to lead us to the Father, just as Christ is the way by which we go to Him (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). As there is just one Mediator through whom both Jews and Gentiles come to God, so too is there just One and the same Spirit (Eph.4:4). For through him . . . just as surely as He has secured our salvation, He has given us access to God (Jn.10:7,9; Rom.5:2; Heb.10:19-20; 1 Pet.3:18). This Jesus did by His death . . . reconciling us to God, by the doctrines which He taught, explaining God to us; and by Jesus’ intercession in Heaven, by which our humble prayers gain approval with Him.
We both have access . . . both Jews and Gentiles, ALL people can have access to God the Father . . . BUT you must come to Him HIS Way, and that Way is His Son, Jesus! See verse 6.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (KJV)
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners . . . the Ephesians were now numbered with the people of God. They were entitled to their privileges, and were not to be considered as outcasts and aliens. They they belonged to the same community, the same family, as the people of God. The word strangers is the opposite of citizens. All foreigners were regarded as "strangers," and Jews only were supposed to have nigh access to God. But now, Paul says this difference is taken away, and the believing Gentile, as well as the Jew, has the right of citizenship in the New Jerusalem, and one, as well as another, is a member of the household of God. They were a part of the family itself, and entitled to all the privileges and hopes which others had.
But fellowcitizens with the saints . . . belonging to the same community with the people of God.
And of the household of God . . . of the same family, entitled to the same privileges, and regarded by God as His children (Eph.3:15). Thank You, Jesus!
Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (KJV)
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets . . . the foundation on which the apostles and prophets laid their preaching was Christ, whom they knew was the ONLY Mediator between God and man, the ONLY Saviour and head of the church (1 Cor.3:11). Comparing the church with a building is common in the Scriptures (1 Cor.3:9-10). The comparison was probably taken from the Temple, that was an edifice of great beauty, expense and holiness. It was natural to compare the church with it, and too, the Temple was the sacred place where God dwelt on Earth (1 Ki.8:12-13; 2 Ki.23:27; 2 Chron.7:12). And as the church was the place where He now delighted to abide, it became natural to speak of His church as the Temple, or the residence of God.
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone . . . as supporting the building by His strength, and uniting the parts of it, Jew and Gentile. Christ is called a foundation (1 Cor.3;11); a corner-stone (1 Pet.2:6), a temple (Jn.2:19), a door (Jn.10:7), and here again a corner stone, and yet He is laid for a foundation (Isa.28:16).
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (KJV)
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord . . . by which foundation corner stone, Christ Jesus, all the building, composed of converted Jews and Gentiles, are fitly framed together, properly jointed and connected. It is not yet a finished building, but will continue to increase, and be more and more perfect, until Judgment Day (1 Cor.3:17; 2 Cor.5:16).
Ephesians 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (KJV)
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit . . . Paul applies the symbol to the purpose for which he produced it. As the stones in a Temple are all properly placed so as to form a complete building, and be a habitation for the God that is worshipped there, so ye are all, both believing Jews and Gentiles, prepared by the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, under the influence of the Spirit of Christ, to become a dwelling place of God, a Church in which God shall be sincerely worshipped, and in which He can continually dwell.
"For a habitation of God in the Spirit". . . this is the goal of God's ways with mankind! For this end His Divine grace has wrought through countless ages and has made its great sacrifice. For this end Jew and Gentile are being gathered into one and compacted into a new humanity.
The church is compared to a house, and every converted sinner is one of the family. The church is also compared to a building, founded on the doctrine of Christ; delivered first by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New Testament. God dwells in all believers now; they become the Temple of God through the working of the Holy Spirit (Eph.3:16). Our hopes must be firmly fixed on Christ Jesus, according to the doctrine of His Word. We must devote ourselves as holy Temples to God through Christ. He seeks our soul for His house. We are dwellings of God by the Spirit, and we must be spiritually-minded, and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23). We must never grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30). Let us always desire His gracious Presence, and His influences upon our hearts. Let us always seek to discharge the duties allotted to us, to the honor and glory of our Almighty God.
OUR POSITION IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES
There are four mentions of the phrase “heavenly places” in Ephesians (Eph.1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10). Some versions say “heavenlies” or “high places.”
The meaning is “above the sky” and symbolically refers to the spiritual realm of God.
These four verses in Ephesians that speak of the “heavenly places” clearly show us our position and authority in the “spiritual realm” (Kingdom of God).
Each verse speaks of a different feature of these “heavenly places.”
#1. Eph.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (KJV) . . . The Greek word for “spiritual” here is the same word that Paul used in: 1 Cor.12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (KJV) . . . God the Father has clearly sown the “heavenly places” with spiritual gifts and blessings for each and every TRUE believer through the redeeming work of Christ Jesus, which makes us complete in Jesus (Col. 2:9-10) and make us “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim.3:17) “to do His will” (Heb.13:21).
#2. Eph. 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (KJV) . . . The “spirit of wisdom” and the “revelation in the knowledge of Him” and the “eyes of your understanding being enlightened” are all free gifts from God the Father sown in the heavenly places for all TRUE believers . . . BUT you must “earnestly desire the best gifts.” 1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (KJV)
In addition, the “exceeding greatness of His power” (Eph.1:19), flows down from God the Father through Christ Jesus “toward us who believe” in the “heavenly places.” This great power has “seated” Jesus “far above” all the power of the enemy (Satan) in this age as well as
in the age to come, putting “all things under His feet” through the church which is His body.
#3. Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (KJV) . . . These two “togethers” refer to us sharing in (a) Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead; (b) His ascension into Heaven; (c) His present ruling of the world from His throne, at the right Hand of God (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22).
In the Spirit, we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly places, and only because of Jesus, we have power over the earth and the “prince of power of the air.” Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (KJV)
#4. Eph. 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, (KJV) . . . The “manifold wisdom of God” specifically refers to all aspects of His eternal Truth. These are to be “made known by the church” by and through His body. No matter what shortcomings the church might have, we (all TRUE believers) can “access” the Spirit and Truth of God with “boldness” and “confidence.” Eph. 3:11-12 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (KJV) . . . only through “faith” in Christ Jesus our Lord!
This gives us a striking view of the event of our conversion. It connects that change in us with the amazing miracle which took place in our Redeemer. The one act is a continuation of the other. Our conversion re-enacts in us Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, when we realize through faith that which was done for mankind in Him (Rom.6:3-5). The redemption which is in Christ Jesus is no mere inheritance, to be received or declined; it is not something done once for all, and left to be taken passively by our individual will. It is a "power of God unto salvation" (Rom.1:16), constantly working and active. It is a supernatural force, which is at work upon us in the Word of Christ. It is a resurrection power, which turns spiritual death into life. It is a power driven by love . . . the same love which went out towards the slain and buried Jesus, when the Father raised Him from the dead, bends over us as we lie in the grave of our sins, and applies itself with a power no less superior, that it may raise us from the dust of death to sit with Him in the heavenly places (Eph.2:4-6)).
Book of Ephesians
Eph. ch.1 . . Eph. ch.2 . . Eph. ch.3 . . Eph. ch.4 . . Eph. ch.5 . . Eph. ch.6 . . Ephesians Special Comments