- v. 11-13
After explaining that it is by the grace of God that we are saved, Paul challenges the people at Ephesus to remember who they once were. It is important for us as Christians to remind ourselves everyday that before coming into contact with the blood of Christ, we were unacceptable to God. We were sinners, just as those at Ephesus were.
In his reminder, Paul uses the term "Gentiles in the flesh". This is to further emphasize the point that they were lost before Christ. The term "Gentile" was used in the Old Testament in reference to those who were outside the chosen ones of God. He then combines that term with "in the flesh". This has two purposes. It further emphasizes the fact that they were not considered God s people because they did not have the outward sign of the covenant between God and His people. It also relates the point that before submission to Christ they were walking according to the lusts of the flesh. (Rom 8:8-9)
1. Circumcision - Referred to those who were sanctified or recognized by God. Physical circumcision was a sign of the covenant of God.
2. Uncircumcision A negative term used to describe those who did not have the promises of God. They did not have the physical mark.
By being the "Uncircumcision" they were lost:
6. Without hope
7. Without God
By being baptized into Christ they become the "Circumcision"; recognized by God and brought near.
Christ is the peace between Jew and Gentile. His death on the Cross destroyed the Old Law, which was a conflict between the two groups. Jews thought that they kept the Law by obeying the physical commands and requirements (ex. circumcision). This was the enmity between the two because the Gentiles did not adhere to those things.
If Jew and Gentile are to be together, there cannot be any barriers between them. Those who follow Christ are to be at peace with their bretheren. Therefore Christ destroyed that barrier, and in turn allowed both groups to become one. Gal 3:28
Not only did he bring both groups together; he reconciled both to God. It s easy to see that, without Christ, the Gentiles had no hope of salvation. The Jews, however, were supposed to be the chosen ones of God. They needed reconciliation as well because they had fallen out of favor in God s eyes. (Rom 10:30-32, Gal 5:4)
By being in Christ ( baptism ) they are no longer considered outsiders. They are to be considered as God s children and have all of the benefits: hope, a Savior, a God.
They have been added to the Church just as a builder lays bricks. Christians are referred to as lively stones (I Pet 2:5).
Just as builders start with a foundation, Paul makes emphasizes to the Ephesians that they were laid on a foundation. The foundation itself is Jesus Christ.
1. Some might misunderstand verse 20 to say that the Apostles and Prophets were part of the foundation. However it should be said here that by saying "the foundation of" he is only referring to the fact that these men were instrumental in spreading the fact that Jesus Christ is the son of God. (I Cor 3:10-11)
2. Christ is the chief cornerstone in that every stone that adds to the building must be perfectly aligned with Him, or it does not fit.
The whole building refers to the Church, as a body of believers of like faith. That body of believers is the temple; the place where worship is given to God. The temple is no longer seen as a physical place or building.
3. We as Christians are also considered a temple, in Christ. Not only does the Church worship God as a group; but we as individuals worship in our daily activities. We should be that place where God dwells in the Spirit.