Ephesians 2:11-22 | Brought Near to God

Ephesians 2:11-22 | Brought Near to God

11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12remember 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.

  • We were not just dead in sins and transgressions, but we were also cut off from ever approaching God
  • We were separate from Christ, excluded from God’s people, had no part in God’s promises, and therefore were without hope and without God in the world – we were far far away from God!
  • Circumcision was symbolic of being cut off and separated out (Genesis 17:10-14) – those who had been circumcised had been cut off from the world and separated out for God. Similarly those who were not circumcised had been cut off from God and separated from him

13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

  • We have been brought near through the blood of Christ because we are now part of God’s family
  • Hosea 2:23 “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'”
  • We have undergone a spiritual circumcision (Romans 2:29) and so are now part of God’s people

14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.

  • Jesus is our peace – he is what enables us to have relationship with God and unity with all other people
  • The Law is the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility – that was the separation between God’s people and all others. Since they kept (tried to keep it) and others did not have to. Some were under the law and some weren’t and therefore the Law was the separation line/wall
  • But since none could keep the Law, except Jesus, he has set it aside so all mankind is on a level plane and in the same situation
  • How did Jesus set the law aside in his flesh? – By perfectly keeping the law and then paying the price that the law demanded in his flesh. He died the death that we all should have died and so fulfilled the requirements of the law. He therefore completed it and could set it aside

His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,

  • “one new man” – speaks of unity and singularity. Israel was often described as ‘a man’, “they came together as one man”.
  • God is interested in creating a single united people with a common heart and spirit
  • How? – By creating them “in himself”. That we would be a united people in Christ. Not just like Christ or affiliated with him but IN him
  • Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind” – that is only possible when the Spirit of Christ unites us all
  • Sin creates division, holiness creates unity. We can see how sin creates division between God and man, and man & woman in the garden

16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

  • God restores the man-man relationship as well as the God-man relationship at the same time
  • The cross restores all relationships back to their rightful place of unity and love. It is restoring all that was lost in the fall
  • Jesus paid the price for us all with his body, that we might become his body
  • Like a company that buys two other companies and merges them both into one under the top company. The two are now joined and have become the company that paid the price for them

17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

  • To preach is to announce the good news. The good news is that we all have access to the Father through one Spirit
  • The good news for the Jew is that they do not need to keep the standards of the Law to access the Father, Jesus has paid the way
  • The good news for the Gentile is that they are not cut off from the Father any longer, as Jesus has paid the way

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,

  • We are no longer foreigners and strangers to God, we are now longer distant from him and far away, but are now fellow citizens with God’s people and not only that but members of his household!
  • We are privileged to be classed amongst the citizens of God and members of his household
  • Think back to the 1st century when being a Roman citizen was such a privileged position

20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

  • Apostles and prophets – The prophets foretold/predicted Jesus (for the Jews) and the apostles told forth/proclaimed Jesus (for the Gentiles)
  • Jesus is the cornerstone which defines where everything is, the starting and reference point
  • We the church are the building of God – elsewhere we are called living stones

21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

  • The different members are joined together, Jewish believers and Gentile believers to become one building of God
  • What is this building, what is its purpose? – We are like a temple where God dwells, and is worshipped and glorified. God’s purpose in us is to dwell with us and for his glory

22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

  • ‘you too’ speaking of the church in Ephesus and therefore of all other local churches throughout the world. But since churches are really just communities of individual believers in whom God lives by His Spirit then this is not just a corporate purpose for us all, but also a personal one
  • In the OT there was little individual connection with God. God dealt with his people as a collective and only a few as individuals, but now through Jesus God dwells in each of us
  • The church collectively is not just being built together but we personally are being built.
  • “The Father makes the choice of this house, the Son purchases it, the Holy Ghost takes possession of it.”

Summary

The church (Gentiles) were far away from God and had no hope or part in his promises, but God has brought us near through Jesus Christ. We are being built with Israel into a building with Christ as the cornerstone, in which God lives by his Spirit.