- Man’s condition of spiritual death (vv.1-10)
- The Gentiles’ moral distance from God (vv.11-13)
- The racial dissension between Jew and Gentile (vv.14-22)
- God’s Work In Us: Quickening and Creating Us in Christ (1:1-10)
- God’s Work With Us: A Double Reconciliation of the Gentiles (2:11-18)
- The Gentiles’ Double Condition of Misery (vv.11-12)
- The Gentile Reconciled to God by the Blood of Christ (v.13)
- Seven Ways God has Removed Enmity Between Jew & Gentile (vv.14-18)
- God’s Final Product: Three Concentric Circles of Blessing (2:19-22)
God’s Work In Us: Quickening and Creating Us in Christ (1:1-10)
Man’s Lost Condition (vv.1-3)
God’s Love in Quickening Us and Creating Us in Christ Jesus (vv.4-10)
The second heaven is called in scripture "the heavenlies" or "heavenly places". The heavenly places are mentioned five times in the book of Ephesians. In Eph. 1:3, we find that the heavenly places are the realm of our spiritual blessings. In Eph. 1:20 the heavenly places are a sphere in which Christ has been exalted over every other power. In Eph. 2:6 we find that God had made us to sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, meaning that we share the exalted place that Christ has in the spiritual realm. In Eph. 3:10 we find that the heavenly places are the operating sphere of the angels, "the principalities and authorities", and that those angels are learning the all-various wisdom of God through observing the Church on earth. Finally, in Eph. 6:12 we find that we are engaged in a spiritual battle with the forces of evil (demons, etc.) and that this battle goes on in the heavenly places. It requires looking at each of these verses to get an understanding of the second heavens, the heavenly places, into which we are brought as believers indwelt with the Spirit of God.
God’s Work With Us: A Double Reconciliation of the Gentiles (2:11-18)
Reconciled to God, in One Body. Having already dealt with the individual side in vv.1-10, Paul now turns to the collective side. The Gentiles had two great problems: (1) they were far from God, and (2) they were outcast from Israel. God’s purpose was to form one body, and both of these issues stood in the way. We find God first deals with the moral distance from Himself, bringing the Gentiles near to Himself by the blood of Christ (v.13). Then He deals with the social distance between Jew and Gentile, by bringing in the cross and then forming one body. The order is important. It is also important to see that God was not bringing Gentiles onto Jewish ground. Rather, He was bringing believers from among the Jews and Gentiles into something brand new; the body of Christ.
The Gentiles’ Double Condition of Misery (vv.11-12)
- “Gentiles in the flesh”. The position of being “in the flesh” means that they were far from God.
- “Called uncircumcision” by the circumcision. They were estranged from the people of God on earth, and from anything that was a testimony for Him. Circumcision was the sign of the covenant with Abraham. The Gentiles had no covenant and no promise.
- Christ-less – they were without the One Person who alone can bring salvation, satisfy the hungry soul, and fill the heart with joy.
- Friend-less – they had no ties to the privileged people who were providentially showered with earthly blessings (hence “commonwealth”).
- Home-less – they were without the covenants of promise ties exclusively to the rightful inhabitants of Palestine. By birth they had no right to call it home, or share in the blessing.
- Hope-less – they were in a condition of total despair, having no knowledge of God.
- God-less – they were without any recognition of God whatsoever.
Alienation from God. This goes beyond God’s hatred for sin and His separation from us. There were bad feelings on our part toward God! Man in his natural state treats God as an enemy. Reconciliation is the glorious remedy for man’s alienation from God.
The Gentile Reconciled to God by the Blood of Christ (v.13)
Seven Ways God has Removed Enmity Between Jew & Gentile (vv.14-18)
#1: He has Made both One
#2: He has Broken Down the Middle Wall
#3: He has Set Aside the Jewish religion
#4: He has Made One New Man
#5: He has Reconciled both to God in One Body
#6: He has Preached to both the Same Gospel
#7: He has Provided to both the same Free Access to the Father
God’s Final Product: Three Concentric Circles of Blessing (2:19-22)
|Old Condition||New Condition|
|Far from God’s people||(1) Fellow-citizens with the saints|
|Without God||(2) Of the household of God|
|Without Christ||(3a) Part of the eternal temple built upon Christ|
|Without a purpose||(3b) Part of God’s very habitation|
- Body – carries the thought of unity, the expression of the desires of the Head. (Eph. 1:22-23, 2:14-18, 3:6, 4:4)
- House – carries the thought of a public witness and the importance of order. (Eph. 2:19-22)
- Bride – carries the thought of affection and subjection to the Head (Eph. 5:24-32)
Two additional metaphors used in Revelation:
- Candlestick – carries the thought of a responsible witness to the world.
- City – carries the thought of an administration and a display of glory.
- Yet he distinguishes “the desires (or wills) of the flesh and the thoughts,” by which he means the grosser tendencies, and the more refined, intellectual workings. Supposing a man devoting himself to science, and making it his object, is this to do the will of God? Nay, but rather the indulgence of the desires of the mind, and as thoroughly self as with others who might be given up to the coarser appetites of nature. The grand thing is, that I have no right to myself — I belong to another. Am I doing His will? – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
- Now as to the passage in Ephesians 2, it is very simple. … Certainly salvation by grace is not of ourselves, otherwise it would not be grace – impossible to suppose that grace is of myself, so that in this case “and that” has no meaning. But it may well be supposed that faith is of ourselves, as you say; therefore when he has said that it is by faith he adds, “and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” In short, by true faith we have life; we are children of God; but this is so because we are born of the Spirit, who works in us, and produces faith when we are begotten of God by His own will. – Darby, J.N. Letters: Volume 2, Number 330
- The Spirit shuts out all thought of man’s contributing the faith or taking any credit because coming to Christ; for He says immediately after, “And that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” This probably refers, not only to the salvation, but to the faith; it was all the gift of God, and not man’s production: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Epistle to the Ephesians.