God’s Work of Forming the Church
Ephesians 2
 
Ephesians 2. The same power which raised up Christ and set Him at the right hand of God (ch.1) “from the graveyard to the glory” is now put forth on behalf of (and working in) those that believe in Him (ch.2). In ch.1 we learned what we have been called to, and in ch.2 we learn what we have been called from. It is amazing that only in this epistle, where we have the highest Christian position, do we get the darkest picture of man’s depravity. Generally speaking, the subject of ch.2 is the steps God has taken to form the Church.
 
Three great obstacles had to be overcome in order for God to form the Church (which is part of His counsels). The grace of God and power of God are enough to overcome every obstacle! These three obstacles provide a natural outline of the chapter:
  1. Man’s condition of spiritual death (vv.1-10)
  2. The Gentiles’ moral distance from God (vv.11-13)
  3. The racial dissension between Jew and Gentile (vv.14-22)
The Godhead. It is more the work of God quickening and creating in vv.1-10, the work of Christ in redeeming and reconciling us in vv.11-17, and the work of the Spirit in giving us access and making us the habitation of God in vv.18-22.
 
Solomon’s temple. A picture of this chapter can be seen in 1 Kings 5. The chief materials used to build the house of God in Israel were cedars of Lebanon and great stones. The stones had to be cut out of the quarry, pictured by vv.1-3, man’s condition as dead in sins and offenses. They had to be hoisted up out of the ground (quickened, raised) and brought to the temple (seated in the heavenlies), pictured by vv.4-10. The stones also had to be trimmed so as to fit together perfectly, which speaks of the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile (vv.11-18). The cedars picture man alive in his sins, full of pride (Romans truth) who have to be cut down and floated across the waters (death with Christ; Rom. 6). These all were brought together to the site. Then they are built together into a temple (v.21) and a habitation of God (v.22).
 
 

God’s Work In Us: Quickening and Creating Us in Christ (1:1-10)

Man’s Lost Condition (vv.1-3)

CHAPTER 2
and *you* [Gentiles], being dead in your offences and sins — v.1 Our lost condition as spiritually dead. In Romans, man is seen as “without strength”, but here he is spiritually “dead” or completely unresponsive to God, with no power or capacity to apprehend God. It was for this reason that Jesus told Nicodemus that “Ye must be born again” (John 3). Death in scripture always speaks of separation; there are at least seven types of death mentioned in scripture, but here it is spiritual death. The expression “in sins and offenses” describes man’s fallen state. It does not say “trespasses” (as wrong translations say) because the Gentiles didn’t have a law to trespass against! The condition of spiritual death is one of carrying on in sin, and with complete indifference toward God. A dead sinner will still have a conscience about their sins (although it may become a seared conscience), but only a quickened soul will have true conviction about their sin. This verse is important also because it shows that man is unable to take a step toward God in his condition of deadness. Sin is not just a hopeless disease, it is a helpless condition. It completely sets aside the notion of free-will; i.e. that fallen man has the capacity to freely chose God.
 
vv.2-3 Three opposing forces. Fallen man is under three influences which act to keep people in the chains of sin, and which prevent God from using them as material to build His Church. The three opposing forces are: the world (v.2a), the Devil (v.2b), and the flesh (v.3).
 
2a in which ye [Gentiles] once walked according to the age of this world, v.2a The World. The world is a system set up by Satan to oppose the interests of God. Morally speaking, the world began when Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and built a city. Read more… The “age of this world” refers to the universal condition of the world, trending downward morally. It is the same time period as “this age” (see notes on ages) which is characterized by evil prevailing. The world has an attitude, an orientation, a set of principles, which are opposed to God. The Gentiles (referred to by “ye”) walked right along with that downward trend, without a thought or care for the things of God. Notice it doesn’t say “by nature”; nature has to do with the flesh (v.3), but here it is the influence of the world-system that is being considered.
 
2b according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience: v.2b The Devil. The great enemy of God is here referred to under the title “Prince of the power of the air”. That title illustrates his all-permeating influence. Like the physical air we breathe, the Devil spreads his influence through the material universe. His primary field of battle is the hearts and souls of men; he is working “in the sons of disobedience”. The word “sons” speaks of what is characteristic. For example, “sons of God” in Matt. 5 are those who reflect the character of God. The “sons of disobedience” are those who are characterized by disobedience to God. This shows that it isn’t just the fallen nature that man is in bondage to. The Devil is also at work to keep us apart from God (see also 2 Cor. 4:4). Men like to think they have a free will, but they manifest that they are under Satan’s power by their disobedience to God.
 
3 among whom *we* also all [Jews added] once had our conversation in the lusts of our flesh, doing what the flesh and the thoughts willed to do, and were children, by nature, of wrath, even as the rest [Gentiles]v.3 The Flesh – he brings in the Jews to show that all together had a history of being in bondage to the flesh. The desires of the flesh” are the grosser tendencies (fornication, rape, murder, etc.). The desires of the mind are the more refined, intellectual sins (ecclesiastical, scientific, and philosophical infidelity).1 The children of wrath” are those who by nature are heirs of the wrath of God; this is true of every fallen man. This is a different expression than “children of the Devil” which is not true of every sinner, but refers to a special class who are apostates. In this most basic level, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; all are children of wrath. All that religion can do is not sufficient to raise man above his natural condition, or deliver him from the wrath of God. For man to be delivered, God must intervene.

God’s Love in Quickening Us and Creating Us in Christ Jesus (vv.4-10)

vv.4-5 In the previous two verses we had three opposing forces (the world, the flesh, and the devil) but here in the next two verses we have three Divine forces (mercy, love, and grace) which God uses to overcome those obstacles.
 
4 but God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us, v.4 God intervenes. It is when the total depravity of man has been laid out to its full extent, that God intervenes on behalf of the sinner. In v.4 we are told the cause of God’s intervention, and in vv.5-10 we are told what He did. But first the cause; what was it? What would make God stoop from His place on high to come to the aid of a dead sinner? Love. That unending, unstoppable, unconditional stream that flows from the heart of God. His love was manifested in showing mercy. He was “rich in mercy”, and riches were indeed required to save the likes of us. In v.4 we find that mercy is the means and love is the motive. Next in v.5 we will see that grace is the method.
 
5 (we too [Jews] being dead in offences,) has quickened us [Jews + Gentiles] with the Christ, (ye are saved by grace,) v.5 Impartation of a New Life. The first thing God does in the process of saving a person is to give them life. The Kelly translation is: “even us [Jew and Gentile] being dead in our offences, he quickened with the Christ (by grace are ye saved)”. The Jews were not above the Gentiles in the matter of sin. Jews as well and Gentiles were dead in sins. God intervenes by quickening the soul. Old Testament saints were also quickened, but it could never be said of them, that they were “quickened together with Christ”, because Christ was not yet risen. Why does the Spirit insert the parenthesis “(ye are saved by grace)” right after “has quickened us with Christ”? We might expect to find it after “and has raised us up together” (v.6), because resurrection life is more connected with salvation, technically speaking. I believed it is because quickening begins the work of God in our soul, a work which is completed when we are sealed with the Spirit of God. A new life (“quickened with Christ”) is the first step in savings us from the old condition, but in itself does not constitute salvation. The new life has a new nature with new desires, and the capacity for “faith”. Faith is required for salvation, as we see unfolded in v.8 (Eph. 1:13). Faith and life come together. You cannot have life without faith, and you cannot have faith without life. If someone has faith, it is because they are quickened. Yet a person may have life, and therefore faith, while not yet having believed the gospel of their salvation (Eph. 1:14). However, it is normal for a person to  How does quickening take place? John 3 shows us that life is communicated by the water of the Word and the Spirit of God (John 3:5). It is unasked for and uncalled for. It is the sovereign grace of God to quicken a dead sinner.
 
Was Christ quickened? It says that we were “quickened with him, but note it never says that God quickened Christ absolutely. It is always qualified somehow, because Christ was life Himself (John 14:6). Christ’s glory as the Son of God is carefully guarded. In the grave He was dead, and needed to be “made alive”, yet He never needed to be “given life” in the same sense that we need it. Instead, He is called “the last Adam, a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45), He has the power to quicken (John 5:25)! His body could not decay (Psa. 16:10). Death could not hold him (Acts 2:24). He was, however, raised, by His own power (John 10:17, Rom. 1:4), by the Spirit (1 Pet. 3:18), and by the glory of the Father (Rom. 6:4).
 
6 and has raised us up together, and has made us sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, v.6 A new sphere and a new position. The “together” used twice here refers to “us” and “Christ”. We have followed His pattern in Eph. 1:20! The “us” is Jew and Gentile. We have been brought into a new sphere; the sphere of a more abundant, resurrection life in the power of the Spirit of God (John 10, 20). It is into this sphere that the disciples were brought when the Lord breathed on them and said, “Receive ye Holy Spirit” (John 20:27). We are now in a new creation, where we enjoy more abundant, eternal life, which is communion with the Father and Son. We are also given a new position; sitting down together in heavenly places “in Christ”. It doesn’t say we are seated in the third heaven, which is the abode of God. Christ is bodily seated in the third heaven, as we have at the end of ch.1. We are on earth, but we have an association with Christ in the second heaven, the spiritual realm. Association with Christ has made our place to be where He is before God! “The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory” (1 Sam. 2:7-8). At the rapture, our bodies will follow the path our spirits have already taken. What does “sitting together” mean? The seated position is one of authority. Perhaps the closest we get to this in the Old Testament is in Daniel, “I beheld till thrones were set, and the Ancient of days did sit, etc.” (Dan. 7:9). In a spiritual sense, we are presently associated with Christ as an exalted man, the head over all things! Note: Christ is said to be seated “at God’s right hand”, and we are said to be seated together in Christ. However, it does not say that we are at God’s right hand. That place at is reserved for Christ alone.
 
The Heavenly Places. There are three heavens mentioned in the Word of God.

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.

 
7 that he might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness towards us [the Church] in Christ Jesus. v.7 God’s purpose. The purpose of God in showing us such grace is higher than merely to supply our need. It is to display who He is! He will forever display to the world, to angelic hosts, etc. His grace by “showing us off”. They will see us, taken from the lowest pit (dead) and brought up to the highest place (sonship) and that will teach them His grace. This is the glory that is reflected by the city-bride (Rev. 21:2, 9). Grace is the activity of Divine Love in the midst of evil.
 
8 For ye are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God’s gift: 9 not on the principle of works, that no one might boast. vv.8-9 Who gets the credit for this work of salvation? God gets all the credit. Notice that in “saved by grace” is in contrast to “the principle of works”. The two principles are mutually exclusive. The vehicle by which we receive salvation is by faith. Even that”, referring to faith, was a gift from God! We can’t take credit for anything. This brings out the side of God’s sovereignty. Not only is it impossible to work for salvation, but salvation isn’t even offered by God on that principle. e.g. like trying to pick up copper with a magnet (see Rom. 3:27-28). If it were by works, some glory would go to man; but it all belongs to God (v.10).
 
The Gift of God in Ephesians 2:8. At first look, there are three things that might be “the gift of God” in Eph. 2:8; salvation, grace, and faith. The “gift of God” must be something “not of yourselves”. Both salvation and grace are evidently not of ourselves, or they wouldn’t be what they are. It wouldn’t make sense if what was being referred to was grace or salvation, although both are gifts from God. It would be a redundant statement. The construction of the verse indicates that faith is “the gift of God”, not only because faith is in the clause exactly preceding “not of yourselves”, but also because it is the very thing we might naturally think is from man.23 Grace is the means of salvation, but faith is the vehicle by which it comes to the soul. The Spirit shows us that even the vehicle (faith) is not of ourselves, but given as a gift from God. As we have already shown, faith is given simultaneously with quickening.
 
10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before prepared that we should walk in them. v.10 New Creation. The fact that our salvation is “not of works” is directly contrasted with the fact that we are God’s workmanship! We have been created again, which is more than being born again. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The old creation was created by Christ in Adam, the new creation is by God in Christ. The old creation was spoiled by man’s sin, but when Christ rose from the dead He did so as the head of a New Creation. God is so pleased with His Son that He wants to make many more sons just like Him! When we believe the gospel and are sealed with the Spirit we are created anew in Christ Jesus. Our occupation now is good works. Works do have a place in the Christian life, but we can’t even take the credit for those works, because God has prepared ahead of time for us to “walk in” them. The expression “walk in” has the thought that these good works become our way of life!
 

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)

¶ 11 Wherefore remember that *ye*, once nations in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that called circumcision in the flesh done with the hand; v.11 We are to “remember” our past condition because it will keep us humble and thankful. It doesn’t say to be occupied with it, but simply to remember it. Self-judgment is different from self-occupation. In Deut. 26:5 we have a similar thought, in that the Israelite who came into the land of Canaan was to bring a basket of first-fruits, and before offering the bread of his God, he was to rehearse, “A Syrian ready to perish was my father, etc.” We are to remember the pit from which we were dug (Isa. 51:1). This verse gives us two aspects of the Gentiles’ position:
  1. “Gentiles in the flesh. The position of being “in the flesh” means that they were far from God.
  2. 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.
12 that ye were at that time (1) without Christ, (2) aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and (3) strangers to the covenants of promise, (4) having no hope, and (5) without God in the world: v.12 Paul summarizes their state as a result of this double condition:
  1. Christ-less – they were without the One Person who alone can bring salvation, satisfy the hungry soul, and fill the heart with joy.
  2. Friend-less – they had no ties to the privileged people who were providentially showered with earthly blessings (hence “commonwealth”).
  3. 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.
  4. Hope-less – they were in a condition of total despair, having no knowledge of God.
  5. 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)

13 but now in Christ Jesus *ye* who once were afar off are become nigh by the blood of the Christ. v.13 God intervenes again. We had God’s intervention in v.4 in connection with man’s depravity, now we get His intervention again in connection with the Gentiles’ alienation. The Jew had a place of outward nearness to God, while the Gentile was outwardly afar off. The new standing “in Christ” is what makes us near to God. The work of Christ (blood) makes it possible. Thenigh in v.13 (what former Gentiles enjoy now in Christianity) is much closer than the nigh in v.17 (what the Jews enjoyed in the Old Testament).

Seven Ways God has Removed Enmity Between Jew & Gentile (vv.14-18)

#1: He has Made both One

14a For (1) *he* is our peace, who has made both one, v.14a Christ is our peace. He is the only one who could bring the Jew and Gentile together. Sometimes two people, who cannot stand each other, are able to be brought together by a third party whom they mutually love and respect. That third party is their “peace”. Christ, our Saviour, our Shepherd, our Friend, is the peace between Jew and Gentile. Christ has made both” (Jew and Gentile) “one” by putting believers from both into the new standing before God “in Christ”, and into a new sphere.

#2: He has Broken Down the Middle Wall

14b and (2) has broken down the middle wall of enclosure, v.14b Christ has eliminated all differences in approach to God. This is an allusion to the temple precincts where the Jews were separated Gentiles by a middle wall. In His lifetime, the Lord was a fruitful bough reaching over the wall (Gen. 49:22), but in His death He broke down the wall completely! It is called “the middle wall of enclosure”. In John 10 we find that the Lord was leading sheep out of an enclosure, referring to the enclosure of Judaism. He went on to speak of “other sheep” which were “not of this fold”, referring to Gentiles. When He would bring them together, there would be not one new enclosure around them all, but “one flock and one Shepherd”.

#3: He has Set Aside the Jewish religion

15a having (3) annulled the enmity in his flesh, the law of commandments in ordinances, v.15a The Jew was distinguished by these ordinances which separated them from the Gentiles. It is much like the hedge in Isa. 5, which kept the wild beasts out of Jehovah’s vineyard. In the sacrifice of “His flesh”, the entire Jewish religion, which puffed the Jews up in the flesh and fueled the enmity between Jew and Gentile, was graciously set aside.

#4: He has Made One New Man

15b that (4) he might form the two in himself into one new man, making peace; v.15b This “one new man” is the “mystical man”, Christ the Head and the members of His body on earth. It includes the body of Christ (v.16), but goes beyond it. The one new man is the body and the head. A healthy person does not fight against himself. Therefore, that making of two (Jew and Gentile) into one new man has made peace between both groups. But it is a “new” man. The body of Christ is neither Jew nor Gentile, it is a new thing; the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). How important to see this, that the Church is not an extension of Judaism!

#5: He has Reconciled both to God in One Body

16 and might (5) reconcile both in one body to God by the cross, having by it slain the enmity; v.16 Another thing that has “slain the enmity” is the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile to God as a joint thing, by the cross. The cross slays the entity by proving man’s total ruin. Can the Jew really claim superiority? They cried “away with Him, crucify Him”. Can the Gentiles claim superiority? Their wicked hands were willing and ready to put the Son to death. The fact that we all had to be reconciled together should remove any thought of superiority. Also, the fact that we have been brought to God (reconciled) on equal, new ground (one body) removes all enmity between believers. The oneness of the body and the body’s nearness to God are wrapped up together in this verse.

#6: He has Preached to both the Same Gospel

17 and, coming, (6) he has preached the glad tidings of peace to you who were afar off, and the glad tidings of peace to those who were nigh. v.17 Christ, through His servants, have preached the same Gospel of God’s grace to Jew and Gentile. There being no difference in the way of entrance into the Church, there can exist no dissension between the members.

#7: He has Provided to both the same Free Access to the Father

18 For (7) through him we have both access by one Spirit to the Father. v.18 Jew and Gentile enjoy the same privilege of coming into the Father’s presence by the Spirit of God. We are united by our common privileges, and by the “one Spirit” that pervades the Father’s presence.
 
vv.16-18 The cross gives us our title to positionally “draw nigh” (vv.16-17); the Spirit enables us to use our title and practically draw near to the Father (v.18).
 

God’s Final Product: Three Concentric Circles of Blessing (2:19-22)

vv.19-22 The apostle is contrasting the Gentiles’ old condition with their new condition:
 
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
 
19 So then ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but ye (1) are fellow-citizens of the saints, and (2) of the household of God, v.19 To see the height of our blessings we need to recall what was our old condition, but is ours no longer. We Gentiles had a legacy of being strangers (no relationship) and foreigners (no settled home). Human beings have two basic needs; to be loved and to be understood. We Gentiles had neither a relationship nor a home. But now, we have been brought into so much more! Now we, who had nothing, have been brought into new relationships and given a new home:
 
Circle #1: Fellow-citizens with the Saints. We who were “strangers” are become fellow-citizens with all the heavenly saints from Old and New Testaments. Our future portion is the heavenly city (Heb. 11:16,  Luke 10:20)! Note that is is not exactly the same thing as “the city” in Rev. 21. In Revelation the church is the city; the city being used as a figure for the church in her millennial glory. Here, we as saints belong to a city, the future abode of the all the heavenly saints!
 
Circle #2: of the Household of God. We who were “foreigners” are brought into God’s household! The household is a closer relationship than the city, as the name implies. The household has the thought of communion with God and fellowship with one another concerning God’s Son. It is similar to the thought of the family of God, which we have in John’s ministry.
 
20 being (3) built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone, 21 in whom all the building fitted together increases to a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom *ye* also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.
 
Circle #3: the House of God. We find that that Church is seen as the house of God in two aspects. If the aspect in v.21 can be compared to the temple in Jerusalem, then the aspect in v.22 can be compared to the tabernacle in the wilderness:
  1. Progressive Aspect of God’s Building (Temple) – in this aspect, the House of God is “under construction”, increasing as each stone is put in place by the builder, Jesus Christ. The gates of hell cannot prevail against it because it is founded on the truth of the Person of Christ (Matt. 16:16), which is corroborated by Eph. 2:21, “Jesus Christ himself being the corner-stone”. There are no imperfections seen in this building. The foundation stones, the first course of stones, are the New Testament apostles and prophets. We know the prophets are not Old Testament prophets because they are listed after the apostles. Read more… There are no more of these apostles and prophets today because God isn’t building the foundation today. Christ is the builder, and it is fitly framed together, so there is no false professors in this aspect. The way this is worded in the Greek it draws attention to the components rather than the building. The emphasis is on us being part of this great building. It is growing” or increasing as each new believer is sealed. The rapture will take place when it is complete!
  2. Present Aspect of God’s Building (Habitation) – in this aspect, the House of God is complete at any one instance of time. We are the habitation of God collectively! In this sense the Spirit of God is “with us” (John 14:17), not “in us”… by indwelling the Church. With this “present” aspect of the House of God (v.22), no Divine builder is mentioned (c.p. vv.20-21). This is because the House as the dwelling place of God is usually connected with man’s responsibility in building (1 Cor. 3:9), and not every person in the house may be truly saved (2 Tim. 2:20, 1 Pet. 4:17). And yet, it is the Spirit of God that pervades the house, and thus all should be done according to His mind. Therefore, our behavior is important (1 Tim. 3:15). It is important to note that man’s responsibility is not specifically mentioned.4
After the parenthesis of ch. 3, the subject of the House is taken up again in ch.4. We are exhorted to use “diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” That is, we are to maintain the unity that the Spirit has formed by submitting ourselves to the Word of God at every turn. By doing this we will be practically obedient to the Spirit of the House, and will also display the unity of the Body. 
 
In Him it is ordained to raise
A temple to the Father’s praise,
Composed of all the saints who own
No Saviour but the “Living Stone”.
 
View the vast building, see it rise;
The work how great, the plan how wise!
Oh, wondrous fabric, power unknown
That rears it on the “Living Stone”!5
 
Figures of the Church. God illustrates the truth with pictures that we can well understand (i.e. Bride of Christ, Body of Christ, House of God, etc.). These figures are perfectly chosen, not like the failing and feeble human examples you or I might come up with. Each figure conveys a different aspect of the Church's position. The term ‘Bride of Christ’ brings to mind thoughts of affection and relationship. The term ‘Body of Christ’ brings to mind thoughts of unity, interconnectedness, and the functioning of gift. The term ‘House of God’ brings to mind thoughts of testimony, order, and administration. The 'Candlestick' carries the thought of a responsible witness to the world. The 'City' carries the thought of Millennial administration and the display of glory.
 
Figure Body Bride House Candlestick City
Ephesians Eph. 1,2,3,4 Eph. 5 Eph. 2    
1 Corinthians 1 Cor. 12   1 Cor. 3    
Romans Rom. 12        
Colossians Col. 1-2        
1 Peter     1 Peter 2,4    
Revelation   Rev. 19-22   Rev. 1-3 Rev. 21-22
 

Footnotes

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. There is one place in Darby’s writings (Darby, J.N. Readings on 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3) that he says this verse is not man’s responsibility. “In Ephesians 2:22 it is not man’s building; there is nothing of man in Ephesians, but just the counsels of God.” This is commendable to me. There is no mention of man’s responsibility anywhere, so why infer it? It is entirely possible that the present aspect of the House is sometimes viewed in God’s sovereignty.
  5. Medley, Samuel. On Christ Salvation Rests Secure. Little Flock Hymnbook #99. 1785
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