We were once dead spiritually and followed a non-believing value system that was created and energized by Satan. Most non-believers would not say that they are, but Satan is crafty and a tempter. He makes things of the world look attractive and makes us think it is our idea to pursue them. Because of this spiritually dead condition and the desire to gratify our flesh, we were objects of the wrath of God because disobedience and unbelief led to His wrath (Romans 1:18-2:29; John 3:36).
BUT because of God's mercy, He has provided a way of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. This is because He is a gracious and wonderful God, not because we can do any righteous works. We cannot claim any credit for our salvation. Because we are "with Christ," we are made alive, raised up, and seated in the heavenly realms with our position in heaven secured. What hope! It is ALL because of Christ, not because of anything we have done or will do. What an affront to a holy God to think that anything we can do would merit salvation! We are God's workmanship (poiēma means a work of art or masterpiece and where we get the English word, "poem") created by God in Christ Jesus. God will perform His good works through us. We cannot do them on our own.
The Ephesians, as Gentiles, were once separated from God and the Jews; but in Christ, Jews and Gentiles have been united with God and with each other into one Body. They have been brought near by the blood of Christ (2:13; 1:7).
In order to understand this passage, we need a short Old Testament review. "Uncircumcised" was a derogatory term for Gentiles. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and the Jews (Genesis 17). The "covenants of promise" that Gentiles were excluded from included the Abrahamic (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-8), Palestinian (Deuteronomy 28-30), Davidic (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:1-4), and the New (Jeremiah 31;31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-30). These all pointed to the promise of the Messiah (Jesus) and the blessings through Him, but we know from our study of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis that God did not choose Israel and exclude the other nations. God chose them so they could reach all the other nations and include them in His eternal plan. They were blessed to be a blessing, but they did not understand this (Genesis 12:1-3).
The results of this union between Gentile and Jew is peace with each other and with God. This makes one body and one building with Christ as the chief cornerstone. In ancient times, the cornerstone was carefully placed, and the whole building was lined up with it (1 Peter 2:4-10). God's people are His New Testament temple for all the world to see!
I'm not who I was! YIPPEE! Perfect song for this passage.
The passage also looks to our present and future citizenship in heaven. We are to fix our hope on this.
I just have to use another C.S. Lewis quote about our hope:
Hope is one of the theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not, as some modern people think, a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.
The apostles who brought about, on foot, the conversion of the Roman Empire, The great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals [Like my hero, William Wilberforce!] who abolished the Slave Trade , all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither. (MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. Lewis [Another one of my heroes!])
Worship God and thank Him that you are not who you were! Watch the video. What would your two-sided sign say?
Key verses to memorize from this chapter are Ephesians 2:8, 9
Thank You that I am not who I was, Lord! YIPPEE. Thank You for Your grace that is given freely to me through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is all your initiation and not because of my works. I am in awe. Thank You for the blessed hope that I have in You. Thank You for making me a citizen of heaven. Amen.