As Christians, all of us know the passage in Ephesians 2 that speaks of God's amazing grace. But to remind us again what it says (and this is what Peter did in his epistle, reminded them of what they already knew): "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not of your selves, it is the gift of God; it is not of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph 2.8-9). This is a verse that we need to be reminded of daily! We are saved and belong to the household of God. This should stir our hearts with love for the Savior. In light of the situation that I faced today, this truth-that God saved me and that am His-I can rejoice no matter what comes my way. But this is not the section that I want to discuss.
Right after Paul ends his explanation of how we went from dead, disobedient children of wrath to saved by grace saints in the kingdom, Paul moves into the area of Jew and Gentile reconciliation through the work of Christ. We recently translated this section of Ephesians 2.11-22 (and I think I may do my exegetical paper for Greek II in this passage, so I may have a lot to say regarding this throughout the semester as I am working through it) and I was struck by the imagery and topic of the passage.
Paul begins with a strong "therefore". This is to connect the previous section with what he is about to say. This can be seen in the shift from the first person back to the second person in verse 11. Paul wants his Gentile readers to remember that at one time, a time previous to their redemption, five things:
- a. They were without Christ
- b. Alienated from the common wealth of Israel
- c. Strangers to the covenants of promise
- d. They had no hope
- e. Without God in the world.
- (Eph 2.12)
Paul then adds these words: But now. These two words (nuni de) are the same two that are found in Romans 3.21, right after Paul ends his discussion on the sinfulness of humanity and proclaims the Gospel of Grace. The Gentiles, who were at one time far off, have now been brought near through the blood of Jesus, that is the sacrificial death of the Messiah.
(Because I may never be able to fully complete this in one sitting these days, I will offer this here as part I. To be continued soon…I hope:) )