“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.
What is meant by the term “Gentile”? The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”. It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.
Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:
1. When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.
2. When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord. Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.
Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities. There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation. Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1. Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2. Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3. Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4. King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5. Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6. Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)
And perhaps others.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II. Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III. The work of Christ on behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV. Communion with God by the Spirit – 18
In this morning’s devotional, Paul addresses the gracious entrance of the Gentiles into communion with the Lord and their inclusion into the family of God and the Israel of God…
(Eph 2:13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Paul begins by emphasizing the basis of the Gentiles acceptance before the Lord…
But now in Christ Jesus
The Gentiles acceptance before God and inclusion in His family is based upon the work of Christ. This work of Christ forms the basis for the Jews acceptance before God as well.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)
The bottom line is this… through faith in Christ, and His work on the cross, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles…
1. Both can enter into salvation by faith (For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus),
2. Be baptized into Christ through water baptism (For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ)
3. Both can claim citizenship in the spiritual nation of God (then are ye Abraham’s seed)
4. Both can become members, and heirs, in the family of God (heirs according to the promise.)
All of this takes place because of the grace and kindness of our Great God and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please notice, more about the phrase “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”…
Is very important to our subject of both Jew and Gentile being accepted into Christ and His worship. The baptism being spoken of here is water baptism. Water baptism is performed for two main reasons:
1. To publically declare our salvation experience
2. To grant membership into the Lord’s body, His place of worship, His local church (1 Cor 12:27).
When we are told both Jews and Gentiles can experience water baptism, it is saying that both can:
1. publicly testify of a legitimate salvation experience,
2. and both can experience genuine worship with Him as they are given entrance into his local churches.
ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh
As physical Gentiles they no longer were under the restrictions of the OT ceremonial laws that restricted them from worship. As spiritual Gentiles (lost men) they now had been forgiven and entered into communion with their God.
Those who were separated from God can now enter into a close relationship with Him based upon Christ’s shed blood.
by the blood of Christ.
It is this shed blood of Christ which covers the sin and redeems the sinner.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” 1Peter 1:18-21
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:12-14)
Certainly, the Ephesians had much to be thankful for… through the person and work of their Lord Jesus, they had been brought into a relationship with the only True God and His local church at Ephesus. Likewise, for each one of us who are saved, whether Jew or Gentile, we have much for which to praise and honor our Lord. It is only through His shed blood that we can gain membership into His family and His place of worship.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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