“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 describes in more detail three results of His work on the cross that reconciled man to God…
(Eph 2:15-16) 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:
Paul explains how the work of Christ on the cross worked reconciliation between God and Gentiles (both physical and spiritual)
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity,
Two types of enmity (hatred, warfare) exists in the lives of Gentiles:
1. For the physical Gentile enmity existed between Jews and themselves… many Old Testament blessings were given to Jews but were not experienced by Gentiles (Romans 3:1-2). Some of these included:
a. being used by God to deliver His Word
b. being granted access to His house of worship
c. National blessings of protection and prosperity
2. For the spiritual Gentiles enmity exists between God and himself. This enmity is the result of man’s fallen sinful, depraved nature (Colossians 1:21, Romans 7:7).
It was through the physical abuse and death of Christ that this hatred was brought to cessation…
I. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in a cessation of warfare between physical Jew and physical Gentiles and between God and spiritual Gentiles.
even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;
This enmity was brought about due to the “law of commandments” (the restriction of divine requirements)
1. For the physical Gentile… it was the restrictions found in the OT law of God that forbade them from full interaction with the Lord (especially in areas of worship, ambassadorship, and national blessings)
2. For the spiritual Gentiles… it was the laws of the Lord that produced and revealed their sinful, alienated, condition before God.
When Christ died on the cross He did away with the restrains of the law allowing Gentiles access into His salvation, fellowship, and houses of worship (local churches). (Galatians 3:10-14)
for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Taking away the enmity brought about by the law resulted in the Jew and Gentile becoming one in Christ.
1. For the physical Gentile, they would now have no reason for jealousy or hatred of the Jew. Now both would equally share in the blessings of Christ as citizens of His spiritual nation. (Romans 11:16-25)
2. For the spiritual Gentile, they would be looked upon as having equal access to salvation. (Colossians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:26-29)
Through Christ’s death, the enmity that was experienced by Gentiles would be replaced with the peace (harmony, unity).
II. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in taking away many of the disparities between Jew and Gentile bringing peace between the Jews/Gentiles and Gentiles/ and the Lord.
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
The death of Christ resulted in the reconciliation of both Jews and Gentiles unto the Lord. The word “reconcile” comes from a Greek word that carries the idea of “to fully transform though use of an exchange”. The Gentiles standing before the Lord fully changed through Christ’s death…
1. Their “enmity” was exchanged for “peace”.
2. Their “alienation” was exchanged for “acceptance”
3. Their “sinfulness was exchanged for “righteousness”
All of this resulted in both physical and spiritual Gentiles being fully transformed….
For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: … [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:19-29)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:8-11)
III. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in the reconciliation of the Gentile through gracious transforming exchange.
Certainly the Ephesians, and ourselves, have much to be thankful for… through Christ’s work on the cross an exchange was wrought resulting in the transformation of both physical and spiritual Gentiles . It was this exchange that brought for the Gentiles peace, acceptance, forgiveness, citizenship into the family and nation of the Lord, and an inheritance which will be enjoyed throughout eternity!
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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