“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 Christ’s gracious coming to the earth to proclaim the way of peace…
(Ephesians 2:17-18) 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.
In our prior study we saw that this statement is clearly speaking of Christ, the One that reconciled “both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (vs 16)…
And came and preached peace to you
A major aspect of the earthly ministry of Christ was His teachings concerning Himself and the way of salvation and peace for all men.
“The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, [I say], ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;” (Acts 10:36-40)
What a wonderful display of the grace of God, visiting fallen mankind with the message of salvation and peace through the cross.
which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Christ’s message was meant for both Gentile (afar off) and Jews (nigh). Keep in mind, although the ministry of Christ centered upon the Jews (Matt 15:24), Christ did minister to Gentiles as well:
1. Matthew 15:22-25 – Samaritan Woman
2. Mark 7:24-30 – Daughter of Syrophenician Woman
3. Matthew 8:5-13 – Centurion servant healed
These individual events, helps us to see the grace of the Lord at work during the ministry of Christ. Although He was sent to minister to the Jew, out of a heart of grace and compassion He ministered to Gentiles as well.
Christ ministering to a minority of Gentiles, aligns itself with what took place in the Old Testament. In OT times, although Gentiles were excluded from a majority of the ministry of the Word, we still saw several Gentiles who were saved and partakers of the Word.
Christ ministering to the Gentiles, also aligns itself with the events of the later New Testament times. In the NT, following the giving of the Great Commission we find the local assemblies taking the gospel into the Gentile nations ministering to them and placing them on equal footing with the Jew.
Because of both the past OT events and the NT events that were to yet to come, we should not be surprised to see Christ graciously ministering to the Gentiles during His earthly ministry.
This ministry of Christ was a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, which finds it total fulfillment in the ministry of the local churches taking the gospel to the world…
“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:19)
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The word for “access” comes from a fusion of two Greek words:
1. mode of life, manner of bringing up
2. to lean towards, to enter into
It is through the work of Christ, by the Spirit, that we are able to enter into the presence of the Father as a way of life, Please notice the basic principles found in this verse…
1. The Father is the One to whom allows us to gain access to Him as a way of life.
2. The Son is the One who died for us on the cross and then continues as our Mediator allowing us to continually access the Father.
3. The Spirit is the Person of God that shows us the way of salvation by leading us to Christ.
The believers in the church at Ephesus, just as each one of us, had much for which to be thankful:
1. The Lord has graciously come to the earth, God becoming flesh, to minister to and to save His people from their sins.
2. He graciously set the perfect example by ministering to both Jew and Gentile.
3. He gave the Great Commission to His churches to continue His preaching/teaching ministry.
4. He gave the Spirit to fulfill the ministry of leading men to Himself.
5. He continues to minster by making constant intercession for our sins, insuring our security and eternal salvation.
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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