Ephesians 2:1-22 - Outline of Ephesians (Book Notes menu page)
The believer's position of privilege and blessing, in God's Beloved Son, is something that we only barely begin to appreciate. Therefore, in Ephesians ch. 1, Paul prayed that we would understand the richness of the inheritance which we have received in Christ. Let's review his prayer, before moving into the next chapter.
Paul prays (in Eph 1:15-23) that we would comprehend...
Do you begin to get a sense of the glory of the Beloved Son? the One in whom we have been blessed beyond measure, and to whom we are joined forever?

Now, there is a very sudden change in the picture. For between chapter 1 and 2, our eyes drop from the gloriously rich perfections of the 'heavenly places,' to the wretched condition of mankind... the condition in which the Savior found us, when He came to seek and to save the lost (Luk 19:10).

Notice the italicized words in 2:1 [bracketed in the text displayed on this website]. These words were inserted by the translators, to help us grasp a long and difficult sentence. Verses 1-7 form one sentence in the Greek. The translators chose to break the sentence into two (v.1-3; v.4-7) to help our English speaking minds process a complex thought. The italicized words in v.1 were copied from v.5 to tie the thought together. Their presence in v.1 enables us to see where the long sentence is going. But their absence, in the original, draws a very sharp contrast between the glories of the risen Savior -- and our worthless, hopeless state of ruin...

1. And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation
{ie., manner of life}
in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;
and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
And you... (omit "hath he quickened")...
...who were dead... - Death is separation. Separation from life. Separation from God.
The dead have no strength or ability in themselves. They cannot hear... They cannot respond... They cannot obey the Word of God. Only the Holy Spirit can get through to a dead heart. Joh 16:8
...in trespasses {stepping over the boundaries} -
We, like Adam & Eve, refuse to accept the restrictions which God has set upon us. When we hear Him say "Thou shalt not..." that is exactly what we want to do.
...and sins {missing the mark} - We like to think that we measure up...
that we are not so bad... that we are better than many others.
But we all fall short of God's standard of righteousness. We may know what is right, and may even want to do it, but we do something else. We cannot please God, because we are dead toward Him.
...wherein ye walked...- Yet, while being dead toward God,
we had strength enough to walk in the ways of the world. The walking dead walk...
...according to the prince of the power of the air... -
We walked in the ways of Satan, whose authority holds sway over mankind, and the human world order.
...the spirit that now worketh in {energizes} the children of disobedience.-
For what does the evil spirit enable those who are dead toward God? for disobedience {GK=apeitheia, unbelief, obstinate opposition to the will of God}.
...among whom also we had our conversation...-
Our way of life was just like the rest of those who are dead in trespasses and sins: for the purpose of self-indulgence and self-satisfaction of physical pleasures and of evil imaginations. We were by nature {from birth, from our springing forth} the children of wrath. As the Lord found us, we were completely swallowed up in worldly desires (1Joh 2:15-17) and worthy only of His hot anger (Eph 5:5,6).
4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised [us] up together,
and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace
in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
But God... -
God did for us...
  • what we did not deserve (v.4)-
    He acted from the richness of His mercy and the greatness of His love.
  • what we could not do for ourselves (v.5)- The dead cannot lift themselves out of the muck.
    • He quickened us {ie., made us alive} 'in Christ.'
    • He raised us, up out of our wretched condition, to be elevated far above all things 'together with Christ.'
  • a kindness {benevolent goodness; graciousness} which will forever demonstrate the exceeding {GK=huperballo, surpassing beyond anything known} riches of His grace (v.7).
    • Neither God's rich 'mercy' nor His great 'love' could not save us.
      • Mercy desires to put the offense away.
        But God is also Just. He could not simply say: "You are forgiven," while both He and we knew the depth of our willful disobedience and guilt.
      • Love desires what is best for the one loved.
        But God is also Holy. He could not allow us to live in His presence while we were dead toward Him, and living in worldly excesses.
    • 'By grace ye are saved' (v.5; Eph 1:6,7).
      God's grace {undeserved favor} was extended toward us, when His Beloved Son...
      • took our guilt upon Himself, and died our death (satisfying God's justice).
      • took our sinfulness upon Himself, to put it to death (supplying us with His righteousness). 2Cor 5:21
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
[it is] the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
For by grace are ye saved...-
"Grace is favor bestowed on the unworthy and undeserving." [JVMcGee]
Grace is the favor which Christ purchased for us, by His death for our sins, and by His resurrection to raise us up to live with Him.
     Note that 'salvation' is in the present tense ('ye are saved', v.8). Those who truly trust in the finished work of Christ are saved. The work of Grace which God wrought in Christ (Eph 1:20) is finished. Even while Christ's bride lives in this world, awaiting His return, she is already lifted up far above her former condition. Note that the 'present state' of the saints is described in the past tense:
  • "You hath He quickened." v.1, v.5
    Eternal life is the present possession of we, who trust in Christ.
  • "and hath raised us up together and made us sit together... in Christ Jesus." v.6
His work of salvation is done. Your part is only to rest in what He has provided.
...it is the gift of God... not of works, lest any man should boast. v.8,9
A gift cannot be earned, for then it would either be a wage or a reward, for work which we have done. None of us is worthy of God's favor. There is nothing that we can do to earn it. All that remains is to receive God's gift of salvation, by trusting in Christ who accomplished the work of salvation, in your behalf. see Titus 3:5-7
...through faith; and that not of yourselves...-
But a dead person has no power. God offers us salvation as a free gift. But we cannot receive it, because we lack the ability to believe.
     My earthly father related a dream that he had, late in his life. He dreamt that he had gone to heaven. There were many people there. But he saw no one that he knew. He did meet some people that he had read about in the Bible. The thief, who repented on the cross next to Jesus, was there. But he could not find anyone from his own family... his father and mother and siblings... When he awoke he was grieving that he had let his loved ones down. They had been religious people, who were familiar with the Bible. But they were trusting in their good works. Had he failed to make the Gospel clear... that salvation is a gift received by faith, not by works of righteousness which we have done? Every believer ought to ask that question, because we will be held accountable for our faithfulness as witnesses for Christ. Yet, because God makes His Word readily available to all, and proclaims it via multiple witnesses, every unbeliever is without excuse. eg., Rom 1:18-21; 10:16-18
Someone will say: 'I am not saved because God has not given me faith.'
But would He withhold faith from you, when He has done everything to bring you out of death into life? The God who is rich in mercy, and who so loved the world that He gave His Beloved Son to purchase your salvation with His own blood, is surely willing to grant you the faith to receive it. cp. Rom 8:32; Joh 3:16,17
     Isn't the real problem that you do not want to believe what God has shown you? Joh 3:18-20
How does one get faith?
  • "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom 10:17).
    If you will take the Bible for what it is (the Word of God) and pay attention to what it says, it will lead you to Christ. eg., 1The 2:13
  • "Lord, Help thou mine unbelief..." (Mark 9:23,24).
    If you will confess your doubts to Him, asking Him to help your unbelief, He will answer your prayer, and provide answers to your questions. eg., Joh 20:24-29
  • "When it (ie., the blinded heart and mind) shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away" (2Cor 3:14-16). When you are confronted (even dimly) with a perception of your need for the Savior, and turn in desperation to Him, He will enable you to receive and believe His Word.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus... v.10
The salvation which God accomplished for us, through the finished work of Christ on the cross, is given freely to all who will receive it by faith. Yet, this is only the beginning, of the blessings which come to the believer through the Grace of God. The believer enters into something entirely new and glorious.
  • Every believer is a new creation, a new creature (2Cor 5:17; Joh 3:3-6).
    This word 'created' refers to God creating 'something, out of nothing.' eg., Col 1:16 (God created the universe and everything in it).
       Likewise, Col 3:10 indicates that God creates within each believer, a new nature, which is, 'made in the image of Him that created him' (whereas our natural state was devoid of spiritual life, for we were dead in our sins).
  • All believers together (we) are His 'workmanship' {GK=poiema, a product, something 'made'}.
    This word, as used in Rom 1:20, refers to things which God formed from the elements of the universe which He had previously created out of nothing.
       Likewise, Christ builds His church, with newly created 'living stones' (individual believers, each of whom is a new creature, in Him). 1Pet 2:5
created... unto good works...- God's purpose for His new creatures (as individuals and as a body):
That we should walk in good works (not according to our old worldly ways).
     See the usage of the word 'good' in Mat 12:35; 19:16-17.
  • Good works are products of the new nature, "made in the image of Him that created him."
  • Good works are "before ordained" {ie., prepared ahead of time}, as the walk, or way of life, which characterizes those who are alive in Christ (Eph 1:4,5). Ephesians ch. 4-5 describe, in very practical terms, what that walk ought to look like, for believers who are still living in this world (eg., Eph 4:1; 5:1,2).
11. 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;
12 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:
13 But now in Christ Jesus
ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
wherefore...- (ie., reflecting upon the preceding discussion...)
In consideration of God's great grace toward you in Christ, by whom you have been raised up, out of your natural state of sin and death, and in whom you have become new creatures living forever with Him, in His Life of righteousness...
remember... ye Gentiles were... without Christ... aliens... strangers... without hope...-
Like all men, they were separated from God by their sinful condition (Isa 59:2; Rom 3:23), but as Gentiles they had been 'far off' from God, in comparison to the Jews (Rom 3:1,2; 9:4-5).
     (Circumcision is the external 'token' of God's Covenant with Israel.)
The Gentiles had been...
  • without Christ {the Messiah, the anointed One} -
    They knew nothing of the Savior promised to Israel.
  • aliens from the commonwealth of Israel -
    They had no part in the community of God's chosen people.
  • strangers from the covenants of promise -
    As 'foreigners,' they were excluded from God's promises to Israel.
    They were also unfamiliar with God's written Word.
  • having no hope {expectation} -
    They had no assurance of resurrection from the grave. 1The 4:13
  • 'without God' {GK= atheos, lit., godless} in the world -
    Without knowledge of the living God, they served false gods. Isa 45:20; Gal 4:8
But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes {ie., in time past, formerly} were far off,
are made nigh by the blood of Christ (v.13).
14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one,
and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];
15 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;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace
to you which were afar off
{Gentiles}, and to them that were nigh {Jews}.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Christ has broken down the middle wall of partition between us...
Between who?
  • Between Jew and Gentile?
    • Yes... for He would make "one new man," ie., the body of Christ, the Church, consisting of believers called out from among both the Jewish nation and the Gentile nations.
      "The Gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom 1:16; 3:22-24; 10:12,13)
    • Yes... for Christ, took those who formerly regarded one another with suspicion and animosity, and joined them together in and around Himself, "so making peace."
      Today, while hatred rages between Palestinian Arabs and their Israeli neighbors, there are churches in Israel where Arabs and Jews meet together, in loving harmony, around the Lord's Table.
  • But also... and especially... Between God and man.
    • In Christ, the one body (His church, of Jew and Gentile believers) is reconciled to God.
      Before Christ came, to make reconcilation between God and man, both Jews and Gentiles were shut out of God's presence due to sin (Rom 3:10-20).K/dd>
         There was a wall of partition between God and all men, regardless of race or religion. The Gentiles, with little knowledge of God's Word were "afar off." Jews were "nigh," because they had God's Word. Do you remember what Jesus said to the Jewish scribe who answered Him discreetly, and with knowledge of the scriptures? "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark 12:28-34).
         But "not far" is not close enough for entrance. Jesus' words to another learned 'teacher of Israel' applies to everyone: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Joh 3:3-6; Mat 5:20)
    • Those who are born of God's Spirit have access unto the Father. They are brought near to Him and also near to each other, for there is but one Holy Spirit. Eph 4:4-6
He is our peace... so making peace... preached peace...-
The Person of Christ is our Peace... for by His sacrifice of Himself, for our sins, He secured our peace with God (and with other believers)... and even now, the proclamation of this peace is His work. Rom 5:1,2; 2Cor 5:20
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Now therefore ye... (Paul is addressing all who are in Christ.)
It is not merely that Jew and Gentile have been brought together in one body... but that there is "One God and Father of all (believers), who is above all (of us), and through all, and in you all." (Eph 4:6)
  • We are fellow citizens of Christ's Kingdom.
  • We belong to one household {family}, as God's children, we are brothers and sisters, related by the blood of Christ.
  • We have a common foundation: God's Word (communicated through the apostles and prophets).
  • We are individual pieces, joined together, in the one Temple which God is building. Christ Himself is the corner stone from whom the whole building is referenced, and around whom the structure is closely integrated. Being vitally connected to Him, every member is also drawn together to each other, by Him who lives within us. 1Pet 2:5-8; cp. Eph 4:15,16

This vital union of all believers in the body of Christ will also be compared to the union of Christ to His Bride, the Church (in Eph 5:21-33). As the Church, the Bride is joined to Christ and fully submitted to Him, so, the individual members of the Bride must be submitted to Him, and also to each other (Eph 5:21).

What a high and privileged relationship! We, who were dead in our trespasses and sins, have been lifted up, raised out of our filth and death to be joined to God's Beloved Son, the glorious King, as His Bride, His Queen. How can it be?!

How is it that we allow ourselves to become distracted from Him and irritated with each other? How can the Bride's eye, ear, hand or foot be in conflict with another member of His body, when we are one with the great King?

Isn't it because our affections are set on the things of earth (power struggles, money, buildings, possessions, friends, even church stuff...) rather than on the things above? (Col 3:1-4)
Are you watching and waiting for 'when He shall appear...?'
Are you listening for His shout?
Are you yielding to His still small voice, filling your heart with His love and truth, as you sup with Him in His Word? Rev 3:20

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