To Ephesians Chapter One
The first part of this chapter[ 1 ] deals with topic of salvation. Sinners are saved by grace through faith. They are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. The latter part of the chapter describes Jesus as "our peace" and "chief corner-stone" (see chart EPHESIANS 2 OUTLINE).
EPHESIANS 2 OUTLINE
- Saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:1-10).
- Brought near to God by blood of Christ (Eph 2:11-13).
- Jesus is our peace (Eph 2:14-18).
- Jesus is the chief corner-stone (Eph 2:19-22).
2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
And you He made alive [and you did he make alive, and you hath he quickened, and you].[ 2 ] The words "He made alive" are in italics to show that they are added by translators. They are appropriately supplied from Ephesians 1:20 and 2:5 (compare Romans 6:3, 4). The gospel is the power of God to salvation (Ro 1:16). The mighty, supernatural power that raised up Christ makes sinners alive when they obey the gospel and their sins are forgiven.
Who were dead in trespasses [when ye, you, were dead through your, the, trespasses, who were dead in trespasses, being dead in your offenses].[ 3 ] Jesus used the term "dead" in two senses in Matthew 8:22. When He said, "Let the dead bury their own dead," He likely meant, "Let the dead [spiritually] bury the dead [physically]." Paul described a young widow living in pleasure as being "dead while she lives" (1Ti 5:6). Being dead in trespasses and sins is a condition of extreme wretchedness, anguish and misery.[ 4 ]
- Adultery, a sin against God (Ge 39:9).
- Against a child (Ge 42:22).
- Against the Spirit (Mt 12:31, 32).
- Against a brother (Mt 18:15).
- Against God ["against heaven" by metonymy for "against God"] (Lu 15:18, 21).
- Against Jesus (Lu 22:65; 1Co 8:12).
- Against the Law, temple, Caesar (Ac 25:8).
- Against one's own body (1Co 6:18).
- Against the brethren (1Co 8:12)
DEAD IN SINS
- Sins and iniquities cause separation between man and God (Isa 59:1-2).
- All accountable people have sinned (Ro 3:23).
- Gentiles at Ephesus had sinned against God (Eph 2:1-3, 11, 12).
- They had become separated from Him (Eph 2:12).
- They were "far off" from Him (Eph 2:13).
And sins.[ 5 ] The word "your" (see the Greek) identifies the sins and trespasses as sins of the Ephesians. Their sins were not inherited. They were their own sins only, not Adam's. They had been committed by living people who were members of the Lord's church at Ephesus.
The Gentiles to whom Paul wrote had been condemned by God because of their own sins (Eph 2:12). In spite of the fact that the Colossians were "dead," at the same time, they were able to "walk in sins." Some have said that a spiritually dead person cannot do anything! They affirm that such a person cannot hear the gospel and believe it or repent until God makes him alive by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit.
For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith contains this error.
From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.[ 6 ]
Billy Graham expanded upon this theory when he said,
No man can ever be saved unless the Holy Spirit in supernatural penetrating power comes and works upon your heart. You can't come to Christ any time you want to, you can only come when the Spirit of God is drawing and pulling and wooing.[ 7 ]
The erroneous teachings in the two above quotations are partly due to a misunderstanding of what it means to be dead to something. Adam and Eve, in their state of innocence were dead to sin. Nevertheless, Satan appealed to them by placing temptation before them. He did not have to perform a direct, miraculous, sinful operation upon their hearts to get them to commit sin. In the same way, in man's sinful state (spiritual death), God places motives before him to encourage him to obey. The doctrine of Calvinism implies that God cannot undo by motives what Satan did by motives! To illustrate: The prodigal son was dead (Lu 15:32). In spite of that, he returned without any direct operation of the spirit of his father.[ 8 ]
Every accountable person in the world is in desperate need of God's mercy to save him from hell. Every member of the church of Christ was once lost in sin. Every person saved by grace was once spiritually dead, in a constant state of death, through[ 9 ] his own trespasses. His trespasses were fleshly and/or spiritual blunders that he had committed. In Galatians 6:1, "If a man be overtaken in any trespass" refers back to the works of the flesh (see Ga 5:19-21). Trespasses are specific acts of sin.[ 10 ]
[2:2] In which you once walked [wherein ye once walked, wherein in time past ye walked]. The Ephesians were not "brought up in the church." Many of them had lived immoral lives before obeying the gospel. They "walked" in sins. Sin was their manner of life. Some had been thieves (Eph 4:28). Several were involved in idolatry and/or black magic (Ac 19:18, 19).
Idolatry in the temple of Artemis [Diana] at Ephesus was particularly revolting to the Lord (see Ac 19:24-35). The temple[ 11 ] is said to have contained an interesting meteorite, the botryordal shape of which resembled the many-breasted Diana (see Ac 19:35). The priests in this idolatrous temple were eunuchs. Unlike those in the temple at Corinth, the priestesses were virgins. To the Ephesians, Artemis was the great nursing mother of gods, men, animals and even plants. She was considered to be the patroness of the sexual instinct.[ 12 ] Great crowds came from far and boosted the economy at Ephesus by purchasing clay or silver images of Diana (Ac 19:24, 25).
According to the course of this world [according to the age of this world, following the course of this world].[ 13 ] The "course of this world" is associated with the lusts of the flesh (verse 3). Linked with the lusts of the flesh are also lusts of the eyes and the pride of life (1Jo 2:16). Some results of the "course of this world" in today's society are miseries caused by rape, venereal diseases, abortion, wrecks of homes and otherwise due to drunkenness and in general ruined lives due to substance abusers.
According to the prince of the power of the air [of, following, the ruler of the authority of the air, of the powers of the air].[ 14 ] The prince of the power of the air is Satan. The ungodly "course of this world" is according to his design and purpose.
The spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience [the spirit, of the spirit, that now worketh, that is now at work in the sons, children, of disobedience, according to the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience].[ 15 ] Satan not only works, but he works hard to defeat the work of God (see charts SATAN'S WORKS A, B and C).
SATAN'S WORKS (A)
- Resisted the High Priest Joshua (Zec 3:1).
- Took away gospel seed from the heart (Mt 13:19).
- Sowed tares among wheat (Mt 13:38, 39).
- Is the father of liars (Joh 8:44).
- Entered heart of Judas (Joh 13:2).
SATAN'S WORKS (B)
- Filled heart of Ananias to lie (Ac 5:3).
- Corrupts minds (2Co 11:3).
- Paul's thorn in the flesh was "a messenger of Satan" (2Co 12:7).
- Hindered Paul from going to Corinth (1Th 2:18).
SATAN'S WORKS (C)
- Tempts man (1Th 3:5).
- Power, signs and lying wonders (2Th 2:9).
- Seeks whom he may devour (1Pe 5:8).
- Casts Christians into prison (Re 2:10).
- Deceives (Re 20:8).
[2:3] Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves [among whom also we all, we also all, among these we all, once, lived, had our conversation in times past, once had our conversation]. Paul must have looked back in time as he wrote "we all." During his own unconverted state, he had persecuted the church of the Lord. We may infer that his violent behavior against the saints was according to Satan's purpose and objective.
Were Jews any better than the Gentiles? Not really. "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin" (Ro 3:9). According to Scripture, all accountable adults of all races are, or once were, sinners (see note below on Just as others; charts UNIVERSALITY OF SIN A and B).
In the lusts of our flesh [in the lust, passions, of our flesh].[ 16 ] The "lusts of our flesh" include sexual and other unlawful desires. The lusts of the flesh foster any or all of the works of the flesh. These evil works include "idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like" (Ga 5:20, 21).
Fulfilling the desires of the flesh [doing, fulfilling, following, the desires of the flesh, the desires of body, doing what the flesh willed to do].[ 17 ] Since people are made up of body, soul and spirit, one or more of these components may be involved in sinning. It may be impossible to distinguish between desires of the flesh and desires of the mind.
EVIL DESIRES OF THE MIND (A)
- Refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind (Ro 1:28).
- The mind of the flesh is enmity against God (Ro 8:7).
- Walking in the vanity of the mind (Eph 4:17).
- Alienated and enemies in mind (Col 1:21).
EVIL DESIRES OF THE MIND (B)
- Vainly puffed up by fleshly mind (Col 2:18).
- Corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth (1Ti 6:5).
- To them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled (Tit 1:15).
And of the mind [and mind, and the thoughts].[ 18 ] Desires of the flesh may trigger desires of the mind. Thoughts may arouse desires of the flesh. Desires of the mind include "earthly things" (Php 3:19). Those who mind earthly things are alienated and enemies in their mind (Col 1:21). Some minds are hardened (Ac 19:9). Some are blinded (2Co 3:14; 4:4). People may not recognize their own spiritual poverty. They may not even realize that they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked" (Re 3:17; see charts EVIL DESIRES OF THE MIND A and B).
"BY NATURE"=SECOND NATURE
- Gentiles who do not have the Law do by nature the things of the Law (Ro 2:14).
- Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair it is a dishonor to him? (1Co 11:14).
- By nature the children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
And were by nature children of wrath [and so we were children, by nature, by nature the children, of wrath].[ 19 ] "Children of wrath by nature" does not mean that babies are born sinners. In the present context, "by nature" means by second nature. To illustrate: Driving a car seems awkward to a beginner but, with practice, it becomes natural. The controls of the car seem almost like a part of one's body. A child is not born walking or speaking but, as he grows older, these exercises become easy and natural. Long-continued activities become "second nature."
Verses 1, 2 show that when the Ephesian Christians were unsaved they indulged in sin so much that they became children of wrath "by nature." They sinned so much that, to them, it became "second nature" to do so.
In chapter 5, Paul lists a number of sins. He then writes, "Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" (Eph 5:6). God's wrath comes because of sins committed, not because of sins inherited. Because of the sins the Ephesians continued to commit, they became "children of wrath."[ 20 ]
Just as the others [even as the rest, even as others, like the rest of mankind]. Paul speaks of the universality of sin. Along this line, Solomon wrote, Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth" (Ec 7:20; see charts UNIVERSALITY OF SIN A, B and C).
UNIVERSALITY OF SIN (A)
- Every imagination of heart only evil continually (Ge 6:5).
- For there is no man who sins not (1Ki 8:46).
- All gone aside . . . none who does good, no not one (Ps 14:3; 53:3).
- If thou, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? (Ps 130:3).
UNIVERSALITY OF SIN (B)
- Who can say, "I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Pr 20:9).
- All we like sheep have gone astray (Isa 53:6).
- We are all become as one that is unclean (Isa 64:6).
- There is none upright among men (Mi 7:2).
UNIVERSALITY OF SIN (C)
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Ro 3:23).
- The Scripture shut up all under sin (Ga 3:22).
- If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1Jo 1:8).
- If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar (1Jo 1:10).
GOD'S RICH MERCY
2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
But God, who is rich in mercy [but God, being rich in mercy]. With the words, "But God," Paul makes a transition from a message of despair to words of hope. It is God who made the difference! It is God who "made us alive" (verse 5). His mercy is His response to man's sinful condition. It is a by-product bi-product of His great love. Not only is He merciful, He is rich in mercy. Amazingly, His love is directed toward sinners. His "rich mercy" and His "great love" are seen in the giving of His only begotten Son. They are further demonstrated in the sending of the saving gospel.
GOD'S GREAT LOVE
(Eph 2:4, 5)
- Provides man's social needs (Ge 2:18, 19).
- Provides man's spiritual needs (Mt 5:44-48).
- Provides man's material needs (Ac 17:25, 26).
- Makes people alive together with Christ (Eph 2:5).
- Saves by His grace (Eph 2:5, 8).
LOVE SO AMAZING
Because of His great love [for, out of, the great love].[ 21 ] The basis for God's mercy is His "great love." His love is many-sided. It is great in degree. It is eternal.
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you (Jer 31:3; compare Joh 13:1).
Come, let us all unite to sing, God is love;
Let heav'n and earth their praises bring, God is love;
Let ev'ry soul from sin awake,
Each in his heart sweet music make,
And sing with us for Jesus' sake,
For God is love.
With which He loved us [wherewith he loved us].[ 22 ] God showed His rich mercy again and again to OT Jews. That "His mercy endures forever" is repeated over and over in Psalm 136. In the present verse, Paul uses the word "us" to refer to the apostles and prophets, himself in particular (see Eph 3:5-8).[ 23 ] God extended His mercy to them, even forgiving one who denied Him as well as a former persecutor. Only one was lost (Joh 17:12).
[2:5] Even when we were dead in trespasses [even when we were dead in sins, through our trespasses, we too being dead in offenses]. God believed in Paul even before he became a preacher (see Ga 1:15). Upon his conversion, He counted him faithful and put him into the ministry (1Ti 1:12). Consider for a moment God's faith in Christians. He believes they can be faithful and eventually saved in heaven (consider Ac 18:10). May none disappoint Him.
Made us alive together with Christ [hath, has, quickened us with the Christ]. Those who do not accept the truth that baptism is for remission of sins have a real problem with this verse. Sinners are united with Christ and His death in baptism. "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death" (Ro 6:4). But forgiveness takes place "together with Christ." The connection with Christ and forgiveness in baptism is inescapable! (see note on Ac 2:38). Being "made alive together with Christ" also refers to baptism (Ro 6:3, 4; Eph 2:5, 6; Col 2:12).[ 24 ] In the present verse, however, the emphasis is upon the divine part of salvation--God's rich mercy and grace.
By grace you have been saved [by grace have ye, you have, been saved, by grace ye are saved, ye are saved by grace].[ 25 ] The pronoun "you" suggests Paul is now addressing Gentile Christians. Just like Jewish Christians, they were recipients of God's love, mercy and grace. Many Gentiles were saved and, as indicated by the Greek perfect tense, were remaining so. God's grace was effective throughout their lives, continuing to save them day by day (see note on 1Jo 1:7). Could they ever fall from grace? Yes, but other passages deal with that possibility (see note on Heb 10:39).
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound!
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
[2:6] And raised us up together[and hath, has, raised us up together, and raised us up with him]. In baptism, spiritually dead sinners are raised up with Christ to walk in newness of life. When one is raised up "together with Christ," he is saved by grace. On this very theme, Paul wrote to the Colossians:
Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (Col 2:12).
And made us sit together [and made us, and has made us, sit, to sit, sit down together with him].[ 26 ] Christ sits in glory at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20). Salvation brings glory and honor to Christians (compare Joh 12:26). The glory of the Christian life is a foretaste of heavenly glory. "Whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Ro 8:30). To "sit together" alludes to the fact that Christians are "called sons of the living God" (Ro 9:26).
In the heavenly places [in heavenly places, in the heavenlies] (see note on Eph 1:3).
In Christ Jesus.[ 27 ] Sitting together with Christ "in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" describes their location in the church.[ 28 ] To be in Christ is to be in the church. In close union with the risen and glorified Christ, even now as joint-heirs, Christians share in His glory as they live "in hope of eternal life" (Tit 1:2). There is a glory in suffering (1Pe 4:14). Of course, there is an "eternal weight" of heavenly glory awaiting the saints (2Co 4:17). "If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Ro 8:17).[ 29 ]
[2:7] That in the ages to come [that in the ages to come, the coming ages, that in the coming ages].[ 30 ] In chapter 3, Paul alludes to making all men see and that now to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places "might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph 3:9, 10). The plural "ages to come" tells us that God will show His grace during the church age. However, "ages to come" suggests endlessness as in the song, "While the Ages Roll On":
While the ages roll on,
While the ages roll on,
I'll be with my Lord
While the ages roll on.
Faithful Christians consider their children and grandchildren. They desire to make certain that they understand the good news of Jesus. When opportunity comes, older saints point to God's grace as it relates to their own salvation. When mature enough, each youngster should be encouraged to repent of sins, confess the sweet name of Jesus Christ and be buried in baptism for the remission of sins. This is to the glory of God, not parents or grandparents.
He might show the exceeding riches of His grace [he might display the immeasurable riches, the surpassing riches, of his grace].[ 31 ] Paul's conversion from being a persecutor to becoming a faithful preacher is a case in point (see 1Ti 1:16).
In His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [in kindness towards us through Christ Jesus].[ 32 ] God's kindness toward Christians is gentle and helpful. It is never harsh or cruel. It is exemplified by the meek and gentle Christ.
BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For by grace you have been saved [for by grace have ye been saved, are ye saved, you have been saved, for ye are saved by grace].[ 33 ] The Greek has the definite article. It is "the" grace, the same grace mentioned in verses 6 and 7. Note the Greek perfect tense[ 34 ] of "you have been saved." The salvation that occurred at baptism was by God's grace.
The Jews could not boast of salvation just because they had Abraham as their father (Lu 3:8). Gentiles could not boast that they deserved to replace God's chosen OT people. They certainly had not earned that privilege. Paul said boasting was excluded because they, like a wild olive tree, were "grafted in" (Ro 11:17, 18).
SAVED BY FAITH
- Justified by faith (Ro 5:1).
- Access by faith into grace (Ro 5:2).
- Not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ (Ga 2:16).
- The righteous shall live by faith (Ga 3:11; compare Hab 2:4).
- Sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:26).
Through faith.[ 35 ] Paul not only says that Christians are saved by grace through faith but, in Christ, they have "boldness and access in confidence" through their faith in Him (Eph 3:12).
And that not of yourselves [and this not of yourselves, and this is not your own doing].[ 36 ] Common sense tells one that salvation by grace is not of self. When Paul said "and that" he was referring to salvation, not to faith or grace.[ 37 ] "That" is neuter in Greek. "Faith" and "grace" are both feminine in Greek. Therefore "that" (the gift of God) is neither faith nor grace. It is the whole process of being saved by grace through faith.[ 38 ] Is not faith a work of God? Yes, in the sense that it is a work that He commands men to do (see note on Joh 6:29).
It is the gift of God [it is God's gift].[ 39 ] The "gift of God" is whatever Paul meant when he wrote just before these words, "And that . . . ." Salvation is God's gift but it comes to man through faith in His gift of Christ (see Joh 3:16).
Have you ever noticed the "switch" that some denominational preachers make right here? They try to make "faith" a gift of God in order to line up with Calvinism. Then in the very next phrase they make "not of works" refer to salvation. They cannot have it both ways. It is interesting that Calvin himself knew that the Greek made it impossible for faith to be the gift of God!
Not of works [not of works, not because of works, not on the principle of works]. "Not of works" does not negate faithful obedience to the gospel. To believe in Him who died for him, to humbly repent of sins committed, to acknowledge Christ as Lord and to surrender one's self into the hands of another to be buried in baptism cannot earn salvation. Does anybody claim that it does? How can anyone see any grounds whatever for boasting in that kind of obedience? What Paul is condemning is the kind of works that might give grounds for boasting (see also Ro 4:4, 5). He never censured anyone for believing and being baptized.[ 40 ]
Lest anyone should boast [that no man should glory, lest any man should boast, that no one might boast].[ 41 ] Is all boasting wrong? No, but boasting of salvation by works is. All Christians may glory in the Lord (2Co 10:17). Paul himself boasted in his weakness (2Co 11:30). He also gloried in the cross (Ga 6:14). However, there is absolutely nothing in gospel obedience to cause one to boast.
CREATED IN CHRIST FOR GOOD WORKS
2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
For we are His workmanship.[ 42 ] "His" is emphatic, being first in the Greek sentence. One reason Christians are not to boast is that they are God's workmanship! "Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves" (Ps 100:3). He not only made us but He saved us. His Son Jesus Christ purchased us with His own blood (Ac 20:28).
Created in Christ Jesus for good works [having been created in Christ Jesus unto good works].[ 43 ] By His mighty power, God took people who were spiritually dead and, in union with Christ, made them alive (see verse 5; compare 2Co 5:17; Ga 6:15; Eph 4:24). He did it for a purpose--that Christians may do good works! "That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10; compare Joh 15:8).
Other terms describing the new creation in Christ are redemption and purification. "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Tit 2:14). By creating individual Christians in Christ, He created the one great church of Christ that is called "the one new man" and "the one body" (Eph 2:15; 4:4). He not only purified each member by forgiveness but He expects each to be transformed into the image of His blessed sinless Son.
Which God prepared beforehand [which God afore prepared, has before prepared, hath before ordained].[ 44 ]
Not only did God prepare a people for good works, He prepared the works. The good works include righteous thoughts, words and deeds, sincere worship and walking in the highway of holiness (Isa 35:8; Eph 2:10; 5:18, 19). Christians strive to "be holy and without blame before Him" (Eph 1:4).
That we should walk in them.[ 45 ] "Walk" is a word that describes one's manner of life. A Christian's whole walk of life should be good works. He is to walk in newness of life (Ro 6:4), to walk after the spirit (Ro 8:4), in honesty (Ro 13:13), by faith (2Co 5:7), in good works (Eph 2:10), in love (Eph 5:2), in wisdom (Col 4:5), in truth (2Jo 4) and after the commandments of the Lord (2Jo 6).
REMEMBER YOU WERE WITHOUT CHRIST
2:11, 12 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you 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.
Therefore remember [wherefore remember].[ 46 ] The Greek present tense indicates that Christians are to continue to remember the past condition from which they were saved.
That you, once Gentiles in the flesh [that ye were at that time, that ye, you, were at that time, Gentiles, once nations, in the flesh]. Gentiles are reminded of what wretched creatures they once were. The purpose of remembering that is so they would be eternally grateful for salvation by God's unmerited favor (see chart GENTILES RECALL THEY WERE).
GENTILES RECALL THEY WERE
(Eph 2:11, 12)
- Not set apart by fleshly circumcision (Eph 2:11).
- Without Christ, the Messiah of hope (Eph 2:12).
- Aliens from commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12).
- Strangers from covenant of promise (Eph 2:12).
- Without hope (Eph 2:12).
- Without God in the world (Eph 2:12).
- Once far off (Eph 2:13).
Who are called Uncircumcision [who are called Uncircumcision, the uncircumcision]. "Uncircumcision" refers to all non-Jews.[ 47 ]
By what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands [by that called, by that which is called, Circumcision in the flesh, which is made in the flesh, made by hands, done with the hand]. Circumcision was the external mark of God's OT people. The word "circumcision" came to be a synonym for Jews. In addition to the external mark, for sincere Jews, there was also a circumcision "of the heart" (Ro 2:29). Christians receive a circumcision "made without hands" (Col 2:11).
[2:12] That at that time you were without Christ [that ye, you, were at that time, that at that time ye were separate, separated from, Christ]. Before the cross and until the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10, Gentile people were without the Savior.[ 48 ]
Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel [aliens from, alienated from, the commonwealth of Israel].[ 49 ] The "commonwealth of Israel" was the nation of the Jews. The Israelites had God as their ruler (Jg 8:23). He was their king (Ps 145:1). They had the Law, the Sabbath and temple worship. Gentiles had none of these.
And strangers from the covenants of promise [and strangers to, from, the covenants of promise, of the promise]. Various promises had been made to Gentiles (see Ps 72:16; Isa 9:7; 42:4; 54:3; 55:5; 60:5). Other promises were specific to Israel (Ex 6:7). The promise in the present context has to do with salvation through Christ as promised to Abraham (see Ge 12:2, 3; Ga 3:15, 16). Although Gentiles were included in that promise, they did not receive its benefits in actuality until Christ came. What were the covenants (plural)? They were the Ten-commandment Covenant (see Ex 34:28; De 4:13; 1Ki 8:9), and the Book of the Covenant (Ex 24:7), both of which the Jews received.[ 50 ]
Having no hope. Without Christ, the Gentiles had no eternal hope because of their immorality, unrighteousness, idolatry and other erroneous religious forms. Their sins brought despair but Christ brought them hope.
And without God in the world.[ 51 ] Before Christ came, Gentiles were ATHEOI godless, no better off than atheists.
BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD
2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
But now in Christ Jesus. Without Christ, the condition of Gentiles was gloomy and dark. "But now!" The whole situation has now changed. Praise God! (see note on But God, verse 4).
You who once were far off [ye who, ye that, you who, once, sometimes, were afar off].[ 52 ] The universality of the gospel was foretold when Isaiah recorded the very words of God (see Isa 57:19).
On the day of Pentecost, Peter, unknowingly,[ 53 ] revealed that the promise of salvation was to Gentiles, those "afar off," as well as to Jews (Ac 2:39). Now Paul alludes to the two groups, unbelieving Gentiles who were far off and faithful Jews[ 54 ] who were near (Eph 2:17).
Have been brought near by the blood of Christ [are made nigh, are become nigh, in the blood of Christ]. By the forgiving power of the blood of Jesus Christ, Gentiles are brought near to God. By laying down His life for the sheep, Jesus made it possible for the other sheep "not of this fold" [Gentiles] to come into His beautiful flock. He said:
They will hear my voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (Joh 10:16).
Both Jews and Gentiles hear His voice [the gospel], repent, confess the name of Jesus and enter the fold [the Lord's church] by water baptism (Ro 6:3; 1Co 12:13; Ga 3:27). When they obey the gospel, they appropriate to themselves the precious cleansing blood of Christ.
CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR PEACE
2:14-16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
For He Himself is our peace [for he is our peace]. When one is justified by faith, he has peace with God through Christ (Ro 5:1). Christians "put on love" and "let the peace of God rule" in their hearts (Col 3:14, 15). He made possible peace with God by His death.
For in him the Whole Fullness was pleased to dwell; and to reconcile all things to Himself through Him, having made peace through the blood of His cross; yes through Him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens (Col 1:19, 20 OPV).
- The light of the world (Joh 8:12).
- The way, the truth and the life (Joh 14:6).
- Wisdom from God (1Co 1:30).
- Our righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1Co 1:30).
- Our peace (Eph 2:14).
Who has made both one [who made, who hath made, who has made us, both one].[ 55 ] Jesus died for Jew and Gentile alike. He is their peace in the sense that He harmonizes both Jew and Gentile in the one church (Ga 3:28). Both are in fellowship in the one body. More importantly, He reconciles lost sinners so that they have peace with God.
And has broken down the middle wall of separation [and brake down, and hath, has, broken down, the middle wall of enclosure, of partition, of partition between us, the dividing wall of hostility].[ 56 ] Let Paul explain what the "middle wall of separation" was. He said it was the Law of commandments (see the following two paragraphs).
[2:15] Having abolished in His flesh the enmity [having annulled, by abolishing, the enmity in his flesh]. The enmity and the middle wall of partition[ 57 ] refer to the same thing (see note below).
That is, the law of commandments [the, even the, law of commandments]. What is the enmity? Paul tells us it is "the law of commandments contained in ordinances." The Law of commandments was not just the Ten Commandments. It included regulations concerning food, drink, festivals, new moons and sabbaths (Col 2:16). Jesus abolished the OT Law by putting it to death through the cross (verse 16).
Contained in ordinances [and ordinances, in ordinances].[ 58 ] "Ordinances" are the same as the "requirements" that Jesus wiped out (see Col 2:14).[ 59 ]
So as to create in Himself one new man from the two [that he might create, for to make, in himself of the two, of twain, in place of the two, form the two in himself into, one new man]. The "one new man" is the body of Christ, the church of Jesus Christ. He is its foundation, builder and Savior. Many things about it are new. It has a new foundation, a new covenant and a new priesthood. It is not just an old byway resurfaced with new highway signs. It is a new way. It is not the old Jewish "church" remodeled like a move-on house on a different foundation. The "new man" is created entirely new in Christ Jesus.
Thus making peace [so making peace]. OT words that, no doubt, seemed obscure to many of the fathers, are beautifully fulfilled in Christ:
"I create the fruit of the lips, Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near," says the Lord, "and I will heal him" (Isa 57:19).
We understand that Christ brings peace to both Jew and Gentile. Old rituals, customs and institutions die hard. Regardless of whether they were Jewish or Gentile, old practices would never have satisfied all races of people. The church had to be something from God, something entirely new, in order to make true peace.
The name "Christian" was divinely given first to disciples in the huge Antioch congregation. It was appropriately made up of both Jews and Gentiles (see note on Ac 11:26). The word "Christian" [CHRISTIANON] has the root "Christ" [Anointed One], a Greek word with a Jewish idea and a Roman flavor. The ending [-IANON] was common in both Latin and Greek languages. Thus the name "Christian" is a cosmopolitan word with a link to all peoples in Christ.[ 60 ]
[2:16] And that He might reconcile them both to God [and might reconcile both, them both, us both, unto, to God].[ 61 ] The Law was one thing that set the Jews apart from all other nations (see De 5:1-5; 26:18, 19). When it was repealed, the basis for Jewish separation from Gentiles ended. In theory, this was true but the process of unification was slow and difficult to achieve. Paul worked hard to weld different races together into one church. Since reconciliation (making peace again) takes place in the church of Christ, racial differences had to cease being of consequence (Ac 10:34, 35; 11:26; Ga 3:28).
In one body through the cross [in one body by the cross].[ 62 ] Christ took the old Law out of the way, "having nailed it to the cross" (Col 2:14). By means of the cross, Jesus abolished and put to death the enmity [the OT Law] and made possible reconciliation to God in the church.
Thereby putting to death the enmity [having slain the enmity thereby, thereby bringing the hostility to an end, having by it slain the enmity]. The "enmity" or "hostility" has reference to the Law of commandments. It was the "enmity" that separated the Jews from all other peoples. In a sense, the Law was "enmity" to the Jews as well. When they violated it they too became estranged from God. Everyone estranged from God is a sinner (see Isa 59:1, 2; Ro 5:10). Sinners are called enemies of God (compare Ro 5:8, 10). God's enemies, [whether Jews or Gentiles] were often at each others' throats.
JESUS CAME AND PREACHED PEACE
2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
And He came and preached peace [and came and, and coming, preached peace, he has preached the glad tidings of peace].[ 63 ] Christ preached peace personally to some of the Greeks (see Joh 12:20-36). However, the thought here is that He preached to Gentiles through Paul and other inspired men. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things!" (Isa 52:7). Isaiah wrote of NT preachers. We know this because Paul so applied it (see Ro 10:15). Through the inspired gospel message proclaimed by the apostles, Christ preached peace.[ 64 ]
To you who were afar off [to you, who, that, were far off, which were afar off]. Those "afar off" are the "other sheep" of John 10:16. In other words, they are Gentiles (compare Ac 2:39).
And to those who were near [and peace, and the glad tidings of, peace, to them that were, who were nigh]. The people who "were near" were the faithful Jews, some of whom Peter called "you and your children" (Ac 2:39; compare Ps 148:14; Mk 12:34).
ACCESS BY ONE SPIRIT
2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
For through Him we both have access [for through him we have both access, our access].[ 65 ] It is by the death of the one Mediator Jesus Christ that all Christians have access to God the Father (see 1Ti 2:5). Notice the significance of "both." Both Jew and Gentile have access by one Spirit. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:3 of the unity of the Spirit.
By one Spirit to the Father [in one Spirit, by one Spirit, to, unto, the Father].[ 66 ] In this verse, the three manifestations of Deity are indicated. Through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit [Holy Spirit][ 67 ] to the Father. Anyone who claims the Spirit leads him to do something contrary to Scripture is sadly mistaken. "The Spirit of God never dwells in the heart that does not receive and cherish the word of God."[ 68 ] Access to God is always according to the word revealed by the Spirit and never in opposition to it. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit assists Christians as they pray (see notes on Ro 8:26, 27).
MEMBERS OF GOD'S HOUSEHOLD
2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined [fitted] together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers [now therefore ye, so then ye, you, are no more, are no longer, strangers].[ 69 ] Strangers are foreigners and aliens. At one time, the Gentiles were "strangers from the covenants of the promise" (verse 12). Now, as Christians, this undesirable condition no longer prevails.
And foreigners [and sojourners].[ 70 ] Before their obedience to the gospel, Gentiles were the opposite of fellow-citizens. They did not belong in the church. They were alien sinners, but no longer.
But fellow citizens with the saints [but ye, you, are fellow-citizens of the saints].[ 71 ] Regardless of background or culture, Gentile Christians are fellow-citizens with the saints. They are not second-class citizens, certainly not inferior in rank to Jewish Christians. They have full and complete rights as do all others. However, citizens have to pay "taxes" and submit to laws. That is, as citizens in God's kingdom, they contribute regularly and obey the word of Christ which is the NT law (see Ga 6:2; 1Co 9:21).
And members of the household of God [and of the household of God].[ 72 ] The "household of God" is the family of God, the company of the redeemed.[ 73 ] Gentile Christians are no longer outsiders. They are at home as members of the family of God. Elsewhere, the church is compared to a city or a country to which Gentile, as well as Jewish Christians belong. As brothers and sisters in the one great family of God, they have mutual affection and care for each other. They enjoy divine assurance and protection. There is no other church that even comes close to being as safe, solid and secure.
[2:20] Having been built on the foundation [built, being built, and are built, upon the foundation].[ 74 ] The church is a building in a figurative sense only. In the present figure, the structure described is a temple (see verses 21, 22). Every Christian is a living stone in it (1Pe 2:5). Here, Jesus is the chief corner stone. In another passage, He is the one and only foundation (1Co 3:11).
Of the apostles and prophets.[ 75 ] The foundation was "of" the apostles and prophets because they laid it. Prophecy was one of the gifts in the first century church (Ro 12:6; 1Co 12:10, 28, 29; 14:1). The foundation of the church was laid by the teaching done by the apostles and NT prophets.[ 76 ] Although not yet completed at the time Paul wrote the Ephesian letter,[ 77 ] the NT came to be written by four apostles and four prophets. The NT is the plan and standard on which the church of Christ rests and grows.
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone [Christ Jesus himself, being the cornerstone].[ 78 ] A corner stone unites two walls of a building. The chief corner stone was "a stone laid so as to give strength to the two walls with which they were connected."[ 79 ] Christ is the connecting link that unites Jew and Gentile in one church.
"The princes of Zoan have become fools; the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also deluded Egypt, those who are the mainstay [ASV, cornerstone] of its tribes" (Isa 19:13).[ 80 ] The princes of the Egyptian cities Zoan and Noph were cornerstones or mainstays. However, they caused Egypt to be led astray. This Christ will never do. He is a "tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation. Whoever believes will not act hastily" (Isa 28:16). "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame" (Ro 10:11).
[2:21] In whom the whole building [in whom, each several building, all the building, the whole structure].[ 81 ] In Christ the whole structure of the universal church of Christ holds together. Not only does Jew and Gentile hold together in Him but there is precious unity of all parts based solely upon Scripture. Unscriptural divisions such as exist in the denominational world, are never pleasing to the Lord.
Being joined together [fitly framed, is joined, fitted, together].[ 82 ] Does it seem incredible that the Lowly Galilean could have joined together the seemingly impossible? How could He unite both snobbish Jews and antagonistic Gentiles in one body? Such a unity is feasible because the members are new creations (2Co 5:17). The Greek present tense of "being joined together" indicates that the church of the Lord was still being built when Paul wrote. It continues to grow today. The gospel changes prejudiced hearts into loving ones. Poor and rich, white and black, uneducated and schooled fit together in one glorious church. Externals make no difference in Jesus Christ. Every soul is treasured. Every member has a valued function.
Grows into a holy temple in the Lord [groweth, and grows, increases to an holy temple in the Lord].[ 83 ] The church is figuratively depicted here as a building. In a sense, it is like a living organism because it is still growing (Greek present tense). It continues to grow into the structure that God desires it to become. It is a holy temple, a place for God to dwell (1Co 3:16; 2Co 6:16). The life of each of its members must conform to God's standards for His temple and be godly, upright and holy.
[2:22] In whom you also are being built together [in whom ye, you, also, are built, builded, together, are built into it].[ 84 ] "You also" alludes to Gentile Christians at Ephesus. They were a unique part of the church, the grand edifice of God.
May I say a word to (and from) our fine missionaries? First, I thank God for you. You have told us that it is not necessary to make Americans out of natives, just Christians. Being in the one body does not require them to alter their cultural practices so long as those practices do not conflict with God's word.
For a dwelling place of God in the Spirit [for a dwelling place, for an habitation, a habitation of God, through, in the Spirit].[ 85 ] At Ephesus, the temple of Artemis was the "dwelling place" of the image of Diana (see Ac 19:35). Instead of a literal building, God dwells in His people. God's people make up the church of Christ. The church is His dwelling place. Jesus alluded to this when He said to the eleven apostles, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (Joh 14:23). Adam Clarke, a Methodist expressed this point well.
So ye are all, both believing Jews and Gentiles, prepared by the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, under the influence of the Spirit of Christ, to become a habitation of God, a church in which God shall be worthily worshipped, and in which He can continually dwell.[ 86 ]
Clarke wisely wrote again on the same page:
In vain are all pretensions among sects and parties to the privileges of the Church of Christ, if they have not the doctrine and life of Christ. Traditions and legends are not apostolic doctrine, and showing ceremonies are not the life of God in the soul of man (the italics are Clarke's).
I am indebted to Foy E. Wallace, Jr., for the following perceptive explanation:
This framing and building together of the Jews and the Gentiles was through or by the agency and work of the Holy Spirit--the Spirit built the church with the material of Jews and Gentiles for God's habitation--it is the church, not the individual, in this passage that is the habitation of God, and the Holy Spirit was the divine agency of its construction; that is, it was in or through or by the teaching of the Spirit that the Jews and Gentiles were builded together into the church for God's habitation. In verse 21, the apostle compares the church to a temple, which among the Gentiles was the habitation for their gods. But the church is the temple of the living God, and it is built through [by] the Spirit for God's habitation[ 87 ] (italics are Wallace's).
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV and occasionally another version. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]KAI HUMAS, and you (Marshall 761).
[ 3 ]ONTAS NEKROUS TOIS PARAPTOOMASIN, being dead in the trespasses (Marshall 761); ONTAS is the present active participle, accusative plural masculine of EIMI (Han 358); being dead due to your trespasses (Lenski 406); dead because of the shortcomings and sins (Williams); PARAPTOOMASIN, primarily, a false step, a blunder [akin to PARAPIPTOO to fall away, Hebrews 6:6], literally, "a fall beside," used ethically, denotes a trespass, a deviation, from uprightness and truth (Vine 1166).
[ 4 ] Clarke 6.437.
[ 5 ]KAI TAIS HAMARTIAIS HUMOON, and in the sins of you (Marshall 761); sin, literally, missing of the mark, but this etymological meaning is largely lost sight of in the NT. It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity (Vine 1045).
[ 6 ]Westminster Confession of Faith 6.4. The Westminster Confession of Faith was put together at Westminster Abbey in London in the years 1643-48. It is still followed by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and others.
[ 7 ]Billy Graham, Nashville Sermons, 18, 20.
[ 8 ]Adapted from Whiteside 131, 132.
[ 9 ] "Through" is dative of means (Machen 60).
[ 10 ]Vincent 3.374; Vine 1177.
[ 11 ]The temple of Diana was 220 x 425 with 107 pillars each sixty feet high (Macknight 332); 225 x 425 feet, supported by 127 sixty-foot high marble columns, 32 of which were beautifully carved (Lipscomb 9; see note on Eph 2:2).
[ 12 ]Zondervan 216.
[ 13 ]KATA TON AIOONA TOU KOSMOU TOUTOU, according to the age of this world (Marshall 761); in accordance with the spirit of this present world (Williams); in accord with eon of this world (Lenski 406).
[ 14 ]KATA TON ARCHONTA TEES EXOUSIAS TOU AEROS, according to the ruler of the authority of the air (Marshall 761); AEROS signifies the atmosphere, certainly in five of the seven occurrences [Ac 22:23; 1Co 9:26; 14:9; Re 9:2; 16:17] and almost certainly in the other two [Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17] (Vine 37); in accord with the ruler of the authority of the air (Lenski 406); and the mighty prince of the air (Williams); the air is not designated by the Jews as the dwelling place of angels, but of Satan and his demons. It is in this context that Paul designates Satan as being the ruler of the power of the air [Eph 2:2; compare 6:12]. The Lord will penetrate this area in order to deliver His own from the earth (Zodhiates 88).
[ 15 ]TOU PNEUMATOS TOU NUN ENERGOUNTOS EN TOIS HUIOIS TEES APEITHEIAS, of the spirit now operating in the sons of disobedience (Marshall 761); ENERGOUNTOS is the present active participle, genitive singular masculine or neuter of ENERGEOO (Han 358); who is always at work in the disobedient (Williams).
[ 16 ]EN TAIS EPITHUMIAIS TEES SARKOS HEMOON, in the lusts of the flesh of us (Marshall 761); while gratifying the cravings of our lower nature (Williams).
[ 17 ]POIOUNTES TA THELEEMATA TEES SARKOS, doing the wishes of the flesh (Marshall 761); as we continued to carry out the impulses of our lower nature (Williams); doing the volitions of the flesh (Lenski 406).
[ 18 ]KAI TOON DIANOIOON, and of the understandings (Marshall 761); and its thoughts (Williams); and of the reasonings (Lenski 406); literally, a thinking through, or over, a meditation, reflecting, signifies . . . the faculty of knowing, understanding, or moral reflection, with an evil significance, a consciousness characterized by a perverted moral impulse, Ephesians 2:3 [plural] (Vine 741).
[ 19 ]KAI EEMETHA TEKNA PHUSEI ORGEES, and were children by nature of wrath (Marshall 761); second nature, "a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature" (Thayer 660); [from PHUOO to bring forth], signifies the nature [that is, the natural powers or constitution] of a person or thing (Vine 775); a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature . . . by [our depraved] nature we were exposed to the wrath of God, Ephesians 2:3 [this meaning is evident from the preceding context, and stands in contrast with the change of heart and life wrought through Christ by the blessing of divine grace . . . [Others (see Meyer) would lay more stress here upon the constitution in which this "habitual course of evil" has its origin, whether that constitution be regarded (with some) as already developed at birth, or (better) as undeveloped (Thayer 660); we were, in our natural condition [as descendants of Adam], children of wrath (Arndt 869); natural disposition (Zodhiates 1459).
[ 20 ]Adapted from Whiteside 132, 133.
[ 21 ]DIA TEEN POLLEEN AGAPEEN AUTOU, because of the much love of his (Marshall 761); POLLEN is much, many, great, is used of number, degree (Vine 504); many sided (Baggett 19); figuratively and intensively of amount or degree, meaning much, great, vehement (Zodhiates 1196).
[ 22 ]HEEN EEGAPEESEN HEEMAS, [with] which he loved us (Marshall 761); EEGAPEESEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of AGAPAOO (Han 358); wherewith he loved even us (Lenski 413).
[ 23 ]Some say "us" refers to Jewish Christians.
[ 24 ]The information in this footnote is borrowed from F. F. Bruce, pages 287, 288. H. Schlier quotes Origen, "Those who are regenerated through divine baptism are placed in paradise--that is, in the church" (Select Notes on Genesis 2:13 [15?]). J. H. Bernard, "The Odes of Solomon," Journal of Theological Studies 12 (1910-11) 1-31, points out that the eastern fathers frequently express the thought that the baptized have been restored to Paradise and its privileges; he quotes Basil (Homilies 13:2) and Gregory of Nyssa (Sermon on Christ's Baptism) to this effect, as well as the Odes of Solomon (11.14; 20:7), which he takes to be baptismal hymns. Schlier, in addition to quoting Origen, cites the Odes of Solomon as evidence that "the conception of baptism as a journey heavenward is . . . widespread in early Christianity" (Der Brief an die Epheser 111).
[ 25 ]CHARITI ESTE SESOSMENOI, by grace ye are having been saved (Marshall 761); SESOSMENOI is the perfect passive participle, nominative plural masculine of SOZOO (Han 358); the perfect tense denotes the present state resultant upon a past action (Machen 452).
[ 26 ]KAI SUNEKATHISEN, and seated [us] with (Marshall 762); hath given us joint seat (Meyer via Vincent 3.376).
[ 27 ]In the church age, which Jesus called "the regeneration," the apostles were to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28). This they do through their inspired word (compare Joh 12:48).
[ 28 ]Some make this figurative and have Christians raised representatively in Christ and glorified figuratively and representatively in Him in His exaltation.
[ 29 ]The language of Paul about sitting together in the heavenly places in Christ sounds almost like eternal, heavenly bliss. For every faithful child of God, a future heavenly home is so certain that some have considered this prophetic present. That is, the future fulfillment is so certain that the Holy Spirit speaks of it as having already happened.
[ 30 ]HINA EN TOIS AIOOSIN TOIS EPERCHOMENOUS, in order that in the ages coming on (Marshall 762); EPERCHOMENOUS is the present middle participle, dative plural masculine of EPERCHOMAI (Han 359); to come or go upon [EPI upon], used of coming events, suggesting their certainty; in Ephesians 2:7, said of the on-coming of the ages (Vine 195); in the eons that are coming (Lenski 420).
[ 31 ]ENDEIXEETAI TO HUPERBALLON PLOUTOS TEES CHARITOS AUTOU, he might show forth the exceeding riches of the grace of him (Marshall 762); ENDEIXEETAI is third person singular, first aorist middle subjunctive of ENDEIKNUMI (Han 359); the aorist subjunctive denotes the complete and full showing forth (Lenski 420).
[ 32 ]EN CHREESTOTEETI EPH' HEEMAS EN CHRISTOO 'IEESOU, in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Marshall 762); in His goodness to us through Christ Jesus (Williams); in goodness upon us in connection with Christ Jesus (Lenski 420); CHREESTOTEETI, goodness of heart, kindness (Vine 622); useful, profitable, benignity, kindness, usefulness . . . the opposite of APOTOMIA, severity or cutting something short and quickly . . . it is the grace which pervades the whole nature, mellowing all which would be harsh and austere (Zodhiates 1482).
[ 33 ]TEE GAR CHARITE ESTE SESOOSMENOI, for by grace ye are having been saved (Marshall 762); SESOOSMENOI is the perfect passive participle, nominative plural masculine of SOZOO (Han 359).
[ 34 ]The Greek perfect tense denotes the present state resulting from a past action.
[ 35 ]DIA PISTEOS, through faith (Marshall 762); faith, firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (though rare). Objectively meaning that which is believed, doctrine, the received articles of faith. . . . As a technical term indicative of the means of appropriating what God in Christ has for man, resulting in the transformation of man's character and way of life. Such can be termed gospel or Christian faith (Ro 3:22 and following). . . . Of Christ, faith in Christ . . . Of faith in Christ's death, as the ground of justification before God, saving faith, found only in Paul's writings. . . . Generally . . . Ephesians 2:8 (Zodhiates 1162, 1163).
[ 36 ]KAI TOUTO OUK EX HUMOON, and this not of you (Marshall 762); and this is not from yourselves; the neuter TOUTO does not refer to PISTIS or to CHARIS, both of which are feminine, but to the divine act of saving us: this that you have been saved (Lenski 422, 423); the fact that TOUTO [this] is neuter and PISTEOS [faith] is feminine forbids faith to be the antecedent of "that." Many exegetes are agreed on this point, including Calvin" (Shank 111); the words faith and grace are feminine (Weed 137, 138).
[ 37 ]Vincent 3.376.
[ 38 ]Whiteside 243.
[ 39 ]THEOU TO DOORON, of God [is] the gift (Marshall 762); God's [is] the gift; his and his alone. The emphasis is on the genitive. "The gift" (definite)=the salvation he has given to you (Lenski 422, 424).
[ 40 ]Adapted from Whiteside 243.
[ 41 ]HINA MEE TIS KAUCHEESEETAI, lest anyone should boast (Marshall 762).
[ 42 ]AUTOU GAR ESMEN POIEMA, for of him we are a product (Marshall 762); His handiwork are we, the result of POIEIN, the thing wrought or made (Lenski 425).
[ 43 ]KTISTHENTES EN CHRISTOO 'IEESOU EPI ERGOIS AGATHOIS, created in Christ Jesus unto works good (Marshall 762); KTISTHENTES is first the aorist passive participle, nominative plural masculine of KTIZOO (Han 359); KTIZEN is the equivalent of the Hebrew BARAH to call into existence from nothing (Lenski 425).
[ 44 ]HOIS PROEETOIMASEN HO THEOS, which previously prepared God (Marshall 762); PROEETOIMASEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of PROEETOIMAZOO (Han 359); to prepare beforehand, in mind and purpose, that is, to decree (Thayer 539).
[ 45 ]HINA EN AUTOIS PERIPATEESOOMEN, in order that in them we might walk (Marshall 762); PERIPATEESOOMEN is first person plural, first aorist active subjunctive of PERIPATEOO (Han 359); signifying the whole round of the activities of the individual life (Vine 1207).
[ 46 ]DIA MNEEMONEUETE, wherefore remember ye (Marshall 762); MNEEMONEUETE is second person plural, present active indicative or imperative of MNEEMONEUOO (Han 359).
[ 47 ]Circumcision, besides being practiced by Jews, is a custom of many non-Jews in Asia, Africa, America and Australia. In ancient times it was practiced among the Arabians, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and Egyptians but not among the Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites and Philistines (Zondervan 172). Nevertheless, "circumcision" and "uncircumcision" are technical terms meaning Jews and Gentiles, respectively.
[ 48 ]To say that absolutely no Gentiles became Christians before Acts 10 is an over-statement. Consider the conversion of proselytes (Ac 2:10; 6:5) as well as the Samaritans (Ac 8:5, 12) and the Ethiopian (Ac 8:27, 38).
[ 49 ]APEELLOTRIOOMENOI TEES POLITEIAS TOU 'ISRAEEL, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel (Marshall 762).
[ 50 ]Although not the case here, the word "covenant" sometimes refers to the promise to Abraham (see Ga 3:15-17).
[ 51 ]KAI ATHEOI EN TOO KOSMOO, and godless in the world (Marshall 762); compare English, atheist, primarily signifies godless [A negative], that is, destitute of God; in Ephesians 2:12 the phrase indicates, not only that the Gentiles were void of any true recognition of God, and hence became morally godless (Ro 1:19-32), but that, being given up by God, they were excluded from communion with God and from the privileges granted to Israel (see the context and compare Ga 4:8). As to pagan ideas, the popular cry against the early Christians was "away with the atheists" [see the account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.15, 19] (Vine 492).
[ 52 ]HUMEIS HOI TOTE ONTES MAKRAN, ye the [ones] then being afar (Marshall 762); MAKRAN denotes a long way, far . . . in spiritual darkness (Vine 407); those far off from God, meaning the Gentiles as opposed to those who are near, HOI ENGUS, those near, meaning the Jews (Zodhiates 939).
[ 53 ]It took a miracle to convince Peter that Gentiles could become Christians (see Ac 10:10-16; 19, 20).
[ 54 ]Compare Mark 12:34.
[ 55 ]HO POIESAS TA AMPHOTERA HEN, the [one] having made both one (Marshall 763).
[ 56 ]KAI TO MESOTOICHON TOU PHRAGMOU LUSAS, the middle wall of partition having broken (Marshall 763); loosened or dissolved (Vincent 3.378); the middle wall of the partition or fence (Vine 845, 1219); and has broken down the barrier that kept us apart (Williams); and destroyed the middle wall of the fence (Lenski 438).
[ 57 ]Some have called attention to the partition in the temple to keep Gentiles out. There was a sign in Hebrew, Latin and Greek warning of the penalty of death if they crossed the line (Josephus, Wars 5.5.2; 6.2.4; Antiquities 15.11.7). By the cross of Christ, the wall of partition ended. Note that the accusation on the cross was written in the same three languages as the Jewish sign in the temple.
[ 58 ]EN DOGMASIN, in decrees (Marshall 763).
[ 59 ]The "requirements" that Jesus wiped out were DOGMASIN ordinances (Col 2:14); see the Greek word in the previous footnote used in Ephesians 2:15.
[ 60 ]See H. Leo Boles, Acts 185.
[ 61 ]KAI APOKATALLAXE TOUS AMPHOTEROUS TOO THEOO, and might reconcile both to God (Marshall 763); APOKATALLAXE is third person singular, first aorist active subjunctive of APOKATALLASSO (Han 359); bring back to a former state of harmony (Thayer 63).
[ 62 ]EN HENI SOOMATI DIA TOU STAUROU, in one body through the cross (Marshall 7663); by means of the cross (Bruce 300).
[ 63 ]KAI ELTHOON EUEENGELISATO EIREENEEN, and coming preached peace (Marshall 763); ELTHOON is the second aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of ERCHOMAI; EUEENGELISATO is third person singular, first aorist middle indicative of EUANGELIZOO (Han 359); when He came, He brought the good news of peace (Williams).
[ 64 ]Jesus preached peace. Those who believe and follow His teaching enjoy peace with God and one another. However, in a totally different sense, Christ brought a sword. Even family members were divided. Many of those who became Christians were alienated and even persecuted (Mt 10:34).
[ 65 ]HOTI DI' AUTOU ECHOMEN TEEN PROSAGOOGEEN HOI AMPHOTEROI, because through him we have access both (Marshall 763); ECHOMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of ECHOO (Han 359); PROSGOGEN, access, introduction (Macknight 328); a leading or bringing into the presence of, with the thought of freedom to enter through the assistance or favor of another (Vine 23).
[ 66 ]EN HENI PNEUMATI PROS TON PATERA, by one Spirit unto the Father (Marshall 763); through one Spirit that both of us have an introduction to the Father (Williams).
[ 67 ]There is an outside possibility here that the word "Spirit" refers not to the Holy Spirit but to a disposition as in Romans 8:15, where Paul discusses the spirit of bondage and the spirit of adoption.
[ 68 ]Lipscomb 51.
[ 69 ]ARA OUN OUKETI ESTE XENOI, then therefore no more are ye strangers (Marshall 763); XENOI denotes strangers, foreigners (Vine 1093); without rights of citizenship (Vincent 3.379); used metaphorically with the meaning of not belonging to a Christian community, an alien (Zodhiates 1022).
[ 70 ]KAI PAROIKOI, and sojourners (Marshall 763); PAROIKOI, literally, dwelling near [PARA near, OIKOS a dwelling], denotes aliens, sojourners, in contrast to fellow-citizens (Vine 449); those who dwell in a foreign country, temporary dwellers not having a settled habitation in the place where they currently reside . . . applied spiritually (Zodhiates 1121).
[ 71 ]ALLA ESTE SUMPOLITAI TOON HAGIOON, but ye are fellow-citizens of the saints (Marshall 763).
[ 72 ]KAI OIKEIOI TOU THEOU, and members of the family of God (Marshall 763; and family members of God (Lenski 449).
[ 73 ]Vine 577.
[ 74 ]EPOIKODOMEETHENTES EPI TOO THEMELIOO, having been built on the foundation (Marshall 763); EPOIKODOMEETHENTES is the first aorist passive participle, nominative plural masculine of EPOIKODOMEOO (Han 359); signifies to build upon [EPI upon] (Vine 148).
[ 75 ]TOON APOSTOLOON KAI PROPHEETOON, of the apostles and prophets (Marshall 763).
[ 76 ]Vincent 3.379.
[ 77 ]The Ephesian letter was written about AD 62.
[ 78 ]ONTOS AKROGONIAIOU AUTOU CHRISTOU 'IESOU, being cornerstone [him]self Christ Jesus (Marshall 763); denotes a chief corner-stone [from AKROS extreme, highest, GONIA an angle] they were laid so as to give strength to the two walls with which they were connected. So Christ unites Jew and Gentile, Ephesians 2:20 (Vine 178, 233); "at the tip of the angle" is an adjective, and TO makes it a noun that is applied to the stone set at the corner of a wall so that its outer angle becomes important (Lenski 454).
[ 79 ]Vine 243.
[ 80 ]Zoan and Noph were cities in Egypt. Zoan, sometimes called Tanis, was a northeastern capital near the border of Sinai. Noph (ASV, Memphis), lay more to the south at the apex of the Delta.
[ 81 ]EN HO PASA OIKODOME, in whom all [the] building (Marshall 763); a building, or edification . . . of the whole Church, the Body of Christ (Vine 148).
[ 82 ]SUNOIKODOMEISTHE, being fitted together (Marshall 763); is harmoniously fitted together (Williams); are being built together (Lenski 450); second person plural, present passive indicative of SUNOIKODOMEO (Han 359).
[ 83 ]AUXEI EIS NAON HAGION EN KURIO, grows into shrine a holy in [the] Lord (Marshall 763); AUXEI is third person singular, present active indicative of AUXOO (Han 359).
[ 84 ]EN HOO KAI HUMEIS SUNOIKODOMEISTHE, in whom also ye are built together (Marshall 762); HUMEIS is a plural pronoun; SUNOIKODOMEISTHE is second person plural, present passive indicative of SUNOIKODOMEOO (Han 359).
[ 85 ]EIS KATOIKEETEERION TOU THEOU EN PNEUMATI, into a dwelling-place of God in spirit (Marshall 763); [KATA down, used intensively, OIKETERION a habitation], implying more permanency than [OIKETERION] is used in Ephesians 2:22 of the Church as the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (Vine 517); an abode, a habitation (Thayer 341); here EN PNEUMATI is parallel to EN KURIOO, which shows that here, unlike in verse 18, the Holy Spirit is referred to. . . . "In the Spirit" explains "in the Lord," for union with the former mediates union with the latter and thus makes us a habitation of God (Lenski 460).
[ 86 ]Clarke 6.442.
[ 87 ]Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit 80, 81.
Copyright ©2002, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
This material may be copied for personal study only.
It may not be distributed or published in any form whatever
without the copyright owner's written permission.
This copyright notice must be included on all copies made.
The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)