Ephesians Episode 3

Beth's Notes

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:1-22.

All of us at one time were “by nature objects of wrath”. All of us. We were all born broken – full of sin - helpless and hopeless. No exceptions. Paul tells us in Romans 5:12:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- Romans 5:12 (NIV)
Remember sin always spirals down to the lowest nature if left unchecked – it never remains on the same level. Never. And what ensued was not a pretty picture – to say the least. Paul gives us a description to us in Romans 1:18-32:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:18-32 (NIV)

John Newton writes:
“We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences.  If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.” John Newton

Some people remain so defiant – to their own harm – they are not going to be told what to do. Learn not to be like that and learn to listen. We simply do not know it all – surprise!!!  Always listen to wise counsel and take it back to God’s Word – see if it “fits” and if it does, wear it! Meaning, apply what God is showing you through the counsel of another. Remember, Newton writes it is regarded as one of the heaviest judgements of God to allow us to walk in our own ways. We certainly do not want to miss God’s best for our lives. I am not saying this is always pleasant either. Some of the hardest counsel I have ever received has been such a blessing in my life and I would have been the loser if I had stopped up my ears to it or neglected it.   

We also must beware of wicked company as it is both dangerous and infectious and Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 15:33:
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

Be careful who you take into your inner circle as we often begin to blend with whom we hang around with. 
Paul also tell us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)

How many have lost their names, estates, strength, God, heaven and souls by blending with the world?  Scripture is replete with examples. It is no wonder the Bible refers to wickedness as thorns, briers, dust, dross, smoke, brambles thistles and scum. Remember, all sin leads to death of something. All sin. It is not your friend and neither does God wink at it. It cost Him dearly to redeem us through the death of His Son. Don’t play with it. It will get you nowhere fast.
Okay, so that’s the very bad news. “But God” (two of my two favorite words together in Scripture) reigned down His mercy, grace and love towards sinners such as you and I. Paul writes in verses four through nine of our chapter today:
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 (NIV)

We deserved nothing but God’s wrath and yet in His mercy He makes us trophies of His grace – what kind of amazing love is this? Jonathan Edwards writes:

“God has no pleasure in the destruction or calamity of persons or people. He had rather they should turn and continue in peace. He is well-pleased if they forsake their evil ways, that He may not have occasion to execute His wrath upon them. He is a God that delights in mercy, and judgment is His strange work.” Jonathan Edwards 
Mercy is the very nature of God. Indeed, mercy, grace and love pours from his holy heart running with a straight, direct and natural stream. To be sure, the most renowned description of the nature of God came from His own proclamation in Exodus 34:5-7:
5 “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:5-7 (NIV)

We are not to think of God’s mercy with diminishing thoughts, for His mercy is as great as His power. The soul that has a proper estimate of His mercy is at a great advantage. We will love Him more readily and more abundantly – affections following from our understanding. If you think God is against you and relishes in your misery it is impossible for you to love Him rightly. We are commanded to love and delight in Him above all and He is infinitely and inconceivably good. We must fix deeply in our understanding the natural goodness of God and even then it will fall far short of God’s actual graciousness. James 5:11 tells us:
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.  James 5:11 (NIV)

Hebrews 4:16 adds:
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

The mind has a way of returning to what it has learned, reflecting on it over and over again. God commends this when He calls His people to meditate on His words, His works, and His character. Those who do so will be blessed. 
Psalms 1:1-3 states:
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV)
Colossians 3:15-17:
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)

When our heart is not at peace with God, our thinking becomes hostile to God, darkened, debased, and futile. Our heart tends to track with what we love most – the mind moves in a willful direction usually intent on a particular errand. Paul tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above not on earthly things – speaking towards the direction of one’s thinking – its tack, its agenda, its trajectory, its pattern – some may say how it is trending. Our thought life is shaped and manipulated by the state of the whole heart – its deeper agenda whether sinfully polluted or sanctified. Be careful that the noise of worldly business does not drown out the voice of reason. Ephesians 4:17-19 states:
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)

Sin never satisfies – there will always be a continual lust for more.

Though God is most certainly just, His mercy may in some respect be said to be more natural to Him than all the acts of justice that He demonstrates. There is a reluctance in His vindictive justice – “I desire not the death of a sinner” – that is, I delight not simply in it for pleasure’s sake – when He exercises justice, it is for a higher end, not simply for the thing itself. But when it comes to mercy there is no reluctance in Him – there is nothing at all in Him against it as it manifests His nature and disposition. He does not willingly afflict or grieve, but when it comes to mercy, He does it with His whole heart and soul and rejoices in doing us good. Mercy is natural to Him. Punishment is unnatural. Yet, all of God’s attributes are nonnegotiable and God is every attribute perfectly. He is just, wrathful, good and so on in endless perfection and all His attributes seem to point out His great love.
Supremely, the work of Jesus, and especially His death and resurrection, satisfied the Father’s righteous wrath against the horror of human rebellion against Him that we read about as all sin is blatantly against God. His wrath was propitiated – turned away – assuaged.

The Father is both righteous and just – unswervingly, unendingly. Without such doctrine, such a reassurance, we would have no hope that all wrongs would one day be righted. But what is His heart? What flows out from His deepest being? What does he beget? Mercies. He is the Father of mercies. 

To speak of God the Father as “the Father of mercies” is to say that He is the one who multiplies compassionate mercies to His needful, wayward, messy, fallen, wandering people. The Puritan Thomas Goodwin writes us this very good news:
“God has a multitude of all kinds of mercies.  As our hearts and the devil are the father of a variety of sins, so God is the father of a variety of mercies. There is no sin or misery but God has a mercy for it. He has a multitude of mercies of every kind…As large and as various as are our wants, so large and various are His mercies. So we may come boldly to find grace and mercy to help us in time of need, a mercy for every need.  All the mercies that are in His own heart He has transplanted into several beds in the garden of the promises, where they grow, and He has abundance of variety of them, suited to all the variety of the diseases of the soul.” Thomas Goodwin

Remember how important it is for us to know God’s promises in Scripture to claim in prayer. The Bible is full of His good and precious promises and we are the losers when we neglect such a profitable undertaking. God multiplies mercies matched to your every need, and there is nothing He would rather do. He is much more tender of you than you are, or can be, of yourself. The Father Himself loves you.   
“We came into this world wretched, miserable, and undone creatures, in cruel bondage to sin and Satan, under guilt and under wrath, hostile toward God—the fountain of blessedness—and in a state of condemnation leading to everlasting destruction. But when a man is converted, he is brought out of that state of woe and misery into a sure title to glory, honor, and peace forever. When once a man is converted, all this blessedness that we have heard of is his; he has an absolute right to it. God’s work is accomplished for it; His faithful promise is given.” Jonathan Edwards
Paul tells that even when we were dead in our transgressions God has made us alive in Christ. Through His grace we were saved – through His unmerited, and unearned favor towards us. We were dead in our sins, and as we discussed – helpless and hopeless. Besides being made alive, former unbelievers also have been raised... up with Christ. This speaks of our being positionally resurrected. Christians, in whom Christ dwells, have a new, powerful, and unique life and position. This new life, power, and position demands that believers have a new set of values as well. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-2:
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)

Believers are positioned spiritually in heaven, where Christ is seated at the right Hand of God. They are no longer mere earthlings; their citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there. He is the exalted Son of God, and we are exalted sons and daughters of God. These actions of God toward unbelievers are similar to what God did for Christ: “He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms” as Ephesians 1:20 tells us. Whereas Christ died physically, unbelievers are dead spiritually. While Christ was raised physically, unbelievers are made alive and raised with Christ spiritually.  Christ is seated in the heavenly realms physically (in His resurrected, ascended body, but believers are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms spiritually. This divine power that can make an unbeliever have life, be raised, and exalted with Christ is the same power that presently operates in believers. The question is why is it that we see so little power operating in believers? Sadly, believers continually shrink the Holy Spirit’s power within by our own poor choices. 
In the future eternal state, God will show all His Creation the incomparable riches of His grace. This display will be seen in His redeemed ones. The “riches of His grace” has been mentioned in connection with believers’ redemption which brought them forgiveness of sins. These “riches of His grace” are expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. This refers to salvation. The appropriate expression of God’s love to those who are spiritually dead is to give them life—this is “the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness”. Verses eight and nine explain the “incomparable riches of His grace”:

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

The basis is grace and the means is faith alone.  Paul tells us in Romans 3:22-26:
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22-26 (NIV)

Again, Paul writes in Galatians 2:16:
16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16 (NIV)

Faith is not a “work.” It does not merit salvation; it is only the means by which one accepts God’s free salvation. Paul elaborated, And this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. This salvation does not have its source in man (it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for “it is the gift of God.” Paul reinforces this by showing that the means is not by works since its basis is grace. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or lose it if we are truly saved – it is all God’s doing.  Again, Paul reinforces his point in the following verses (and many others as well but these are just a sampling): Romans 11:6:
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6 (NIV)

2 Timothy 1:8-9:
8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. 2 Timothy 1:8-9 (NIV)

Titus 3:4-5:
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5 (NIV)

The means of our salvation is faith. Therefore since no person can bring salvation to himself by his own efforts, it removes all our fleshly boasting, Amen?  We so often want to take credit for everything! Our boasting can only be in the Lord. The reason is that salvation is God’s workmanship.  The word “workmanship”, used only here and in Romans 1:20 denotes a work of art or a masterpiece. It differs from human “works” in Ephesians 2:9:
9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:9 (NIV)

Believers are God’s workmanship because they have been created (a work only God can do) in Christ Jesus. The purpose of this creation is that believers will do good works. God’s works through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. His power that is made perfect in all our weaknesses. God’s workmanship is not achieved by good works, but it is to result in good works – always. Indeed, if we see no manifestation of fruit in our lives we should question our salvation. Paul writes in Titus 2:14:  
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.   Titus 2:14 (NIV)

And again in Titus 3:8:
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:8 (NIV)

And to the Church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians: 13:5-6:
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (NIV)

In the clause, “which God prepared in advance for us to do”, the word “which” refers back to the “works” in the previous clause. “For us to do” is literally “in order that we might walk in them.” The purpose of these prepared-in-advance works is not “to work in them” but “to walk in them.” In other words, God has prepared a path of good works for believers which He will perform in and through them as they walk by faith. This does not mean doing a work for God; instead, it is God’s performing His work in and through believers. This path of good works is discussed by Paul later in Ephesians Chapters 4-6. We are the losers if we choose to not walk in his ways. If God has planned from the beginning of time a path of works for us to walk in through His power, for His glory and our good, how foolish of us to not be about it. The distractions of this world are palpable – able to be touched or felt – very strong and obvious – and when are guards are down we easily fall prey to them. We can wake up and our lives have been chasing after what perhaps is good but not the best.  We don’t want that.  Train yourselves to be godly as Paul tells his beloved timid Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7:
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

Paul himself followed his own teaching when he states in 1 Corinthians 9:27:
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

This is what we are after as well. Let’s not piddle our lives away flitting with the temporal and all its distractions and the tyranny of the urgent. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith.  He will be no man’s debtor. Whatever “measly” sacrifice we may make He more than compensates for. As Jim Eliot states:
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to keep what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
“Wherever you are, be all there.  Live to the full in every situation that you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot

“Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!”   Jim Elliot
In Ephesians 1:1-10 God demonstrates that though people were spiritually dead and deserving only God’s wrath, God, in His marvelous grace, has provided salvation through faith. Believers are God’s workmanship in whom and through whom He performs good works.
Having completed his discussion of believers as God’s workmanship, Paul now begins this next section with the strongest words to alert the Ephesians to the unenviable position of having no relationship with God.  Paul commanded them to remember that formerly, before their conversions, they were Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by the Jews. Jews, being circumcised physically (in the body) disparaged all non-Jews by calling them the “uncircumcised.”  This physical difference between Jews and Gentiles affected every area of their lives. A great social and spiritual boundary existed between them.
The Gentiles’ lack of the external sign of circumcision also meant that they lacked five privileges that God had given the nation Israel. First, they were separate from Christ, or without Christ, not only personally (true also of many Jews) but also in that they had no national hope of the Messiah.
Second, they were excluded from citizenship in Israel. They did not belong to the theocratic state of Israel which Paul discusses in Romans 9:3-5:
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. Romans 9:3-5 (NIV)

The word “excluded” is “alienated” or “estranged.” It is used only two other times (Ephesians 4:18 and Colossians 1:21). Though some Gentiles were admitted into Judaism as proselytes, Gentiles as a whole were excluded; they were thus alienated.
Third, they were foreigners to the covenants of the promise. They were deprived of direct participation in God’s covenants and thus had no hope of future glory and blessing as Israel did. Israel’s “covenants” include the Abrahamic, the Palestinian, the Davidic, and the New. These covenants—all pointing to “the promise” of the Messiah and of blessings through Him—they assured Israel of a national existence, a land, a King, and spiritual blessings.
Fourth, the Gentiles were without hope. Unlike Israel they had no expectation of a personal Messiah-Deliverer and the Messianic Age.
Fifth, they were without God, “apart from God” in the world. The Gentiles were in a desperate situation. They had no meaning, hope, purpose, or direction in life.
But now in Christ Jesus, thankfully, the Gentiles who once were far away from both God and the Jews have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  They have come near to God and to the Jews by means of Christ’s sacrificial death.  Sin separates people from God and only Christ’s atonement can remove that sin barrier.
Christ Himself is the peace between Jewish and Gentile believers, having made the two groups one and having destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. “Peace” is mentioned four times in three verses. The structure of the Greek words suggests that the dividing wall describes not a physical barrier, but the spiritual enmity between Jews and Gentiles, which separated them. Since Christ destroyed this enmity Jewish and Gentile believers should have no hostility.
Paul now described how and why this enmity came to an end.  The animosity between believing Jews and Gentiles ceased because by Christ’s death He rendered the Law “inoperative” in believers’ lives. Jews and Gentiles were enemies because the Jews sought to keep the Law with its commandments and regulations, whereas Gentiles were unconcerned about them. This difference was like a barrier between them.  But now that the Law is inoperative  - “Christ is the end of the Law” Romans 10:4, Jewish-Gentile hostility is gone. Christ “destroyed” the barrier (hostility) by making the Law inoperative.
Christ had two purposes in ending the hostility. The first purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.  In the church, Gentiles do not become Jews, nor do Jews become Gentiles. Instead believing Jews and Gentiles become Christians, a whole new single entity.
Christ’s second purpose in destroying the enmity was to reconcile both Jewish and Gentile believers to Himself in... one body. This reconciliation was accomplished through the cross, by which Christ put to death the enmity between people and God. Though He was put to death, He in turn put to death the Jewish-Gentile hostility.  The reconciliation is between Jewish and Gentile believers, the reconciliation is between people and God.  Reconciliation – the removal of enmity between man and God is mentioned elsewhere by Paul. 
Not only is Christ “our peace”, but He also preached peace. The peace that was preached was on the basis of Christ’s death rather than during His life on earth.  Peace is supplied both to those who were far away, that is, Gentiles who were without Christ and alienated from Israel and her covenants, and to those who were near, namely, Jews who have “the covenants of the promise”.  As a result of this message of peace both Jewish and Gentile believers have access to God the Father by one Spirit.  Christ gives believers access. Here believers have access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit because of Christ’s death on the cross.  Nothing could be clearer than the fact that this new union replaces enmity.
Having stated and explained the union of Jewish and Gentile believers Paul then described the consequence of that union. Consequently, Gentile believers, are no longer foreigners and aliens. Believing Gentiles become fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. They become a part of the company of the redeemed of all ages beginning with Adam.  However, this does not mean that the church inherits the blessings promised to Israel. Gentile believers become a part of the redeemed of all ages. But their being incorporated with Jewish believers into the “one new man” distinctly began when the church came into being at Pentecost.
Paul described the church as a great building, a holy temple in which God dwells. This figure of God dwelling in a temple comes from the Old Testament. Paul wrote regarding the building’s foundation, formation, and function. Christ Jesus Himself is the chief Cornerstone, that is, He is part of the foundation. In ancient building practices “the chief cornerstone” was carefully placed. It was crucial because the entire building was lined up with it. The church’s foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets, needed to be correctly aligned with Christ. All other believers are built on that foundation, measuring their lives with Christ.  In Christ the whole building is joined together.  It denotes that the various parts of the building are skillfully fitted to each other, not haphazardly thrown together. This structure rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. Paul writes in Colossians 2:13-19:
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Colossians 2:13-19 (NIV)

The goal of this temple is to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. In the Old Testament God’s glory was in the temple, which represented His presence with the people. In this Age God dwells in His new temple which is constructed not from inanimate materials but of living believers. The Holy Spirit indwells each individual believer who is thus a “temple”. The building in Ephesians 2:21 refers to the Holy Spirit’s corporate “dwelling”, His “temple” composed of all Jewish and Gentile believers rising to become a holy temple in the Lord.

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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