Verse 11 starts off with “Therefore”, as Paul continues to talk about the contrast between what we were before salvation and what we are now in Christ. At this time he is directly addressing the non-Jews and how they were completely cut off and had no part in the covenant that God had made with the Jews. He uses terms like separated and alienated to describe this, as well as the contrast of “far off” and “brought near”. What has changed their standing is the blood of Christ. Later in this chapter he goes on to say that Christ abolished the dividing wall. The book of Ephesians sings with the immensity of what Christ has accomplished for us as believers! Over and over is the phrase “in Christ”. How this must cause us to rejoice, seeing the contrast between what we once were and what we now are because of what Christ did. Paul uses the word “remember” to help them recall the huge change that God has brought about in their lives.
vs. 11-12 – At one time we were separated from Christ and strangers to the covenant of promise, no hope and without God
vs. 13 – But now in Christ we’ve been brought near
vs. 14-16 – Jesus is our peace – made us one by abolishing law, breaking down the wall, reconciling us to God through the cross
vs. 17-18 – He preached peace to near and far, through Him we have access to the Father in one Spirit
vs. 19-21 – We are not strangers but fellow citizens with God’s household which is built on foundation of apostles and prophets, with Christ being the cornerstone – whole structure joined in Christ – grows into a holy temple
vs. 22 – We are being built into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit
Imagery of house, temple, dwelling place, structure
We could look at Ephesians 2 broken down this way:
vs. 1-10: We were dead in sin but by grace God made us alive in Christ that we might do good works.
vs. 11-22: We were far off and alienated from God, but now Christ is our peace and has made us into one body that is a dwelling place for God.
The chapter starts off with our deadness and ends with us being a dwelling place for God! All through His grace! In Sinclair Ferguson’s Let’s Study Ephesians commentary, this quote is a great summary of the content of Ephesians chapter 2: “We are no longer what we once were. But Christian living involves more. We are now citizens in God’s kingdom and members of his family. Formerly we were spiritually dead and in bondage to Satan, the world, and the flesh, by nature children of wrath, separated, strangers, aliens. Now our new identity both secures us (we belong) and transforms us (we live as citizens and sons, no longer as aliens and orphans). In a world where people, young and old, have lost a sense of belonging and a direction in living, the gospel of Christ is good news indeed.”
So how do we take these truths and apply them to our own lives? Here are some questions we can ask:
-How does knowing God’s grace is what saved us (not our works) help us to do good works? What does that do for our motivation in living rightly?
-What does it mean to be a dwelling place for God? How does that make my life look? Does that affect my actions and attitudes? How does that affect my relationships with other believers?