A Note from Our Pastor:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”Ephesians 2:11-13
Good Morning Dearly Beloved,
As we have said before, there is no author who writes with more technical detail and complexity of speech than the Apostle Paul. Here in Ephesians 2 we come upon some of that complex writing made even more complex for us by the distance between his reference points and our own. It is our prayer that we might be able to break these verses down and increase your understanding.
In verse eleven, we are given a clear understanding as to who the intended audience was. The Apostle here writing was referred to as The Apostle to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were all of the people who were not of the nation of Israel and those people are his intended audience.
At this point in history, one of the clear markers between a Jewish man and a gentile man was whether or not he was circumcised. For us in modern America this distinction is often lost because circumcision has become about medicine and health rather than about cultural custom. But that was not the case in that day. So in the later portion of verse eleven, the Apostle is simply saying the Jews (who were circumcised) were calling out the gentiles (who were not circumcised) as being distant from God because they lacked this physical marker.
In verse twelve, the Apostle says that as gentiles in times past you were separate and distant from God. Notice in verse eleven, it is made clear that we are talking about in a natural sense in this world, not in a spiritual sense as children of God. In a natural sense, those that were not of the nation of Israel were not given the promises of God. Their nations were not God’s chosen people. And as such — they did not know about God, about his promises, or about his blessings in a natural sense.
In verse thirteen we are shown how the shift from Old Testament to New Testament impacts the gentiles. “But now” — these are key words that the Apostle Paul speaks. It signifies a shift in time and circumstance. It signifies a move from before Christ to after Christ.
In Old Testament times the gentiles were far off from Christ because the system was based on a natural people, but in the New Testament things are based on a spiritual people by the application of the blood of Jesus Christ and the distinction between Jew and gentile is erased.
These are complex thoughts that the Apostle presents in these verses, but ultimately the point being made is that in the Old Testament there was a physical, natural distinction between Israel (Jews) and non-Israel (gentiles). However, after Christ came and died the distinction is now spiritual and it is between the elect (those that show forth the fruit of the Spirit) and the non-elect (those that cannot do good works).
We will continue to explore this as we move through more of the second chapter of Ephesians.
Our Prayers are with you daily,