Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:19-22

Ἄρα οὖν οὐκέτι ἐστὲ ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι ἀλλὰ ἐστὲ συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων καὶ οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ ἐποικοδομηθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελἰῳ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν ὄντος ἀκρογωνιαίου αὐτοῦ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν ᾧ πᾶσα οἰκοδομὴ συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει εἰς ωαὸν ἅγιον ἐν κυρίῳ ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσθε εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν πνεύματι. As a result, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the house of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, being the cornerstone himself Christ Jesus, in whom all the building is joined together increasing into a holy temple in the Lord, also in whom you are built up together into the dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Paul is here concluding his conclusion, which he started back in verse 11. God’s grace means that the readers are no longer the foreigners, those that were far away, but are now fellow-citizens of the saints and are members of God’s household. They have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Christ himself is the cornerstone of the foundation. As the cornerstone, the whole building is constructed by becoming aligned with Christ. The apostles and prophets form the foundation for the whole building, but the foundation was not formed without being aligned perfectly with Christ, so that the whole building depended upon Christ. Christ was laid first, the apostles and prophets came next in alignment with Christ, and the uncircumcised and the circumcised came last, being laid upon what Christ and the apostles and prophets laid down. It is in Christ that the whole building is joined together and is constructed into a holy temple in the Lord. It is also in Christ that the readers are built up together into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. The dative ἐν κυρίῳ marks controlling influence; since there is a parallel structure in verses 21 and 22 (ἐν ᾧ . . . εἰς . . . ἐν . . .), the other dative, ἐν πνεύματι, should likewise be understood as a marker of controlling influence, that is, as a dative of association. The Lord is associated with the building, influencing it to grow or increase, becoming a holy temple. Similarly, the Spirit is associated with the control of the building up of God’s dwelling place.

Therefore, as a result, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, and in whom you were built up together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

As a result of God’s grace through Christ we are no longer aliens but are citizens among the saints, and we belong to God’s house. We are part of the building that was built upon the apostles and the prophets, who were laid down as a foundation for us in alignment with Christ. The Lord brought us together to form a holy temple; the Spirit built us up to be God’s dwelling place. We are therefore part of the building that relies on Christ, and we are under the control of God.

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Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:17-18

καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰν καἰ εἰρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς· ὅτι δι᾽αὐτοῦ ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ἀμφότεροι ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα. And who came preaching peace to you the ones far away and peace to the ones near, for through him we have access both in one spirit to the Father.

Paul continues his explanation of the importance of Christ in these two verses. Christ came preaching or proclaiming peace to the ones who were far away and peace to the ones who were near. This statement is odd, for Christ did not come to the Gentiles, i.e., the uncircumcised, but rather he came to the Jews who are the circumcised. How can Paul make such a statement? Even in the Gospels we do find Gentiles being presented with the good news by Jesus, although his main focus was towards the Jews. Yet, after his ascension it was made clear in the book of Acts that the Gentiles were also part of God’s plan. So, either, Paul’s statement fits perfectly well and there is no problem. Christ came to preach to both. Christ came to preach to both because it is through him that we have access to the Father. Both the ones who are far away and those who are near have access in one unified spirit.

And who came preaching peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near, for both have access to the Father through him in one spirit.

Because of Christ we have access to the Father. Christ came to preach peace to all people; it is through him that we have peace, because through him we are brought into a unified spirit within which we have access to God.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:14-16

Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν ὁ ποιήσας τὰ ἀμφότερα ἓν καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν καταργήσας ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον ποιῶν εἰρήνην καὶ ἀποκαταλλάξῃ τοὺς ἀμφοτἐρους ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ ἀποκτείνας τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν αὐτῷ. For he is our peace, the one working both one and destroying the dividing wall of the partition, the enmity in his flesh, invalidating the law of the commandments in ordinances, so that the two might create in him for one new person making peace and reconcile both in one body in God through the cross, destroying the enmity in him.

Paul explains the importance of Christ in these verses here in relation to grace. He already mentioned that Christ is the one who brings unbelievers near to God, to himself, and to God’s chosen people. Now he explains even more about the significance of Christ.

Christ is the peace for Paul and the readers. He is peace because he is the one who makes both the circumcised and the uncircumcised one, and destroys the dividing wall, which is a fence or partition, between the two. Christ unites them into one group. Furthermore, Christ invalidates the enmity found in the law of the commandments, consisting in ordinances. This invalidation he did in his flesh. Why did he do all of this? For the purpose that he might create in himself the two into one, and this for the result that he would make peace. Furthermore, he did it for the purpose that he would also reconcile both in the one body in God, which was done through the cross, with the result that he destroyed the enmity in himself.

For he is our peace, he made both one and he destroyed the dividing wall which is the fence, he abolished the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commandments consisting in ordinances, in order that he might create in himself the two into one new person with the result of making peace and he might reconcile both in one body in God through the cross with the result of destroying the enmity in himself.

Christ is our peace because he made peace by destroying the partition, the dividing wall, between the uncircumcised and the circumcised. In himself he has joined the two together, and this through the cross. He has abolished the enmity brought about by the law of commandments, which are ordinances. The point of the matter is that Christ succeeded. He destroyed the enmity and he created peace. We are the result of Christ’s work, and for that reason we have peace, because we have Christ.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:13

νυνὶ δὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ὑμεῖς οἵ ποτε ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγενήθητε ἐγγὺς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far away have been made near in the blood of Christ.

Paul is still drawing his conclusion to the act of God’s saving grace from before verse 11. Previously he brought the former state of being in unbelief to the forefront, to which he now emphatically demonstrates the grace of God. While they used to be unbelievers, being without God, separate from Christ and alien to God’s people, God, by his grace, has in Christ Jesus brought those who were formerly far away to be near. Christ is where the unbelievers are brought near. It is in the sphere of Christ that the unbelievers are made near to God and to the people of Israel. But this act is done through Christ’s blood, which is the instrument that enacts it.

But now you, the ones who were formerly far away, were made near in Christ Jesus by the blood of Christ!

There has been a dramatic and emphatic change in unbelievers who have come to Christ through faith. They were once far away, but in Christ they are made near through his blood. In Christ believers have hope, and they have connection with God, Christ, and God’s chosen people.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:11-12

Διὸ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκεῖνῳ χωρὶς Χριστοῦ ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. Therefore, remember that formerly you were unbelievers in the flesh, the ones being called “uncircumcision” by the one being called “circumcision” in flesh made by human hands, that you were at that time separate from Christ and foreign to the decrees of the promise, not having hope, and without God in the world.

Paul continues now with a conclusion to what he previously stated. It was by grace that the readers are being saved, and as a result, they need to remember what God has done in them through Jesus Christ. Paul points to what they used to be before they came to Christ through faith. They were unbelievers who were called, “Uncircumcised.” The one calling them “uncircumcised” was the one who is circumcised, i.e., the Israelites, who were circumcised by human hands. Paul also points out that they were at that time, meaning, while they were unbelievers, separate from Christ. As unbelievers they were not connected to Christ. Furthermore, as unbelievers they were alienated from the nation or house of Israel. Still more, as unbelievers they were foreigners to the decrees of the promise, perhaps a synonymous phrase referencing the Law or the Torah. Finally, as unbelievers they did not have hope and they were without God.

Therefore, remember that you formerly were unbelievers in the flesh, the ones who are called uncircumcised by the one who is called circumcised being made by human hands in the flesh, that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the state of Israel, foreign to the decrees of the promise, not having hope, and without God in the world.

We should remember as Paul urged his readers that we were once lost. We were hopeless. We were without God. We were separate from Christ and foreign to God’s commands, which he gave to his chosen people. We were likewise separate from Israel. In other words, were were once desolate and destitute. This position was characteristic of our lives before coming to Christ through faith. We can be thankful, therefore, that we have been saved by God’s grace, for which we can now have hope, be with God, be connected to Christ and God’s chosen people, knowing the Law.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:10

αὐτοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν ποίημα κτισθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς οἷς προητοίμασεν θεός ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν. For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, in order that we might walk in them.

The conjunction, γὰρ, connects this verse with σεσῳμένοι from v. 8. The conjunction indicates an explanation for the purpose of salvation. Why are we being saved? Because we are God’s creation. Furthermore, we are not being saved by works because God created us to do good works. Doing good works only fulfills God’s purpose; it does not constitute earning salvation. But the purpose of salvation is for the purpose that we would do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do. God prepared these good works in advance for the purpose that we should conduct ourselves, behave or live according to them. We should be characterized by such good works.

For we are God’s creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance, for the purpose that we might be characterized by them.

Although we are being saved by grace, the whole purpose of salvation is to fulfill the good works God has called us to do. We need to be characterized by such works.

Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:8-9

Τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳμένοι διὰ πίστεως· καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται. For you are being saved by grace through faith and this not from yourselves it is the give of God not from works in order that no one might boast.

Paul here returns to his statement about being saved, which he originally mentioned in v. 5. Here he adds that the readers are being saved by grace through faith. Grace is the cause of salvation and faith is the instrument of salvation. The distinction between the two is simple. It is on the basis of grace that salvation is possible, and it is faith that gives the means or way for salvation to be possible. In other words, faith puts grace to work. Faith is the tool, but grace is the foundation.

This statement is linked to τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ. The conjunction, γὰρ, links the current sentence with the previous clause. Salvation is made possible by grace, and this grace is abundant and rich. God worked in us for the purpose that he might reveal his abundantly rich and generous grace in the ages to come, because it is by grace that we are being saved.

This salvation is not from the readers, but rather, it was brought about by God as a gift. Nor is salvation from works, so that no one might boast. The purpose behind salvation coming from God and not from us or from works is so that we cannot boast. The result of God’s work is the same; no one who is being saved can boast, because it is God’s gift to give. Since it is God’s gift, salvation can only be received; it cannot be earned.

For you are being saved on the basis of grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. It is not from works, in order that no one might boast.

We ought to realize that grace cannot be earned, but it can be received. It is God’s gift to give. His grace is abundant and rich, and he is generous with his grace. It is on the basis of grace that we are being saved, and it is through faith that enacts grace that we are being saved. Salvation is not our doing. It is God’s work in us who believe.