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B. The extent and mission of the church
1. Reminder of the previous condition of death and the glorious new creation
1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins [You also who were dead in your1 trespasses and your sins]; 2Wherein in time past ye [Wherein ye once] walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power [or powers]2 of the air, [of] the spirit that [which] now worketh in the children [sons] of disobedience: 3Among whom also [even] we all had our conversation [way of life] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires [doing the wishes] of the flesh and of the mind [thoughts]; and [we] were by nature3 the children of wrath, even as others [the rest:—]. 4But God, who is [being] rich in mercy, for [because of] his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins [our trespasses], hath [omit hath]4 quickened us together with Christ, 6(by grace ye are [have been] saved;) And hath [omit hath] raised us up together [with Him],5 and made us sit together [with Him] in [the] heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew [That he might shew forth in the ages which are to come]6 the exceeding riches7 of his grace, in his [omit his] kindness toward us, through [toward us in]8 Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye 9[have ye been] saved through faith9 it is the gift of God [the gift is God’s]. Not; of works, lest any [that no] man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship [his handiwork are we]10, created in Christ Jesus unto [for] good works, which God hath before ordained [God before prepared] we should walk in them.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Connection and Summary.—After the Apostle has been led, by his petition for enlightenment respecting the glory purposed from eternity and already begun, to the carrying out of this purpose in the Church of Christ, the Body of which He is the Head, and in such a manner too, that Ephesians 1:23, “so grand and solemn in matter and in manner,” is adapted to form “a full-toned conclusion” (Meyer), his look is again turned to his readers to notice the “mighty working of the Father, through the resurrection and ascension of the Son, done once for all, and yet taking place in every one called into the Church” (Stier). First of all he is moved by “a glance at the similar condition of death in the case of the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:1-2) and of the Jews (Ephesians 2:3)” (Stier) and then by the thought of God, who out of mercy has quickened and blessed the wretched in, with and through Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7): of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), new-creating in Christ (Ephesians 2:10)!
[Braune, as will be seen below, arranges this section into paragraphs: Ephesians 2:1-3, the condition of death out of Christ; Ephesians 2:4, the Deliverer; Ephesians 2:5-6, the deliverance; Ephesians 2:7, the purpose; Ephesians 2:8-10, the means of bringing about the deliverance.—Hodge, who is always clear in his analysis, finds three principal topics treated of in this section:—(1) The spiritual state of the Ephesians before their conversion, Ephesians 2:1-3. (2) The change which God had wrought in them, Ephesians 2:4-6. (3) The design for which that change had been effected, Ephesians 2:7-10. He then enters into details.—Alford: “The power of the Father in quickening us, both Gentiles and Jews, in and with Christ (1–6); His purpose in manifesting this power (7); inference respecting the method of our salvation.” This follows Stier’s view, who refers the preceding clause to God.—R.]
Hence the connection of the beginning of this chapter (καὶ ὑμᾶς συνεζωποίησε, Ephesians 2:5) with “wrought” (Ephesians 1:20, Bengel) or “gave” (Ephesians 1:22, Harless) is inadmissible. Nor is καὶ ὄντας ὑμᾶς to be joined with εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας (Ephesians 1:19, Knatchbull and others) or with πληρουμένου (Ephesians 1:23, Calovius, Koppe and others); nor is it necessary to complain here again, that a well-continued thread of discourse can scarcely be found in this Epistle (Rueckert). Although these grammatical connections are to be rejected, there is still an internal relation: as the petition (Ephesians 1:15-19) passed over into the typical and consolatory view of the exaltation of Christ, this section by applying this to the readers in effect continues the subject.
The condition of death out of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3) The construction is not easy at first sight, but otherwise regular: καὶ ὑμας ὄντας (Ephesians 2:1)—ὁ θεός (Ephesians 2:4)—συςεζωοποίνσεν (Ephesians 2:5). The expansion of the object (Ephesians 2:1-3), alone occasions the beginning of a new sentence (Ephesians 2:4), as ὁ δὲθεός shows, indicating as do autem, inquam the epanalepsis (Winer, p. 412); in consequence the object already described (Ephesians 2:1-3) is again repeated in briefer statement (Ephesians 2:5). So Theophylact and most ancient and modern expositors. [Ellicott thus states the same view: “Ephesians 2:1, after having its structure interrupted by the two relatival sentences, Ephesians 2:2-3, is renewed in Ephesians 2:4 (not Ephesians 2:5, Schott) by means of δέ resumptive (Herm. Viger, No. 544), and there further elucidated by the interpolated nominative Θεός, expanded in application by the more comprehensive ἡμᾶς, and concluded in Ephesians 2:5.”—Hodge (more popularly, but less exactly): “He dwells so long, in Ephesians 2:2-4, on the natural state of the Ephesians, that he is obliged, in Ephesians 2:5, to repeat substantially the beginning of Ephesians 2:1, in order to complete the sentence there commenced.” The objection to the E. V.: hath he quickened, aside from the wrong tense, is that “he” has no antecedent, if Eph 2:23 refers to Christ, within reasonable distance.—R.]
Ephesians 2:1. You also, καὶ ὑμᾶς, applies the discourse to the readers, without opposing ὑμᾶς to any others, than the genus, the whole church, as members of which they here come into special consideration, since they also have experienced, what has been experienced by the whole, and are a proof of the truth before uttered. [In rendering καὶ ὑμᾶς, “you also,” it is not implied that they are contrasted with other Christians; it is chosen rather to avoid the simple connection with what precedes which is expressed by “and you,” and to give prominence to the word “you;” not thus introducing “a special exemplification of the general act of grace in Eph 2:23,” but implying a parallelism between the physical death in the case of Christ and the spiritual death in their case, as indeed the governing verb συνεζωοποίησεν (Ephesians 2:5) suggests.—R.]
Who were dead in your trespasses and your sins, [ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν. See Textual Note1].—Ὄντας, depending on συνεζωοποίησε, in view of the ποτέ occurring in the subsequent relative clause, is evidently=cumeratis (Bengel), the condition in which God found them, when He quickened them (Meyer). They were dead through sins; the dative is ablatival, marking the causa efficiens (Grotius, Meyer). Hence it is not equivalent to νεκροὶ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ (Romans 6:11), ye are dead for sin (Cajetan), nor with Grotius=ἐν τοῖς παραπτώμασι (Colossians 2:13, the parallel passage, in which the status, the element is emphasized).11
That Paul makes a distinction between παράπτωμα and ἁμαρτία, and what it is, is shown in Romans 5:12-19. There the sin of Adam is termed τὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς παράπτωμα (Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 2:17-18) or παρακοή (Ephesians 2:19), and through one man ἡ ἁμαρτία has come into the world (Ephesians 2:12). Comp. Romans 5:20 with Romans 7:10-13. Παράπτωμα is applicable to the first sin of the seduced first man; the idea of misdeed is contained in it, of a deed not considered, temere commissum, i.e., a nolente facere injuriam, while ἁμαρτία, with its manifestations αἱ αμαρτίαι reaches further and deeper (Tittmann, Syn. I., p. 45 ff.).12 There is here an ascent from desertio boni to perpetratio mali (Augustine). To this view approximate Harless [Hodge] (actual sins and manifestations of sin in word, deed or otherwise), Olshausen (actions of sin and the more internal sinful motions of the soul in desires and words), Jerome (delicta cogitatione inchoata and actual sins).13 The distinction: the mental errors and obscurations, the moral sins and vices (Matthies), is unfounded; neither should we apply the former to the Jews and the latter to the Gentiles (Bengel), nor with Stier first think of the law of the State, of the conscience, well-known to the heathen also, and then of the outbreaks of corruption itself. We may not, however, take the two as purely synonymous (Koppe), or deny a real distinction by affirming merely a two-fold representation, fall and transgression (Meyer).—The article points to the sins committed by the readers, Romans 5:12 : ἐφʼ ᾦ πάντες ἥμαρτον. Hence ὑμῶν is an unnecessary explanatory gloss. [It is to be retained on diplomatic and critical grounds, but does not affect the sense.—R.]
Under νεκροί we should understand the dead, made dead; it recalls ἐκ νεκρῶν (Ephesians 1:20); Christians are no longer dead. But the natural sinful condition, according to the Scripture from Genesis 2:17 on, is really a death, because it is without life from and in God (Ephesians 4:18). It is therefore not=miserable (Koppe and others), nor does it refer to physical death, as though it were equivalent to certo morituri (Meyer), which does not spare them now. Spiritual death alone is spoken of, since God is the source of life (Psalms 36:10) and without Him men are in the shadow of-death (Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; Matthew 8:22; Luke 15:24; Luke 15:32; Romans 7:9-10). So nearly all expositors. [No weakening of the sense is admissible; comp. Doctr. Note 3, d.—R.]
Ephesians 2:2. Wherein ye once walked [ἐν αἶς ποτὲ περιεπατήσατε].—Ἐν αῖ̓ς, which connects with ἁμαρτίαις, the word just preceding and forming a climax, denotes the causa of the condition of death as a developed condition, as a desired element. Ποτὲ περιεπατήσατε joined with νεκρούς is an oxymoron, like 1 Timothy 5:6 : ζῶσα τέθνηκεν ΙΙεριπατεῖν (Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2; Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 3:7) has been transferred from the Hebrew (חלך) and designates walking as to the mode of life (Winer, p. 32); in English it designates the being at home, having entrance and exit, having one’s doings and movements, having one’s residence (Matthew 17:22 : they abode in Galilee”). [Eadie: “The ἐν marks out the sphere or walk which they usually and continually trod, for in this sleep of death there is a strange somnambulism. Colossians 3:7.”—R.]
According to the course of this world [κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου].—Κατά now defines a relation of those walking to a power. This relation qualifies the walk more closely as one directed thereby, dependent thereon, determined thereby; “according to,” ‘ ‘by virtue of” are the two significations required here (Stier), which are combined in: corresponding to. This power is designated by τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, “the course of this world.” This combination is peculiar, the words themselves are frequent, seeming to be used indiscriminately: 1 Corinthians 2:6 (σοφία τοῦ αἰωνος τούτου); Ephesians 3:18 (σοφὸς ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ); Ephesians 2:19 (σοφία τοῦ κόσμου τούτου); Ephesians 1:20 (σοφία τοῦ κόσμου); John 12:31 (ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου); 1 Corinthians 2:6 (τῶν ); 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου). But the distinction is clearly obvious. Αἰών (Passow sub voce, Harless in loco), from αΐω ἄημι, ἄω, to breathe, is related to ψυχή, with which Homer joins it, referring to life and time (ævum); hence also ἀπʼ αἰῶνος, ἀπʼ αἰώνων. In the New Testament the notion of time predominates, of periods of time, and the tendencies controlling them, their character, view and mode of life, their spirit. Κόσμος is the created, but fallen, apostate world, more definitely: humanity. The former may occur in the plural, the latter not. Hence Bengel is very correct: Ille hunc regit, el quasi informat; κόσμος est quiddam exterius: αἰών subtilius. “Tempus dicitur non solum physice, sed etiam moraliter, connotata qualitate hominum in eo viventium; el sic αἰών dicit longam temporum seriem, ubi ætas mala malam ætatem excipit.” Act 14:16; 1 Peter 1:18. In αἰών here the notion of the tendency of time predominates, and means more what we call the course of the world than lapse (Verlauf); the course includes both the time and its character, as does αἰών also. Hence: according to, corresponding to the course of this world. The αἰών is in itself ethically indefinite, hence αἰὼν πονηρός (Galatians 1:4) and the demonstrative οὖτος or a genitive as here τοῦ κόσ μουτούτου. Κόσμος is the external appearance, the external continuance of the world of men, αἰών its course, current, impulse (Stier); the latter may change, vary, in different periods, the former remains, and as the latter is estranged from God, so is this.14
It is incorrect to take the two words as purely synonymous, as though it were τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον (Koppe). We regard as arbitrary the view that they are=τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦτον τοῦ κόσμου (Rueckert), or: τὸν κόσμον τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου (Bretschneider). It is impossible to explain this designation from the gnostic doctrine of Æons, and to understand the devil thereby (Semler). Luther’s rendering: Lauf [so E.V.: “course”] is more apt than: spirit of the age (Matthies), tendency of the age (Olshausen), life (Harless), duration of time (Meyer), course of time (Schenkel).
According to the prince of the powers of the air [κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ αέρος].—Here Paul evidently passes to what stands behind the course of this world, influencing it, working through it. Κατά places this clause as parallel to the preceding, and τὸνἄρχοντα refers to the master, the prince.15 The genitive τῆς ἐξουσίας denotes the power belonging to and at the command of this prince (Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15). This power, which is to be considered as collective, is further defined by the genitive τοῦ , “of the air,” most closely connected with it. Ἀήρ, which in its etymology reminds us of αἰών and in its nature of πνεῦμα, is the air, the atmosphere, surrounding the earth, breathed by all, acting upon the κόσμος, the world of men, standing in many relations to and exerting great power and influence upon their life; hence the power which the prince controls, is brought into connection with “the air,” is described by “of the air,” because in this are found the place and character of the power, its medium, element, region and domain, its means and mode; the figurative and literal meanings coalesce, the air as a cosmical and pneumatic reality (Stier); we too say: it lies in the air, in the time, thus denoting a quiet, profound and powerful operation. Thus Satan with his kingdom is sharply characterized, his nature spreading widely miasmata of corrupting power, from which even those truly living can scarcely withdraw or defend themselves, miasmata from diabolical choke-damp (as in the French Revolution) even to the most refined ethereal poisons of classical, æsthetic literature (Ephesians 6:11-12; Colossians 1:13). So Œcumenius has described the devil’s power as ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν, οὐχ ὑπὲρ τὸν οὐρανόν, concluding thus: φύσις γὰρτοῖς πνεύμασιν ἡ ἐναέριος διατριβή.
We reject therefore those explanations, which take ὁ ἄρχων τῆς ἐξουσίας as princeps potentissimus (Clarius), or the genitive as appositional=ὅς ἐστιν ἐξουσία (Flatt), or cui est potestas (Erasmus and others), or as the object=imperium (Greek and Latin Fathers and others); those taking τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ as potestatis aëriæ (Syriac, Bucer and others); or those taking τοῦἀέρος only figuratively (Calvin, Beza), or=τοῦ σκότους (although we find: εσκοτίσθη ὁ , Revelation 9:2), either tropically pro obnubilatione mentis (Cocceius, Storr, and others), or pro concreto as darkened spirits, men and bad angels (Flatt), or by metonyme, continens pro contento, the earth surrounded by the atmosphere (Hilary, Bullinger and others), or merely as the region=ἐν τῷ (Baumgarten, not -Crusius), or only as a designation of quality=ἀέριος (A-Lapide, Calixtus and others), or referring it to the “prison,” 2 Peter 2:4 (Augustine); nor can we suppose here a remnant of rabbinical tradition (Meyer), or echoes of a Pythagorean view of the world (Meyer, Schenkel), or the influence of Alexandrian gnosis (Elsner and others). Out of such “muddy pools” or untenable speculations Paul would not have drawn his doctrine. Comp. Doctr. Note 3.
[Harless and Stier are very full on this clause. The most extended comments easily accessible to the English reader will be found in Eadie, whose opinion approaches very nearly to that of Braune. The simplest explanation is that of Alford, who thinks the phrase “of the air “is drawn from “the persuasion and common parlance of mankind,” without conveying any teaching respecting demonology. In any case the genitive ἀέρος is to be regarded as a genitive, not of quality, but of place, either literal or figurative, or both, as Braune holds. Hodge, while not definitely deciding, seems to favor the untenable view, that “of the air” is=“of darkness.” Eadie: “The κόσμος of the New Testament is opposed to God, for it hates Christianity: the believer does not belong to it, for it is crucified to him and he to it. That same world may be an ideal sphere, comprehending all that is sinful in thought and pursuit—a region on the actual physical globe, but without geographical boundary—all that out-field which lies beyond the living church of Christ. And, like the material globe, this world of death-walkers has its own atmosphere, corresponding to it in character—an atmosphere in which it breathes and moves. All that animates it, gives it community of sentiment, contributes to sustain its life in death, and enables it to breathe and be, may be termed its atmosphere. Such an atmosphere belting a death-world, whose inhabitants are νεκροὶ τοῖς παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις, is really Satan’s seat. His chosen abode is the dark nebulous zone which canopies such a region of spiritual mortality, close upon its inhabitants, ever near and ever active, unseen and yet real, unfelt and yet mighty, giving to the κόσμος that ‘form and pressure’—that αἰών—which the Apostle here describes as its characteristic element.”—Comp. Stuart, Biblioth. Sacra, 1843, p. 140; Hagenbach, Stud. u. Krit. I. p. Eph 479: Cudworth, Intel. System, II. p. 664.—R.]
Of the spirit, τοῦ πνεύματος, is in apposition to τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ , “of the power of the air.” While the last phrase sets forth his external dominion, the parallel phrase denotes his internal efficiency. Bengel is excellent: principium illud internum, ex quo fluunt actiones in-fidelium, oppositum spiritui fidelium filiorum Dei. It is therefore not a personality, but an influence which has become a ruling mode of thought, disposition, a πνεῦμα ἐνεργοῦν (Rueckert, Stier). Comp. Winer, p. 589. Hence it is not to be joined in apposition to τὸν ἄρχοντα and a hypallage accepted as in Ephesians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Luke 8:32; Luke 22:20. So Calovius, Koppe, Rueckert; similarly Flatt. But τοῦ πνεύματος is also not dependent, on το ῦ , as Hofmann (Schriftbeweis I. p. 455) thinks, taking ἐξουσία in accordance with Luke 23:7 as the region of dominion, so that the air of the spirit working in the disobedient is the atmosphere formed by his nature. Nor is it to be taken collectively, just as ἐξουσία τοῦ is the complex of demons (Grotius and others). It is the spirit, which through its ruler, the devil, exists outside of individuals, defines them, works in them, the Spirit of the age [Zeitgeist].
[The apposition with ἐξουσίας is at all events to be accepted, with the majority of modern commentators. But here the two views present themselves: (1) the reference to the evil principle, which must be taken objectively as the article requires (Meyer, Ellicott), as Braune holds, or (2) to the aggregate character of the individual πνεύματα (Eadie, Alford). The former is open to the objection, that it represents Satan as the prince of a principle, and the latter assumes a collective sense which is quite unusual. If we accept a tacit antithesis to the Spirit of God, and remember that this spirit is here conceived of as distinct from its influence on men, (1) will be the safer view.—R.]
Which now worketh, τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντοσς.—This spirit is to be regarded as efficient, not as effected, affectus mundanus (Schmidt); νῦν being put in advance and “in the children of disobedience” appended for emphasis. “Now” expresses the fact that it has not ceased to work, after no longer working in them, the readers (ποτέ); it now works in the children of disobedience, subjects of its activity are not wanting; it might be explained with Olshausen by ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ. From this danger always springs for the believers. Hence it is not: now still, ad huc (Meyer and others), nor: nunc maxime (Bengel: qui evangelium per incredulitatem spernunt, manent mancipia spiritus illius et amplius capiuntur; Stier: “more now, since accomplished redemption proffers itself”). Rueckert also, with Flatt, refers to the extraordinary, specially dangerous power of the Satanic kingdom in the age of Redemption (2 Thessalonians 2:2 ff.; 2 Corinthians 4:4). [So De Wette].
In the sons of disobedience, ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς .—Thus are those designated who are οἱ ἐξ (comp. Romans 2:8 : οἱ ἐξ ), who are dependent on, springing from, nourished by disobedience, as Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6. It is a Hebraistic expression. [It marks “the essential and innate disobedience of the subjects, a disobedience to which they belong as children to a parent” (Ellicott).—R.] “Disobedience” emphasizes the immoral nature of unbelief, which is precisely disobedience, contumacy, among the heathen also, who resist the secret voice of God in their conscience (Romans 2:14-15) as well as among the Jews who resist the revealed will of God in the word of the prophets, and among both, in resisting the apostolic announcement. Meyer should not be willing to refute the explanation: unbelief (Luther, Bengel, Harless, Stier.)16—The preposition ἐν, “in,” marks the internality of this Satanic working: in their souls (Meyer). They are the “fulness” of the devil, on whose part there is a “spirit,” efficient unto destruction, which the disobedient and unbelieving mood already present in man comes to meet.
Ephesians 2:3. Among whom even we all had our way of life in times past [ἐν οἶς καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντες ].—The emphasis rests on καὶ ἡμεῖς “even we;” in antithesis to “you” (Ephesians 2:1), the readers, whom he describes as previously heathen, he places himself and the Jewish Christians,17 and that too without exception (“all”). ‘Ἑνοἶς, according to grammatical rules, refers to “the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2); thus declaring that those who were formerly Jews belonged also to the children of disobedience; ἐνοἶς is=ὦν καὶ ἡμεῖς ὄντες, in order to lay down the ethical category for the Jews (Meyer). So the same corruption and its universality are predicated of the Jews, over against the Gentiles. Comp. Doctr. Note 3. We should not then render it inter quos, or explain that although the Jews were actually locally among the Gentiles, they did not live there as children of disobedience. The reference to παραπτώμασιν, “trespasses,” Ephesians 2:1 (Syriac, Jerome, Bengel, Stier and others), is at once impossible, if ὑμῶν be retained there, and in any case inadmissible on account of “in the lusts of our flesh,” which denotes the element or sphere of the verb, so that this cannot be found in ἐνοἶς. The grammatical connection cannot be decided by the parallel passage, Colossians 3:7 : ἐν οἶς—περιεπατήσατε, since parallelism will not contravene the requirements of grammar.
In the lusts of our flesh [ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν].—The repetition of ἐν in the same clause occurs also in 2 Corinthians 1:12 : ἐν ἁγιότητε καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ—ἐν σοφίᾳ—ἐν χάριτι ἁνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, where the first phrase answers to the last in our verse, and the last to our first. Bengel remarks on the verb: hoc quiddam speciosius quam ambulare. Stier finds it sharper and stronger than περιεπατήσατε, used of the Gentiles. Luther: “ye have walked”—“we have had our walk.” [So substantially the E. V.] This ἀναστρέφεσθαι refers more to an unquiet, refractory, quarrelsome course of conduct, περιπατεῖν is rather an indolent letting one’s self go according to habit. The qualifying phrase; “in the lusts of our flesh,” also sharpens the affirmative here, in comparison with that respecting the Gentiles. Among the latter the power of the evil spirit works, as respects the Jews prominence is given to their own disposition and will. Israel had already the proper ἄρχων in the theocracy, in its discipline another ἐξουσία, the moderating and helping air of a better spirit, being by no means given over in the same degree to the course of this world (Stier).—Harless sets forth very well the order of the significations of σάρξ; 1) what is material, 2) external, not mental, 3) what is ruled by matter, and in so far sinful, 4) what is sinful, opposed directly to the Spirit of God, 5) Humanity in all these aspects. [Comp. the Excursus in Romans, pp. 235 ff. The word is here used in its ethical sense: the whole human nature turned away from God, in the supreme interest of self, devoted to the creature.—R.]
Doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts [ποιοῦντες τὰ θελήματα τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ τῶν διανοιῶν].—Ποιοῦντες, placed first for emphasis, defines more closely the preceding verb. [A participle of manner.—R.] The children of disobedience to whom they belonged, do the wills, to τὰ θελήμ̊ατα,18 not merely single ones, which the flesh has, and those τῶνδιανοιῶν, as real servants, slaves in fact. The plural denotes the confused, opposing multiplicity; a united, self-contained will is not spoken of. But these are not mere ebullitions of the flesh. “The διανοιεῖσθαι is the internal self-activity of man, conscious of his nature as self-determinable, and the διάνοιαι are the manifold productions of this” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 563). He appears as the slave of his inborn nature and of his selfish thought; the two are turned to various objects, and in his desires create a diversity. The understanding or the reason stands in the service of the flesh, falls into subtleties, seeking reasons, excuses, ways and means for the “lusts of the flesh,” helping the desire to strengthen into determinations and activities of the will. Διάνοιαι are “opinions of the will representing themselves as prudent, deceitful grounds of volition.” Cogitationes callidius peccandi studium inferunt, caro cœco ruit impetu (Bengel). The plural marks the sundering, the confusion of the διάνοια into the unhappy and treacherous diversity (Harless, Stier); the flesh makes a heap of: reasonings (Berlenburger Bible). The context determines this view, as Meyer correctly remarks, but the form chosen subserves the context, corresponding well to its purpose; but it should be noted, that διάνοιαι is used by Paul only here, and θελήματα only in his speech, Acts 13:22, there too of God’s will. It is incorrect to regard διάνοιαι as loose fancies (Matthies), sensuous thoughts without the basis of sensuous desire (Olshausen), or corrupt imaginations (Hase).
[The distinction between the two classes of θε λ ήματα is thus expressed by Eadie: “The ‘desires of the flesh’ are those grosser gratifications of appetite which are palpable and easily recognized; and the ‘desires of the thoughts,’ those mental trespasses which may or may not be connected with sensuous indulgences.” Ellicott: “The worldly sensual tendency of our life on the one hand, and the spiritual sins of our thoughts and intentions on the other.” Both Eadie and Hodge restrict σάρξ (in the second clause, not in the first) to the animal part of our nature, but this scarcely seems justifiable, especially as the wider meaning gives so good a sense. Nor is the latter exact in taking διανοία as including “the whole thinking and sentient principle, so far as distinguished from the animal principle,” still less in referring it here “more to the affections.” Meyer says διάνοιαι bears to σάρξ in this case the relation of the special to the general.—The article before σαρκός and before διανοιῶν would justify the rendering “our flesh,” “our thoughts,’ but the literal translation is sufficiently explicit, “thoughts” being the nearest equivalent to διάνοια.—R.]
And we were by nature the children of wrath [καὶ ἦμεν τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς].—Καὶἦμεν is most naturally taken as Ephesians 1:19-22 : ἐγείρας—καὶ καθίσας—καὶ ὑπέταξεν, or ἐγείρας—καὶ ἐκάθισεν—and joined with ποιοῦντες, as a participle resolved into the finite verb. Since ἦμεν comes first, it is emphatic. [The change of construction gives emphasis to this verb also, marking that they “were,” not that they “are,” and further, as Eadie suggests, indicating unmistakably, that what they “were by nature” was not the result of what they had been doing.—The insertion of “we” in the English text will serve to indicate this emphasis.—R.] The Apostle has noted the action in the preceding clause, he now notices the state of the Jews, which is perceptible and perceived from the action, and hence put in the second place, this like the other being more sharply expressed than in the case of the heathen. This is parallel to “the children of disobedience,” among whom he has already reckoned them (ἐν οἶς) but among whom they are now characterized as “by nature children of wrath.” The phrases: “son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), “child of hell” (Matthew 23:15), “Son of peace” (Luke 10:6) are similar. Paul says τέκνα, not υἱοί, not to weaken it into “little children,” but to indicate the relation to birth.
The genitive ὀργῆς without the article must be connected as closely as possible with τέκνα, “children of wrath.” [Not mere liable to wrath, but under it, as the figure implies.—R.] The Hebrew phrase בָּנִים־לַיהוָֹה (2 Samuel 12:5; υἱὸς θανάτου in the LXX., comp. Psalms 79:11; Psalms 102:21) may have occasioned the expression, but does not modify the explanation in the N. Testament, nor justify a weakening of the meaning, only marking the dependence of ὀργή, which the context (Ephesians 2:4) defines as that of God. Song of Solomon 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Romans 1:18; comp. Doctr. Note 1.
Φύσει is not so emphatic ῆ̓μεν, nor even as τέκνα, denoting only a closer qualification of the latter, as regards origin, by nature. Φύσις (from φύω, to become, to arise, as natura from nasci, ingenium from geno, gigno) refers to birth, origin, and is that which has grown as distinguished from what has been effected, has the ground of its being, as it is in its own development, not in the accessory influence of others (Harless, Stier). [So Eadie, Alford, Hodge, Ellicott and the vast body of commentators. The last named finds the exact meaning in Gal. 2:25; Romans 2:14; Galatians 4:8, to be respectively (a) transmitted inborn nature; (b) inherent nature; (c) essential nature. The first is the meaning here, see below.—R.] So in Galatians 4:8; Romans 2:24 (comp. Acts 17:28) φύσει points to the ground and origin of the present status. The meaning of these words necessarily is: we were from birth those who were forfeited to the Divine wrath, iræ Dei devoti atque obnoxii, quasi ad eam rem ab ipsa natura efficti (Beza). Indeed ἡ φύσις is something living, developing itself, but from its beginning, in accordance with the principle inherent in it, so that there is included here also the natural development, further determined by man in his unregenerate state.
Standing in contrast to this φύσει is the Divine θέσις of God’s work of revelation and of His covenant with the people of Israel, according to which they should not be “children of wrath,” and also might not have been. “As belonging to the people of God, the Jews were בָּנִים־לַיהוָֹה, but aside from this, consequently as belonging to the Adamite humanity, they were τέκνα ὀργῆς” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, I. p. 565), hence φύσει. It is aptly mentioned that Chemnitz remarks: Dicit, eramus et nos, Judæi scilicet. Dixerat enim Romans 11:16 : si radix sancti, ergo rami. Ne ergo intelligatur, Judæos natura esse sanctos, dicit; eramus et nos Judæi filii iræ, sicut cæteri (Harless). The position of φύσει between τέκνα and ὀργῆς suggests too: we were children—that is, φύσει, not θέσει, ὀργῆς, and yet might and should have been διαθήκης (cum putaremus nos esse liberos liberos Dei. Bengel)! [The doctrine of original sin is here plainly implied (Eadie, Hodge, Alford, Ellicott, and others), the implication being an “even more convincing assertion of that profound truth.” The opposition of Barnes and Stuart, so far as it has an exegetical basis, finds some justification in the forcing of a direct theological statement on our passage. But the attitude here taken as respects this fearful fact of a universal natural state of condemnation, is precisely that which the Scriptures hold toward the question of the existence of God: it is not proved, but assumed. Comp. Doctr. Notes 1, 3, 4; Eadie in loco; Romans, Dr. Schaff’s exhaustive notes on Ephesians 5:12-21, especially pp. 178–180, 191–195; the last reference is to a resumè of the theories of original sin.—R.]
Accordingly “children of wrath” is not to be taken as merely a Hebraizing phrase for “worthy of wrath,” ira rei, digni (Theodoret, Rueckert and others), nor proprii iræ (Striegel), objects of wrath (Flacius). Nor is ὀργή=pœna (Greek Fathers). Quite as little is φύσει ἀληθῶς, γνησίως (Œcumenius), or: natura, indole gentis (Clericus), still less: paternœ, traditionis consuetudine (Pelagius), since it is the very opposite of συνήθεια. Moreover we should not think of a relation produced by the development of a nativa indoles (Meyer), or of the customary actual life of sin, “a doing of the wills of the flesh and of the thoughts,” which had become habitual, making them “the children of wrath” (Schenkel). Bleek says more circumspectly: the reference here is not merely to the inborn character, but also to the natural development springing from the man himself. To explain it of the natural condition of man in ante-christian life (Erasmus and others) leaves undecided the main question, whether or not the φύσει designates an inborn relation. Holzhausen’s connection of φύσει with ὀργῆς (wrath springing from the ungodly natural life) is entirely too inverted.
Even as others, ὡς και οἱ λοιποί.—In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, this designates the Gentiles, who have not become Christians. Λοιποί are passed over, without any further characteristics; according to the context the word classes together here men with and men without Christ, who have not submitted themselves to the working of Christ, resist it; such can be among Christians even. We may easily suppose, however, that Paul means the yet unbelieving Jews, over against the “we all,” who have become believers in Christ; this would render prominent that while the Jewish Christians who have been rescued from the condition of death are no longer “children of wrath,” these are and remain so, like the heathen, the “children of disobedience.” So Stier, while nearly all expositors refer it either to the Gentiles (Meyer and others) or to all except those mentioned before (Harless and others); the latter is unquestionably more correct than the former, since just here the Gentiles are not in question, and to refer it to these alone, would be as if Ephesians 2:3 had been appended. The extension to other nations is, however, unnecessary, since all men are either Jews or Gentiles, and what has been said of the previous life of Christians from among the Gentiles or Jews, applies to the whole of the human race. It marks in a tender, sparing manner those Jews unconverted to Christ as “children of wrath,” as the Gentiles not converted to Christ are “children of disobedience,” in whom Satan works. [Those who refer ἡμεῖς πάντες to all Christians, of course take οἱ λοιποί as including all the rest of mankind, not Christians; but the universality of sin and guilt remains the indirect (and more convincing) assertion of the passage, whatever reference be adopted.—R.]
Ephesians 2:4. The Deliverer. But God, ὁ δὲ θεός.—This is not antithetical, but resumes the discourse, begun with the object and then lengthened out, in order to permit the subject to follow, as we would say in German: hat also Gott. [We have no word so strictly resumptive as the German also, or the Greek δέ, as used here, hence the E. V. supplies both subject and verb in Ephesians 2:1, and resumes here with “but,” which may bear a resumptive meaning.—R.] See on Ephesians 2:1. The δέ is required here by the antithesis in which the subject stands to the object; otherwise we have found οὐν here (Meyer and others). [Hodge makes the antithesis too strong: “notwithstanding our guilt and misery.”—R.]
Being rich in mercy [πλούσιος ὢν ἐν ἐλέει]—Πλούσιος stands first for emphasis; our Epistle frequently mentions the riches in God (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 10:12 : πλουτῶν). [Ὤν does not seem to be causal here (Hodge: “because He is rich in mercy”), but rather to state (in the form of a secondary predicate of time) the general principle under which the Divine compassion was exhibited (Ellicott, Alford); “being rich in mercy.” The special ground follows.—R.]. The connection “rich in mercy” is like James 2:5 (“rich in faith”); 1Co 1:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11. So πλῆθος τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν σου, Psalms 51:1; Psalms 69:16. But ἔλεος is somewhat more than οἰκτιρμός (ὁ ἐλεῶν subvenire studet misero et si potest, vere subvenit, sed qui intra fines doloris se tenet, is tantum οἰκτείρει; Tittmann, Syn. I., p. 70).
Because of his great love wherewith he loved us [διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ].—The preposition (διά) marks the ground of His doings (Ephesians 2:5-6), on account of this, propter multum suum amorem. Luther is therefore incorrect: through His great love. Prominence is given, not so much to the greatness, as to the riches; the manifold character of the love of God. The construction, ῆν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς, is like John 17:26; Mark 10:38. Winer, p. 210.—The great love of God (αὐτοῦ) is added by Paul, after the expression respecting the riches of His mercy, which he had placed first on account of the context over against the condition of death in the case of Gentiles and Jews alike, because there was to be found in men themselves no ground at all for their salvation, Mercy was in God the movement of His love, which belongs to His Being; that men should be helped, required the entire fulness of the love of God. Misericordia removet miseriam, amor confert salutem (Bengel). Calvin incorrectly joins διὰ τὴν πολλὴν with πλούσιοςὤν [Hodge apparently]; the latter is an attribute of God, the former is an adverbial qualification of συνεζωοποίησεν. “Us” must be applied here to entire Christendom, after the necessary statements about “you” (Ephesians 2:1-2) and “us” (Ephesians 2:3). Aperta satis hæc verba sunt et cognitu facillima, si tantum et creditu facilia ea plerisque dominus redderet (Bucer)! Stier refers it to the Jews, on which view see next verse. [It is=ἡμεῖς πάντες, if that phrase be accepted in its wider reference.—R.]
The Deliverance; Ephesians 2:5-6.
Ephesians 2:5. Even when we were dead in our trespasses [καὶ ὄντας ἡμᾶς νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν].—After ἡμᾶς (Ephesians 2:4) the object is again repeated, with a reference to what has been said in Ephesians 2:1-3, in admiration and wonder at the Divine grace, mercy and love. Now however we read καὶ ὄνταςἡμᾶς, while before we had καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας (Ephesians 2:1), καὶ ἡμεῖς (Ephesians 2:3); the emphasis therefore rests on ὄντας, and καί puts this state of death with another ὥν in a certain relation to πλούσιος ὤν ἐν ἐλέει. Accordingly the distinction between those dead, between “you” and “us” falls into the background behind the existence, the reality of this condition. [Against Meyer, who takes καί as the simple copula, and Rueckert, who deems it resumptive, we are fully justified in taking it as intensive, retaining even (E. V.) therefore; so Alford, Ellicott and most.—The dative is precisely as in Ephesians 2:1.—R.] What he has said in Ephesians 2:1 of the heathen: “dead in trespasses,” is true of both therefore: it is the briefest expression, and quite sufficient after the previous explication of the object, especially as he mentions παραπτώματα, in which the reality of the condition of death is perceptible. The article denotes that the sins are the sins of the “dead” themselves (Meyer). [Hence our trespasses.]
This statement cannot indeed be referred to entire humanity; though it be done for all men, yet it is only done in Christians; and that is what is spoken of here. But it is just as little to be limited to Jewish Christians (Stier); the interchange of ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς (Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:7-8) springs from the liveliness of the discourse, the interest in the readers and the purpose of the Apostle. Καί is of course not=καίπερ, quamvis (Calvin, Schenkel). [For a making alive could only be from a state of death, not in spite of it.—R.]
Quickened us together with Christ, συνεζωοποίησεν τῷ Χριστῷ.—The construction is clear; the dative is governed by the σύν in composition. A fact in the past is clearly denoted as having taken place upon Christ and upon us. The meaning is also indicated by the antithesis or object: the dead He has made alive; were these not physically, but spiritually dead, then a spiritual life is meant. The preposition σύν does not denote contemporaneousness, but only fellowship: in the fellowship with the Risen One God quickened us also: Him hath He raised from the dead, us from our death, but not without Him, the Risen One. The verb itself does not determine any thing more definite regarding the life; the tense marks only the act of God as having taken place. Nothing further is added. Accordingly this fact is to be taken altogether objectively, without a subjective reference, altogether generally, without further qualification, as Colossians 2:12-13; Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:1; Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:4-6; it is simply: He quickened us together with Christ. Theodoret: κεφαλὴ ἡμῶν ὁ συνεδρεύων, ἀπαρχὴ ἡμῶν ὁ συμβασιλεύων· τὴν γὰρ ἡμετέραν ἐνδέδυται φύσιν. Comp. Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:22-23. Though the life of Christ the Risen One is completed, and ours just begun, beginning in the Spirit, yet the two stand in an internal connection (2 Corinthians 5:15), the latter, like the former, is the Father’s act, in which the whole, the full life is implied and granted.
Accordingly it is first of all incorrect to apply συν to the re-animation of the Jews and Gentiles together (Beza), or: sicut ad exemplum (Anselm, Grotius). Then the reference is not to physical death and the actual resurrection life (Meyer), or to the forgiveness of sins (Rueckert), or only to the first degree of life, from which the subsequent ones advance (Olshausen), or to justification and regeneration (Bodeus); nor are the aorists to be justified by recalling God’s prescience (Jerome), or by introduced hope (Augustine, Erasmus), or by a prophetic view, as if it had already taken place, were as good as certain (Meyer), nor is the fact of the actual accomplishment of this act of love in the readers, the Christians to be set aside by an emphasizing of the objective act in Christ (Harless).19
By grace ye have been saved [χάριτίἐστε σεσωσμένοι].—In lively discourse, with a direct application to the readers, this is joined parenthetically to the general, objective fact of new life in Christ. The emphasis rests on χάριτι, which comes first; it refers to “His great love,” is God’s grace, thus dismissing all thought of claim and merit on the part of man. The clause emphasizes the fact of the deliverance from death into life, from wrath into love. Ye are (ἐστε)! This means more than the simple ἐσώθετε. [“Ye have been and are saved,” the perfect of permanent state, implying that God’s grace abides.—R.] Videmus, ut nun quam sibi in prædicanda gratiæ amplitudine satisfaciat; ideoque identidem pluribus verbis inculcat, nihil esse in salute nostra, quod non sit Deo tribuendum certe qui ingratitudinem hominum rite expendet, non fastidiet hanc parenthesin quasi supervacaneam (Calvin).20 It is not interpolated from what follows (Grotius), nor is the grace of Christ (Beza) referred to.
Ephesians 2:6. And raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [καὶ συνήγειρεν καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ].—After thus specializing, Paul expands what was expressed in συνεζωοποίησεν. Here the first verb gives prominence to the negative side, and the second, with “in heavenly places,” to the positive side of the quickening; the former marks the disappearance of the condition of death, the latter the permanent participation in what is heavenly. The liveliness of the discourse causes the introduction and repetition of καί, καί; they are not to be rendered: both—and. “In heavenly places” (comp. on Ephesians 1:3) sets forth the antithesis to “the power of the air;” “at His right hand” (Ephesians 1:20) could be predicated only of Christ (Bengel: Christo sua manet exccllentia), but “in heavenly places” of Christians also. “In Christ Jesus,” following “with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5), introduces the mediation in the fellowship with Him; with this Colossians 2:12-13 should be compared. [Eadie takes “in Christ Jesus” as qualifying “in the heavenly places,” but this is scarcely allowable.—R.]
Accordingly, “raised with him,” is not an advance from “quickened” toward “made us sit” (Olshausen) [Eadie], the first two expressions occur Colossians 2:12-13 in inverted order. We should not interpolate spe (Grotius) or jure et virtute spirituali (Bengel), nor are the aorists to be taken as futures from a prophetic view (A Lapide), nor should we refer them to summa et universa felicitas (Koppe), or to something spiritual, which is not yet objectively and really given. Comp. Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 3:20; Romans 6:6-10. Though ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is not=per et propter Christum, yet it cannot be denied that fellowship with Him is indicated (Harless), in accordance with the συν in the verbs.21 But it may not be affirmed that on account of this “wonderful union” of the redeemed with the Redeemer, all the occurrences, through which the Redeemer passed after His death until His glorification, are spiritually and morally, hence in this life, consummated in the converted (Schenkel). Comp. Doctr. Note 2.
[Eadie also takes the three aorists as referring to what takes place in this life, and as marking successive steps: “The dead, on being quickened, do not lie in their graves.” Ellicott is very cautious here: “As συνεζωοποίησεν, though primarily spiritual and present, may have a physical and future reference,—so here conversely, a present spiritual resurrection and enthronement may also be attended to,” the primary reference being, as he thinks, to what is future and objective. Alford seems most correct: “God vivified us together with Christ: in the one act and fact of His resurrection He raised all His people—to spiritual life, and in that to victory over death, both spiritual and therefore necessarily physical also. To dispute therefore whether such an expression as this is past (spiritual), or future (physical), is to forget that the whole includes its parts.—The three aorists are proleptical as regards the actualization in each man, but equally describe a past and accomplished act on God’s part.—The disputes as to whether these are to be taken as present or future, actual or potential, literal or spiritual, will be easily disposed of by those who have apprehended the truth of the believer’s union in and with Christ.” This last statement finds a striking confirmation in the fact, that many a commentator begins by limiting the sense, and ends by including the entire meaning.—R.]
Ephesians 2:7. The purpose.—That he might show forth, ἵνα ἐνδείξηται.—The verb stands emphatically first. Ἐνδείκνυσθαι (Romans 2:15; Romans 9:17; Rom 9:22; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:14; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:2) has, like ἔνδειξος (2 Corinthians 8:24) the signification of an efficient, active showing, a making known through communicating, giving, causing to experience. It is not a mere φανεροῦν, γνωρίζειν, declarare (Olshausen, Meyer and others. [Eadie inclines to the singular meaning: give a specimen of, which is not in accordance with the emphasis resting on the word.—R.]
In the ages which are to come, ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις.—The plural marks a series, the word αἰῶνες, periods of time, stretching over “generations” (Ephesians 3:21), standing over against “the course (αἰών) of this world (Ephesians 2:2), not mere καιροί, occasions, moments of time (Ephesians 1:10); ἐπερχόμενοι points to coming periods, i.e., according to the context, those periods (temporibus in stantibus) following each other with the fact of Redemption in the resurrection of Christ as the starting-point; lastly the preposition ἐν marks these as the spaces of time in which the showing takes place, in which there is really an advance. Bengel: Plurale, contra unum seculum malum, cui secula beata superveniunt potenter. Congruit hæc locutio menti Pauli de die novissimo non proxime in stante. Even in the earliest Epistles there is not wanting the thought of the long development of Christianity, whose blossoming in the Apostolic Church and in the first Christians as first fruits and representatives, lets us perceive the fulness of their Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; comp. Ephesians 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; comp. Ephesians 2:3 ff.). It is neither the age succeeding the resurrection, the age of the parousia (Grotius, Meyer), nor αἰὼν μέλλων (Harless). [These limitations are rejected by Eadie, Alford and Ellicott, Hodge who agree with Braune in referring the phrase to the successive periods of time between the resurrection and the Second Advent of Christ. The plural for bids the limitation to any one age, the present participle renders any remote future reference improbable. The Second Advent is rarely alluded to in this Epistle (Alford), though as usual Meyer finds it here also.—R.]
The exceeding riches of his grace, τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αῦτοῦ.—The neuter form to τὸπλοῦτος is well established here, as in Ephesians 3:16, and occurs several times (Ephesians 3:8; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 2:2). On ὑπερ βάλλον, see notes on Ephesians 1:19. It denotes, over against the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3) and the power of Satan (Ephesians 2:2) the triumphant superior power, hence it is not=περισσεύειν (Ephesians 1:8). Comp. Romans 5:20. Evidently as in the case of those realities, so is the power of this grace efficient, already imparted. Romans 9:23.
In kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ].—“In kindness” designates the mode of showing the grace, “the friendly, condescending kindness” (Heubner), which expressed itself in Christ’s Incarnation and in Himself. Tittmann (Syn. I. p. 195): Est benignitas Dei ad benefaciendum hominibus potius parata, quam ad puniendum; differt a voce χάρις; in hac enim certe in N. T. imperat notio benevolentiæ et gratiæ, quæ. nihil merentibus bene facit. It is therefore not here (as Tittmann thinks, p. 142): ipsum beneficium in nos Dei benignitate per Jesum Christum; it is not χάρισμα, but χάρις is active “in kindness,” the condescending love scatters out of the fulness of its possessions; that is, its “kindness.” [Eadie says of the four terms here used respecting the source of salvation: ἔλεος, ἀγάπη, χάρις, χρηστότης, “the first respects our misery; the second defines the co-essential form of this—ἔλεος; the third characterizes its free outgoing, and the last points to its palpable and experienced embodiment.” He finds an evident alteration in χάρις, χρηστότης, Χριστός.—R.]
Ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς is connected with “in kindness,” as χαρὰ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ (Romans 14:17) and similar cases. See Winer, p. 126. This occurs with anarthrous substantives, which receive further definition; ἐπὶ denotes the object of the kindness, as Luke 6:35. The phrase: ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ without τοὺς or ὄντας is therefore not to be referred to ἡμᾶς. Were it grammatically admissible, the thought would not be against it, since it corresponds with “to us-ward who believe” (Ephesians 1:19). As, however, it stands here without any word to connect it with ἡμᾶς, it must be taken as qualifying the verb ἐνδείξηται.22 Notanda repetitio nominis Christi, quia nihil gratiæ neque amoris a Deo sperari vult, nisi ipso intercedente (Calvin). Comp. Doctr. Note 2.
The means of the deliverance. Ephesians 2:8-10.
Ephesians 2:8. For by grace have ye been saved through faith, τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι διὰ πίστεως.—This is a completed, more closely defined, repetition of the parenthetical clause (Ephesians 2:5). Γάρ is connective. Non igitor ait, sed enim, quia ab effectu ad causam concludit (Bengel): because He in the course of time brings into manifestation nothing else than the exceeding riches of His grace. Ye are saved by grace. Τῇ, χάριτι not merely χάριτι (Ephesians 2:5), to denote the category; the article referring to the grace mentioned in Ephesians 2:7, the wealth of which is so exceeding, marking thus the grace in question (Meyer). The dative expresses, as Romans 3:24 (αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ), the motive, διά with the genitive here states the subjective means,23 in the passage just referred to, the objective. Comp. Winer, p. 204 f. The emphasis rests on “by grace,” which is placed first, being the causa efficiens; the causa apprehendens follows, as a modal qualification. On the nature of “faith,” see Doctr. Note 5.
And that not of yourselves: the gift is God’s [καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον].—“And that” refers back to the idea of the preceding verb: “ye are saved,” in the sense of et quidem (Passow, sub οὖτος, 12); and this in addition I say, or and this, being saved through faith, comes not out of yourselves. Thus the value of διὰ πίστεως is put below that of τῇ χάριτι salvation has not its origin in faith or the believing one (οὐκἐξὑμῶν); he has indeed only to accept it. Hence there is at once added to the negative the positive (not parenthetical, Harless) expression: θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον, God’s is the gift, i.e., the salvation; the genitive being=ἐκ θεοῦ (Philippians 3:9) or ἀπὸ θεοῦ (Philippians 1:29), and τὸδῶρον δωρεάν (Romans 3:24; Romans 5:15; Romans 5:17), gratis, as a present of grace.
[The reference to salvation is adopted by Calvin, Rueckert, Harless, Olshausen, Meyer, De Wette, Stier, Eadie, Alford, Ellicott, and every commentator of note since the days of Bengel, except Hodge.24 Of course on doctrinal grounds there is no objection to the reference to faith, for, as Ellicott remarks, “it may be said that the clause καὶ τοῦτο κ. τ. λ. was suggested by the mention of the subjective medium πίστις, which might be thought to imply some independent action on the part of the subject.” But since the next verse: “not of works,” cannot be referred to faith, and an unnecessary parenthesis, creating some confusion and destroying the obvious parallelism between ἐξ ὑμῶν and ἐξ ἔργων, is the result of this view, it seems far better to accept the other reference. The gender of τοῦτο is not decisive in favor of this; but when it stands so near to πίστεως, it does seem strange that it should not be feminine, were the latter its antecedent.—R.]
Ephesians 2:9 takes up the negative side again: not of works, οὐκἐξἔργων, used by Paul repeatedly (Romans 3:20; Romans 4:2; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:2; Galatians 5:4; Titus 3:5). Without the article, because in this respect there are no saving, meritorious works; it is God who rescues, and He is determined thereto by no works or virtues of men. There is not here, nor should there be, any thought of the works of the Mosaic law (Bleek). Thus the phrase “not of yourselves” is more closely and sharply defined. Accordingly we should not accept a parenthesis from καὶ τοῦτο to ἐξ ἔργων (Griesbach) or καὶ τοῦτο—τὸ δῶρον (Beza), or θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον (Lachmann, Harless), nor refer καὶ τοῦτο to διὰ τῆς πίστεως and then to infer τὸ πιστεύειν on this account (Fathers, Erasmus and others).
That no man should boast, ἵναμήτις καυ χήσηται.—This is the manifest end (ἵνα) of this ordering of grace, established and desired by God Himself. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:29 ff; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 10:17 f.; Romans 3:27; Romans 4:2. Ἵνα is not to be taken as=ὥστε or as imperative (Koppe). [Macknight objects that this is not a worthy end, therefore ἵνα is not telic. But it is only one end, and then it implies a great deal more than the mere stopping of man’s boasts. The implied antithesis is: that God should have the glory, as Ephesians 2:10 indicates.—R.]
Ephesians 2:10. For his handiwork are we, αὐτοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν ποίημα.—The genitive stands first with special emphasis; if there should be any boasting, He should be boasted of by us, His work.25 Hence the connection by means of γάρ, for the reason is given why no one should boast. Gratia tollit naturam. What we are to understand by ποίημα, the Apostle sets forth in the following participial clause belonging to ἐσμέν:
Created in Christ Jesus for good works.—Κτισθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, “created in Christ Jesus,” is like 2 Corinthians 5:17 : εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις. Comp. Galatians 6:15. The fellowship with Christ is the mediation conditioning the creative efficiency of God. “God’s work” is a creation in Christ, by means of which there becomes a “new man” (Ephesians 2:15). A double creation is therefore not spoken of, the physical, that of the protoplast, in “His handiwork” (Tertullian, Gregory Naz. and others), and the spiritual, that of the new birth in “created,” nor are both creations to be regarded as united here (Pelagius, Erasmus, Matthies, Rueckert), so that we both as Christians and as men are God’s work. Salvation alone is in question. Thus much only is true, that the expressions respecting the physical first creation are transferred to this ethical one, which is a new birth (Titus 3:5), a real creation (Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:21-22).
The preposition ἐπί with the dative marks both the end and the result; Galatians 5:13 : ἐπʼ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε; 1Th 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:14; Winer, p. 368. It is not=εἰς ἔργα , hence not merely the end and aim of salvation [Hodge], (Schenkel). [Alford: “Just as a tree may be said to be created for its fruit.”—R.] Ἐπὶ ἔργοις is in antithesis to ἐξ ἔργων, denoting that those created in Christ Jesus do perform good works, as “a peculiar people, zealous Of good works” (Titus 2:14); such works are therefore not the cause but the consequence of being delivered.26 Hence we read here not ἔργοις or ἔργοις νόμου, but, what is much more significant, ἔργοις : good works are performed only by the regenerate.
Which God before prepared that we should walk in them, οἶς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός, ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν.—As regards the construction it should first be remarked that the difficulty lies in οἶς and in the meaning of the verb προητοί μασεν, which requires an object in the accusative, as well as in the reference of the preposition προ. The relative οἶς can belong only to ὲργοις , and since προετοιμάζειν cannot be taken as neuter (Bengel) and there is no ἡμᾶς added, it must be explained by attraction (Vulgate, Syriac, down to Bleek); ἐναὐτοῖς follows, as in John 5:36. [That is, the relative is the object of the verb, which would be in the accusative (ἅ) were it not attracted into the case of its antecedent ἔργοις ; so E. V. and the vast majority of commentators.—R.] Προετοιμάζειν (Romans 9:23) is to prepare beforehand, here of things, as προορίζειν of persons (Ephesians 1:11). [See below however.] The προ totam rem Deo tribuit (Bengel), implying that they should be performed. It should be borne in mind that we do not find: ἐπὶ τοῖς ἔργοις , οἶς—; the individual good works are not regarded as prepared before, but only ἔργα in general. Christians are new-created for these; they are performed by the Christians not according to arbitrary choice; they are determined, as by the law, so by the Holy Ghost (Grotius: quasi in mari aliquis et viam præsignaret et simul ventos daret ferentes); they are given, to them is the Christian directed, equipped therefor with strength and desire.
God Himself has thus prepared before “good works,” and that too with the design, to the end: “that we should walk in them,” as prepared beforehand by God, as in the element in which the Christians’ walk moves, in which the regenerate should prove themselves alive. This final clause is in antithesis to: “lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Hofmann, who (Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 365) rejects rightly the explanations, ordained before, predisposed in God’s counsel, and accepts the proper conduct of humanity to God as once for all present in Christ, says excellently in further exposition (ibid. II. 2, p. 294): Our walk in Him is a walk in them (good works), so that ἐν αὐτοῖς has the emphasis, and ἡμεῖς is not missed in the first clause.
Accordingly ἶς cannot be referred to κτισθέντες and explained as masculine: for whom, to whom He has before ordained (Erasmus, and necessarily Rueckert also). It is altogether impossible to accept a Hebraism and construct thus: ἐν οἶς ἵνα περιπατήσωμεν προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός (Bengel, Koppe); but προετοιμάζειν is not=velle, jubere. Nor should ἡμᾶς be supplied from the context and the clause rendered: to which, or: for which He has prepared us before (Luther, Rueckert but doubtfully, Schenkel). Nor should the verb be taken as neuter (Bengel): for which He has already prepared, so that nothing is wanting (Stier). Nor should we say that God has prepared the circumstances for them (bonos socios, præceptores, confessionarios, concionatores, sancta exempla aliaque incitamenta et occasiones), as do Michaelis and Olshausen, following Catholic expositors. Nor does προ stand related to “created unto good works,” as though the preparation of the works preceded the new creation of the man, and the men were redeemed for the works and for their sake, and the walk in good works were the final and supreme aim of the Divine revelation of grace and saving dealings with man (Meyer, Schenkel).
[The view of Braune is open to serious doubt in one point alone. The attraction from the accusative is by far the best solution of the grammatical question. The verb, which is not neuter, does not mean “predestinated,” but “prepared before.” Comp. Romans, p. 321. That notion is a fair inference, but does not necessarily belong to the word, as even Hodge admits. It may be allowed too that “good works” without the article does not of necessity refer to definite, particular actions, which God has appointed for the several believers. But the force of προ is not sufficiently taken into the account in the view advocated above, while Hofmann’s explanation seems to be an attempt to avoid a theological difficulty rather than a fair exegesis. Προορίζειν is distinguished from προετοιμάζειν, not by a difference of objects (as Braune holds, following Harless), but as follows: The end comes more into view in the former, the means more in the latter (so Fritzsche, Lange, Romans, p. 320, Eadie, Ellicott). As the temporal relation to “created” seems to be the only proper reference in the preposition προ, we should accept this explanation: God, before we were created in Christ, made ready for us a sphere of moral action, a road, with the intent that we should walk in it, and not leave it; this sphere, this road, was “good works” (Ellicott).—Or yet more definitely, with Alford: As trees are created for fruits which God before prepared that they should bear them: i.e., defined and assigned to each tree its own, in form, and flavor, and time of bearing. So in the course of God’s providence, our good works are marked out for and assigned to each one of us. This does not seem to be open to the objection that it makes the works the supreme end of God’s saving dealings.—Eadie: “These good works, though they do not secure salvation, are by God’s eternal purpose essentially connected with it, and are not a mere offshoot accidentally united to it.”—R.] Bengel says aptly: Ambularemus, non salvaremur aut viveremus.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Theologically: God’s nature is designated by: “who is rich in mercy, for His great love” (Ephesians 2:4). Precisely as in 1 John 4:16 : “God is love” (comp. my notes, Biblework in loco, p. 146 f.). What He will ever more and more manifest and prove, is “the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness” (Ephesians 2:7). All salvation is traced back to “grace” (Ephesians 2:5-8), to “love” (ἀγάπη) now condescending in its entire fulness to the deepest misery, the lost condition of sinners (χάρις), in order to help (ἔλεος) as a master and to minister (χρηστότης). as a servant. How then can there be room for “wrath?” Ὀργή (from ὀρέγω, allied with reach, rack, stretch, and ὀργάω, to swell, to be full) designates first of all, appetite, emotion, then passion, anger. God is indeed holy love, hence precisely not an apathetic personality, not an epicurean natura divom semota ab rebus nostris sejunctaque longa, not a pagan or Turkish εἱμαρμένη, nor a modern moral order of the world, or mere “Providence,” “Heaven,” or the philosophical Absolute, or the common numb Deity. He loves, He must also be angry with what is unholy, evil; He has wrath, not as a man, active et initiative, but passive et consecutive. His wrath is the zeal of love against corrupting evil, the energy in the conduct of God against that relation to Him, established with the fall of the creature from Him; in the creature’s sin God’s wrath brings forth itself (Stier).—One thing besides should be especially considered. By “we,” described in Ephesians 2:3, the Israelites are meant: precisely these, though chosen, are called on account of the apostasy of the human race, “children of wrath.” Accordingly all, the entire fallen race, are the object of the wrath of God, even the elect, just as all are the object of His grace, as even these have been, who, because they will not let themselves be saved, are cast away. In mercy and anger is He the same God, and has before Him the human race in like manner undivided, in order to save it as the object of His love. Comp. Frank, Theologie der Form. Conc., IV. p. 194 ff.
2. Christologically: The Mediator, in whom alone the fallen race, now a prey to the corruption of sin, is and can be an object of love to God, and through whom alone, yet certainly, the purpose of salvation conceived in Him, is consummated, is Jesus Christ, the Risen One, who, as the Sinless One, was not forfeit to death, but overcame it. The text only indicates this latter thought; but it distinctly asserts: only in Him is life, renewal, power, blessedness, without Him there is none of this (Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 2:5-7). In this entirely unique Person, including in Himself all that man needs for a renewal well-pleasing to God, presenting in His resurrection and exaltation, not merely a type, but the dynamic principle for the elevation of humanity to sonship with God—in this Person is set forth all that is specifically Christian in Christianity.
3. Hamartologically: a) The essence of sin is disobedience (“sons of disobedience”) to the will of God, and obedience to the flesh (“doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts”).
b) The universality of sin. It extends itself over the whole human race without exception. Gentiles (Ephesians 2:1-2) and Jews (Ephesians 2:3), and among these (ἡμεῖς πάντες) to those also who like the Apostle were “taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and zealous toward God” (Acts 22:3); for fleshly self-will and obstinacy mingles itself as a ruling power, even in the most refined forms, with human virtue and honorableness.
c) The variety of sin does not condition a variety in the extent of guilt. To the Apostle the heathen world was a wrestling place of demons: Satan ruled it; there all goes according to his will; and the Apostle calls the Gentiles “sons of disobedience.” The people of Israel, notwithstanding its theocracy, consists in his esteem of “children of wrath,” as he designates them much more sharply. The guilt increases with the less considerable sins, if the favors received, which have been despised or neglected, are greater: so there may be less guilt with greater sins, and a far greater guilt with sins less great externally, because there is a greater sinful corruption.
d) The corruption of sin. Although some may hold for truth in Ephesians 5:14 (“Awake thou that steepest and arise from the dead”), only “thou that sleepest,” together with Romans 5:6 : “when we were yet without strength,” the phrase “were dead” (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5) here may not be overlooked. The Romanists indeed say (Conc. Trid. Sess. VI. cap. 1): liberum arbitrium minime extinctum esse, viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum, and Möhler speaks only of the sleep of sin (Symbolik, p. 100), but Paul says, in accordance with his Lord in the parable of him left “half-dead” (ἡμιθανῆ, Luke 10:30), that we are dead to what is good, robbed of the “life,” which includes strength and activity in connection with entire satisfaction, i.e. happiness, and hence are powerless, inactive, cramped in our life-movement, troubled, dissatisfied and unhappy; it is therefore not merely a feeling of unhappiness, not merely the corruption of the intellectual, but also of the moral, in fact of all the powers of life, so that physical death cannot fail, nor yet the ἀπώλεια, eternal destruction. Indeed the physical life is so affected, that sin is the heritage of every child of man from birth, it is forfeit to death as well as to sin.
[Eadie: “While admitting the scriptural account of the introduction of sin, many have shaped their views of it from the connection in which they place it in reference to Divine foreknowledge, and so have sprung up the Supralapsarian and Sub-lapsarian hypotheses. Attempts to form a perfect scheme of Theodicy, or a full vindication of the Divinity, have occupied many other minds than that of Leibnitz. The relation of the race to its Progenitor has been viewed in various lights, and analogies physical, political and metaphysical, with theories of Creationism and Traducianism, have been employed in illustration, from the days of Augustine and Pelagius to those of Erasmus and Luther, Calvin and Arminius, Taylor and President Edwards. Questions about the origin of evil, transmission of depravity, imputation of guilt, federal or representative position on the part of Adam, and physical and spiritual death as elements of the curse, have given rise to long and labored argumentation, because men have looked at them from very different stand-points, and have been influenced in their treatment of the problem by their philosophical conceptions of the Divine character, the nature of sin, and that moral freedom and power which belong to responsible humanity. The modus may be and is among the deep things of God; but the res is palpable: for experience confirms the Divine testimony that we are by nature ‘children of wrath,’ per generationem, not per imitationem.” Comp. the history of the Doctrine, Romans, pp. 191 ff.—R.]
These walking dead ones (Ephesians 2:2-3) stand in the relation of slaves in Satan’s kingdom, and so long as they are without help from above, they wallow ever deeper and deeper into misery and death. They have in Satan an ἄρχοντα, “prince,” who works and rules in opposition to Christ, the Head of the Church. He has his personal, wicked will as ruler, according to which (κατά) unconverted sinners walk; he has in the existing tendencies of the age in the world, urging themselves as a norm, an assistant of his power, which surrounds all men, penetrates all, unperceived and unregarded (ἐξουσία τοῦ ), which works as a spirit in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). The lusts of the flesh also and its glory, of the “thoughts,” the selfish thought, are channels of his influence, of the flow of his spirit into the children of wrath, to which he is himself forfeit and to which all are exposed, who do not permit themselves to be converted and redeemed. This truth is as startling as it is humbling. In and with the world-historical progress under God’s gracious guidance Satan as the prince of darkness carries on his activity to the destruction of men.27
4. Anthropologically: Man appears here:
a. As the creature of God (αὐτοῦ ποίημα), in which however there is but a side reference to the fact of man’s creation. Paul uses this (Ephesians 2:10) only as a substratum for his remarks respecting man’s renewal and regeneration in Christ, holding this truth firmly however, just here, where man’s ruin in sin is spoken of. This must never be forgotten: Every man, not merely Adam and Eve, those too who are born, are God’s creatures. Even though the substance is given, out of which man is begotten and born, it exists only as the creative in working of God. And although man is to be regarded continually as the creature of God, this does not exclude the second causes by means of which God since the close of the Hexaëmeron continues the work of creation (see Frank, Theol., F. c, I. p. 52), so that the Apostle can say: “by nature children of wrath.” There is a two-fold nature, the original, created by God, the degenerated, corrupted by sin. So far as we are God’s work and creation, is the nature of the body and the soul in organism and powers, good; but intruded sin has corrupted their nature which was in itself good. This leads to the second point.
b. As a member of his race (φύσει) and that from the point of time when his “nature,” a production within humanity, begins, hence from his birth. As respects this he is “flesh,” doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, is “dead in trespasses and sins.” For humanity is a living whole and in it every individual partakes of the character of the whole. This permits no one to be a non-participant in the consequences of the first sin, and each individual has his natural share in the corruption thereof. There is however, notwithstanding, in him a capacity for being converted, redeemed, saved, which distinguishes him from the fallen angels, who do not possess this, and also from lapis or truncus, negatively, in that he holds himself not passively, but aggressively against God, and positively, in that he has been created by God for renewal in Christ, and has from the creation on such an aptitudo (see Frank, p. 140 ff.). To his doings and his character there belongs however no activity or relation to the salvation given in Christ, although he can and will have a consciousness of his unhappiness as a “child of wrath,” and has accordingly a certain knowledge (obscura scintillula ejus notitia quid sit Deus), or a memoriter knowledge of God and a longing for the removal of his need, and hence too will try in his conduct and plans many a way to help himself, without ever finding the right way and the effective means. He will rather be deceived by the lusts and be oftener and more powerfully moved by the wills of his flesh and of his selfish thought under the evil influences of his surroundings.
c. As a child of his age (“according to the course of this world”) and his nation, breathing in the atmosphere of his time and his tribe, determined and swept on by the stream of the present, to which he belongs.
d. As member of a world, in which outside the Divine power the power of the kingdom of darkness secretly, noiselessly exercises its force all about and in the individual men, who are unbelieving and unconverted. Man has an individual, moral, national position, but stands related also to the cosmical power of the evil one as well as to the eternal power of God working above and within the world.
5. Soteriologically: a) The essence of salvation (“ye have been and are saved”) out of the condition of death, wrought and strengthened by sin, is “life:” hence “quickened together” (Ephesians 2:5). Life is a gift, a gratuity of grace (δῶρον, Ephesians 2:8), but not so complete at once, that it only needs to be offered and taken into possession; it is a new creation (Ephesians 2:10), a creative renewal. Salvation is also conceived of as deliverance from the power and dominion of this world and its prince, as exaltation and redemption into the kingdom of God; hence “raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in heavenly places.”
b) The cause of salvation is God, who quickens, raises and exalts, and especially His grace (Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8). Comp. 1. This salvation is so little a life developing itself out of the natural character, that it is called a “gift of God,” which is only to be received.
c) The Mediator is Christ. See 2.
d) The condition is faith: “through faith.” The context shows that the object of faith is the Person of Christ (Ephesians 2:5-7; Ephesians 2:10), in whom God and God’s grace are known and grasped, grasped and known. The nature of faith is evidently thus defined, that it is no work, since in this salvation works are denied as antecedent (“not of works,” Ephesians 2:9), and good works are designated only as subsequent thereto (Ephesians 2:10), but also, that it does not spring of itself on the soil of our heart or spirit, since salvation comes “not of yourselves:” faith is not from the natural man. But since salvation is the impartation of life, and that too in creative manner, faith itself must be conceived of as an accepting activity, an ethical act, or an ethical course of action, having its corresponding development. Still nothing further is predicated on this point.
[“It is the uniform doctrine of the New Testament, that no man is saved against his will; and his desire to be saved is proved by his belief of the Divine testimony. Salvation by grace is not arbitrarily attached to faith by the mere sovereign dictate of the Most High, for man’s willing acceptance of salvation is essential to his possession of it, and the operation of faith is just the sinner’s appreciation of the Divine mercy, and his acquiescence in the goodness and wisdom of the plan of recovery, followed by a cordial appropriation of its needed and adapted blessings, or, as Augustine tersely and quaintly phrases it—Qui creavit te sine te, non salvabit te sine te. Justification by faith alone is simply pardon enjoyed on the condition of taking it.” Eadie.—R.]
e) The course of salvation, according to Ephesians 2:5-6 : “quickened us together with Christ,” “and raised us up with Him and made us sit with Him” “in Christ,” as well as Ephesians 2:10 : “created in Christ Jesus,” is to be thus understood: that the salvation, given personally and actually in Christ, begins in man with a reviving, which is a “dying to sin” (Romans 6:1 f.), beginning first of all in the individual and having in him first its growth and development, but then extending itself over whole races and unfolding itself ever more gloriously in them, not indeed as a natural life left to itself, but as continually evoked and furthered by the supernatural grace in its riches (Ephesians 2:7), always in Christ, out from Christ, never away from Christ, beyond Christ, but on toward and up to Him.
6. Ethically: a. The worth of morality transcends all intellectual power. If ever a people was great in the latter respect, it was the Greeks, and yet to them applies what is said in Ephesians 2:1-2 : despite all science and art, despite all progress in the department of human mental culture and the earthly life, so that they have been for centuries the masters of the leading civilized nations, they have fallen and persisted in moral corruption.
b. The nature of morality is “good works,” which God prepared before; they have been given since the beginning of the creation: in the written law the unwritten laws have been rendered, fixed and secured against alteration. The new creation in Christ has resumed and continued the first, not obsolete creation, not however as supplementing a defective one, but as renewing one disfigured and destroyed in man. God’s dealings ordered from the beginning by Him are alone spoken of.
c. The basis of morality, which is the proper bearing of man towards the will of God, rests in the proper relation of man to God, into which he is transferred as a new creature in Christ. Since this is brought to pass through faith, faith itself is the basis of true Christian morality. From what is said respecting the people of Israel, it is manifest that even the law of God and many other salutary institutions can be in force, without helping or furthering this, if faith be lacking. But works cannot and may not be lacking to faith, if it is genuine: they are essential in the life of faith; even though not necessary for the sake of justification and to the attainment of eternal life, they are still necessary proofs of faith, and necessary on account of the mandatum, ordinatio et voluntas Dei. Since good works are not created by God, but Christians created for them, and since Christians should perform them of their own free will under the impulse of the Spirit, faith must be the basis for these, the same faith by means of which the man becomes a new man. [The Gospel says “Live and do this,” not “Do this and live,” and the old maxim: bona opera non præcedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum, is here again proven Scriptural, as experience proves it the only possible order. The many battles on this point, the ever-recurring tendency in theology and in the heart of the Christian, to mix, confuse, contrast and oppose faith and works, find in the plain, pellucid statement of the Apostle their proper rebuke. Alas, such simple words have too often been tortured by expositors to support their theories.28—R.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Despite the amiable qualities and social virtues in the character, lovely mental gifts in the life of those who are not born of God, not born of His Spirit; they are still walking dead men, dead in the living body, in which the outer man is nobly upheld while the inward man perishes day by day.—Through trespasses and sins, through many, but little sins, little meannesses, trifling impurities, petty jealousies, which creep in secretly, lightly, unnoticed, and work so successfully for the death of man’s soul,—it occurs that one otherwise honorable can be inwardly more corrupt, more thoroughly ruined, than one who has committed some great crime. Among the twelve disciples of Jesus, one was Judas the traitor!—Consider the experience of all Christians: only after conversion do they perceive the abomination of sin, its origin and its end, destruction. Here can man only reflect.—Most men appear well, but if they had at one time the thoughts and feelings which so often steal in upon them, in externally manifest and accomplished deeds before their eyes, their body would seem to them like a shroud, and their heart like a corpse, of a beloved one indeed, yet full of stench.—The spirit of the age of this world is never a good spirit. It does indeed occasionally appear to be so here and there, as in the time of the Reformation. This was born of God’s Spirit and Word, and yet it was furthered by carnal hostility to the Pope, evil desires after the ecclesiastical possessions, after the treasures of the monasteries; godless movements against godless oppression; if God the Lord had not helped it by special events and circumstances, it would have been repressed or polluted—by the spirit of the age!—In evil there is system, progress, growth, development; a prince too and rulers, spirit and law; evil, darkness is a kingdom also, and at its head is a prince, the chief of the devils; from frivolous, temperate sinners to premeditated villains, and from sinful men to fallen angels, and among these there is gradation and connection, a kingdom, without peace and happiness, it is true.
Selfishness is a destructive pervading disease of one’s own Ego, which dies of it. To live for self and only for self is a poor, pitiable life. What kind of a wife is that who will not live for her husband? what kind of a man is he who will not live for his calling? what kind of a human being is that who will not live for his God, but only for his lusts, capable of no sacrifice, except petty alms if he is rich; noble before men, before God a tatter, honored before men and yet the object of Divine wrath and of His sentence to perdition?—It is a sad contradiction among men, that they speak of the “dear God” [the common German phrase: der liebe Gott and say, He is love, while no one is to them more uncomfortable and obnoxious than the Church, which makes this a matter of earnest, preaching of the love of the Father in Christ the Crucified and Risen One; they are tolerant toward sins in themselves and others, aye, toward vile sins, fornication, suicide, if there is any respectability about it, but tolerant toward the living and active members of the church they are certainly not, that is impossible for them. What then do they think of the love of God?—You may as little undervalue faith as the rudder, however small it is in a large ship. All labor in the rigging, in the masts and sails, at stem or stern, helps nothing even in the best of weather, much less in swell and storm, if the rudder is not in order and rightly used; so without faith you toss about in life, aimless, helpless, hopeless.—God did not first make the members and then out of them the body; man was at once entire. So too man is not born piecemeal, though small and weak, he is yet an entire human being. It is so with the new birth also. Conversion affects the whole man, is however only the first step, not perfection, is a beginning pointing and impelling toward advance and completion.
Luther:—That for which each thing is created, it does without law and compulsion. The sun shines by nature, unbidden; the pear-tree bears of itself, voluntarily; three and seven ought not to be ten, they are ten already. There is no need that one should say to God, He should do good, for He does all the time willingly and gladly of Himself. So too one should not command the righteous man, that he should do good works, for he does it without this, without command and compulsion, because he is a new creature and a good tree.—He should not be driven thereto, if his faith be not fancied and feigned.
Starke:—He who does not walk in God’s way, following the guiding star of God’s will, gets other blind guides, and is induced to cut such capers, that he is plunged into extreme corruption.—The saints are free confessors of their sins, having no desire for hypocrisy to justify themselves.—All men are equally corrupted by original sin, although the corruption breaks out in various ways.—Evil lust is the root of all sins, even of sin itself.—Reason is a glorious gift of God, as the deprival of the same, madness, is a great misery and judgment. But it is much weakened and darkened through the fall, and hence inclined to many errors and prejudices, permitting itself to be abused.—Art thou poor in soul, here thou mayest find an inexhaustible treasure of God’s mercy, making us rich in Him.—Our salvation comes from God’s compassionate love alone.—We are really quickened in Christ, by Christ and with Christ. Therefore we have a real not a fancied life, and there is as great a difference between a natural and a regenerated man as between those physically dead and alive.—Believers not only become blessed in the future, but they are really blessed, although their blessedness is still imperfect.—Without grace no one can believe, and without believing no one can partake of grace.—We are God’s work as regards creation; but if we do not become so as regards sanctification and the application of redemption, we remain outside the fellowship with God.—Regeneration is a real creation and the source of all spiritual life.
Rieger:—Living men cannot exactly understand that they are to regard themselves as dead through trespasses and sins. Weak they prefer admitting as applicable to them; and indeed the word of God does occasionally describe us as weak, as sick. But the Spirit of God does not mean this, as men gladly explain it. They confess themselves weak with the persuasion that they can make themselves better and become strong by self-improvement. The word of God, however, means a weakness, in which self-help is no longer possible, where the hope of recovery rests solely on the presence and power of the physician. As certainly as the body without the soul is dead, so certainly is the soul without the Spirit dead.—The walk and the occupation with which man commonly conceals this death, do not make the harm less, but rather the more dangerous.—That the time, the existing course of the world, the principles, opinions and habits arising therein, can operate largely in man, bearing him into much which he would not reach by himself, making his exit and freedom very difficult, should a longing for something better actually arise within him; this is quite readily perceived. But that a prince, a ruler of darkness, an expert power, extending as far as the air and clouds, lurks therein, that we do not know of ourselves, nor do we want to believe it, though it is proven by the word of God. The devil himself has the best interest in the fact that so little of his business is suspected among the dealings of men.—At first flesh and Reason can be for a while in conflict. Reason accuses the lusts of the flesh of being vile and unbecoming to man; but there is no power to free itself from them; and the flesh reproaches the reason with this inability and the consequent falsity of its assumed virtues, and so the two prefer to make peace with each other. The reason is reconciled with the flesh, helps to justify and excuse its lusts, paints a better external appearance for them, while the flesh for the sake of the praise occasionally crawls into a form not too coarse.—What will God yet do in future ages, that the riches of the grace of Christ may be yet more confidently proven, more gladly believed, and more uninterruptedly enjoyed!
Passavant:—Our whole nature desires life, life is our thirst, we hate death! So often and so long as we trespass against the law of our conscience or God’s law, is all holiness and righteousness dead within us; there lives then no love of God, no Spirit of the Lord, no joy in Him, no heavenly peace, no Divine life in us, that is, no real life.—If God’s breath does not breathe afresh upon us with the power of the Divine nature, then education however careful, culture however refined, is mere patchwork and tinsel, no pure truth, no pure power from God, no new birth, no heavenly life.—We can learn from the reports of the gospel messengers, in what forms, in what follies and enormities the kingdom of superstition and unbelief has down to our days, multiplied and established itself. Every recollection of the holy and eternal, every trace, every presage of the unknown God in the human soul, has been degraded and distorted into the silliest and most infamous fictions and lies, into the most miserable and sinful abortions of idolatrous forms and worship.—Notice the language of Scripture. One and the same word in the text signifies unbelief and disobedience, for both these poisonous plants proceed from one and the same bitter root of the heart. You do not look with pleasure on Him, Whom you will not obey; you do not keep Him in mind, nor inquire after Him.—Is thy obedience poor, then thy faith is not earnest; is thy faith not vital and genuine, then there is no child-like, earnest obedience.
Heubner:—Those are dead, who have died to all that is good and godly, in whom the spirit is benumbed and the flesh alone is active. There are grades of death as well as of life. Spiritual death manifests itself in the entire lack of knowledge respecting spiritual things, of desire, love, power for good; all taste for the Divine, all longing for God is wanting. This death is the result of sin. Christianity found the world dead and reanimated it. To be without God, without Christ, is death. The first stirring of life is anxiety about ourselves, the consciousness of misery and sin.—Fearful is the power, which the course, the spirit of the world, maintains over man. It distorts all his ideas. We must agree with it, if we would have peace, honor, respect and power; those who oppose it, are regarded with wrath. The origin of this spirit is in the prince of darkness. He who stands outside of Christ, stands in fellowship with Satan; for he thinks and lives in accordance with the maxims of the evil spirit.—“Prince of the power of the air!” This description is apt, because the evil spirit is not a visible member of human society, and yet is about us, in our circle, in the sublunary world.—Satan was therefore the ruling power in heathenism, and accordingly this cannot be regarded as a healthful and normal development of religion. His influence still continues.—To deny this activity of Satan is to bring water to his mill.—The bodily resurrection of Christ has as a consequence a spiritual resurrection of men.—It is contrary to the proud consciousness of man, to live by the grace of God, and yet he cannot live by any thing else than grace. All is of grace: that we may hear the gospel, God opens our understanding, and makes our hearts willing to believe.—What would have occurred had Christ not come? Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras appeared 4–500 years before Him—what had they helped the world? He who thinks that others would have come after them, who would have helped, will wait in vain forever. —On the one side Paul excludes works, on the other he requires them.
Stier:—God not only raised Him from the dead, but the dead in Him.—The air which exhales from earth the old villain who hides therein and uses it, thoroughly knows how to turn and pour in opposition to the gales from heaven.—Mercy removes misery and death, Love appears instead of wrath, blessing, delivering, saving.—First life, the new creature, then we may speak of walk and good works.—Life, as just begun, is not complete, does not stand still, but grows, develops, forms and employs itself. It proceeds from the Risen One continually as the Spirit of sanctification.
Spurgeon:—Spiritual quickening: Jairus’ daughter, the young man at Nain, Lazarus, 1) Illustrations of the different circumstances in which those who are really dead are to be found; 2) Illustrations of the various means of grace through which they are quickened by the power of the same Spirit; 3) Illustrations of experiences through which those who have been made alive pass after their quickening.
Langbein:—The glorification of Christ, the glorification of Redeemed ones: 1) God has quickened us together with Him, 2) raised us together with Him, 3) transferred us into heavenly places in Him.—Gesetz und Zeugniss: Bow thy knees and rejoice over the great gracious plan of God: 1) that we fully survey it in Christ, 2) that each of us has his place in it, 3) that it has become actual in many respects through the word and faith and in the Holy Ghost.
[Schenkel:—Sin a fountain of death in apparent life.—The kingdom of Satan in its dreadfulness and nothingness.—The blessedness of the Christian: 1) It has a firm basis, that of grace; 2) It leads them to a certain way, that of faith.—Our hope that in the course of ages God will manifest Himself yet more gloriously by means of the grace and truth made known in Christ. “Faith opens our eyes, ears, mind and heart; giving us (1) the heavenly desire, (2) the Divine knowledge, (3) the Divine taste, (4) the truth of life” (from Passavant).—R.]
Ephesians 2:1. The epithet “dead” here implies: 1. Previous life; 2. Insensibility; 3. Inability. He cannot because he will not, and therefore he is justly responsible.
Ephesians 2:2. They did not pursue indulgences fashionable at a former epoch, but now obsolete and forgotten. Theirs were not the idolatries and impurities of other centuries. No; they lived as the age on all sides of them lived—in its popular and universal errors and delusions; they walked in entire conformity to the reigning sins of the times.
Ephesians 2:3. Si Deus non irascitur impiis et injustis, nec pios justosque diligit (Lactantius).
Ephesians 2:4. Though mercy has been expended by God for six milleniums, and myriads of myriads have been partakers of it, it is still an unexhausted mine of wealth.—The love is great—a great God is its possessor and great sinners are its objects.
Ephesians 2:5. Life may be feeble at first, but the sincere milk of the word is imbibed and the expected maturity is at length reached. Its first moment may not indeed be registered in the consciousness, as it may be awakened within us by a varying process.
Ephesians 2:6. The quickened soul is not merely made aware that in Christ, as containing it and all similar souls, it is enlivened, and raised, and elevated, but along with this it enjoys individually a conscious life, resurrection and session with Jesus.
Ephesians 2:7. All the grace in this kindness shown in the first century is a lesson even to the nineteenth century. What God did then, He can do now and will do now; and one reason why He did it then was, to teach the men of the present age His ability and desire to repeat in them the same blessed process of salvation and life.
Ephesians 2:8. Look at salvation in its origin—it is “by grace;” in its reception—it is “through faith;” in its manner of conferment—it is a “gift.”
Ephesians 2:9. If man be guilty, and being unable to win a pardon, simply receives it; if, being dead, he gets life only as a Divine endowment; if favor, and nothing but favor, has originated his safety, and the only possible act on his part be that of reception; if what he has be but a gift to him in his weak and meritless state—then surely nothing can be further from him than boasting, for he will glorify God for all.—R.]
Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:1.—[The pronoun ὑμῶν is found in א. B. D. F.; accepted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Ellicott. It is omitted in Rec., K. L.; bracketted by Alford, rejected by Braune, but it seems unlikely to have been inserted, since the articles are sufficiently explicit. They justify at all events the above rendering.—On also instead of and, the meaning of in, and the anacoluthon, see Exeg. Notes.—R.]—B. reads ἐπιθυμίαις instead of ἁμαρτίαις.
Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 2:2.—[The word ἐξουσίας is generally taken collectively. It means here either empire (so Ellicott renders) or powers (Four Ang. clergymen). The latter least disturbs the E. V., and gives an excellent sense.—Of must be inserted before “spirit,” to show that it is not in apposition with “prince,” as the E. V. assumes.—Sons is more literal than “children,” and serves to distinguish υἱοί from τέκνα. (Ephesians 2:2).—R.]
Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 2:3.—Instead of τέκνα φύσει [Rec.] in א. B. and others, A. D. E. F. G. and others read φύσει τέκνα; an evident transposition, to take φύσει from between two words belonging together. [Most modern editors retain the order of the Rec.—Alford accepts ἤμεθα (א. B.) instead of ἦμεν (Rec., A. D. F. K. L., most editors).—Ellicott has been followed in the emendations of the English text.—R.]
Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:5.—[The aorist should be rendered by the English past, here and Ephesians 2:6, while the peculiar and emphatic ἐστε σεσωσμένοι, ye have been and (still are) saved, seems to require the perfect here, where a series of past acts are brought in review.—We substitute our trespasses for sins, because παραπτώμασιν is usually rendered thus, the article having in this instance almost the force of our possessive pronoun.—B. has a number of various readings in this verse, inserting ἐν before τοῖς παραπτώμασιν, which is an evident gloss. On in see the parallel expression, Ephesians 2:1.—R.]
Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 2:6.—[In Him is preferable to together, bringing out more exactly the force of συν in the compound verbs.—R.]
Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 2:7.—The whole verse is wanting in א.; yet added very early. [The order of the E. V. is unfortunate, since the emphasis rests on the verb shew forth. The fuller expression: the ages which are to come, seems to be required by the full form of the Greek.
Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 2:7.—[The Rec. (with D.3 K. L.) gives the masculine form. The neuter is found in A. B. D.1 F., added in א., accepted by nearly all modern editors.—R.]
Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 2:7.—[The E. V. as so often incorrectly renders ἐν, through. The comma should be omitted, as the phrase is either part of a compound modal clause, or closely joined with “toward us.”—His before kindness is altogether unnecessary.—R.]
Ephesians 2:8; Ephesians 2:8. [The article τῆς before πίστεως is found in א. D.3 K. L., most cursives, Rec.; accepted by Tischendorf, Meyer, Eadie. Bracketted by Alford. It is omitted in א. B. D. F. G.; rejected by Lachmann, Ellicott (not in Exodus 1:2, but in 3, 4) and Braune. The weight, though not the majority, of authorities seems to be against it.—Alford renders the last clause of the verse: God’s is the gift, following the Greek order, but Ellicott’s rendering: the gift is God’s, better accords with the English usage respecting emphatic position.—R.]
Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 2:10.—[This transposition brings out the emphasis resting on His, required by the Greek order, and has the additional advantage of showing that the participle created agrees with we.—The changes in the latter part of the verse are demanded by the generally admitted interpretation of the passage.—See Exeg. Notes.—R.]
[Eadie infers from Ephesians 2:2, “in which,” that these datives represent not simply the instrument, but at the same time the condition of death. The general notion of the dative, the where-case, is not opposed to this. Hodge Ellicott and Al-ford accept the causal sense, the latter justifying the use of in, to express this (“sick in a fever”). There seems to be doubt enough as to the exact force to warrant us in retaining the preposition supplied in our version.—R.]
[Alford doubts the universal applicability of Tittmann’s distinction, but accepts it as correct here, where both words are used. In Romans 5:12-19 (see pp. 176, 182, Romans) there is a very marked distinction between the words, but here it is less observable. We must however attribute to ἁμαρτία a more generic sense than is found in the concrete παράπτωμα.—R.]
[Ellicott: The former, the more limited term, viz.: particular and special acts of sin; the latter, the more inclusive and abstract, embracing all forms, phases and movements of sin, whether entertained in thought or consummated in act.” So Eadie, though not very decided in his preference.—R.]
[Ellicott finds an ethical meaning predominant here in” αἰών. “In such cases as the present the meaning seems to approach that of ‘tendency, spirit, of the age’ (Olsh.), yet still not without distinct trace of the regular temporal notion, which, even in those passages where αἰών seems to imply little more than our ‘world’ (comp. 2 Timothy 4:10), may still be felt in the idea of the (evil) course, development, and progress (‘ubi ætas mala malam excipit’), that is tacitly associated with the term.”—R.]
[“The world and the church are now tacitly brought into contrast as antagonistic societies; and as the church has its own exalted and glorious Head, so the world is under the control of an active and powerful master, thus characterized” (Eadie). The reference to a personality is to be found in this word, though ἐξουσίας as a collective noun includes the evil spirits whose prince is Satan.—R.]
[The connection between “unbelief” and “disobedience” is undoubted, but the former does not come into any special prominence here. The word here “characterizes the world not as in direct antagonism to the gospel, but as it is by nature—hostile to the will and government of God, and daringly and wantonly violating that law which is written in their hearts” (Eadie).—R.]
[The reference to Jewish Christians has been accepted by the vast majority of commentators, both on account of the particular antithesis (ὑμᾶς, Ephesians 2:1) and the general distinction which seems to attach to these pronouns in this Epistle. But De Wette, Eadie, Ellicott, Alford oppose this reference here, on the ground that πάντες will not admit of this limitation. In every case Paul refers to both, when he uses ἡμεῖς πάντες.—Perhaps it is safest to follow this usage here, for the doctrinal teaching remains the same, whether we suppose the Apostle is emphasizing the fact that all Christians are children of wrath by nature, or even the Jews who thought themselves children of promise by nature.—The meaning of οἱ λοιποί at the close of the verse will of course be modified by the view taken of ἡμεῖς.—R.]
[Ellicott says of this word: “It here probably denotes the various exhibitions and manifestations of the will, and is thus symmetrical with, but a fuller expansion of ἐπιθυμίαις.” So Meyer. Eadie similarly; the latter inclinations, the former the resolves into which they ripen, and which are further divided.—The use of the word seemed to justify our finding in it an element of desire, though the E. V. is too decided in its rendering.—R.]
[Eadie emphasizes the subjective side: “The object of the Apostle, however, is not merely to affirm that spiritual life and resurrection have been secured by such a connection with Jesus, but that having been so provided, they are really possessed.” This makes the “life” here referred to strictly spiritual. But a reference to physical resurrection seems to be involved (Alford, Ellicott). The aorist, retaining its proper force, has occasioned some difficulty. While the reading ἐν (B.) is to be rejected, and “in Christ” is not the exact sense, we must still hold that this thought underlies our verse. “What God wrought in Christ He wrought ipso facto in all who are united with Him “(Ellicott); not to the exclusion of a reference to the actual quickening in the case of believers. “When He was raised physically, all His people were ideally raised in Him; and in consequence of this connection with Him, they are, through faith, actually quickened and raised” (Eadie).—Dr. Hodge finds in the last fact that two other aorists follow a reason for limiting this verb to the beginning of the work of restoration, and yet says, Ephesians 2:6 : “In its widest sense the life, which in Ephesians 2:5 is said to he given to us, includes the exaltation expressed in this verse. It is, therefore, only by way of amplification that the Apostle, after saying we are made partakers of the life of Christ, adds that we are raised up and enthroned with Him in heaven.” If the latter position be correct, the verb is not to he limited here.—R.]
[Ellicott: “This emphatic mention of grace (grace, not works) is to make the readers feel what their own hearts might otherwise have caused them to doubt,—the real and vital truth, that they have present, and actual fellowship with Christ in the quickening, yea, and even in the resurrectionary and glorifying power of God.”—R.]
[The force of συν in the two verbs is brought out in our rendering of this verse. A neater version would probably he: “And with Him raised us up, and made us sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”—R.]
[It is joined by some to χρηστότητι, but this seems a strange collocation. Ellicott takes the whole expression as “a single compound modal clause,” “in kindness toward us” defining accurately the manner in which God displays “the riches of His grace.” while “in Christ Jesus” specifies as it were, the ever-blessed sphere to which its manifestations are confined, and in which alone its operations are felt. The same author very properly remarks on De Wette’s “melancholy want of appreciation” of the repeated mention of the name of Christ.—R.]
[The variation in the reading does not affect this statement, since διὰ πίστεως would mean, through faith, taken abstractly, while τῆς πίστεως would mean your faith. As regards the meaning of “grace,” it preserves the same wide sense as in Ephesians 2:5, and is “not to be regarded specially and technically as in the scholastic theology, and divided into gratiæ præveniens, operans, co-operans; the first having for its object homo convertendus; the second, homo qui convertitur; and the third, homo conversus sed sanctificandus” (Eadie). The force of the perfect as expressing both a terminated action and a present state should not be overlooked: Ye have been saved, and ye are actually now in a state of salvation.—R.]
[Dr. Hodge presents four reasons for preferring the reference to faith. 1. “It best suits the design of the passage.” Grant it, but that is of little weight when the other reference accords better with grammar and syntax. 2. “The other interpretation makes the passage tautological.” Paul uses a great deal of such tautology. 3. “The antithesis between faith and works is preserved.” But regard for an antithesis found in the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans should not outweigh regard for the parallelism of our own passage. 4. “The analogy of Scripture is in favor of this view.” Very true, but as it represents elsewhere faith as the gift of God, so it represents everywhere that salvation is the gift of God.—It is to be regretted that so judicious an author had not stated the difficulties attending his view as well as these arguments in its favor.—R.]
[Alford: “The English reader is likely to imagine a contrast between ‘not of works’ and ‘for we are His work manship,’ which can hardly have been in the mind of the Apostle.” The word ποίημα becomes in Latin and English poema, poem; the same notion of poetry being the truest, highest work or creation, is found in other languages.—R.]
[Eadie well sums up the argument of the Apostle, that salvation is not of works: 1. The statement that salvation is of works involves an anachronism; 2. Involves the fallacy of mistaking the effect for the cause. 3. Even such good works can have in them no saving merit, for we are His work manship.—R.]
[In our section, immediately following Ephesians 1:22-23, the world is marked in distinct and telling contrast to the Church. “The Church has its head—κεφαλή; the world has its—ἄρχων. That Head is a man, allied by blood to the community over which He presides; that other prince is an unembodied spirit—an alien as well as a usurper. The one so blesses the church, that it becomes His ‘fulness,’ the other sheds darkness and distress all around him. The one has His Spirit dwelling in the church, leading it to holiness; the other, himself the darkest, most malignant, and unlovely being in the universe, exercises a subtle and debasing influence over the minds of his vassals, who are ‘children of disobedience.’ Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; Act 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4.” Eadie.—R.]
[As a specimen of the mode by which human inferences and hypotheses can be added to Scripture to pervert it, take the declaration of the Council of Trent. Sess. VI. cap. Eph 16: “The Lord’s goodness to all men is so great that He will have the things which are His own gifts to be their merits”—ut eorum velit esse merita quæ sunt ipsius dona (from Eadie).—R.]
2. Extolling comparison of their previous and their present condition
11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles, [that once29 ye, Gentiles] in the flesh, who are called [the] Uncircumcision by that which is called the 12[or by the so-called] Circumcision in the flesh made [wrought] by hands; That at that time30 ye were [ye were at that time] without Christ, being aliens [alienated] from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of [the] promise, 13having no hope, and without God in the world: But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime [once] were far off are made [were brought]31 nigh by [in] the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace, who hath [omit hath] made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us [and broke down the 15middle wall of the partition,]; Having abolished [or done away]32 in his flesh the enmity, even the law of [the] commandments contained [expressed] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [that he might create the two in himself33 into] one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both [And might reconcile them both]34 unto God in one body by [in one body to God through] the cross, 17having slain the enmity thereby [on it]: And [he] came and preached peace to you which [who] were afar off, and [peace]35 to them that [those who] were nigh. 18For through him we both have [our]36 access by [in] one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore [So then] ye are no more [longer] strangers and foreigners [sojourners], but [ye are]37 fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built [Built up] upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ [Christ Jesus]38 himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building39 fitly framed together groweth [is growing] unto a holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are [being] builded together for a habitation of God through [in] the Spirit.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Detailed description of their previous condition. Eph 2:11-12.40
Ephesians 2:11. Wherefore remember.—Διό,“wherefore,” refers, like Ephesians 1:15 : διὰ τοῦτο, to the preceding section (Stier, Bleek), since the object of “remember” is their previous quite as well as their present condition, or the “creating” of those who were “dead,” Talis recordatio gratum animum acuit et fidem roborat (Bengel), taking into view not merely the obtained riches, but also the poverty and misery from which they were released. The reference to Ephesians 2:5-10 (Meyer) is not correct, since Ephesians 2:5 resumes the object of Ephesians 2:1-3, and Ephesians 2:4 contains the subject, nor that to the last thought only (Chrysostom), since this sums up the whole. [Ellicott suggests the reference “to the declaratory portion of the foregoing paragraph, Ephesians 2:1-7; Ephesians 2:8-10 being an argumentative and explanatory addition.—R.]
That once ye, Gentiles in the flesh, ὅτι ὑμεῖς ποτὲ [ποτὲ ὑμεῖς] τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί.—(See Textual Note 1.] The ἦτε (Ephesians 2:12), introduced by the resumptive ὅτε after the apposition, belongs here, so that it need not be supplied. “Ye” means those who are now Christians (σεσωσμένοι), and that they have been “Gentiles in the flesh” is marked by ποτέ. Accordingly τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί is a predicatory appositional phrase. The article marks the designation as one well-known, the substantive, which in itself has no dishonorable meaning, being used with a reference to גוֹיִים, and thus with the additional notion of a fault. Accordingly, Paul adds, “in the flesh.” This is not κατὰ σάρκα (Ephesians 6:5; Romans 9:3; Romans 9:5; 1 Corinthians 10:18), which denotes a relation, while here a status is spoken of, one which has been, but is no longer existing (ποτέ). Joined without the article it forms with “Gentiles” one conception: Goim in the flesh, denoting what is external: Ye former heathen in the flesh, in the natural condition, uncircumcised, without a sign of the covenant, not even externally, in the flesh, endowed with the known sign of the people of God. [Σάρξ is taken in this its simple meaning by nearly all later commentators (Meyer, Ellicott, Alford, Hodge, Eadie, for the very good reason that the context plainly points to it, especially ἐν σαρκί just below. Braune’s view of the construction is also the usual one.—R.] Otherwise we must take τὰ ἔθνη without any reference to heathenism and the therewith connected deficiencies, as the nations excepting Israel, and find its quality denoted in the added phrase, as designating what was defective in them. Bengel: hoc considerate Paulus conjungit cum Gentes; nam Judæi gentes simpliciter dicebunt præputium, non præputium in carne—Gentiles, not Gentiles in the flesh. Hence it is incorrect to take ἐνσαρκί=natalibus, origine carnati (Grotius); for this they would continue to be. Nor does it designate the carnal mind, the unholy life (Ambrose, Anselm, Calovius), nor has it a typical reference (Stier) for which Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 9:10, give no occasion.
Who are called the Uncircumcision by that which is called [the so called] Circumcision in the flesh wrought by hands [οἱ λεγόμενοι .].—Ἀκρο βυστία, “uncircumcision,” is evidently in apposition to “Gentiles in the flesh,” and οἱ λεγόμενοι, already prepared for by τά before ἔθνη, is placed first for emphasis. The nations are called “Uncircumcision” on account of heathenism, the absence of the sign of the covenant in the flesh. The abstract noun, denoting here the essential point, is here a name also; hence it stands for the concrete=the uncircumcised. Colossians 3:11; Gal 2:7; 1 Corinthians 7:19, and περιτομή=the circumcised. In the phrase “who are called the Uncircumcision,” the fact that they were (Luther) and are so termed, is stated here objectively, while in ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς, instead of τῶν λεγομένων, which is called, instead of are called, it is indicated that the thing and the name do not coincide in the same way, i.e., by the so-called circumcision, the so-called circumcised.41 Accordingly the added phrase “in the flesh,” corresponding precisely with “in the flesh “in the last clause, marks the externalness, in the flesh where it takes place.
Χειροποιήτον, “wrought by hands,” is added with special emphasis, forming the antithesis to ἀχειροποιήτῳ, Colossians 2:11, and to what is perfect, wrought by God (Hebrews 9:11; Hebrews 9:24; Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24). It has a typical reference, as the passages in Hebrews plainly affirm, so that this reference is not contained in ἐν σαρκί, which is not opposed to ἐν πνεύματι, either here or in the previous clause (Stier). Hence we should connect closely “circumcision in the flesh,” and explain: which is made by hands in the flesh (Meyer, Bleek). There is indeed a special significance in circumcision, which is mentioned by Moses (Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6), and the prophets (Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 9:24-25; Ezekiel 44:7; Ezekiel 44:9). This the Apostle does not wish to undervalue; he only does not permit it to pass for something merely external, over against that of the heart, wrought by God (Philippians 3:3 : Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11), to which that wrought in the flesh points.42 He marks here the Jew in the people of Israel; the Jew, who remains satisfied with this external mark of the covenant with Israel, is a so-called circumcised one, and exalts himself without reason arrogantly above the uncircumcised and unclean nations. How miserable must be the condition of the heathen, who are despised by the Jew! So much the more glorious is it that they as Christians are now exalted above the latter. Hence we should not accept here a repugnance toward the Jews (Rueckert), or an advantage of the Gentiles (Chrysostom), or the opinion, that uncircumcision was no detriment to the Gentiles, and circumcision no advantage to the Jews (Clarius). In ea æqualitate, quam antea commemorat apostolus, nunc latentem inæqualitatem profert, ut Gentes, quo longius a Deo abfuerant, eo plura se gratiæ Dei debere fateantur (Beza).
Ephesians 2:12. That ye were at that time [ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρᾦ ἐκείνῳ].—Ὅτι, “that,” is a resumption of the first ὅτι (Ephesians 2:11), and connects with “remember,” adding to the status miserabilior of the heathen, already defined, the inner side. The verb placed first for emphasis marks the past, and τῷ καιρᾠ ἐκείνῳ, the dative of time (Luke 12:20 : ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτί; Winer, p. 205) renders it even more prominent than work (Ephesians 2:11).
Without Christ, χωρὶς Χριστοῦ.—Χωρίς ad subjectum, quod ab objecto sejunctum est, refertur, avev, ad objectum, quod a subjecto abesse cogitandum est (Tittmann, Syn. I., 93 ff.). Thus χωρὶς Χριστοῦ affirms: the heathen are in a condition, where they are deprived of Him: vos eratis procul a Christo; ἄνευ Χριστοῦ esset; Christus non adorat vobis.43 “Christ” refers to the promised One, the eternal Son of God; since a time is spoken of when He had not appeared in the form of a servant. Hence the name “Jesus” is not inserted. Christ, by means of ἐπιδημία νοητή (Olshausen), as the Angel of the Covenant (Rueckert), dwelt already in the people of Israel (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), and the people of God stood in an attitude of longing, hope, trust and faith, towards the coming One. The antithesis is in Ephesians 2:13 : “in Christ Jesus.” Hence we have here the summary which is expanded in the succeeding clause; this is not then a first point followed by a second and third (Schenkel), but a κεφάλαιον. [Hodge takes the following clauses as a confirmation of this phrase, but Ellicott, more correctly, as an elucidation of its significance.—R.] It is incorrect also to explain it as=sine, Christi fide vel notitia (Anselm, Calovius).
Being alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.—This is the first of two co-ordinate members of one thought; it describes the external relation, the other the internal. We have marked here, a separation from the πολιτεία of the people of Israel, which has become and will become ever greater, and at the same time an internal estrangement (comp. Ephesians 4:18; Colossians 1:21). The word indicates, if not an original fellowship, still an earlier nearness and equality. Bengel: Abalienati, non: alieni; participia prœsupponunt, gentes ante defectionem suam a fide patrum, imo potius ante lapsum Adami fuisse participes lucis et vitæ. So Rueckert, Olshausen, Stier. [Meyer does not think this notion of a previous fellowship is here implied. Alford: “Gentiles and Jews were once united in the hope of redemption—this was constituted, on the apostasy of the nations, into a definite πολιτεία for the Jews, from which and its blessings the Gentiles were alienated.” To which Ellicott adds: “The Gentile lapsed from it, the Jew made it invalid (Matthew 15:6, comp. Chrysostom); and they parted, only to unite again (ἔθνη καὶ λαοὶ Ἰσραήλ, Acts 4:27) in one act of uttermost rebellion, and yet, through the mystery of redeeming love, to remain thereby (Ephesians 2:15-16) united in Christ forever.”—R.]
By πολιτεία (Aristotle: τῶν τὴν πόλιν οἰκούντων τάξις τις) we necessarily understand here according to the context the constitution of the State, the external polity, from which the Gentiles were ever farther removed; a reference to the theocracy also is of course included. Hence too the theocratic name of honor, of “Israel” (Genesis 32:28), not “of the Jews.” Tota respublica, Israelis spectabat Christsm (Bengel). Comp. John 1:48; Romans 9:4; Romans 9:6; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Galatians 6:16. The genitive τοῦ Ἰσραήλ denotes the possessor, the usufructuary, of the πολιτεία. [So Ellicott, who rightly insists that the word marks their religious and spiritual, rather than their national or political distinctions. Hodge and Alford accept as more simple the view of Harless, that the genitive is that of the identical nation: “the commonwealth which is Israel.” Alford notices that the word “alienated” requires an objective reality as its reference, hence the meaning mentioned next is to be rejected.—R.] Certainly we should not refer this to the civil constitution (Anselm, Grotius), for which a Roman or Greek could have no desire; what the Gentiles, who became Christians, lacked previously and now possessed, was certainly not “places of honor” or “citizenship in the Jewish State” (Harless). We should not then think of citizenship (Bullinger, Calvin).
And strangers from the covenants of the promise, καὶ ξένοιτῶν διαθηκῶν44 τῆς ἐπαγγελίας.—This clause is closely connected with the preceding (καὶ), as a formula. So too the words correspond: “strangers” to “alienated,” “covenants” to “polity,” “promise” to “Israel.” “Strangers” respects what has come to pass in the course of development or the internal position, which that development furthers (Bullinger: eandem rem significat utraque, nisi quod posterius prius); “covenants” designates the repeated renewal of the covenant from Abraham to Moses (Genesis 12:2 f. Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 15:18;. Genesis 17:20; Genesis 22:16 ff.; Genesis 26:2 ff.; Genesis 28:13 ff.), to the prophets; the context speaks merely of the time before Christ. All these repeated agreements, however, serve the one promise given to Abraham referring to all nations as well as characterizing the covenants, and reechoing again and again. So in Romans 9:4 : “the covenants” and “the giving of the law” are placed side by side. Hence this is not to be referred to the two covenants, the old and the new (Calovius and others), or to the two tables of the law (Beza and others).
Having no hope, etc.—Here again we have two clauses connected and belonging together. Ἐλπίδαμὴἔ χοντες, “having no hope,” owing to the absence of the article, denotes that they have no hope of any kind; not merely a definite hope, but all hope is denied in their case. Hence we should not understand it of the resurrection and eternal life (Bullinger, Grotius), or of the promised possessions (Estius, Bengel), as the object of the hope, nor indefinitely of deliverance (Harless). At most we might join to it from the following ἄθεοι, in accordance with Acts 24:15 : “toward God,” πρὸς (εἰς) τὸν θεόν. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 we find the expression used as absolutely as here. The negative μή is used with the participle in this clause, which is dependent on μνημονεύετε, “remember,” as a subjective negative. Winer, p. 444. Accordingly this clause is not to be put in dependence upon the preceding “strangers,” etc. (Bengel: si promissionem habuissent, spem habuissent illi respondentem; Harless); the clause would thus also be loosened from its close connection with the following one: καὶ ἄθεοι ἐντῷκόσμῳ.
Without God.—Ἄθεος is stronger than χωρὶς θεοὺ, corresponding to θεὸν οὐκ ἔχει (2 John 1:9; 1 John 2:23),=“not having God.” The essence of heathenism is Atheism (Romans 1:21 ff.); the worship of devils and εἴδωλα (1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Corinthians 7:2) does not take the place of God; “for polytheism is atheistic,” and that philosophy is first correct, which throws this off in its thoughts respecting God. Bengel: non statuerant, nullos esse deos (Acts 19:35): sed verum Deum ignorabant; tantum aberat, ut haberent (1 Thessalonians 4:5). He who is ἄθεος is, not merely as respects religion, but also as respects morality, God-less, and heathen immorality is different from Jewish immorality. Hence Harless should not wish to exclude this, as if it were true enough but not pertinent here, where the distinction from the people of Israel is set forth, they being however included also under sin. Meyer, against the context, weakens the idea, by taking it as passive: God-forsaken. [Of the three senses of ἄθεος: active (opposed to God), neuter (ignorant of God, without the subordinate notion of impiety, which Braune prefers), and passive (forsaken of God, without God’s help), the latter seems most prominent here, and is accepted by Hodge, Eadie, Ellicott, Alford, mainly on the ground that the whole passage is passive in its character. This is the gloomiest view, and hence the more probable one, though the others stand so closely related to it, that it is hardly correct to term this a weakening of the idea.—R.] The connection with the preceding clause is evident, God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16). Comp. Doctr. Note, 2.
In the world, ἐντῷκοσμῶ, sets forth the antithesis to “the commonwealth of Israel,” denoting the “ungodly where” (Meyer), and marking in any case the fearful element of ἄθεος, the place, where a “sure hope, a firm hold” is so urgently needed (Olshausen), the place without the Creator in the service of nature and the creature, without a Redeemer in need and sin, without consolation and salvation in vanity and nothingness. Hence it is not=inter ceteros homines, in his terris (Koppe), in profane humanity, the heathen world (Meyer), or in the world created and ruled by God (Grotius, Rueckert).
Finally it must be remarked in regard to the structure of this sentence, that the two pair of clauses which unfold the meaning of “without Christ,” each contain two related connected thoughts, and the two in the first pair stand in such a relation to the two in the second pair, that the first corresponds to the fourth and the second to the third. [The various correspondences as well as the relation to the leading clause of the verse are aptly expressed by Eadie: “Being Christless, they are described in regular gradation as being churchless, hopeless, godless and homeless.”—R.]
Ephesians 2:13. Fundamental trait of their present condition.—But now, in Christ Jesus [νυνὶ δὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ].—The thought of this verse is still in dependence on “remember” (Ephesians 2:11); the Apostle however breaks off into the independent, antithetical form. “But now” is in contrast with “once” (Ephesians 2:11), “at that time” (Ephesians 2:12). and as there the past was described by “without Christ,” so here the present by “in Christ Jesus;” the latter form being fuller than the former, because the Promised One has come, the eternal Son of God has become man.45 The Apostle does not refer to “the ‘now’ of the present ‘simply,’ but to the present in their fellowship with Christ” (Harless). Still we need not supply either ἐστε (Baumgarten-Crusius) or ὄντες (Calvin), nor connect the phrase exclusively with “now” (Harless); both belong to ἐγενήθητε below, in fact to the whole sentence.
Ye who once were far off were brought nigh in the blood of Christ, ὑμεῖς οἱ ποτὲ ὄντες μακρὰν ἐγενήθητε ἐγγὺς ἐν τῷ αἴματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ.—The position of the words obliges us to regard ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ as rendered specially prominent, as a general definition of modality, and ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ, “in the blood of Christ,” as a special one, so that the latter is to be taken as a more precise explanation of the former; it is not then in apposition with it; both belong to the verbal notion “were brought nigh.” Then again “ye” has now another qualification than before: “who were once far off,” as corresponding to Ephesians 2:12 (“alienated”—“strangers”). Comp. Ephesians 2:17; Acts 3:39; Acts 17:27 (“though He be not far from every one of us”); Mark 12:34 (“Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven”). These words have a reference figuratively to our relation to God; the heathen are thus spoken of in prophecy (Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 60:3-4; Isaiah 66:19; Isaiah 55:5; Isaiah 57:19) in their relation to both God Himself and His people. Bucer: qui hactenus non fuisti populus domini, jam estis populus domini. The distance and nearness include both the relation to God and that to His people; hence should not be referred either to the former alone (Matthies), or to the latter alone (Rueckert, Olshausen, Bleek). Bengel: procul a populo Dei et a Deo. It is not sufficient to say: longe eratis a cognitione Dei veri et a spe vitæ cœlestis (Grotius), still less: μακράν homines miserrimi, ἐγγύς, felicissimi (Koppe). The approach is something which develops (ἐγενήθητε), has a history;46 the means rest in and proceed from what is expressed by: “in the blood of Christ.” This is almost=“through his blood,” διὰ τοῦ αἴματος αὐτοῦ (Ephesians 1:7); the prepositions ἐν and διά are, however, both used in Colossians 1:16 : ἐν αὐτῷ—διʼ αὐτοῦ. The latter denotes the cause, through which any thing takes place, comes into position or existence, the former the permanent ground, on which it has its continuance.47 (Winer, p. 362. The word “Christ” here has special significance: it marks the Son of God beside the word “blood,” which marks “the form of a servant.”
Closer explanation respecting the nature and genesis of their present condition. Ephesians 2:14-18.
Ephesians 2:14. For he is our peace [αὐτὸς γάρ48 ἐστιν ἡ εἰρήνη ἡμῶν],—The position is emphatic, “He,” not the unemphatic subject, but He Himself (Winer, p. 142). [He and none other; so most commentators.—B.] His Person is “our peace.” The article marks the peace as well-known, more closely defined. Bengel aptly says: pax, non modo pacificator; nam sui impensa pacem peperit et ipsi vinculum est utrorumque. The allusion to passages in prophecy (Micah 5:4; Isaiah 9:5-6; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 9:10, etc.; also Psalms 72:0) is unmistakable. This is denied by Baumgarten-Crusius. The Messiah is indeed called שָׁלוֹם, not merely Prince of Peace, εἰρηνοποιός. The genitive ἡμῶν, “our,” merely denotes that the peace belongs to them, does not say whether the peace is among themselves or between them and God. This is determined by the context. On the nature of this peace, see Doctr. Note 3 b.
Who made both one, ὁ ποιήσας τὰ .—He is therefore “the peace” through an act (ἁ ποιήσας with αὐτός, quippe qui fecit), which is set forth here only generally: made one, ε͂ν ποιεῖν. Here we find a closer definition of the idea “peace,” not of “our,” as the neuter requires. Τὰ , like τὰ μωρά, ἀσθενῆ, κ. τ. λ., 1 Corinthians 1:27 f., designates the general: what is of two kinds, “what opposes because sundered” (Matthies). The annulling of an existent variance is thereby noted as the nature of the peace. Hence we may not say that the neuter is=τοῦς (Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 2:18), τοὺς δύο (Ephesians 2:15), as Koppe, Meyer and others think, nor does the neuter ἕν define the neuter τὰ (Bengel). [“Both” is usually referred to “Jews and Gentiles.” This is a legitimate inference, but Braune holds that the statement here does not require any specific reference.—R.]
And broke down the middle wall of the partition [καὶ τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ λύσας].—The indefinite notion of “making one” is now more closely defined; καί adds in a figure the main point; hence it is not epexegetical (Meyer). [The explanatory or epexegetical force of καί is accepted by Eadie, Alford, Ellicott. It is correct, if the previous clause has a distinct reference to the Jews and Gentiles: who made both Jews and Gentiles one, viz., in that He broke down, etc. There seems to be nothing gained by adopting Braune’s view, while the other most obviously suggests itself.—R.]
Τὸ μεσότοιχον, τοῦ φραγμοῦ (like ἕρκος ὀδόντων)=the partition wall of the fence, that is, the partition wall which is in the fence, denoting in the figure of an independent object a quality and effect of the hedge. [So Harless]. The leading idea is found in the first noun, the wall set up between the two, the Gentiles without the promise and covenant of God, and the Jews, the people of promise, which contains in itself the notion of separation; the participle applies to it. Therefore τοῦφραγμοῦ is not the genitive of apposition (Meyer) or to be resolved into τὸν φραγμὸν τὸ μεσότοιχον ὄντα (Grimm, Clavis, sub voce); in that case we would have found here τὸν φραγμὸν τοῦ μεσοτοίχου. Luther too is incorrect: and has broken down the hedge, which was between. Nor is it=μεσότοιχον διαφράσσον (Grotius and others). Unserviceable here also is the distinction of Bengel: paries disjungit domos, sepes regiones. From Matthew 21:33; Isaiah 5:2, we are shown that φραγμός (in agreement with Ephesians 2:15) refers to the law, that is, to its quality or effect in separating the people of God, which permits it to be regarded as a partition wall. We may also refer it to the temple in which a type of the spiritual is presented, and to which the expressions here selected point; there was there a court of the Gentiles (Acts 21:28), though only in latter times, in the last temple; a vail, which separated like a wall, rent first at the death of the Redeemer. Hence the word λύσας is aptly chosen (John 2:19; Matthew 5:17; Galatians 2:18; 1 John 3:8; 2 Peter 3:10).49—All reference to the separated residence of Jews in cities, as in Frankfort, Rome and elsewhere (Gronow and others) and the like is to be rejected.
Ephesians 2:15. Having abolished (done away) in his flesh the enmity, even the law of the commandments expressed in ordinances [τὴν ἔχθραν, ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, τὸννόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμα σιν καταργήσας. See Textual Note 4]. The Apostle now adds, without a connecting particle, the meaning of the figure; he construes it thus:τὴν ἔχθραν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ καταργήσας, but during the dictation inserts after αὐτοῦ the phrase τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν, the banner of this enmity; these two objects in the accusative representing two sides of one object, hence very well allowing the dependence on κατηργήσας. To τὸ μεσότοιχον corresponds τὴνἔ χθραν, denoting simply the literal reality, the division, the hostile separation and antagonism of Jews and Gentiles, and, since there is nothing to indicate any limitation, but as the context rather points to enmity of man towards God which is active behind this hostility of the Jews and Gentiles, including this latter at the same time (Ephesians 2:16). [So Alford and Ellicott: “The enmity due not only to Judaical limitations and antagonisms, but also and, as the widening context shows, more especially to the alienation of both Jew and Gentile from God.”—R.] Bucer: Vera tamen inter Judæos et ethnicos inimicitia, i.e., diversitas erat, quod illi verum Deum colerent, hi minime. It is incorrect to refer it exclusively to the enmity against God (Greek Fathers, Harless and others) or to the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles (Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Bleek [Eadie, Hodge] and others), or to understand only the cause of division that is the law (Luther, Calvin and others). It is correct however to understand that the Apostle places by the side of the existing fact, τὴν ἕχθραν, the cause of the same, τον νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασι.
The law has its contents in “commandments:” αἱ ἐντολαί, the injunctions to be regarded and executed, are both the purely moral and the ceremonial commandments of God (Matthew 15:3; Matthew 22:36; Matthew 22:38; Romans 7:8-13), called also “of men” (Titus 1:14); the plural marks plurality, and points also to divisions. This is rendered prominent by the phrase ἐνδόγμασιν, joined closely without the article to ἐντολῶν, and defining its quality. Similarly: πίστις ἐν τῷ κνρίῳ (Ephesians 1:15), ἀγάπη ἐν πνεύματι (Colossians 1:8), σοφία ἐν μυστηρίῳ (1 Corinthians 2:7). Comp. Winer, pp. 129, 206. Δόγμα, used of regal orders (Luke 2:1; Acts 17:7), of apostolic determinations (Acts 16:4), means here as in Colossians 2:14 the statutes of the law; δογματίζεσθαι, in Colossians 2:20, is to be ordered or to order one’s self. The idea of a mandate is always contained in it. Erasmus: Ostendens legem imperiosam appellat illam τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐντέλλουσαν)—quomodo? non persuasione et lenitate aut promissis, sed præceptis quæ vocat Dogmata. Every ἐντολή appears then in a special, mandatory precept. [This view of the phrase is now the common one. Alford: “The law of decretory commandments.” For the other interpretations, see Harless and Eadie in loco.—R.]
Of this there is predicated καταργήσας (ἀργὸν ἀεργὸν ποιεῖν, Romans 3:31; 1 Corinthians 13:11): to make unavailing, to do away, to deprive of power. The ideal worth remains intact, so also the theocratic obligation; but in so far as the law imperiously binds the heart and will with casuistic ordinances for all cases, it is done away. In this too lies the cause of the enmity against God and men. [Eadie takes “law,” etc. to mean the ceremonial law. Hodge more correctly: “The idea probably is that the law in all its compass, and in all its forms, so far as it was a covenant prescribing the conditions of salvation, is abolished.” He extends it to all the law of God, written in the heart as well, while admitting a special reference to the Mosaic law.—R.]
This doing away took place “in his flesh.” As the decisive, main qualification it stands in an emphatic position. It means more than “in Himself,” denoting the real “likeness” to our “flesh,” in which He began His sanctifying, expiating sorrows, which slew what was opposed, which helped the right to full right, in active obedience to the law even to the acme, of the death on the cross, the passive obedience, thus, though without sin, bearing, feeling, overcoming the “enmity” with the “law,” thus “by virtue of His fleshly life under the law, which He gave to death, in order to receive it back from death living, glorious, free in spirit for us all” (Delitzsch), putting the law with its ordinances into inactivity, at the same time in His bodily life burying it. Bengel construes incorrectly: Est quasi stilo lapidari scriptum: Christus came sua inimicitiam, dogmatibus evangelicis in totum orbem deditis legem præceptorum sustulit; this is simply untrue historically, impossible logically, unnecessary grammatically, and too artificial. [It seems scarcely correct to render “by His flesh” (Hodge: “i.e., by His death”), since this leaves out of view the life of Christ as a satisfaction of the law. Besides ἐν rarely means simply by. Alford and Ellicott however thus limit it: “in His crucified flesh.”—The question of connection is more disputed. The article would precede, if it should be joined to ἔχθραν. Harless, De Wette, Meyer, Eadie, Hodge agree with Braune in joining it with καταργήσας, in emphatic position. To this Alford, who, with Ellicott and many of the earlier commentators, joins it with λύσας, objects, because it makes the instrumental predication precede the verb. If ἔχθαν is governed by καπαργήσας, the question is decided at once, while in any case this view seems preferable; the general sense remaining the same, although the allusion to the vail of the temple becomes more prominent, if Alford’s view be accepted.—R.]
Meyer and others take τὴνἔ χθραν by itself as in apposition to μεσότοιχον, detaching it from what follows; in that case τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν would stand before ἐν τῇ σαρκὶαὐτοῦ. [This is also the view of Eadie, Hodge, Alford, Ellicott. While it does not introduce any material difference into the interpretation of the passage, it modifies its form very considerably. And it seems the preferable view. The objection Braune raises is met at once by saying that his own interpretation assumes an after-thought influencing the order (see beginning of this verse). The emphatic phrase; “in His flesh” thus takes an emphatic position, whatever be its connection. The emphasis is altogether lost in the E. V., as any reader may perceive. This view allows of a nicer discrimination between the accusatives, introduces a needed explanation of the figurative expression: “middle wall,” while ἔχθραν is more usual after the verb λύειν than after καταργεῖν. Hodge thus paraphrases: “He is our peace, because He has made the two one, by removing the enmity or middle wall which divided the Jews and Gentiles, and this was done by abolishing the law.” This is correct, but omits the important description of the law and the emphatic: in His flesh.” Comp. Textual Note4.—R.]
Stier incorrectly joins ἐν δόγμασιν to νόμον; but then the article τόν would necessarily have been prefixed (1 Thessalonians 1:8) or ἐντολῶν have preceded νόμον (Colossians 1:8). Nor is “in his flesh” to be joined with “enmity” (Chrysostom), as though only a natural hatred among his people, among his kindred, were referred to. It is incorrect to understand νόμος τῶν ἐντολῶν as referring only to adiaphora (Grotius), to the ceremonial law (Bengel) [Eadie], or to the moral law alone (Calovius), or δόγματα as referring to philosophorum doctrinas (Grotius), since the readers are not homines triti in philosophorum Scriptis; quite as little can the doctrine of Christ be denoted thereby (Bengel and others), or nova præcepta (Fritzsche). Finally καταργήσας does not point to the removal of the theocratic obligation (Schenkel).
That he might create the two in himself into one new man [ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ ἐν ἑαυτῷ εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον].—Ἵνα introduces a final clause, giving here the purpose of καταργήσας, which defines λύσας more closely, and with this explains ποιήσας. He has done away the law in its commandments; destroyed the separating elements clinging to it, that He might κτίσῃ. Thus the ποιήσας is further defined as creating. The objects of this creation, τοὺςδύο, are the two great masses of people regarded as two individualities, as two, not a greater number of separate individuals beside each other, each of whom stands or falls for himself (Olshausen); still less is there involved a series of various specimens of the different races. The masculine denotes the persons, in distinction from the more general idea of the neuter (τὰ , Ephesians 2:14); the choice of words corresponds. That ἀνθρώπους is not inserted, is not to be explained by the wider scope, as Bengel thinks: eleganter omittit homines, antea enim vix humanum nomen tuiti erant. Ἐνἑαυτῷ places the Person of Christ again in the foreground: Ne alibi quam in Christo unitatem quærant (Calvin). [Hodge: “In virtue of union with Him,—union with Christ being the condition at once of their unity and of their holiness.” In His Person, at all events.—R.] The ground of the existence and permanence is in Him; He is the Author (κτίσῃ) and foundation, and at the same time the life-sphere, Creator and Second Adam, Progenitor of the new race, which stands in original peace with God. It is therefore not=δἰ ἑαυτοῦ (Greek Fathers), in order to exclude angels or other powers, as those through whom what is asserted was effected. But still less is it=per suam doctrinam(Grotius).
In this creation (κτίσῃ, Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:10) there is a purpose εἰς ἕνα καινὸν ἄνθρωπον. Ἐνἑαυτῷ conditions ἅνθρωπος in the singular. Comp. Galatians 3:28 : πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστὲ ἐνΧριστῷ Ἰησοῦ; John 10:16. By εἷς καινὸς ἄνθρωπος is indicated: ὁρᾷς οὐχὶ τὸν Ἕλληνα γενόμενον Ἰουδαῖον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦτον κἀκεῖνον εἰς ἑτέραν κατάστασιν ἥκοντας οὐχ ἵνα τοῦτον ἕτερον ἑργάσηται, τὸν νόμον κατήργησεν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα τοὺς δύο κτίσῃ. It is Very superficial and perverted to take “one new man” as a third, which is neither heathenism nor Judaism, without thinking of the moral renewal of persons (Baumgarten-Crusius). The preposition marks the purpose or tendency, and thus the creation as one not yet concluded; humanity, consisting of personally free individuals, is potentially renewed in Christ, but not yet actually.
[Alford: “Observe, not that He might reconcile the two to each other only, nor is the Apostle speaking merely of any such reconciliation: but that He might incorporate the two, reconciled in Him to God, into one new man,—the old man to which both belonged, the enemy of God, having been slain in His flesh on the cross. Observe, too, one new man: we are all in God’s sight, but one in Christ, as we are but one in Adam.”—R]
Hence: So making peace, ποιῶνεἴρήνην.—The present participle stands first for emphasis, marking a continued activity of Christ. The act of union does not therefore coincide with the act of creation. Hence Bucer is incorrect: pace facta. Since εἰρηνη has no limitation joined with it, that peace (between Jews and Gentiles) which the context indicates as the most immediate reference, is to be meant, but that which is implied also in “new man” (toward God) is not to be excluded (Schenkel [Eadie, Hodge], and others). Harless should not term the note of Chrysostom (πρὸς τὸν θεὸν καὶ πρὸς ) correct only in the first half.
Ephesians 2:16. And might reconcile them both [καὶ ].—Καί connects this clause with ἵνα, on which the verb depends; so that this too belongs to the purpose of καταργήσας. The emphasis is on the verb which comes first. This compound occurs only here and in Colossians 1:20-21, and is a strengthened καταλλάσσειν, as ἀπεκδέχεσθαι and ἀποκαραδοκεῖν, not merely to expect, but to await, to expect with perseverance. The preposition ἀπό has the meaning “again” in composition (see Passow sub voce), but only when the notion of the verb itself includes this in some measure, as ἀποκαθίστημι of what is healed, restored (Matthew 12:13; Mark 3:5; Mark 8:25; Luke 6:10; Acts 1:6); certainly the notion “again” is near at hand in that of reconciliation, because separation and enmity are not original, and the reconciliation leads away from the present status back to the original one. Hence the strengthened notion is “reconcile again.” [So Calvin, Alford, Ellicott; but Eadie and Meyer object.—R.] Qui ita deposuerunt immicitiam, ut amicitia successerit, neque quidquam reliquum sit, quin concordes vivant ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι, cujus est unum caput Christus (Tittmann, Syn. I., p. 105).50—The object of the reconciliation: τοὺς . [The article renders the object definite: them both or both of us.—R.] Since Paul does not say δύο, which is a mere numeral, but ἀμφότεροι, which denotes diversity, he renders prominent the difficulty and importance of the reconciliation.
In one body to God through the cross [ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ στανροῦ].—“In one body” denotes the sphere in which the reconciliation is consummated: over against “both” there is now only “one body,” in which they are; each does not need a separate one. To supply “being,” ὄντας, in thought is the simplest interpretation. The phrase refers, like ἐν ἑαυτῷ, ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ, αὐτὸς γάρ (Ephesians 2:14), to His Person, as the only one in which both are redeemed, to an organism (σῶμα, not σάρξ) in its outward appearance, thus to the body of Christ, the Church. [So Hodge, Alford, Ellicott.] It is not, sicut Latinis collegia vocantur corpora, corporation=Society (Grotius).
The end of the reconciliation is τῷθεῷ. It is not God that is reconciled with men,51 but men with God. What has all along been implied, conceived of in general, left indefinite in the words “peace” (Ephesians 2:14-15), “the enmity” (Ephesians 2:15), “new man” (Ephesians 2:15), is now definitely expressed as the other side. The added qualification of the reconciliation: “through the [or His] cross” refers to the death on the cross, in which the ἱλασμός the atonement, is marked as the act, which is the condition of the at-onement. Comp. Doctr. Note 3.
Hence it is not justifiable to take ἑνἑνὶσώματι as=εἰς ε͂ν σῶμα (Delitzsch), or to refer it to the body of Christ on the cross (Chrysostom, Bengel: cruci affixo, Harless, Hofmann and others), since then διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ would be altogether unnecessary or should be joined with the following άποκετείνας (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 1, p. 381); nor is the thought to be completed thus: Christ has reconciled in one single body, or made one single body (His own) to a unity, including them in the same fellowship with God; there is no reference to the antithesis of many sacrifices before and outside of Christ. Grotius interprets διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ incorrectly: Simul intelligit doctrinam cruce sanctam; sed crucem dicere malint, ut intelligamus, quanto res ista Christo steterit; Stier too misinterprets: the power and fear of the cross which is to be preached. Nor can we accept a reconciliation of “both with each other, taking “to God” as dative commodi: ut Deo serviant (Grotius).
Having slain the enmity on it [ἀποκτείναςτὴν ἔχθρανἐναὐτῷ].—The aorist participle defines the mode of consummating the reconciliation, explaining τοῦ σταυροῦ, on which account ἑναὐτῷ can refer only to this: the Crucified One, who was slain, the Dying One, slays and has slain “the enmity,” which includes here as in Ephesians 2:15 both the enmity between “both “and against God, the latter being more prominent here, the former in Ephesians 2:15. On the cross the chief matter was, that He who had been rejected by both Jews and Gentiles should through a propitiation in Himself reconcile both to God. It is incorrect to exclude from τὴν ἐχθραν enmity toward God (Schenkel, Meyer) or of the Jews and Gentiles against each other (Rueckert, Harless, Hofmann), for the peace of these with each other does not condition their peace with God, indeed enmity against God participates in the hate these have toward each other, which the law occasions and furthers. [Alford and Ellicott adopt this wide or complex reference. Hodge however says: “The enmity is that which subsisted between God and man.” Many doubt the propriety of predicating ἔχθραν of God, who certainly has ὀργήν. Comp. Romans, p. 165. In the passage there commented on, the active sense of the adjective must be accepted, I think, but that does not seem so bold and harsh as to say that ἔχθραν is “God’s enmity.” The wider reference is better sustained by the context, and of itself tones down the objectionable form without at all interfering with the implied truth respecting God’s anger against sin and the satisfaction rendered on the cross.—The view of Meyer is accepted by Eadie, though there seems to be a confusion in his language. But this limited meaning does not “at all satisfy the solemnity of the sentence, or of the next two verses.” Enmity here is “that between man and God, which Christ did slay on the cross, and which being brought to an end, the separation between Jew and Gentile, which was the result of it, was done away” (Alford). The fact that our participle is aorist, and in all probability denotes an antecedent act, is no objection to this view, as Eadie seems to think, since what Christ did on the cross (here spoken of) necessarily precedes what He designs doing through His cross (“reconcile them both in one body to God”), and the enmity of man against God was as fully and effectually destroyed in that act as that between Jew and Gentile. Meyer’s position takes this distinction of enmity as the basis of the “one body,” in which both are reconciled to God, but this seems to condition the latter on the former.—R.] It is a perversion to understand τὴνἔχθραν as the law (Koppe and others). Comp. on Ephesians 2:14. Ἐναὐτῷ cannot be referred to ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι (Bengel, Hofmann).
Ephesians 2:17. And he came and preached peace [καὶ ἐλθὼν εὐηγγελίσατο εἰρήνην].—Since the verb is not dependent upon ἵνα, but independent, it cannot be joined with Ephesians 2:16. Καί connects rather with Ephesians 2:14 : He Himself is our Peace and announces that Himself (Harless). What intervenes explains the former statement, by showing its meaning and truth in His doings even unto death: He has established peace, therefore He is our Peace. This is to be regarded as pre-supposed in ἕλθών. Accordingly His coming is after His resurrection. Bengel is excellent: Veniens a morte, profectione ad inferos, resurrectione, victor lætus ipse ultro nuntiavit. To this the verb εὐηγγελίσατο, “preached,” refers, which is not a predicting of the future, but a message from one who is present, who has come. Ἐλθών is added descriptively, and is in accordance with the promise (John 14:18): “I come to you,” denoting there His continued presence, insigne verbum (Bengel). Chrysostom well says: οὐ διʼ ἑτέρου ἔπεμψεν, οὐδὲ διʼ ἀλλοῦ τινὸς ταῦτα ἐμήνυσεν, ἀλλʼ αὐτὸς διʼ ἑαυτοῦ. The Risen One is Himself an actual announcement of the attained victory and peace; He is present in the coming of the Holy Ghost, and also with His messengers and their gospel. So in 2 Timothy 1:10, where the ἐπιφάνεια of the Risen One and His gospel are spoken of.
Thus the proffering and appropriating of the established peace is emphasized, and “preaching peace” is distinguished from “being peace.” Evidently we should understand both peace with one another and with God. Accordingly it is incorrect to regard ἐλθών as redundant (Grotius and others), or to refer it to the Incarnation (Chrysostom, Anselm, Harless); the expression can by no means be referred merely to the resurrection and the salutation of peace (Bengel), or to the coming in the Holy Spirit (Olshausen, Schenkel), or in the Apostles (Ambrose, Calvin and others); nor can it be=caused to be proclaimed (Grotius), since ἐλθών is found here and is not redundant. “Peace” should not be limited to the relation to God (Chrysostom, Harless [Hodge]) or of the Jews and Gentiles toward each other (Bleek, Meyer). [The repetition and emphasis are against this.] As regards the matters here treated of, we should not compare here John 10:16; John 12:20-23; Matthew 8:11; Matthew 14:14, as though this were that which He “came and preached.” We should rather be reminded of the renewal of the Apostles, the conversion of Paul, and of Romans 8:9-10; Romans 8:14-17; Rom 15:18; 2 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:13. [So Eadie, Alford, Ellicott (and Hodge, except as regards the comprehensive sense of “peace”).—R.] The tense of the verb εὐηγγελίσατο defines the point of time of the conversion of individuals; then Christ brought it to them.
To you who were afar off and peace to those who were nigh, ὑμῖν τοῖς μακρὰνκαὶ εὶρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς.—This is to be taken in accordance with Ephesians 2:13. The readers as originally Gentiles are those “afar off,” and on this account they come first, as indeed historically such were converted to the Church, the Jews, “those nigh,” falling into the background. The repetition of εἰρήνην before this last term marks their need of this, notwithstanding their nearness; ὑμῖν however comprises both, since both (Jews and Gentiles) were in the Church, though the latter constituted the main element.52 Comp. Acts 16:23. The double εἰρήνην is derived from Isaiah 57:19. There שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם refers not inaptly but emphatically, like the double ναὶ ναί, οὒ ὀὒ (Matthew 5:37; James 5:12), to Gentiles and Jews, and hence the repetition. The dative depends on the verb, not on εἰρήνη as dative commodi; the interpretation of Harless compelling him to accept this view of it: the purport of His message was a peace which respected all, Jews as well as Gentiles. [So Hodge, but the other is far simpler, and accepted by Meyer, Eadie, Alford, and most.—R.]
Ephesians 2:18. For through him [ὅ τιδιʼ αὐτοῦ].—Ὅτι is here evidently=quia; it is probatio ab effectu (Calvin).53 The purport of the εὐηγγελίσατο cannot be thus introduced (Koppe); this is set forth in “peace,” and it cannot be preached, that (ὅτι) we have, but only: because we have, or: that we may have. The nature of the “peace” is not to be explained by this clause (Rueckert); this has been already defined. The truth of the assertion: “came and preached” is shown in a reality (ἔχομεν), the reality of the result of this preaching (τὴν προσαγωγήν); because the preaching of Christ is spoken of, διʼ αὐτοῦ stands first. Were the proclamation the main matter, then ἔχομεν would have taken the first place. “Through Him” denotes the mediation by means of the entire Divine-human Person; it is not=“through his blood” (Olshausen). [Hodge suggests this, but not to the exclusion of other thoughts.—R.]
We both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father [ἔχομεν τὴν προσαγωγὴν οἱ ].—Προσαγωγή here, Ephesians 3:12 and Romans 5:2 (εἰς χάριν) is the presupposition to the entrance into the holiest (Hebrews 10:19) and “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord” (2 Peter 1:11) and the occasion of the drawing near (Hebrews 10:22); it is not merely the right and permission to do so, but a fact in which we rejoice as a reality (1 Peter 3:18) that has become ours (ἔχομεν); the drawing near should not be wanting; ἐσχήκαμεν (Romans 5:2) gives prominence to the appropriation as a continuing fact, ἕχομεν denotes only the present possession, the acceptance which has taken place. The underlying figure is according to Hebrews 10:19-22 the entrance into the most holy place. In προσαγωγή Stier finds indicated a free approach and an ever closer approach. [The active, transitive sense: admission, introduction, is preferred by Ellicott, Eadie, and Hodge apparently, following Tholuck (Romans 5:2), while Alford prefers the intransitive sense, access, which does not differ greatly from the other, certainly does mean merely liberty of approach, and leave the actual enjoyment of the privilege out of view. “Introduction” certainly does not bring out the idea of “repetition, present liberty of approach,” as “access” does.—Meyer and Eadie remark that it means more than “door,” John 10:9. Comp. Romans, pp. 160, 161.—R.] We need not with Chrysostom (οὐκ εἶπεν πρόσοδον· οὐ γὰρ ʼ ἑαυτοῦ προσήλθομεν, ἀλλʼ ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ προσήχθημεν) and Meyer think of a προσαγωγεύς to the king. [This thought need not be peremptorily rejected, however, though the other is on the whole preferable (Ellicott, Eadie, Alford).—R.]. The notion of “leading into” [Meyer] does not suit the other passages, Ephesians 3:12; Romans 5:2.
The words: οἱ placed in juxtaposition, mark strongly the removed division, the unity, that too in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They are not merely within the body of Christ, members of the Church, but are animated and impelled by the Spirit ruling there, which He has sent. “In one Spirit” refers to “in one body;” the two expressions being parallel. It is certainly not=unanimis voluntate,ὁμοθυμαδόν (Anselm). [The reference to the Holy Spirit scarcely admits of a reasonable doubt. But the preposition is not instrumental. To take as such destroys the parallelism with “in one body,” and confuses the relations of this clause. It is greatly to be regretted that this verse, so explicit and discriminating in its designations of the work of the Trinity in our salvation, should be thus confused. Dr. Hodge, whose notes on this verse are otherwise so excellent, does not bring out fully the correct interpretation of this preposition. “The Holy Spirit is, as it were, the vital sphere or element in which both parties have their common πρωσαγωγή to the Father” (Ellicott).—R.] “Unto the Father,” ad Patrem ut ad Patrem. Hoc versu fit mentio Christi, Spiritus, Patris, eodem ordine, quo Eph 2:12, 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:5; aliter Acts 1:4-5 (Bengel). The choice of prepositions is remarkably apt:πρὸς τὸν πατέρα διὰ Χριστοῦ εν πνεύματι, Unto the Father through Christ in the Spirit.
Sketch of their present condition. Ephesians 2:19-22.
Ephesians 2:19. So then ye are no longer [ἄρα οὖν οὐκέτι ἑστέ].—Ἄραοὖν is very often used by Paul (Romans 5:18; Romans 7:3; Romans 8:12, etc. Winer, pp. 414, 519); it is=hinc ergo [accordingly then, comp. on Galatians 6:10.—R.]; ἄρα draws a conclusion from Ephesians 2:14-18; οὖν continues the discourse. Οὐκέτι, “no longer,” is placed immediately after ἄραοὖν, for the sake of emphasis.
Strangers and sojourners, ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι.—Luther’s rendering: Gäste und Freundlinge, unnecessarily transposes the words. The expression proceeds from the more remote, ξένοι, to the less remote, πάροικοι. The former is the antithesis of ἐπιχώριος, and thus of the following συνπολῖται. So “brethren” are termed (3 John 554) “strangers;” it is=נֵּר. The latter word, πάροικοι=תּוֹשָׁב, which is often joined with the former (Leviticus 25:35; Leviticus 25:40). Leviticus 22:10-11, where the LXX oppose πάροικος ἱερέως and οἰκογενεῖς αὐτου, forbidding the former and permitting the latter to eat of the holy things, seems to have been in the Apostle’s mind. Πάροικοι is then here the opposite of οικεῖοι, and means inquilini (from incolo, incolinus), qui domicilium in aliquo loco habent sine jure civitatis, hospites in urbe aliqua (Grotius). The frequent figurative descriptions of the kingdom of God as the city or house of God (1 Timothy 3:15; Galatians 4:26 and Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 12:22) here evidently pass over into each other (συνπολῖται—οἰκεῖοι); there is not however a union or a mixing of these figures, but the πολιτεία is regarded as a more extended household. It inheres in the matter itself, that the citizens of the kingdom of God, have now filial and household privileges with Him, His whole people become themselves the holy house, the temple in which His Spirit dwells (Harless, Stier). The figure of the house and building predominates (Ephesians 2:20-22). We should not think of proselytes (Stier), nor take ξένοι καὶ πάροικοι as the antithesis to συνπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων, which is enhanced in meaning by οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ (Meyer). [The plausible parallelism of Harless and Bengel, adopted by Braune, is doubted by Alford and Ellicott, but accepted by Eadie.—R.]
But ye are.—The repetition of ἐστέ, in accordance with the best authorities (see Textual Note 9), is emphatic, like Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:18; Hebrews 12:22.
Fellow-citizens with the saints [συνπο λὶται55 τῶν ἁγίων].—Among “the saints” we can include only those who have been thus termed from the beginning of the Epistle, Christians. Bengel (Israelis cfr. iii. 18), Stier, Bleek, and others, have taken occasion from Ephesians 2:12 to refer it to the spiritual Israel; but this word being without closer qualification scarcely admits of this. Rueckert understands the Jewish Christians alone under the term. Still less are we to think of the patriarchs (Chrysostom), or the angels (Calvin, and others), or to include them here. Still the notion should be extended as it has been by Zanchius: omnium vere sanctorum, qui unquam fuerunt futurive sunt. [So Eadie. Alford: “Not angels, nor Jews, nor Christians then alive merely, but the saints of God in the widest sense, all the members of the mystical body of Christ, the commonwealth of the spiritual Israel.” Ellicott: “The members of that spiritual community in which Jew and Gentile Christians were now united and incorporated, and to which the external theocracy formed a typical and preparatory institution.” This view, which is that of Meyer, Hodge and many others, is preferable, notwithstanding the objection of Braune, since Ephesians 2:13 could not fail to remain in the Apostle’s mind.—R.]
And of the household of God, οἰκεῖοιτοῦθεοῦ.—This means those who belong to the house, to the family, whose Head and Father is God. To the right of citizen is added that of the house, of the child, of the heir, ye are not merely menials, servants, but members of the family, children. They have a relation of fellowship not merely to “the saints,” but to “God” also. Οἰκεῖος by itself would mean only domesticus, one who dwelt in the same house, as 1 Timothy 5:8, and as οἰκιακός, Matthew 10:36, so that it would remain undecided in what precise relation he stood. The genitive τοῦθεοῦ, “of God,” in accordance with συνπολῖται τῶν , obliges us to apply it to the most intimate relation, that of a child. It is incorrect to understand, according to Galatians 6:10 : οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως, religionis socii (Winer, who compares οἰκεὶοιφιλοσοφίας, philosophiæ addicti), here familiares, intimate friends (Theodoret: προσοικειωθέντες, relatives); quite as little should we take the family here as the stones of the house in which God dwells (Harless), even though the next verse passes to that figure.
Ephesians 2:20. Built up upon the foundation, ἐποικοδομηθέντες ὲπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ.—The participle characterizes the οἰκεῖοι as members, who are themselves first wrought, and inserted in the whole as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5), and that too upon the foundation which is laid. Vulgate and Bengel: superædificate. [We have the noun super-structure, but not a corresponding verb. The phrase “built up” is the nearest equivalent. “Having been built up” has perhaps too strict a reference to the past act.—R.] The aorist denotes the act of being built upon, and the context refers only to what has already been attained, not to the further building, which is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 3:10, but first mentioned here in Ephesians 2:22. Hence we have here ἐπὶ τῷ θεμελίῳ not: ἐπὶ τὸν θεμέλιον (Romans 15:20), nor yet: ἐπὶ τοῦ θεμελίου (=from the foundation, over the foundation; see Winer, p. 350), which would point to the further building. The dative here is not then “accidental” (Meyer). [Ellicott remarks on the assertion of Meyer, that the dative of rest, instead of the genitive of rest, is accidental: “the former denotes absolute and less separable, the latter partial and more separable super-position.” The apparent exception (Ephesians 1:10 : ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) is a reading of doubtful authority.—R.)
There is here no leap from one figure (that of the family) to another (that of a building); it is only on the other side of the same figure, which has in the temple its deeper or higher unity. Comp. Numbers 12:7; Hebrews 3:2-6; 1Ti 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:19-21 :1 Corinthians 3:9-10; Colossians 2:7; Judges 20:0; Acts 20:32. [If there be a transition it is quite easy and natural, “the employment of a term in a double meaning. ‘House’ has a similar twofold signification with us, as the ‘house of Bourbon,” or ‘house of Stuart,’—phrases in which the word is employed in a secondary and emphatic signification. We speak too of such houses being ‘built up’ by the wisdom or valor of their founders. In such cases, as Alford says, there is a transition from a political and social to a material image” (Eadie).—R] Whether θεμέλιος is masculine, as in 1 Corinthians 3:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 11:10; Acts 21:14; Acts 21:19, or neuter, as in Acts 16:26, can be determined as little from the text as Romans 15:20; 1 Timothy 6:19; nor can it be decided on the ground that the neuter is used only metaphorically, which would be inadmissible here (Harless), but rather from the fact that the masculine seems to be the prevalent usage with Paul.
Of the apostles and prophets, τῶνἀποστόλων καὶ προφητῶν.—These genitives set forth who has laid the foundation; 1 Corinthians 3:10 : θεμέλιον ἔθηκα; Romans 15:20 : έπʼ ἀλλότριον θεμέλιον οἰκοδομω. For: testimonium apostolorum et prophetarum substrictum est fidei credentium omnium; per illos jactum est fundamentum (Bengel). Comp. Ephesians 3:5-7. It is not then a genitive of apposition, which would designate the Apostles and Prophets as the foundation (Chrysostom, A-Lapide, Estius, [Baumgarten-Crusius, Olshausen, De Wette, Hodge], and others), for Christ is not primus inter pares (1 Corinthians 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 3:11) and Revelation 21:14 is a vision, in which the name of Christ is not mentioned, and the names of the Apostles are only inscribed on the foundations. Nor is it a possessive, genitive (Anselm, Beza, [Bucer, Cocceius, Alford], and others), for Christ can at least not be the foundation, where He is represented as the corner-stone.
[This view may be now considered the usual one. It is adopted by Bullinger, Calvin, Calixtus, Grotius, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Rueckert, Harless, Holzhausen, Bleek, Meyer, Eadie, Ellicott, Schenkel. This takes the genitive as that of “originating cause.” The only possible objection to it is that urged by Alford against the introduction of those who form parts of the building as agents; but on this very foundation they rested even if they laid it. To take the genitive as appositional is grammatical enough, and does not necessarily involve doctrinal difficulties, while it avoids confusing the foundation and the corner-stone, as the possessive sense does; but the whole analogy of Scripture figures seems to be against it. The simplest, least embarrassed view is then: “The doctrine of the Apostles, i.e. Christ preached, is the θεμέλιος; Christ personal the άκρογωνιαῖος; Christ mystical the πλήρωμα” (Ellicott). This view elevates evangelical preaching, while it sends us back of councils and creeds to Christ for our doctrine.—R.]
The context, which admits only of the preaching of the Christ already come, the order of the words and the omission of the article before προφητῶν, thus denoting a single category, compel us to think chiefly of the Apostles alone (Harless, Stier, Hofmann, II. 2, p. 103),—who are prophets also (Ephesians 3:11): the first term referring more to their personal testimony respecting what they have seen and heard, the latter more to the testimony communicated through the Spirit,—and not to the Old Testament prophets (Greek Fathers, Jerome, Erasmus, Calvin, Calovius, Rueckert, [Barnes], and others), or to the New Testament prophets, subordinate to the Apostles (Pelagius, Bengel: qui apostolis sunt proximi, Koppe, Meyer, Schenkel, Bleek). [The reasons for a reference to New Testament prophets seem far more decisive than those which support the identity of Apostles and prophets in this passage. The absence of the article is not conclusive. So Eadie, Hodge, Alford, Ellicott. The reference to the Old Testament prophets is untenable; comp. Eadie and Alford in loco.—R.] Of Montanism with its continuation of the Apostolate by means of prophets, Zeller and his teacher Baur alone can think. On the significance of the view here set forth, see Doctr. Note 6.
Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner-stone [ὄντος . See Textual Note10].—Participium ὄντος initio commatis hujus, valde demonstrat in præsenti tempore (Bengel), and marks the being so. Ἀκρογωνιαίον to which some codices add λίθον, occurs only here and 1 Peter 2:6 : λίθον , from Isaiah 28:16; comp. Matthew 21:42 : λίθος—ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας. Lapis angularis, ut duos parietes ipse medius contineret (Jerome) καὶ τοὺς τοίχους συνέχει καὶ τοῦς θεμελίους (Chrysostom), is the stone, which upholds the connection of the single ones with the whole, gives support to the whole edifice, is the most important stone, designating here the importance and indispensableness of Christ above the Apostles, just as in 1 Corinthians 3:11 Christ is termed the foundation, and the Apostles those who have in preaching laid this foundation and built others upon it. The foundation on which the Ephesians have been built is the preaching of the Apostles, but Christ is the corner-stone, who gives support to the whole and to the parts, Christ Himself, the living historical Christ. It must not be supposed that the Apostles personally are a foundation; they themselves need the corner-stone and are also built upon it. The various readings (see Textual Note10) do not alter the sense, only αὐτοῦ marks somewhat more strongly the Person of Christ, and τοῦ in א., or Ἰησοῦ in the others the historical Christ. Αὐτοῦ is not to be referred to θεμελίῳ (Bengel and others). The article is naturally wanting after αὐτοῦ, since no reference to what precedes is intended; the “cornerstone” is not for the “foundation;” that would be the support of the foundation; the support of the edifice is spoken of. A reference to the union of Jewish and Gentile Christians (Theodoret, Estius and others) is too remote according to the context, Ephesians 2:19 : “ye no longer are.”
Ephesians 2:21. In whom, ἐνᾤ.—This is to be referred then to the Person of Christ, not to “corner-stone” (Estius, Koppe and others), or “foundation” (Holzhausen), ἐφʼ ᾦ or ἐφʼ οὗ the building might be raised. It is not then: above which (Beza: Super), nor: on which (Luther), nor yet: through whom (Flatt: per), but like Ephesians 1:10 : ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, who is the point of union and support of the framing together and growing, without which the building falls, dissolves, and does not grow (Rueckert, Harless, Stier), [Alford, Hodge, Eadie and most.—R.]
All the building, πᾶσαοἰκοδομή.—Although πᾶσα ἡ οἰκοδομή is the least sustained reading, and the article should be rejected, and the use of πᾶς with and without the article according to Romans 3:9 (πᾶν στόμα—πᾶς ὁ κόσμος) is such that the former would mean; the whole building and the latter: every building, yet here we must in accordance with the context interpret: the whole building, as πᾶς οἶκος Ἰσραηλ (Acts 2:36), which however can be regarded as a proper name not requiring the article, see Winer, p. 106. Œkumenius reads πᾶσα οἰκοδομή and explains: ἡ καθόλου ἐκκλησια. Ignatius uses πᾶσα ἐπιστολή, πᾶσα ἐκκλησία in the sense of the whole letter, the whole church. The later Greek usage justifies this explanation and the omission of the article.
[Those commentators who are unwilling to accept the poorly supported reading of the Rec., as a rule take refuge from the incongruous interpretation; every building, which usage favors, in some such explanation as Braune gives. Meyer, whose grammatical accuracy rarely leads him astray, in this case insists on a strict interpretation. Alford: “Are we then to render ungrammatically, and force words to that which they cannot mean? Certainly not”—“the account to be given of such later usages is, that gradually other words besides proper names became regarded as able to dispense with the article after πᾶς, so that as they said first πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα (Matthew 2:23), and then πᾶς οἶκος Ἰσραήλ (Acts 2:36), so they came at length to say πᾶσα κτίσις (as we ourselves, ‘all creation’ for ‘all the creation’) and πᾶσαοἰκοδομή, when speaking of one universal and notorious building.” Ellicott accepts this view, but doubts the existence of another distinct instance in the New Testament. Eadie thinks the passages cited above and Luke 4:13; Acts 7:22; Colossians 1:15, at least show a transition to a larger usage. Meyer’s grammatical haste leads him into an unwarranted exegesis, for what warrant is there for calling separate congregations οἰκοδομη.—R.]
Οἰκοδομή is like 1 Corinthians 3:9, building, the edifice in the process of erection, which grows into a temple, especially as Ephesians 2:22 : συνοικοδομεῖσθε εἰς κατοικητήριον, marks decidedly the process, requiring the substantive idea of this verse to be that of a building going up. [Hence our word is chosen, not οἶκος.—R.] Our verse then contains an entirely general thought, which Ephesians 2:22 applies to the Ephesian church, in the figure of a temple, of the Church as one whole on one foundation; the view that every Christian is a temple of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 6:16), and every congregation also such an one, being quite remote. Hence it does not mean: every building (Meyer), nor “every part of the building,” walls, roof, etc. (Chrysostom), since it is not these parts, but the building as a whole that grows into a temple. [Comp. however Eadie in loco.—R.]
Fitly framed together is growing [συναρμολογουμένη αὔξει].—The present αὔξει, instead of αὐξάνεται, like αὔξῃ (Colossians 2:19), is rare but classical, denoting together with the present participle the process, which the Apostle considers merely as a spectator; the participle sets forth the form of the growth. Συναρμολογεῖν from ἀρμός, groove, joint, member (armus, artus), as Hebrews 4:12, occurs only here and in Ephesians 4:16, and according to this and the parallel passage Colossians 2:19 is=framed together, incorporated together. The figure is derived from the organism of the body.—Αὐξάνειν (sometimes transitive=augere, as in 1Co 3:6-7; 2 Corinthians 9:10, but usually intransitive) is used most exactly of plants (Matthew 6:28; Matthew 13:32), but of men also (Luke 1:80; Luke 2:40; 1 Peter 2:2), of a nation (Acts 7:17), of the word of God (Acts 6:7; Acts 19:20), of faith (2 Corinthians 10:15), of growth in grace (2 Peter 3:18; comp. Colossians 1:10); John the Baptist uses it in a purely external sense of Christ (John 3:30 : δεῖ αὐξάνειν). The growth is not then merely an outward extension, but respects the number of the called and their progress toward perfection (Nitzsch). Hence Grotius is incorrect: quorum jam mœnia surgunt; the citizens themselves are largely involved. Bengel: crescit coagmentata, Vulgate: constructa, but these renderings are insufficient.
[Alford: “Both participle and verb imply that the fitting together and the growing are still going on: and the only way which we in English have to mark this so as to avoid the chance of mistake, is by the auxiliary verb substantive, and the participle. The bare present, ‘growth,’ is in danger of being mistaken for the abstract quality, and the temporal development is thus lost sight of: whereas the other, in giving prominence to that temporal development, also necessarily implies the ‘normal, perpetual unconditioned nature of the organic increase’ (Ellicott).”—R.]
Unto a holy temple, εἰς ναὸν ἅγιον.—The goal of the growth is set forth in the figure of the temple in Zion. It is mere playing with the text to refer it to the temple of Diana, which cedere debet (Bengel) to this. [Meyer remarks: “This is not to be translated: unto a holy temple; for the notion of several temples was foreign to the Apostle in consequence of the Jewish national peculiarity, but: unto the holy temple, which does not require the article.” This accords with the extensive reference advocated above.—R.]
In the Lord, ἐνκυρίῳ.—This phrase is to be joined with “holy,” characterizing the sacredness of their temple as inward, vital, proceeding from, effected and nourished by Him.—[So Harless, Usteri, De Wette, Hofmann, Bleek.—R.] Unquestionably Christ is meant, as the Apostolic usus loquendi (Winer, p. 118) and the context which refers back to ἐνὧ, demand; He is the Mediator, in whom the members become οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦ. Hence ἐν κυρίῳ is not to be taken as the simple dative (Beza, Koppe [Macknight] and others), or joined with ναόν κνρίου i.e., Dei (Bengel). Others rightly refer it to Christ, but incorrectly join it with ναὸν ἅγιον as one notion (Stier), or with αὔξει (Meyer), in spite of ἐν ῳ. [The construction last named is rendered still more objectionable by taking ὲν=“through” (Grotius, Wolf, and Schenkel, who has a fondness for this instrumental sense of the proposition). Hodge suggests the same view, but prefers that of Meyer, which is tautological. Ellicott objects to the connection with ἅγιον, that it “gives perhaps a greater prominence to the special nature of the holiness than the context requires.” He therefore prefers the view of Stier, taking the phrase as a kind of tertiary predicate, almost=“and it is a holy temple in the Lord, and in Him alone.” Alford thinks this more in accordance with the Apostle’s style, and it is favored by ἐν πνεύματι, Ephesians 2:22. So Eadie.—R.]
Ephesians 2:22. In whom ye also [ἐνᾦ καὶ ὑμεῖς].—Per anaphoram iteratur ἐν ᾦ (Bengel), which is to be joined to “Christ Jesus Himself,” as Ephesians 1:13. It is not to be connected with κυρίῳ (Harless, Meyer, Schenkel) because the whole clause is parallel to the preceding one; still less however to “holy temple” (Calixtus, Matthies [Eadie] and others), since they are not built in a temple for a habitation. “Ye also” places the readers as being Christians, without any reference to their coming out of heathenism, as Baumgarten Crusius and Bleek suppose, in connection with the whole (“the whole building”). This is in accordance with the parallelism of the application in Ephesians 2:22, which is not tautological, but marks a dialectic advance. [Most commentators take “in the Lord” as the antecedent of the relative. “You also,” not “even you,” “καί with its ascensive and slightly contrasting force marking the exalted nature of the association in which the Ephesians shared” (Ellicott).—R.]
Are being builded together, συνοικοδομεῖσθε.—This is indicative, not imperative (Calvin and others), according to the context, which says what the readers, and the church in general, are, not what they ought to be. The preposition συν as in συναρμολογουμένη makes the connection with each other and with the whole; hence not merely with each other (Meyer), nor only with “the whole building” (Harless). The verb points to internal edification more strongly than αὕξει denotes the process of becoming built, magis magisque coaptari (Bucer); hence with Luther we should retain: miterbaut Werdet, not seid (Passavant). [“Are being builded together” is the nearest English equivalent. The preposition refers to the close and compact union of the component parts of the building (Ellicott).—R.]
For an habitation of God, εἰς κατοικητήριον τοῦ θεοῦ.—This sets forth the goal, as in Ephesians 2:21. The word here chosen in the stead of ναόν occurs only here and in Revelation 18:2, marking the place of dwelling (Luther: Behausung), while ναόν marks the place of worship. In this there is implied a significant advance, which explains the idea of the church. Comp. Doct. Note 5. The genitive τοῦθεοῦ designates the Master of the house, who goes in and out, doing, regulating, taking care of everything, even to the smallest and most external matters. Hence this is not the same idea as in the previous verse with only a change of expression (Meter, Schenkel), though it is not to be referred to individual Christians (Harless) and quite as little to be taken as dependent on αὔξει, ἐν ᾦ καὶ ὑμεῖς συνοικοδομεῖσαε being regarded as a parenthesis (Griesbach, Knapp), so that the sense would be: that a dwelling of God might arise (Koppe, Rueckert).
In the Spirit, ἐνπνεύματι.—This, being parallel to “in the Lord,” which qualifies “holy,” defines more closely the phrase, “of God,” His relation to the “habitation”: It is God, who dwells in you, in His church, in the Spirit as the element of His presence, hence in the Holy Spirit. The comparison with χαρὰ ἐν πνεύατι ἁγίῳ (Romans 14:17), ἀγάπη ἐν πνεύατι (Colossians 1:8) should not be so decidedly rejected as inappropriate by Meter, as though this were possible only with abstract terms. Ephesians 4:1 : δέσμιος ἐν Χριστῷ or κυρίῳ, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 : νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ are by no means abstract. Comp. on the idea of this verse, 1 Corinthians 3:16 : ναὸς θεοῦ ἐστὲ καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν to 2 Corinthians 6:16; Romans 8:11. As the Church is a temple, which is holy not merely outwardly, but “in the Lord,” so it is also a dwelling of God, where He does not dwell as the Shekinah in the temple, but in the Spirit, in His, the Holy Spirit, who is the Regent in this edifice, as He is efficient in its growth and occupation. So Rieger, Harless, Stier. It is not then=πνευματικόν (Greek Fathers, Rueckert and others), in accordance with 1 Peter 2:5 : οἶκος πνευματικός; nor is ἐν = διά (Theophylact [E. V.] and others), nor is the connection with the verb admissible: by virtue of, by means of the Holy Ghost ye are built together (Meyer, Schenkel, Bleek). [Hodge also prefers this view, which disturbs the parallelism, giving the phrase an unwarranted emphasis. The view of Rueckert is against the whole sense of the passage (Alford). Against Meyer’s objection to the interpretation of Braune, see Ellicott in loco, Comp. Eadie, and Galatians 5:5, against the distinction of Harless respecting the use of the article with πνεῡμα The reference to the Holy Spirit is undoubtedly the correct one and thus the verse brings the Trinity into view.—R.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Trinity. Ephesians 2:18 points to the Trinity: To the Father through Christ in the Spirit. But the allusion in Ephesians 2:22 is more obscure. [Yet Alford correctly says of the latter part of this section: “Thus we have the true temple of the Father, built in the Son, inhabited in the Spirit; the offices of the three blessed Persons being distinctly pointed out; God the Father, in all His fulness, dwells in, fills the church: that church is constituted an holy temple to Him in The Son,—is inhabited by Him in the ever-present indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”—R.]
2. The anthropology of this section.
a. Heathenism in distinction from Judaism. The heathen are termed those “afar off” the Jews those “nigh.” The latter had the theocracy and a covenant of God with them, repeated in many ways, and containing a glorious promise; the former were without hope and without God. For neither in the idol deities of the people, nor in the fancied deities of the philosophers and the educated, did they have the living God; neither nature (Romans 1:19-20; Acts 14:17; Acts 17:27), nor conscience could reveal to them the mercy, and the holy and sanctifying love of God, as this had become evident to the Jews in theocratic training and guidance. The heathen with their natural gifts wallowed ever more deeply in the creature, the Jews with their gracious gifts relied more and more on God’s election, proudly exalting themselves, as did the former. Such distinctions, defining the relation of God to the nations and of the nations to God, define at the same time differences in the moral conduct of the Gentiles and the Jews. The former, left to themselves, did not see the arm of God shown to be so strong in nature, or the finger of God warning in the conscience, but fell into the mire, into the starless night of vile immorality; heathenism becomes ever worse and worse (Romans 1:18-32); modern heathenism, which not only struggles to be free from the arm of God’s power, but tears itself away from the heart of God with its thoughts of peace, is even more loathsome. Judaism falls away into externality (“the so-called circumcision in the flesh,” Ephesians 2:11; Romans 2:14-29) throwing the theocratic feature into the background and out of practice, but giving prominence and power to the national element; modern Judaism has lapsed into the most frivolous emptiness.
b. Heathenism and Judaism are alike in this, that external position, neither in natural endowments nor in the gifts of revelation, decides as to the personal state of salvation. Whether one is a “stranger,” as a heathen, or a “sojourner” as a Jew, amounts to nothing; he ought and must still be and become “of the household of God.” Let him who enjoys the gifts of grace, think rather how to use them, to make them efficient in himself, than in false delight to despise others who lack them. In natural endowments there are indeed ways and means to the knowledge of God, which He can carry further unto eternal salvation, through Christ in the Holy Ghost however. We may not with philosophers, such as Hegel, place upon an equal footing the Jews with their theocracy, or the mission of preserving salvation, and the heathen, with their cosmocracy, or anthropocracy, the mission of moulding in its naturalness the subject attaining salvation, and regard both as united in the The-anthropos Christ, thinking then that they shall all become Christ’s, God-men, instead of new men, God’s men. Still less should we with Abelard, Zwingli and others, make exceptions arbitrarily, placing Socrates, Plato, Cicero and others, among the patriarchs and prophets, Apostles and believers, in heaven, as though we could act as judges in such a matter. Here it is best to keep within bounds, as did Paul, who sticks to what is evident, making no final judgment respecting individuals and their personal state of safety, nor overlooking the distinctions in what is similar.
c. The continued validity of these two forms. This antithesis is perceptible, not merely before Christ, but also in the Church which He established. They are not forms historically concluded, but active categories of human error, showing themselves constantly anew. Man suffers from a defect, though in the rich possession and masterly use of the most important natural endowments, if he is estranged from his Creator, and even in the possession, use and enjoyment of noble gifts of grace, if he has not attained to personal fellowship of life and heart with the Giver. Such a defect does not remain quiescent, but impels to restless opposition and enmity towards God and Man. The onesidedness urges ever deeper into discord, as the abuse of the gifts of nature or of grace is changed into the destruction of the same, coming home upon him who has enjoyed them.
d. Natural and gracious endowments do not exclude each other. The latter direct, purify, elevate the former, making them more productive. Human nature loses nothing, but gains much by means of the latter, if they are but rightly used: the Divine in the human, the Divinity in humanity is thus nurtured. It is thus that the state of things will be brought about when neither the individual, nor nations as a whole, will stand in hostile antagonism to one another, but will complement each other in peaceful contact, furthering each other’s interests through the fulfilment of their calling in life or history, of their ministry with the gifts entrusted to them.
a. Without Christ the distance from God in the case of the Gentiles is not overcome, nor does the nearness to God in the case of the Jews become fellowship with God. Without Him a man or a people is either “stranger” or “sojourner,” and the advance from “stranger” to “of the household of God” is not through the “sojourner.” As little as sonship of itself develops itself from slavery, so little avail circumcision, Mosaic law, theocracy, promise; only creative renewal (Ephesians 2:15) is of avail among Jews as well as Gentiles, and this is accomplished only through Him and in Him.
b. He is our Peace, He, in His Person; and this peace is here defined by its antithesis, “enmity” (Ephesians 2:15), by the hostility of Gentiles and Jews (Ephesians 2:11), by the estrangement of the Gentiles from God and His law, as well as the distance and separation from God the Father (Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 2:18) and the externality of the Jews (Ephesians 2:11)—as concord, as unity concluded and secured in agreement, in friendly intercourse. This peace is not a sensation, but a possession. Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, II. 1, pp. 374) refers to the etymology, deriving the word from εἴρη and ἶρις, the circle, the place of assembly, or it may be traced to εἴρω, to speak, quiet, friendly, independent intercourse in speech. Stier (Reden Jesu, V., p. 224 on John 14:27) compares it with שָׁלוֹם, and reaches thus the notion of prosperity, welfare. In this concord with its intercourse is found welfare, complete and symmetrical development. Hence the possession of this peace is at the same time a status. The first and main thing is peace with God; on this is based and depends necessarily the peace with our neighbor. Where the latter appears, the former is certainly efficient; hence Paul can here give special prominence to it in accordance with the context. He who has Christ, can speak of His peace (John 14:27), has peace.56
c. The work of Christ culminates in the death of the cross (Ephesians 2:13 : “made nigh in the blood of Christ;” Ephesians 2:16 : “might reconcile them both to God through the cross”), having for its end the reconciliation with God and among each other (Ephesians 2:14 : “who made both one;” Ephesians 2:16 : “having slain the enmity;” Ephesians 2:17 : “came and preached peace:” Ephesians 2:18; “we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father”), comp. Colossians 1:20-22; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. Enmity is to be overcome only on the side of man, on the part of God “wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). We have only the popular expression: ἱλάσθητί μοι (Luke 18:13) and Malachi 1:5; Malachi 1:5; 2Ma 7:33; 2Ma 8:29 : καταλάσσεσθαι ὑμῖν.—Non Deus inimicus erat hominibus, sed homines inimici erant Deo. Non cœpit homines amare, qui cum eo reconciliati essent, sed quia ab æterno homines amavit, idcirco decrevit homines sibi inimicos per Chrisliani secum reconciliare. Reconciliatio, morte Christi effecta, non est duplex seu mutua, sed simplex, h. e., Christus morte sua non Deum, hominum amantissimum, cum hominibus, sed homines, Deo inimicos, cum Deo reconciliavit (Weber). The enmity against God was extirpated by, through and in Christ; the attracting power of His Person, especially of His cross is so great, that man is won by Him for God. Thus the Father of Christ becomes the Father of men and the contending nations and creatures become peaceful children in one church and one Spirit. This is the reconciliation. It rests upon the propitiation, removing the wrath of God, which is however only the energy of His holy love for sinners against sin. But this is not treated of in this section. By this reconciliation of men resting on the atonement their relation not merely to God but also to the law is changed. In that He fulfilled the law in deed and in truth, performed God’s will and suffered in obedience, He rendered it powerless in its single ordinances, dissolving its separative features; it thus gained through Him internal validity and importance, so that it no longer burdens men, but they stand and walk in and on the same as a common soil within salutary bounds. Here too all depends on His Person and our relation to Him (Ephesians 2:15 : “in His flesh;” Ephesians 2:16 : “in Him;” Ephesians 2:18 : “through Him;” Ephesians 2:21 : “in whom”—“in the Lord”); in Him and through Him that takes place which ought to take place both for us and in us. Ipsa natura suscipienda erat, quæ liberanda (Augustine). Neque Christo imputari potuissent peccata nostra, nisi tum naturæ ejusdem vinculo tum voluntaria sponsione nobiscum unitus esset, neque justitia Christi nobis imputaretur; nisi in unum cum Ipso corpus coaluissemus (Turretine).—He guards against that humanitarianism, which is only the glory of the flesh, as well as against a godless cosmopolitism [“without God, in the world”]; He creates new, real men, who as the children become the possessors and rulers of the world.
4. The law here is the Mosaic law. This follows from the description: τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν (Ephesians 2:15), from the figure: τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ (Ephesians 2:14), and also from the statement that Christ has abolished this “in His flesh;” for it was precisely to this law that He was subject in the flesh; this was the “hedge” of the vineyard of God, the people of Israel; it was this which split the will of God into ordinances difficult to be grasped, and multiplied by casuistry most enormously. But here where the subject is not merely the enmity of the Jews against the Gentiles and against God, an enmity denoted by and connected with the law, but quite as much the enmity of the Gentiles against the Jews and against God, this too being joined with the law, we must admit a secondary reference to the law in the conscience. Romans 2:14-15 permits such a reference, the connection requires it and the nature of the case explains it: the bad conscience is the still active conscience, so far as it is still good. The bad conscience is the justly judging conscience, is enmity, not as it should be with sin and the sinful subject, but with God, before whom it puts to shame, with our neighbor, from whom it divides us; the sinner against the law excuses himself and accuses God and men, by always finding the circumstances, relations, surroundings more to blame than himself. The voices of a bad conscience became for the heathen Furies, but not so easily Eumenides. Nitimur in vetitum. He too, who holds to the law and to conscience, is an object of enmity for the frivolous world; where the law appears powerful, there is in the world discord, opposition—within the heart, in individuals and in the whole, and externally also. Thus enmity toward God and men clings to the law. We do not wish to have the will of God about us, above us, before us, and to know and feel ourselves under the law with its single decrees; it is impossible for us to have the law in us and peace at the same time, unless we have God Himself. Only fellowship of life with God in Christ removes the enmity which attaches to the law, as it appears in its commandments and ordinances over against the natural man.
5. The church is essentially a fellowship, closely united and organic. Her support is in Christ, her beginning in the pure and powerful Word of God, in His Apostles and prophets, her design respects every man and every nation, her task is not merely the worship of God, but abiding fellowship with God, and accordingly each individual must be prepared in the work of the Holy Ghost, freed from his singularity and framed into the whole (Ephesians 2:19-22). She is “the assured residence and abiding working-place” of God, from which He will and does work further into His world. In the world He indeed already has His real, immanent, continued presence, but in the church He is present in an extraordinary manner; she is His palace, His immediate surroundings, His family, while the world is His broad kingdom on which He operates from this, and which is subservient to it. Certain as the permanence of the church is, she is still in process of growth, not yet complete. But she is real, not merely ideal.
6. The Holy Scriptures are referred to in the expression: “the foundation of the Apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). There is here evidently a reminiscence of the words of Christ (Matthew 16:18 : “Thou art Peter,” etc.), in which He promises to build His church, not upon the person of Peter, but upon Peter’s confession of the Person of Christ. The foundation of the church, the beginning of this building is not the persons of the Apostles, but their witness of Him, the preaching of the Apostles. Scripture is not the producer, but the product, not before the church, but within and for her. The word of God springing up in the Apostles, as prophets of God, as men to whom revelation was imparted by the Holy Ghost, and preached by them, is the foundation, but what is given in fixed form in the Scriptures is the norm for the church. She has her support and deepest ground in Christ, her beginning in the preaching of the Apostles, but her rule in the standard of truth contained in the Apostolic and prophetical Scriptures, the sufficiency of which is such, that no tradition is needed in addition. [“And no other foundation can suffice. When philosophical speculation or critical erudition, political affinity or human enactment supplants it, the structure topples and is about to fall. The opinions of Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Wesley, Knox, or Erskine (and these were all “pillars”), are not the foundation; nor are the edicts and creeds of Trent, Augsburg, Dort, or Westminster. Such writings may originate sectional distinctions, and give peculiar shape to column or portico, shaft or capital, on the great edifice, but they can never be substituted for the one foundation” (Eadie).—R.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Ponder this: What thou wast and wouldst have been without Him? what thou wast and hast become through Him? what thou wast and shouldst and shalt become, if thou abide with Him?—God is near thee, nearest of all, yet hast thou at first not noticed or known this at all, and still dost thou forget it and fail to feel it; many a one does not learn it and perishes, but he who learns it gains what is most glorious, the everlasting salvation of the soul, God’s gifts, God Himself, as joint-heir with Christ. The moon is by no means so valuable to thee as the sun; it is nearer to the earth with its powerful influence notwithstanding its distance, than the near moon with its borrowed light. So is Christ nearer than Luther; He makes for thee spring with fruit abiding eternally.—See now, what it has cost Him, to bring thee near to God, who is so nigh, to win thee for Him! He must die, that thou mightest live in God and God in thee.—Do not deny it, underneath all hast thou enmity to God; in order not to be obliged to acknowledge His wrath, thou feignest friendship and love to Him, and still wilt not allow Him to rule in thee.—The foundation of religion is not a doctrine but a life, not the Apostles’ life, but Christ and He alone, in His Person and in His life and death, His work and suffering. He disturbs the peace, the false one, in order to establish one which is real and eternal.
The Church of Christ is God’s house and our own home, in which we should be children and become heirs. Here we are not only instructed, as in a school, but educated, in order to go out into the world and do what is good and useful; here not only is religion protected from the world, but we ourselves from irreligion.—In the church each one should feel, that the might of the whole is at his command, to be used for himself, to be efficient in him, quite as much as that he must serve with assiduity the whole: thus he himself will grow and thrive. The temple becomes a home: First worship Him, then live with Him. Is the home but a hovel at first, a hovel is still home. Do not take offence at the outward appearance of the church, but look at the internal loveliness!—Builded together on the one cornerstone, Christ, so that we are changed from servants or slaves into children and heirs. We are to become free! God hates the slavery of the world, or hireling service no less than we do tyranny. See to it that with thy hatred of tyrants and raving about freedom thou dost not still remain a slave.—In the Church of Christ we first really become men, the grace of God in Christ leads us directly to nature and to true humanity.
Starke:—Where a soul will have hope toward God, it must have a testament or promise of God as its foundation.—Our life must properly be nothing else than a continued going out of ourselves and going to God. The great glory of Christians as citizens of the city of God and members of His I household. What was Roman citizenship in comparison? Acts 22:28. Thus we are assured of all possessions, liberties, privileges and protection. Psalms 84:5.—What glorious and wonderful thing does not attach to the Church of God? Nothing is more majestic, because it is His temple; nothing more worthy of veneration, for He dwells therein; nothing more ancient, for the patriarchs and prophets labored thereon, nothing more solid, for Jesus Christ is its foundation, nothing firmer and stronger, for He is its corner-stone, nothing more exalted, for it reaches into eternity and the bosom of God, nothing more well-ordered and arranged, for the Holy Ghost is the architect; nothing more beautiful and agreeable in its variety, for stones come from all quarters, Jews and Gentiles, from every age, land, race and condition, nothing more roomy, for all the elect and righteous of all generations have a place therein, nothing more sacred, for it is consecrated to the Lord, nothing more divine, for it is a living edifice animated by the Holy Spirit.
Passavant:—God was not far off, but they were far from Him,—with heart and life far from Him in their darkness. How often are we—notwithstanding revelation and the knowledge of the Lord—far from God in our hearts and lives, while we are “in the world!” And that is the beginning and end of all heathenism. We are of a heathen race and always bring again into all our worldly—yes, Christian concerns, undertakings, plans and labors—something, much, that is Pagan.—Instead of making the holy law of their God serve as a sacred and salutary safeguard from the Gentiles, their customs, sins and enormities, the Israelites turned their hearts toward hate and bitter enmity against all the nations about them.—Though both Greek and Roman occupied the most beautiful isles, the loveliest home; yet were they still on an earth foreign to them and not yet confirmed as their property; above them was a heaven, though so glad and beautiful—still—unknown and strange; under them unknown depths and abysses full of night and horror. As really homeless they walked the earth, not knowing whence they were or whither their living and dying would lead them! The holiest and sweetest of the Here and the Hereafter remained closed and strange to them. With all their advantages of form, of culture and customs,—with all the beauty and brilliancy, in which many of them are to-day still patterns for us in earthly things,—they were, over against the Israelites, at most like guests, suffered to remain or kindly received beside the children and members of the household.—Ask thy heart, thou who art called, and mayhap art, a Christian; hast thou really given thyself to thy God? Hast thou transferred every hall, chamber, nook and corner, all the heights and depths of thine inner man to Him for a living, pure, spiritual indwelling? Art thou His temple? [ Christ our peace; 1) In time and in eternity; 2) Before God, in His Judgment; 3) In all sufferings, in all anxieties of life; 4) In need, is death; 5) In God’s rest, in His love.—Jesus Christ: 1) The cause, 2) Ground, 3) Strength of all peace.—It is Christ’s Cross, that atones for Christians; His blood sanctifies them; His Spirit impels them; His love permeates them; His name unites them in one and the same grace.—R.]
Rieger:—The wretchedness of Paganism is not represented now-a-days in its full extent.—The matter is now inverted; first the heathen are granted a fortunate fate in eternity, that thus afterwards the difference between nature and grace, faith in the gospel and walking by the feeble light of conscience may be altogether ignored.—The distinction between Jews and Gentiles was brought about by man, but fixed by God Himself, and guarded by the entire ecclesiastical polity of the Jews as by a hedge. Then indeed the human heart took occasion from this for much pride and mutual enmity. This too must then be interrupted and removed by another Divine interposition, which took place in the sending of His Son.—He who thoroughly believes the word of the Apostle, accepting Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, in the matter of our salvation, is not only in connection with the foundation, but is in love built in with all the living stones beside Him; abides too for the further work of the good Spirit, who is the master-builder of this edifice, but also the future Possessor and Ruler of every well-erected habitation.
Heubner:—Quesnel distinguishes three kinds of looking back at former sins: a longing, faithless one, destructive of grace, a distrustful, disquieting one, hindering the course of grace, a penitent, thankful one, increasing grace.—Without Christ we can be alive in no church; without Him there is no holy kingdom of God on earth. Christ transfers us into the state of the pious, into the congregation of the saints; with Him we are in a state, embracing all true Israelites, in the kingdom of the just and blessed. Heavenly citizenship is a favor from Christ. Without Him man has no part in the covenant of promise, in the covenant with God, which gives salvation. Christianity is the eternal covenant with God. Without Christ we are without hope.—Without Christ we are without God, because the true God has not yet become ours. First with Christ is God rightly known and revealed; we know that He is our God, who cares for us sinners and desires our salvation. Outside of Christianity God remains as it were only a general idea.—The Personality of God is illustrated by nothing so well as by the Personality of His Son. Losing Christ is losing God, denying Him leads to Atheism. Who can read this description of the heathen condition without horror? Yet that is the picture of many baptized people; they live without Christ, they have fallen away from Christ and that leads to apostasy from God. An unhappy withdrawing of the heart from God continues, unless we are brought nigh through Christ.
Christ’s death is the nations’ peace! Who can quarrel and fight with others under the cross of Christ?—The whole of mankind should be one man, one holy body whose Head is Christ. Humanity must be held together by one Head, else unity is impossible. Who is available for this, if God had not given such an one? The highest union of men is that of becoming one in Christ; then they make one family, one household.—Since the establishment of Christianity, God no longer knows any distinction of nations; all have the same access to the Father, because Christianity gives one Spirit to all. That is the business of Christ, the Only-Begotten, to bring the wandering children to the Father, and to reconcile those divided. He is the only and the indispensable Guide. He, who imagines that he will go alone to the Father, will be rejected, because he comes as a self-righteous one. But he, who clings to Christ, will not be rejected.—Men lost through sin the heavenly family-right or the fellowship with angels, through Christ they obtain it again. Without Him eternal banishment were our fate. Now we belong again to the house and family of God.—The Christian Church is the only edifice, that will last. What others, the free masons for example, boast of as their building amounts to nothing; it will perish.
Stier:—There was a little light even in the midst of heathenish darkness, just as on the other hand Israel with all the light of the law and the promise sat for the most part in the shadow of death.—The enmity between Israel and the Gentiles was at bottom only the prominent manifestation of the enmity of the flesh against God’s truth and love, against the Spirit already in the law itself. The same hate and antagonism to the Living One manifested itself in the scorn and hatred of Israel on the part of the Gentiles, led to false glorying in their pre-eminence on the part of the Jews. Something analogous continues to exist everywhere, where Christ has not made all new and free.—Christ is humanity, on that account He can represent it.—Let us hold fast to the words of the Apostles and prophets as the foundation of the Church, but recognize the words respecting Christ as the pith and marrow of the teaching.
Ephesians 2:11. The exercise of memory would deepen their humility, elevate their ideas of Divine grace, and incite them to ardent and continued thankfulness.
Ephesians 2:12. The Jewish nation—had the Messiah—not Jesus indeed—but the Christ in promise. He was the great subject—the one, glowing, pervading promise of their inspired oracles. But the Gentiles were “without Christ.”—“The commonwealth of Israel” is that government framed by God, in which religion and polity were so conjoined, that piety and loyalty were synonymous, to fear God and honor the king were the same obligation.—They had hope of nothing a sinner should hope for; their future was a night without a star. They were godless, having no one to cry to, to trust in, to love, praise, and serve. “In the world,” dark, hostile and under Satan’s dominion.
Ephesians 2:15. Deep hostility lay in their bosoms; the Jew looked down with supercilious contempt upon the Gentile, and the Gentile reciprocated and scowled upon the Jew as a haughty and heathenish bigot.—One new man—the Gentile is not elevated to the position of the Jew; but Jew and Gentile together are both raised to a higher platform than the circumcision ever enjoyed, Spiritual blessing in itself, and not merely pictured in type, is possessed by the Jew as well as the Gentile.
Ephesians 2:16. Jesus reconciles us to God by turning away the Divine anger from us. God has shown infinite love to the sinner, and infinite hatred to his sin, in the sufferings of the cross, so that we tremble at His severity, while we are in the arms of His mercy.
Ephesians 2:18. Christians do not approach some dark and spectral phantom, nor a grim and terrible avenger. It is not Jehovah in the awful attitude of Judge and governor, but Jehovah as a Father.
Ephesians 2:20. That man, “Jesus,” who was the “Christ,” the Divinely appointed, qualified, and accepted Saviour, unites and sustains the Church. Is He not in His truth, His blood, His power, His legislation, and His presence to His Church, Himself “the chief corner-stone?”
Ephesians 2:21. Every stone is in its place, and fits its place. One’s ingenuity devises what another’s activity works out. As Fergusson says—“By taking bond with Christ the foundation, they are fastened one to another.”—Jehovah dwelt in His temple: 1. To instruct His people; 2. To accept the services of His people. God inhabits this spiritual fane for spiritual ends—spiritual sacrifices are still laid on the altar to God.—The Church is one, holy and Divine; it rests on Christ—is possessed by God—filled with the Spirit—and is ever increasing.—R.]
[The so-called Circumcision occasionally finds a parallel in the externalness of a so-called church.—Hand-wrought ordinances are a fruitful source of pride.—In discovering the condition of men out of Christ we must reverse the order of the Apostle: we see that they are “in the world,” learn that they are “without God,” and despite their stout denials conclude with certainty that they have “no hope.”—Near the cross, near each other.—Christ came to destroy the works of the devil; He destroys partition-walls, which we are slow to class with these works. Christ came to abolish Jewish casuistry and hair-splitting distinctions and ordinances, but how much of this remains in His church. Such things have not tended to make peace.—The peace Christ preaches is no armed neutrality. As disbanded armies give laborers for a country’s prosperity, so the activities once employed in hostility against God and man, are turned to edification.—We have our access, do we really enjoy it?—Let men sneer at the “saints”—it is a term of privilege, not of presumption, implying here the highest citizenship, the most exalted adoption, while in itself it means that God is making us sinful ones holy like Himself, that we may the more enjoy the blessings of His household.—Let us hold to that church, whose foundation and corner-stone are here set forth, and then despite all the mistakes of the past and imperfection of the present, we shall see in her the reality described in the figures of Ephesians 2:21, and find in our own experience that we, together with this corner-stone, “are being builded together for a habitation in the Spirit.”—R.]
 Ephesians 2:11.—[א.3 D.3 K. L., and a number of versions and fathers support the order of the Rec. (ὑμεῖς ποτέ), which Braune seems to prefer, but Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer and English editors accept the reading of א.1 A. B. D.1 (ποτὲ ὑμεῖς). The former arose from a regard for euphony in all probability. The pointing adopted above accepts τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί as in simple apposition to ὑμεῖς, a view strengthened by the correct reading (see Ellicott).—The usage respecting the article in English differs from that in Greek, as the alterations in this verse indicate.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:12.—[The Rec. inserts ἐν before τῷ καιρῷ, with D.3 K. L., and some versions, but it is omitted in א. A. B. D.1F., by most fathers; rejected by nearly all modern editors (Hodge retains it without remark) as an explanatory gloss, the preposition being more usual and perhaps more correct in such cases.—The same gloss occurs in the Rec. again (Ephesians 3:5).—R,]
 Ephesians 2:13. [The Rec. reads ἐγγὺς ἐγενήθητε, on the authority of D. K. L., Greek fathers; accepted by Meyer, Ellicott and others, on the ground of the contrast with μακράν. Lachmann, Alford, Braune. and others accept the order of א. A. B., versions, which is quite as well supported.—On the emendations see Exeg. Notes.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:15.—[As Braune adopts the construction favored by the E. V., only verbal changes have been made in the first half of this verse. But it is doubtful whether this is correct. The other prominent opinions require the following renderings: “Broke down the middle wall of the partition—to wit, the enmity—in His flesh, having made void the law of the commandments expressed in decrees” (Ellicott). This joins ἔχθραν in apposition to μεσότοιχον. and ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ αὐτοῦ to λύσας. The other view, that of Meyer, De Wette, Hodge (and preferred in the additional notes), accepts the apposition, but joins “in His flesh” to “abolished:” “Broke down the middle wall of partition, to wit, the enmity, having in His flesh done away the law,” etc. In any case we ought to put a comma instead of a colon at the close of Ephesians 2:14—R.]
 Ephesians 2:15.—[The Rec., א.3 D. K. L., most cursives and fathers read: ἑαυτῷ, accepted by Meyer, and most commentators. א.1 A. B. F., 10 mss.: αὐτῷ, accepted by Lachmann, Alford. The authorities are about equally divided, the latter being the more difficult reading, too difficult in fact, since the pronoun must be referred to Christ, and that would be intolerably harsh with this reading. Besides the Greek ε might easily be dropped, either from the interchange of forms, or after ἐν, as Meyer suggests.—The E. V. is very unfortunate in the structure of its clauses here, making two co-ordinate final clauses differ as widely as possible in form.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:16.—[We may render here: both of us with equal correctness.—Reconcile again may be the true meaning, but I hesitate in adopting it.—In one body is to be closely connected with both. To instead of unto (E. V.) for the simple dative.—Through best expresses the sense of διά.—On it is more exact than thereby, the reference being to the cross.—We might put a period at the close of this verse, but the insertion of the subject in Ephesians 2:17, indicates the want of close connection.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:17.—א. A. B. D. E. F. G. and others: εἰρήνην τοῖς ἐγγύς. The emphatic repetition is well attested, and an omission by the transcribers is more probable than an insertion. [So all modern editors and commentators, even the most conservative as regards the Recepta.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:18.—[The article here is almost equivalent to the possessive.—The E. V. again renders ἐν, by.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:19.—[The Rec. omits ἐστέ, with D.3 K. L., versions and fathers; but it was probably deemed superfluous, instead of emphatic it is found in א. B. (both ἀλλά ἐστε), A. C. D.1 F., accepted by modern editors.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:20.—[The Rec. reads Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ on the authority of C. D. E. F. G. K. L. several versions and a number of fathers; accepted by Scholz, De Wette, Meyer, Ellicott. א.2 A. B., the Vulgate and other versions, some fathers, support the order: Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ; adopted by Tischendorf, Lachmann, Alford and others. א1 has only τοῦ Χριστοῦ, which Braune seems to favor. On the whole the order of the Rec. should be given up.—R.]
 Ephesians 2:21.—[The Rec. inserts ἡ between πᾶσα and οἰκοδομή (א.2 A. C., some cursives), but it is omitted in א.3 B. D. E. F. G. K. L. most cursives, and is rejected by nearly all modern editors. The briefer reading is difficult, and the change was an easy way of avoiding it, just as following the Rec. now-a-days saves a little trouble to the commentator.—R.]
 [Dr. Hodge gives the following analysis of this paragraph: I. Their former relation,—1. To the church as foreigners and aliens. 2. To God as those who were far off, without any saving knowledge of Him, or interest in His promise
Ephesians 2:11-12.—II. The means by which this alienation from God and the church has been removed, viz., by the blood of Christ. 1. Satisfying the demands of justice it secured reconciliation with God. 2. Abolishing the law in the form of Mosaic institution it removed the wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles—both are united in one body and reconciled to God
Ephesians 2:13-18.—III. The Ephesians are therefore united with God and His people. 1. They are represented as fellow-citizens of the saints. 2. They are members of the family of God. 3. They are constituent portions of that temple in which God dwells by His spirit
 [The Gentiles were called and really were the ἀκροβυστία: the Jews were called the περιτομή, but were not truly so” (Ellicott).—R.]
 [Here again Ellicott is excellent. He renders: performed by hand in the flesh, to bring out the connection more accurately, and calls the phrase “a tertiary predication added by the Apostle reflectively rather than descriptively; ‘the circumcision,—yes, hand-wrought in the flesh; only a visible manual operation on the flesh, when it ought to be a secret spiritual process in the heart; only κατατομή, not περιτομή.’ ”—R.]
[On this distinction Eadie remarks: “Not to contradict this refinement, we might add, that ἄνευ, allied to in, un, ohne, might, in a general sense, signify privation; but χωρίς marks that privation as caused by separation. The Gentiles are viewed as being not merely without Him, but far away from Him. Their relation to Him is marked by a great interval—χωρί. But, as Ellicott says, ‘this distinction must be applied with caution, when it is remembered that χωρίς is used forty times in the New Testament, and ἄνευ only three times.’ ”—The connection of this phrase with ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι: “that at that time, being without Christ, ye were excluded from theocratic privileges” (De Wette, following the punctuation of Lachmann, Eadie, though not decidedly in his second edition), is properly deemed harsh by Ellicott and Alford, though it ought not to be termed “clumsy beyond precedent” by the latter, since there are no clumsy tricks possible in interpretation that have not found a field for their exhibition in Biblical Exegesis (?)—R.]
 [The genitive seems to be one of privation, or inverted possession. Bernhardy, Syn. 3:49, p. 171; Kühner, 2:163. Comp. Winer, p. 185, who takes the genitive here as one of separation, properly following the noun ξένοι. Ellicott: genitive of the point of view.—R.]
 [The reference to the personal Messiah, to Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ, seems to be quite certain (comp. Ellicott and Eadie).—R.]
 [The verb is the aorist passive, expressing the effect of a definite event in the past, though the idea of becoming or being gradually brought is not to be forgotten. They were brought nigh, they became nigh through the instrumentality of another.—R.]
 [The strictly instrumental sense does not belong to ἐν, even here, where it seems so natural. At all events the idea of immanent instrumentality is as much as can be conceded in that direction. Alford rightly prefers “in” as more comprehensive: “The symbol of a fact in which—the seal of a covenant in which—your nearness to God consists.” Hodge accepts “by” as the proper rendering without question.—R.]
[This particle introduces a confirmatory explanation of the preceding verse (so most commentators).—R.]
[Eadie, Alford, Ellicott follow De Wette in taking τοῦ φραγμοῦ as the genitive of possession: the wall which pertained to, or belonged to the fence. This view has the advantage of giving a wide reference to φραγμός. Alford finds a primary allusion to the rending of the vail of the temple, a view which is supported by the complex idea of peace running through our passage. He takes φραγμός (of which μεσότοιχον is the instrument) as=the whole legal system, ceremonial and moral, which made the whole separation,—of Jew from Gentile,—and in the background of both from God. (So Ellicott.)—R.]
 [Against Tittmann’s distinction, according to which διαλάσσω refers to the cessation of mutual enmity, and καταλάσσω is employed in cases where the enmity has existed only on one side, see Eadie; comp. Usteri, Lehrbegriff, p. 102; Fritzsche, Romans , 1. p. 276; Tholuck, Bergpredigt. p. 192; Trench. Syn. N. T., 2d part, p. 137; and especially the notes of Drs. Lange and Schaff, Romans, p. 166 f., and 2 Corinthians, p. 98 f. We must hold fast here: That the reconciliation is with God, that the ground of it is what Christ did on and through His cross, viz., removed from us the Divine wrath against sin, of which we were the objects in consequence of sin.—R.]
 [Inasmuch as “the cross” is here spoken of, we must admit a secondary reference to the propitiary sacrifice of Christ as the condition or ground of the reconciliation. If then we ask respecting the nexus between this ground and the result, there must enter a thought of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3) against sin. One thing remains clear—whatever was objectively necessary that men might be at peace with God and with each other was effected by the death of Christ, and what is necessary in the subject is, to take hold of Christ by faith, as to be “in Him” (Ephesians 2:15) a member of the “one body” (Ephesians 2:16).—R.]
 [This seems doubtful in view of the repeated εἰρηνην which interposes between ὑμῖν and το͂ις ἐγγύς. Alford is better: “Not ‘to us’ (i. e., in the second category), for fear of still upholding the distinction where he wishes to merge it altogether.’ ’—“Though those ‘who were nigh’ were the first who heard the proclamation based on the commission—‘beginning at Jerusalem,’ yet those ‘who were afar off’ are mentioned first, as they had so deep an interest in the tidings, and as the invitation of Gentiles into the Church—a theme the Apostle delighted in, proving, as it did the abolition of class privileges, and the commencement of an unrestricted economy—was the result and proof of the truths illustrated in this paragraph.”—R.]
[Ellicott says correctly that the particle is not merely explanatory, nor yet strongly causal, “because we have,” but with more of a demonstrative or confirmatory force, “as it is a fact that we have.”—Alford finds in this verse a proof of the wide reference of the words “peace” and “reconcile” in the previous verses. “Here clearly the union (not reconciliation, nor is enmity predicted of them) of Jew and Gentile is subordinated to the blessed fact of an access to God having been provided for both through Christ by the Spirit.”—R.]
 [The E. V. makes an antithesis in this passage which the original does not at all warrant; “to brethren, and that strangers,” is the literal rendering.—R.]
[The word would ordinarily be spelled συμπολῖται, but א. A. B.1 C. D. E. F. G. support συνπολῖται, which is adopted by Tischendorf and most later editors and commentators (Meyer studiously retains the other orthography).—The word belongs to later Greek, and is considered rather inelegant. Alford says the compound verb is found in the purest Attic writers, and the noun in Euripides, Herac. 826. Certainly the compound is necessary to express the Apostle’s meaning, even though it belong in itself to the fatiscens Græcitas.—R.]
 [There is little necessity for seeking to sunder the two ideas, peace with God, peace among men, in this paragraph, since the complex notion alone meets the requirements of a fair exegesis. The doctrine to be deduced is one eminently Biblical: Right relations to God are the basis of right relations with man; the former involve the latter of necessity, while the latter constitute the evidence and indicator of the former. The complex notion of peace becomes a simple one, when thus regarded as simple because “He is our peace.”—R.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34