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Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected Books

Ephesians 2

Verse 1

Section Three: 2:1-10

And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;

"Sins" is the normal word for sin while "trespasses" is a different word meaning offence or falling away from what is upright or true.

As to the phrase "hath he quickened" it is supplied by the translators. As to the validity of that phrase we will have to take a little bit of a look. Of course the King James Only people will know that it belongs just as it is because it is inspired that way. I would like to consider it for a moment.

American Standard Version: "And you [did he make alive], when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins,"

Darby: "and [you], being dead in your offences and sins"

Young: "Also you--being dead in the trespasses and the sins,"

LITV: "and you being dead in deviations and sins,"

Net Bible: "And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins,"

The Modern King James goes quite a bit further than its ancestor: "And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins," It doesn’t bother to include the brackets to indicate it isn’t in the original.

Notice that no translation inserts this but the ASV. It is true the believer is quickened from his lost state, but this verse does not say that. If you want to skip ahead, a little verse five will get you into the quickening (Colossians 2:13 also). The term quickened might be misleading as well if it is taken to be a part of the text. Quicken has the thought of bringing something to some state other than dead, while salvation relates to bringing from the dead and making completely different or completely alive.

I am sure some would suggest this as a basis for some of the Calvinist idea that God brings us to some level of life whereby we can respond to him. Some Calvinists go as far as to say that this quickening is regeneration, but it is not salvation, only a pre-emptive strike against deadness while salvation is the winning of the war.

The Net Bible states that verses one through three are an incomplete sentence and that the first phrase, "And although you were dead" catches the reader’s attention, but does not supply the answer to their deadness until verse four. Humm, maybe English is needed to be a good preacher/interpreter.

It is of note how many of the older commentaries see a Jewish/Gentile split in some of these passages. One suggests that "trespasses" is speaking of the Jews that had the law but rejected it and the "sins" relates to the Gentiles. There is nothing in the text to suggest this that I have found thus I think it wise to reject the thought.

Gill, and probably others err by telling their reader that the deadness is due to the trespasses and sin. To be more correct they are dead because of the fall and the trespasses and sin are a result of that deadness. Really a quite important distinction theologically. (Gill states "...he begins with the Ephesians, and expresses the former state they were in by a death, which is ascribed to trespasses and sins...." He actually mentions later on that it was due in one sense to the original sin, but also restates that it was from the trespasses and sins.)

Does it matter that the words are inserted? Well, since they were inserted when the King James was translated, it seems as though they are adding their own "interpretation" to the verse, something the King James only folks abhor in all other translators. Is it consistent with Scripture? Sure it is, but let them do the adding, not me. Based on that we will wait until verse five to deal with quickening in its proper context.

In relation to the idea that we were dead, there are three schools of thought through church history. The Pelagian view says that man isn’t quite up to par, but he can be restored with a little teaching. The semi-pelagian view teaches that we were sick but recovery can be brought about, while the most of Christianity today believes that we were dead - door nail dead. We cannot be helped short of being made completely alive by an act of God.

The deadness has nothing to do with our everyday sin, but has to do with Adam’s sin. Had we been in the garden when Adam was there it could have been our sin, but we were not so it cannot be. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" As I said, if we had been there instead of Adam we would have sinned and caused death to all mankind, but we were not. He alone stands as the culprit that caused all to be dead. Not that we aren’t responsible - we are.

There is a clear distinction between the death and the sin. Spiritual death is the state of being dead, of being against God and unable to respond to God spiritually. Sin, on the other hand is the outworking of that nature of your being. Our spiritual death results in outward sin.

Verses 1-10

APPLICATION:

1. In verse one the distinction was made between spiritual death and sin. We noted that spiritual death is our condition and that sin was the outward working of our spiritually dead nature. I doubt anyone would argue with that analysis, yet many reject, in practice, the opposite of this. If we were spiritually dead and the outward sign of this is sin, would not the outward sign of our new nature be good works. As a new creation in Christ we are a new creation, we are totally alive, and good works would be the outward manifestation of that life.

Interesting, that when we were spiritually dead we had no problem manifesting our condition with sin, but now that we are spiritually alive, we seem to be quite handy at not manifesting our condition by not doing good works. Amazing what free will can do if put to the test.

There is an interesting side note. If Christ did all that is needed to bring man to God - ALL man - then might it be that spiritual death is removed and taken care of? Might it be that the only sin that would put us into the lake of fire be rejection of Christ? Personally, eternal life/death was not an option until the cross. Now that the cross work is done, are not all men going to live eternally? Are all not going to exist eternally? Correct, some will be in torment for that eternity, but the rest will be with God for eternity.

I suspect that spiritual death was dealt with at the cross and that until then all were placed into Sheol until the cross work was done.

2. There seems to be evidence here that the Lord sitting down at the right hand of the Father, may well have been the occasion of the Devil being cast out of and barred from entrance into God’s presence. We know from Job that in the Old Testament Satan had access to God’s throne and he would go there to accuse the saints. It was there that Job and his spirituality was challenged and the challenge met.

No more can Satan enter into God’s presence and accuse, the Devil is limited to the earthly sphere for this time before the end. Indeed, this seems to be what Ephesians chapter one verse twenty-one and twenty-two are speaking of - the casting down and limiting of Satan. Later in the end time there will be one thousand years in which he is bound and he will have no say even here on earth.

Now, that he is not allowed into heaven he is limited to the earth and those upon it to cause problems. He is confined to the earth and its atmosphere, to cause it all sorts of spiritual pollution, but never fear, one day Christ will shine forth and eliminate all of Satan’s pollution from this world. He will do all that is needed to correct all that Satan has unleashed upon the earth.

3. In verse ten we saw that we are His workmanship, we are made by God. I have always been amazed at how a sculpture is created, how the artist can see in his mind what he wants and then to take chisel and mallet and begin to create that desired end product. I have even wondered at the ability of an ice artist that could look into a block of ice and create something so fascinating. In a crude way the same goes for the chain saw artist. This one that takes a log and chain saw and creates artwork.

An interviewer asked a chainsaw artist once how he was able to do such fine work with such a crude instrument. He simply replied, "I just imagine what I want to produce and saw away everything that isn’t it." Simple enough, cut away all material that isn’t what the end product needs to be.

God didn’t have to go through this cutting away procedure to create us, He had in mind what He wanted and formed us according to his purpose for us. Take a moment to think about that one. How often have you wished you were something that you are not, how often have you wished you looked different than you do, and how often have you wanted to be educated in a different manner than you are? Face it folks, you are what God wanted you to be. You look like He wanted you to look, you are educated as He desired, and you are what He wanted you to be.

How arrogant of us to say Lord, you made my nose wrong, I’m going to have it fixed. God you didn’t do it right but I can remedy your mistakes, I will reform, I will struggle to change, I will go into the world and wheel and deal until I am what I should have been. NO! God made you just like He wanted you, he is the craftsman, and you are the clay. Just to clinch the thought, how often have you seen a lump of clay up and form itself into a pot, or a block of ice begin to shudder and shake and become a swan, or a log begin to splinter into a wonderful grizzly - not too often I don’t think.

Folks, lets be satisfied with whom and what we are. If you are a small church pastor be satisfied to tend the sheep he has given you. If you are a missionary, be content to go out day to day and do what you can for the Lord. If you are a store owner, be satisfied that God has prepared you to do what He wants you to do. If you are a house wife and/or a mother, be satisfied that you are doing the job that He wants you to do.

If He wants you to do something else, you need not worry - He is capable of letting you know.

Oh, so often in my life I have wished that I was good with talking to people, good with preaching to large congregations, good with words to the betterment of people in their walk with the Lord. I have done the best I could with what God has given me and I find in later life that He has prepared me perfectly for the ministry that He wanted me involved in - writing - some might disagree but that seems to be exactly where He has placed me. I find my thoughts transfer to the keyboard like water flowing from a faucet, while my word tumbling from my lip are rather like pebbles being expelled from a mouth overfilled with them. At least with writing the dyslexic mistakes can be corrected before anyone sees the - well most of them anyway.

Short or tall, brilliant or not so well inclined, rich or poor, God has a plan that He wants you to be involved in just the way that you are, you don’t need to struggle for change, He will assist if He wants it for you and His purpose. You are what you are by a divine plan and design, who in the world are you to second guess the Creator of the universe?

Part of our obedience to Him overall, is that satisfaction with whom and what we are in Him. If he wants you changed, He is capable of leading you to that change. If you need more education, He will lead you to it. If you need spiritual change, He will lead you to it.

4. We should not loose sight of the sequence that Paul sets forth here. We were dead - we had no hope - then God saved us. To put it bluntly, as we witness we need to get them lost first, we need to help them realize they are dead before we give them the good news. Give em the bad news first and then the good news.

I have a message that I have preached variations of many times over the years and the main emphasis is that we need to get them lost before we try to save them. If you ask most in America if they want to be saved, their mind would probably suggest "saved from what?" They are having fun in sin, they are fun being out drinking and chasing the opposite sex, they are having fun chasing the American dream, so why do they need to be saved, why would they want to be saved out of that.

It is of interest that many of the tribal peoples that are contacted know that they are in a miserable condition and are quite ready for the good news, while people in some of the European countries don’t even know there is a God. You have to tell them there is a God before you can tell them that God loves them.

Realize where your contact is spiritually before you blast them with information, for you may well be giving them information they don’t need. It is much like the technical computer service you get these days. You ask the support people a question and they totally ignore that question - your need, and give you a lot of information that answers somebody’s question but not yours.

Recently I wanted to know what the cartridge numbers (there are three different cartridges available) were for my computer printer so that I could purchase some new ink. I could not find the information in the book, nor could I find it on the manufacturer’s website. I emailed their support address and asked, "What are the cartridge numbers for a model i3 printer? Black: Color: Photo: thinking that they would fill in the numbers.

The reply came fairly quickly but to my surprise and disappointment the technician told me to run a self diagnostic test on the printer to see if the problem was in my computer or if it was in my computer. They wanted me to determine whether the computer could print to another printer. They decided I did not know what I needed so they were going to step in with their superior intellect and guide me to the answers they wanted to give. They certainly did not answer my question. He had a good answer to someone’s question, just not one for mine.

5. We have given a meager contrast to the difference between the lost and the saved. We know there are differences, but do we realize the depth of those differences? They are totally lost, they are dead, they are completely without hope, they are totally unresponsive spiritually to God, and they are completely unable to know the love of Christ.

We on the other hand know Christ, we know His love, and we know what death is like and enjoy the benefits of true life. We know what the inheritance we have coming is and we love and worship the God that provided it for us.

Now, consider the outworking of this chasm between the lost and the saved. Is it any wonder that they don’t want to talk to us, is it any wonder they don’t want to associate with us, is it any wonder they are uneasy around us? Well, that used to be the case, but I am finding in recent years it is the Christian that is uneasy around a spiritual believer, it is the Christian that is uneasy about talking about spiritual things, and it is often the lost person that feels some affinity with the spiritual person.

I personally believe that the lost in America know they are lost and I further believe many want to know what we know, but there are too few believers that are witnessing. I further believe that there are many believers living where the spiritually dead live and this is why the country is sliding into the depravity that we see around us every day. We have not been the light of the world; we have been a graying factor upon sin and the terribleness of lostness.

I trust that you will begin to realize the importance of being truly spiritual in you life. If you do not you are contributing to the problem of so many that want to hear of Christ but do not.

Some suggest that America is full of Bibles, so no one is without excuse. Well, technically no one is without excuse whether they have a Bible or not, but to prove the point in America, I was told by a student that he was talking with some friends and some of their friends in Denver, CO and the young people were talking about Christ. One fellow inserted himself into the conversation by asking who this Jesus they were talking about was.

It is incomprehensible to me that in America we have people that have never heard of Christ when supposedly by the surveys, over half the country is evangelical Christians. Even if you cut that to twenty-five percent, we aren’t doing a very good job of spreading the good news to lost man in America today.

6. Most commentators point out that Paul shifts from "ye" to "we" to include himself. What they do not mention is the why of this shift. They suggest he wanted to identify with them, but I think there was a much more clear explanation of this. All of these people knew what Paul was like before his conversion, what a striking effect this would be in the readers mind to hear the apostle talking about ye and suddenly insert himself and all his terrible persecution and murderous ways into the equation.

This is an illustration of the terribleness of the lostness of man and Paul was the prime example that would close the person’s thoughts around just how dead and spiritually corrupt they real were.

I trust you have this concept well in mind - this concept that before Christ you were no better than Adam thumbing his nose at God in the garden set for his enjoyment - this concept that before Christ you were no better than Paul when he was out persecuting Christians to the utmost of his ability.

Yep, we were lost, we were dead, we were stinking rotten dead, we couldn’t get any deader. And yet, God in ages past said, Son we are going to do something about these and began planning and acting to bring us back to life for an inheritance with Him for all eternity.

7. We won’t take a lot of time to discuss the fall, nor the fact that all are spiritually dead until we are reborn. If you want further study in these areas, go to my Theology online for more.

Suffice it to say all are spiritually dead when they were/are born. There was only one that was not and that is Christ Himself. He was born of a virgin. This tells us that the sin nature is transmitted to the child through the man, rather than the woman. It was man that fell, it was man that sinned first, and it was man that corrupted the entire race.

This is why mankind is universally lost to the lake of fire unless God intervenes in the scheme of things with the individual.

One of the objections to this doctrine is that babies die and a God of love would not condemn a poor baby that did not have opportunity to be saved to the lake of fire. Many believe that God will take those to Himself in some manner. King David, when he lost his child, declared that he would see him in the future thus indicting what has just been said. Most also believe that there is an age of accountability at which time the individual comes to a time intellectually that he needs to decide upon God. After that point of time God has no responsibility to allow this one to live another moment, nor give him another opportunity, yet often times God is so gracious in allowing these to go on living and rejecting him through much if not all of their lives.

One might suggest that we were just at as far down the dead end of the spectrum as we now are at the far other end of the spectrum in life. You can’t get any deader than we were and you can’t get no more aliver than we now are.

8. The point has been made, but again might be of benefit. The lostness of man results in sin, the salvation of man results in good works - both sins and works are actions of the condition. Are we not to assume that a person living in sin is not lost - even if they have made good professions of faith? The believer is saved, is set aside unto good works, thus if there are no good works, and there is sin, one might have validity to wonder of the profession of faith and the soundness of it.

No, we are not to judge, to condemn that one living in sin to the lake of fire, but we are surely to consider the outworking of the inner spirit. If that outworking is sin, then the inner may well be dead.

9. A comment or two about security. Constable quotes Wiersbe on security and I think it is a catchy phrase, but one which bares remembrance. "Since we have not been saved by our good works, we cannot be lost by our bad works."

Of course this is a rather flip statement of security, but it tells it like it really is; there is nothing we can do to get salvation and there is nothing we can do to loose it.

Just think of the love God has for us and then think of the kind of salvation that He might design for us in ages past. Why would he love us, and want to assure our spending eternity with Him then design a salvation that was very "ify" at best. It does not make sense that He would create a scheme so flimsy as to be thwarted by man giving himself over to his fleshly desires.

What would that say about the love of God? What would that say about the intelligence of God? What would that say about the wisdom of God? It all would say that He isn’t much of a God if He couldn’t do a better job than that.

10. There has been a teaching around, a controversy if you will that relates to this passage. Paul makes it quite clear that the salvation that God has given is designed to result in good works. He created us, He was the master planner for each one of us and the resulting design was to produce good works.

However, that is where Paul stops in his teaching. He does not go that one step further and state that if a person does not do good works, he is then not a true believer.

The Lordship controversy centers around the fact that some say that you cannot be saved if you have not made Christ Lord of your life and if you are not involved in good works. This passage does not teach this nor in my mind does any other passage in the Bible. All the Bible states is that we are created and designed to produce good works, but it is a decision of OUR mind whether we produce them or not.

God designed, God desires, and God expects good works, but it is the choice of man as to whether they will be produced or not.

The other side of the dispute, as you can easily imagine, is the "Well we are saved by grace not by works" crowd.

In my mind, we can wonder at the salvation of a person without good works, but it is not a clear indicator of lostness, it may only be an indicator of coldness.

11. In verse eight we mentioned that there was some discussion as to the word "that" and what it refers to. Many say that "that" is neuter and faith and grace are feminine so "that" cannot refer to either of them so it must refer to salvation. There is an editor’s note in Gill’s work - I don’t know if it is someone that edited the digital version or some other version - but it points out two things. He points out that not only are "grace" and "faith" feminine, but so is "salvation" thus "that" cannot refer to any of the three, or that it may refer to all three. He mentions that he had discussed this with a professor of Greek. He suggests that the conclusion one might reach is that the Greek is not quite as exact as some commentators have given us to believe. In my mind I’d suggest also that Greek in general is not as definitive as most would have us believe.

I would like to pursue this for a moment. He goes on to suggest that the words are a tautology, or a series of words that show a sequence. Webster describes tautology as "A repetition of the same meaning in different words; needless repetition of a thing in different words or phrases; or a representation of any thing as the cause, condition of consequence of itself, as in the following lines. The dawn in overcast, the morning low’rs, And heavily in clouds brings" He suggests "that" refers to all three and that even faith is the product of God implanted in man so that he can believe. Now, this is the normal Calvinist position that quickening or regeneration is something that allows us enough spiritual umph to believe in God.

The problem with this is that faith is basically believing in what God has said. How can we be given faith so that we can believe, when in fact faith is belief? To say this they must suggest that God gives us faith/belief and thus there is no part of salvation that is man’s - even the belief is from God, leaving man with no choice in the matter, and this is the result and product of that system of theology.

It would seem that if the "that" belongs to all three, grace, faith, and salvation, then wouldn’t it be a better interpretation to say that the "that" refers to the whole of salvation, from call to finish and that the whole is the gift, which does no damage to the fact that the faith is on man’s side. Robertson in his work suggests that the grace is God’s part and that belief is man’s part. This seems to be the teaching of the Word. God provided salvation as a whole to man, while man has a responsibility to believe within that whole gift of God - salvation.

12. Ray Stedman mentions a book by Os Guinness, the associate of Dr. Francis Schaeffer. The books title was DUST OF DEATH. Mr. Guinness stated that he had been reading all of the great books of the great men of the day and found that they all had the answer for man in this present world, but as he read these books he found that the answers presented were quite lacking and that there were, indeed, no answers for man in this present world. He related that he was depressed by this verbiage of despair and he turned to the Bible and the fact that Jesus Christ is the only answer for man in any age, including this present age.

It has been mentioned that man can do good deeds, that he can live a moral life without Christ, but we must not miss the very important truth that even within this "good living" these folks will one day realize that their life has not measured up and that there was something very important missing in their life. They will understand that that was not enough, that they have missed out on something much better than the best that they have offered.

Stedman relates this to our good intentions; that really misses the mark. All of this was to explain the term trespass in verse one. I feel that this explanation is quite valid in reality, but I am not sure how valid it is in this context. The verse speaks to our deadness, our total deadness, our not ever going to live again deadness, not just our missing the mark in life.

13. The Life Application Bible states that because all men sin we have proof that we are all dead. I would argue that all men are dead thus all men will sin. We were dead in sin. The verse does not say we sin, thus we are dead; it says we were dead in sin. Perhaps the writers believe in one of those teachings that say man has some good inside and that sin brings them down. God is clear in the Word that we are dead, not kind of alive.

Is there a difference? Yes. Does it matter? Yes. If we are dead because we sin, there might be the thought that if someone didn’t sin, that they would be alive - alive until they sinned. This is not correct theology. We are dead because of the fall, and because of that death we can only sin.

Verse 2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

This verse is important to us as we try to understand what "dead" really means. Simply put we are spiritually dead, but how does that work out in life. We are alive physically. How do spiritually dead people act, or how do they live their lives? Some Calvinists would have us believe that the spiritually dead are totally incapable of doing anything good. There is nothing good in them, nor can they ever do good.

On the side of reality, I personally have met many people that are not Christians, but that live fairly good lives. They have chosen for themselves a life of doing good, of living a moral life. They can do all this and still be spiritually dead, so understand what "dead" isn’t. It isn’t the inability to do good, it isn’t the inability to be moral, and it isn’t the inability to appear to be a Christian. It simply means that they have chosen that lifestyle. Can they do good for God? If He allows it. Can they reach God with their works? Of course not. They can however live what appears to be a moral life.

I make a point of this to put you on notice that all that live moral lives, may not be Christian - don’t forget to witness to anyone that has not given you a clear testimony of salvation. Spiritual deadness has to do with response to God, not response to man. I also make a point of it to clear up some fog from those that teach that spiritually dead men can’t do anything good. They just can’t do anything good for or toward God.

My own life illustrates this point. I tithed, I went to Sunday school and church, I was baptized and I did all sorts of good things for people, but I was lost as dead could get me. One day the gospel was shared with me and I started doing all those things for God. Before I was doing it because my mom said I had too as a child.

In this verse Paul reminds his readers of what they were as spiritually dead people. They were living life as only they could - as a part of the world. The world has its standard and God’s people have their standard. The dead person can only live as the world and can only attain its standard.

We will note in the following verses that the lost person serves themselves rather than God, but this does not negate what we have said about lost people living moral upright lives - they do it to serve themselves. They may even do it to gain favor with God, but they are still dead.

My father, shortly before he died, told me that he had always tried to live a good life and do as much good as he could in the hope of maybe getting into heaven. He did good that God might do him good. The believer on the other hand does good because God has done good for them. We do right because of what He has done for us in salvation.

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" We once walked according to the world’s standard, we once walked according to the Devil’s standard and that is the standard for all that follow the Devil. The lost desire fame, fortune, and following just as the Devil. We, too, as lost people served the Devil and his standard - but some of us did good along the lines. Some fed the poor, some watered the thirsty, and some even gave their lives for others. The problem is that all that good did no possible good for them in the next life, only in this.

If nothing else, this verse should give you pause to wonder at where you are in this life today. You are spiritually alive, but why do you do good? Is it to gain fortune and following? If so, it is vain and will burn as wood, hay and stubble.

It should also give pause to consider the good works that you are doing for the right reason. Are you doing enough of them, are you doing the prescribed works that God has directed you to? Doing good works of one sort as substitute for what you know to be God’s will is for feeling better for yourself, not serving God - not good.

Note that Paul said "in time past ye walked" - he is assuming that they are now walking as they ought in this life, rather than as they used to in their lost condition. It is assumed that the believer will leave those works and walks of the world and begin the works and walks of the next.

We have another declaration that we should consider. Some have suggested that "The Devil made me do it!" There seems to be some truth to that for the lost person. This verse states that the Devil’s spirit works in the children of disobedience. They are dead and capable of doing all the world has to offer, but the Devil works in them to disobedience, seemingly over and above what they would find to do on their own.

Sometimes, you will run into people that are so evil in their talk, walk, and life; they treat others as if with total abandon toward evil. It is these that I believe the Devil is really working in to do evil.

We prize highly the Holy Spirit working in our lives; imagine the horror of one knowing the Evil one is working within them. That life is empty of all that is good. That life is empty of any capability of good. Even these need to know the Gospel of Christ - not saying it is easy, but they need to hear, no matter how difficult it may be.

One more little truth about the Devil. the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" Now, just consider for a moment the truth that some submit relating to eschatology. Some say that we are living in the millennium right now and that the Devil is bound with chains in the pit. Can you relate this passage to that teaching, that teaching that seems quite clearly from this passage to be false?

Verse 3

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We all - every single one of us - not one of us that did not live in this condition - save Jesus Christ Himself. All since Adam have spent time in this condition. Some for only a few years before their death, and some all their lives and those will spend eternity in the same predicament.

This seems to contradict those two positions about the deadness of man that we spoke of earlier - Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. One that is just a little sick or maybe even real sick can be pulled out of the Devil’s hold by teaching and some assistance - only through the blood of Christ can assist them out of this problem or should we say condition.

Paul tells us that the lost are lost on several fronts:

a. They are tied up in the lust of the flesh. This would relate to those desires that come from our skin and bones. It would be the sexual desires, the stomach desires, the eye desires etc. It would be those things that our body desires to do that we probably should not do. The lust is that desire, the act is what the lust produces if it is not stopped. In the lost person there is little desire to stop lust.

In the believer we have the Holy Spirit; He convicts us of that lust before we act, we have the Spirit to empower us to say no to that lust.

b. They are tied up in fulfilling those lusts of the flesh. Not only do they lust, they act on that lust. They give in to those desires of the body and continue to sin against God and themselves.

c. They are tied up in fulfilling the lust of the mind. This term mind is the same Greek word that is translated "eyes of your UNDERSTANDING" in verse eighteen. They are treating themselves to anything that their mind can dream up to do. If it enters their mind, it translates into actions to give them pleasure.

d. They are by nature children of wrath. The term "wrath" is the Greek word "orge" and relates to actions of anger, indignation and vengeance. This is their nature. It is who they are, it is what they are, it is their very nature, and it is their very makeup. It is what makes them tick.

1 John 2:16-17 is one of the clearest passages on this subject that I know of. It is quite clear in the way of the lost and it is in stark contrast to the way of the righteous. "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." Pride of life relates to being proud of whom or what you are or what you have become.

All sin fits into these three phrases and the three describe lost man as best he can be described. This stands in contrast to the believer - the believer is forever and the lost are destined to pass away into an existence prepared for them by God.

By the way this stuff we are talking about is what many call the old nature. This is the stuff they say God left inside us to fight and war with the new nature that He placed within us. Now, I don’t know about you, but if God promised that I would be new, I really would resent knowing He left all this terrible stuff inside me. I’d, even, more than this, be upset that the God I had decided to serve could not clean me up better than that.

To suggest that God left us as we were and just stuck in a new nature to fight with our old seems to be a serious disservice to Him that made us new.

The Net Bible states that "children of wrath" is a Jewish idiom that can be taken one of two ways, indeed it is true either way. It can mean children whose character is full of wrath, or it can mean they are destined for wrath. They are both, by character full of wrath and are definitely destined for wrath.

An idiom is a phrase that is particular to a certain language and that language only. This is not quite as clear in our day as an idiom in America quickly is adopted into other languages and vise versa. An American idiom might be something like, "Ya think." "Well, duhh." I know those aren’t real intellectual, but you get the point. Huum "you get the point" is probably an idiom as well.

Verse 4

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Paul has reminded them of where they were and what they were like, and now begins to remind them of where they are and what they are to be like.

God is rich in mercy - He has ample for all that He would shed it upon. On top of that mercy, He has a great love for us. The love mentioned is the self-sacrificing love rather than brotherly love. It is a love that desires to benefit, even if there is a cost involved for the one that loves. It is a love that acts for the betterment of the one loved.

I like the word "RICH" in mercy. He has a big bunch of it, He has loads of it, He has all that is needed and a lot more. "Rich" reminds me of Scrooge McDuck in the old comics. When I was very young, I was hospitalized for a time, then confined to bed for a few months at home. My folk’s friends all wanted to assist my boredom by bringing comic books and toys that could be used in bed. My favorite comics to receive were McDuck’s. He was my man, to say the least, he had it all, he enjoyed it all, he thrived in getting it all, and what is more important, he had all that I would have loved to have had.

Scrooge would build humongous safes to keep all his money in, safe after safe after safe. These safes were really huge buildings in the shape of a safe - all full of his money, and usually money pouring out of the windows and falling off the dump trucks that hauled the money to the safes.

God has that kind of mercy and even more. He selected us believers to shed that grace upon, for no reason at all other than His plan and His good pleasure.

This mercy was headed our direction before we even responded to His mercy. Indeed, His great love was love that existed before we responded to Him. He fully committed Himself and His love to us while we were still thumbing our noses at Him in our unbelief.

Verse 5

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Even in our completely dead state, He reached down and saved us. Made us completely alive. As I mentioned, "quicken" to some might indicate something of an improvement, but not the full range of what salvation is, however here we see that it is the full process of salvation.

We were quickened together with Christ. Quickened would relate to that washing away of the old and installation of the new, the regeneration that was needed to make us alive. We were reborn, or rebirthed anew. Our first birth by man was to death, but our rebirth by God is to life.

Some suggest that God washed away some of the stuff we have studied in this section - the death, but that He left the lust, the flesh, the rotten side that we were born with and poured in a new nature. The result of this is a new/old nature struggle that we are caught between.

I prefer the truth that God washed away all that stuff, completely and finally and left us with a completely new nature, one that is pure, one that can be maintained as pure, and one that ought to be maintained as pure. 1 John 1:9 and the forgiveness it promises is that maintenance that is needed to be a pure living believer. We may choose to sin, we may choose to thumb our nose at God, and we may falter, but it is not because we are dead, it is not because the Devil made us do it and it is not because of any external or internal force that is working on us - it is simply that we decide to follow self and do what we want rather than what God wants.

Many label this sinless perfection - mostly because they don’t want to accept the implications of the teaching - that they should live a fairly pure and righteous life. It is not sinless perfection, that false teaching that once we attain a certain level of spirituality we stop sinning and become one without sin - what a farce that is and many there are that have fallen in their attempt to attain such an ethereal plateau.

I do not teach sinless perfection, I teach what I believe the Word of God teaches - God recreated us new, rather than this illogical view that our being can be made up of two natures at the same time. The word nature means the sum of the whole. What we are is our nature. We can’t have two natures, that would make our nature two natures, and that is illogical.

Webster suggests, among others, "...The essence, essential qualities or attributes of a thing, which constitute it...." I suppose you could have an old characteristic and a new characteristic or some such terminology, but nature has to do with the total makeup of a thing. We are a new creation - if we fall into sin, we are a new creation that has erred and which needs restoration, but we do not become a fallen being again, we don’t become dead again, and we certainly don’t need to be requickened or re-regenerated to correct our being. We need only forgiveness from the merciful and loving God and Father that has released us from our death unto life.

Paul adds "by grace ye are saved;" to clarify that leaving the works of the world for good works would not be enough. It is the quickening of God that saves us and nothing we can do - it is His grace that saves, not ours or someone else’s grace. This counters the false teaching of the Roman church which tells us that the "extra" grace that is collected from others overflow is given to those that are in need.

There is an interesting use of verbs in this verse. We were continuingly dead, but God at a point in time quickened us (regeneration) and grace saves and keeps on saving until we are complete in the heavenlies with Him. Saved is a perfect tense, showing something that has happened, and the results will extend into the future to some future end when all will be complete. The Net Bible says that "you have been saved" and "you are saved."

Another of those many indicators that the believer is eternally secure in Christ, but easily rationalized away by those that don’t believe in the doctrine.

Verse 6

And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

Now, this verse has some interesting implications. Notice the past tense of "raised" and "made" us - both are actually aorist tense which is a statement of something that occurred at a point in time. Sometime past of when Paul stated it, they were all "raised up together, and made to sit together" in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This pictures our standing in the overall plan of God. I would suggest that we were all raised in Christ at the point of His resurrection. We have this standing and it is ours never to be changed no matter what we might try to thwart it. Again, that eternal security stuff.

Apply that to the way you live. We have a standing of sitting with Christ and the Father in heaven, but what is our state, our lifestyle, like? We ought to live as if we were with Him in the heavenlies. That rather discounts being short with people, being a liar, being troublesome, being lazy, being slothful etc. Years ago there was a book by Francis Schaeffer entitled HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE? According to this passage we should live as if we were sitting beside God in the heavenlies.

"Hath raised us up together" is actually only one word in the original, which means raised together. This indicates all of us at once were raised. I would suggest that this is also true of all Old Testament saints. They were in Sheol awaiting action on their final salvation. I personally believe that the Old Testament saint was not regenerated as we. They were unable to be allowed into heaven because of this deficiency. They awaited the work of Christ to have their faith rewarded.

This was the reason for Sheol; it was a pleasant place to be until the resurrection of Christ when they could be released into God’s presence. My book on regeneration explains all this in much more detail if you are interested.

The term translated "made us sit together" is rendered quite accurately, as it means to be made to sit together. Again, the thought of eternal security comes to mind. Some suggest that we can walk away from salvation, but this passage seems like God puts us in a seat - are you going to get up and walk away from that situation? I rather doubt it.

Verse 7

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

It would seem that there may be more grace and kindness and riches to come in the eternal state as well as here on earth. He has called us, he has done all that was needed to save us, He has saved us, He cares for us daily and He has even greater riches and grace and kindness to shed upon us in the coming day.

Exceeding has the right thought, but maybe even a stronger emphasis would be the true meaning of the word. If an item costs ninety-nine cents and I have a dollar, then my assets exceed that which I desire. This word has the thought of way exceeding, it is the thought of throwing something far and above that which is expected. His grace exceeds - even way over exceeds all that is expected. Indeed, His grace is not only sufficient to the salvation of all mankind, but His grace is way over sufficient, there is a large abundance of left over grace if you will.

I mentioned riches as separate from grace and kindness, but indeed, is not his grace and kindness toward us riches for us? It is the richest gift that He can give to His children.

I think the primary idea is to benefit His children richly, but there is also the benefit to God that He is able to show the Devil and his followers just how great and grand He is. They thought themselves so great and so grand, yet He is so much more than they and at that point in time they will certainly know it.

When Yasser Arafat died the media mentioned that he had been offered a great offer from Israel to end the Palestinian conflict and he flatly rejected it. The point was made that at the time most of the world knew he had made a grand mistake. It was revealed that he understood that this was a great mistake after the fact, but it was too late, the offer had been withdrawn.

So, with the Devil and the fallen angels, they will one day know just what a terrible decision they made when they turned against God. They will know, but it will be too late. The same goes for all the lost people of the world throughout the ages - all will one day know that their decision was a grave error and they will also know that the mistake can never be remedied.

In this respect, if none other, we ought to feel a touch of sorrow for the Devil, for his followers and for all the lost of the ages. Yes, they deserve all they will receive, but empathy is not misplaced if we feel it for them.

This is why it is hard for us to understand the Lord throwing them all into the Lake of Fire. We may feel sorry for them and wonder why there isn’t mercy for them, while from God’s perspective and at this future time our perspective as well, we will understand their punishment is a direct result of the justice of God and the intolerance of lost man toward Him.

Verses 8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Faith brings grace which saves us. The gift is in dispute by many as to what is the gift, faith, grace or salvation. Salvation is not of works so that we don’t get puffed up in what we have accomplished. This is the teaching of the verse but many add a parenthetical clause onto these two verses. They believe they are saved, they believe they are saved by the grace of God, they believe that they are not saved by any works that they have done, but if you press them on the passage, they add, "but you have to work to keep this salvation."

Now, to the question of what the gift of God is. Is it the grace, the faith or the salvation? If anything I would add that verse nine is a gift in and of itself. Not having to prove to other humans that I have done the work needed for salvation is a tremendous blessing. To some human beings, you could never prove such a thing to their satisfaction, but now back to the question.

Some suggest that the faith or the grace or both are the gift of God and salvation is the end result of the gift. I would hold that salvation is the gift of God as Romans 6:23 tells us "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I would also hold that God’s grace is a gift and that faith is that part of us that trusts in what God has told us, however in this passage I believe that the gift mentioned is the salvation rather than the grace.

Some very old translations/texts translate it "you are saved through the faith" indicating that we are saved by holding faith in a particular creed or set of beliefs. Some reform people hold dearly to their Westminster confession. Indeed, you can’t be a part of some of their internet boards unless you subscribe one hundred percent to the entire creed.

Now, I don’t think any one of them think that the creed saves them, but they are coming very close to that line of thought, and I would guess they are endangering some followers that might misinterpret their strong stance on the creed for a way of salvation.

As you minister to new believers and lost people be sure you are setting forth the Word of God as the one and only standard for salvation.

Verse 10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

And now we see why one might feel that works were important enough to class them as a salvation keeper. Works are way more important than most believers allow these days. We were created in Christ; we are saved unto good works. We are ordained to walk in good works. We are to be constantly in good works, not just on Sunday, not just on Tuesday, but all the time - walking in them is the passage.

Think about walking for a moment. You are putting one foot in front of the other, you are concentrating on where you are going, you are looking at where you are going, you are evaluating your situation, your path, the bumps and rocks in your way, you are planning ahead as to where you will turn, you are planning as to where you are going, you are constantly involved in your walk.

If your walking is not similar to that described, then you should come and walk with me. You have to watch out for rises, holes, rocks, chunks of concrete, branches, dogs, cats, trash cans, trikes, bikes and about everything else along the way, then you must wonder who is lurking around the dark corner.

That is the way we should be in our good works. Always planning how, where, and when we can find and do good works. How can I do the most that I have time for as I walk along the path that God has set before me?

For a pastor or a missionary the good works are kind of second nature to the ministry, but for the person in the pew, good works are something that is not always a typical part of our life. It can be if we walk in them, but if we don’t walk in good works, we tend to do little good for the Lord.

It is so easy to get bound up in the everyday hustle and bustle of the world system in which we operate, but we must do our best to take time for God and the works that He wants us to do.

I am reminded of the candle on my desk that is burning. Its entire existence is to burn, its total concentration, if a candle can have concentration, is to produce a little light and a little fragrance. It never deviates from those purposes, it only burns and emits. It doesn’t decide in the middle of the day to go do its own thing and start singing and dancing, indeed it cannot step aside from its prescribed purpose.

How can we then step aside from that which we were created for and ordained to do? Now, tell me that man does not have free will. Anyone that has been in a church these days knows full well that many believers never get involved in good works.

It is no wonder Christ used the illustration of a candle and the believer in Matthew 5:15 "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Do please notice he related the candle to good works showing forth. (No, I didn’t put the illustration in to fit the passage, I set the illustration down and the passage came to mind. Nor, did I realize the passage would mention good works - it was totally accidental - well on my part, I suspect God knew it was going to happen :-)

Be involved in good works is the thought of the text. If you can’t figure out how, go to your pastor, I’m sure he has something for you to get involved in. There are always ways to get involved in your own neighborhood as well. Good works don’t have to be in the church, nor do they have to be aimed toward Christians. The account of the Good Samaritan would bear out this thinking.

Verse 11

Section Four: 2:11-22

Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

We are to remember on a continuing basis. It has the idea of calling to mind, considering a thing or situation. We tend to operate in this mode anyway, so Paul gives them something spiritual to call to mind.

We have no problem calling to remembrance the good old days, the times when we had more money than now, the good times in a marriage, the best Christmas etc. Paul wants them to remember what Christ has done for them - something worthwhile to consider. In Philippians he called the believer to "think on these things" to consider the good things of our spiritual life. The other alternative is that we dwell in all those things that make us unhappy and discouraged, so it makes more sense to consider God and His things rather than us and our things that we can’t buy right now. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

I included verse nine for its statement that this will bring the realization that God is with us whether we have that old "self" stuff or not, that it is God that is important, not the rest of all the stuff of life.

Gentiles is the Greek word "ethnos" which can mean as little as a company, troop, or swarm, but usually depicts a class of people, in this case all that are not Jews. Paul uses this term to speak of all non-Jewish peoples. (In Acts 2:5 we see "ethnos" used to describe all of mankind. It relates to all the "nations" of the world. "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.")

Here he makes a distinction in mankind - the Jews and the Non-Jews in a general statement of the Gentiles relationship to God. This usage is somewhat time sensitive, in that not all God’s people are Jews. The Jews came much later in history and many of the peoples of the Old Testament were not Jews. At the time of Abraham God began to deal with only the one people, though even in the law there was grand provision for any non-Jewish people to come to God and be a part of His people. There is a complete system whereby people of this sort can be brought into the Jewish community and find acceptance with God.

However at this time in the family of God it was Jews and the rest, two divisions of mankind. Within Judaism there was coming that body of Christ which would eliminate this division and basically set up another. God’s people and the lost people. Jewish and Gentile believers become one body, the church, the children of God while all else on earth is lost and never to be a part of the family of God lest they believe upon the head of that body, the church.

The phrase "made by hands" interests me, though I am not sure there is anything special meant by it. It seems that it is of note because Paul included it, but just why he included it is of interest. Was he suggesting that the Jewish Christians might give a little more emphasis to circumcision than they ought? This is possible because that is what they seemed to do in the early history of the church until the apostles set them straight on the topic.

Was Paul giving a contrast in the verse? "Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;" Paul seems to point out that the circumcision was no real special SPIRITUAL thing to be excited about. It was done by the hands of men - no big deal. The context is the thought that before the Gentiles were outsiders, while now they are insiders and equal to the Jews. The point might be suggested, that being insiders, they are on now equal to the Jew and no more outsiders. This might have been written for the Jews as much as for the Gentiles.

Some suggest, and I would tend to agree that Paul is showing the division between lost Gentiles and lost Jews. The phrase relating to hands would point out the lostness of the Jews he was speaking about. The thinking is that if he were speaking of Christian Jews he would have phrased it differently.

Most Jews in Paul’s day were Christ rejecters, but very pious in their devotion to the law, even if their devotion was to the law as they understood it and interpreted it. Paul’s use of the phrase would point out their reliance on their own efforts had the lost Jew had opportunity to read this letter.

Verses 11-22

APPLICATION:

1. In verse twelve when it says, "That at that time ye were without Christ" Jamieson Fausset and Brown make an interesting note from the Greek. They describe this phrase as it should be ""separate from Christ"; having no part in Him; far from Him." but they make further comment that there would have to be an addition of another word to make this phrase to mean that Christ was not with us at that time - we were far from God, but He was not far from us.

This is true today in our spiritual walk as well. We can be in outright total rebellion, and yet we can know that He is nearby, He is awaiting our return, He is ready and willing to respond to us.

2. I always come up with these dumb questions. Here Paul has just laid out a mass of information relating to us; that Christ unified the Jews and the Gentiles, and that He has done all to reconcile man and God, and I am thinking, Why did Christ want to unify the Jews and the Gentiles?

True this may have been a problem with the church at that time, and true man was far from God, but why was there a labor of love to unify the Jew and the Gentile? What purpose was there? Did the Gentiles care if they were separate from the Jews? Do the Jews want unification?

In pondering this question it seems that the unification was the process by which God was tying two dispensations together. He was merging all of the saved of the Old Testament economy and melding them in with all of the future saved of Grace Economy.

The result of the unification is actually the eternal state, though we aren’t to it as yet. He needed to bring the believer that was under law into the same relationship that those under grace were enjoying.

It was a necessary process to bring all peoples together under the cross. One of the main accusations brought against dispensationalists is that we believe in two methods of salvation. Not so. The accusation is based on an unfortunate comment in the first edition of Scofield’s reference Bible. He indicated that those under the law were saved differently from those under grace. This comment was revised in the next edition, but none of the foes of dispensations will include this in their comments.

The Old Testament saint came to God the same way as I did - by believing in what God said. I had a little advantage in knowing that Christ existed and that He died for me, while the Old Testament saint only knew that God had a plan for a Messiah and that there would be a better life in the end if they believed in what God said.

Both arrive in heaven by the same method, but from a different system of government under God.

This unification was only one of the many steps in the overall plan of God for the ages.

3. In verse fifteen it mentions, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments...." The Net Bible translates it this way, "when he nullified the law of commandments in decrees." Nullified is said to have meant, to render it inoperative. Now, I won’t comment about those that are today trying to obey the law and the fact that it won’t work, but just the fact that Christ did all He needed to do in His life and death to make the Law of no effect for this day in which we live.

4. The Net Bible suggests that "cornerstone" is actually the capstone. The Lexicon however relates it to the corner stone that ties two walls together. The capstone is that middle odd shaped stone that the arch is supported by. I suspect that the point is that Christ is the chiefest of all the stones rather than specifying any particular one, or there may be the thought of the cornerstone being the stone set by the builders by which all others are aligned to. This is usually the one with an inscription placed on it in modern days.

None of the translations I checked use the term capstone, but all use cornerstone. The lexicon speaks of the stone placed at the extreme corner. 1 Peter 2:6 is the only other place the word is used and it is translated cornerstone there as well. "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."

The word comes from two words, one of which is used in Mark 13:27 when it says, "uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." The word here is "uttermost." It is also used in Luke 16:24 when the rich man wants Lazarus to dip the TIP of his finger in water to give him to taste. The second word relates to corners, thus extreme corner.

We might suggest application of the thought that the cornerstone was laid, and that all other stones were laid out in relation to it. This was to guarantee squareness and correctness of the building. Christ is the standard set, Christ is the only standard set and Christ is the only standard we should use in our lives.

5. The reference to a grand building and temple must have resonated in the Ephesian mind strongly in contrast to the Temple of Diana - that great edifice that people came to worship in from the surrounding area. Paul may have been drawing the contrast knowing that the people had worshipped in Diana’s temple and that they would know the stark contrast between it and what they had learned of God.

1 Corinthians 3:10-16 is a very appropriate text to consider here. 10. "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built hereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

We see here that Christ is the foundation and the cornerstone - He is the strength, stability and squareness of the church in which we live.

6. Constable tells of some of the rancorous feelings that the Jews had for the Gentiles. They felt that if one of their children married a Gentile that they would have a funeral for the child. They would not help a Gentile woman in the time of delivery for it would only assist in adding a Gentile to the world.

One must wonder if Hitler and others didn’t find such rhetoric in history to be basis for their hate of the Jews. This hate continues today in some of the Arian Nation groups that hate Jews and call for blood shed.

The hate of the Gentiles for the Jews isn’t proper nor is the hate of the Jews for the Gentiles. This hate is not acceptable in the church between believers and it is not proper outside the church either. The lost Jew and the lost Gentile have no reason to hate one another for they are both lost and on their way to the fire prepared for them.

What arrogance they must have to think themselves better than someone else that is going the same direction. We all die. Someone was interviewing Dustin Hoffman and they spoke of his tomb stone. He had two things he was considering for his stone. One was "Thanks to my mother and father for without them I could not have come so far." The other is more tuned to our context, "I knew this was going to happen."

We all know we are bound to become dirt, why should we think more highly of ourselves than another? Within the church it is the same. We are all saved by Grace and we are all equal before God, yet we tend to think we are better than others.

Indeed, when a Jew accepts Christ there is a flutter, there is a stirring, there is an excitement. This person won a Jew to the Lord! Often the one leading a Jew to the Lord thinks himself special because of God’s work in the Jewish person’s life. I have seen strange reactions in a church where they have a converted Jew. A converted Jew is no different than a converted Italian or converted Swede - we are all human beings under the grace of God and none are special.

7. Sin brought death and separation from God when Adam fell, while Christ on the cross brought life and reconciliation. What a contrast - no further apart elements could be gathered together into one truth. Adam lost all there was to lose for mankind and Christ restored all for our acceptance.

Man lost it all and God restored it all. That shows the distinct difference between man and God. We destroy, and He restores. We cause trouble, and He brings peace. We ruin all He has done and He gives it back to us out of His grace and love.

Humm, ought we not find something in that for our lives - something like, following HIM is better than following ME. Our way is the highway and His way is the only way. We need to realize the one that is better for us, He has our best interest in mind, and even though we think we do also, we tend toward things that do us great harm while He tends toward things that bring us great benefit.

8. This idea of one body has two distinct areas of teaching.

A. First it speaks to the ONE church, as opposed to the thought of some that their church is the only ONE. Let’s discuss the universal/local church issue briefly.

Most everyone would say that Paul was a Christian and that he was a member of Christ’s church, indeed, most would agree that all dead saints were members of the Lord’s church. On the other hand some suggest that there is no church but their church group. Now how they get from a singular to a plural without some basis is beyond me but they do. They don’t see Paul and all the other saints as part of a universal church, indeed they abhor the thought of a universal church.

Christ said He would build His church, speaking of all saints, of all times - His body. This is the universal church and no more. I don’t know what is done with these few facts by those that say there is only one church, the local church. All of them would agree that there is more than one local church yet there is only the local church - subdivided I guess.

Their church (group) is the only true church and if you aren’t baptized by one of their men, then you are not properly baptized because they draw their authority from John the Baptist himself. They all descend from him or someone he baptized.

Seems that this teaching is counter to what Paul is saying here. All believers no matter who they are, no matter how they were baptized, no matter what nationality they are - all are one body and that body is Christ’s.

B. Secondly this speaks to the Israel/church distinctiveness. Some suggest that the two are separate and distinct groups (the dispensationalist) and others suggest that the two are one, no difference, all one big bunch of God’s people through all time (the covenant theologian).

This passage seems to show that there were distinctions between Israel and the Church. Anyone thinking about it will realize that Israel still has a distinctness in that God is not done with Israel yet. Much of prophecy speaks of a future Israel - again, distinct from the church.

In this church age there is still Israel and the church - this passage only shows that God views all BELIEVERS as one and the same, in the body of Christ. Paul knew that lost Israel still existed for he was busy at all opportunities to share the Gospel with Jews, to draw them into the church.

Within the church, there are no distinctions, but without there are still distinctions. Israel is still bound by the law, they are under the promise, and they seek God by that system, though few there are that do. Judaism today is far from what the Old Testament pictures.

9. The Greeks felt that they were THE people, and all others were barbarians. The Greeks felt that if you didn’t speak Greek, you were a barbarian. It always came down to us and them in life. When the Romans took over, they adopted the Greek idea and it was Roman or barbarian, so Paul takes this line of thinking to illustrate what was indeed fact with the Jews.

This whole idea of the Jews attitude toward the Gentiles seems to fit well in our own day. It is not the Jews that are the problem in the church but the "sects" that assume their theology is better than anyone else’s. The reformed and strong Calvinist often look down their theological noses to any that would be so lowly as to disagree with them. Their verbiage drips with sarcasm and arrogance when speaking down to those that dare disagree with them. They have basis for this attitude, in that they have the truth and all others are lost ignorant buffoons that can’t understand the plain teachings of Scripture - as interpreted by them.

Then there are some of the dispensationalist crowd that have the truth and their rhetoric toward those without their own confines is similar to their opposition. Both are wrong in case you haven’t caught my drift. We are one in Christ if we trust Him for our salvation.

There is another aspect to this divisiveness - class - if you don’t succumb to their mold and character, you are automatically excluded from the normal course of church life. This is evident in pastor’s get togethers. If you don’t talk as they and if you don’t dress as they and if you don’t follow their forms, then you are not quite to be accepted as you may pollute the gene pool.

I have seen some very good preachers that weren’t quite the norm that were never accepted as part of the norm. When they needed a church, they were not recommended, when they wanted to join in the activities they were excluded.

This ought not to be - we are one in the Lord - remember?

RECONCILIATION

From Mr. D’s Notes on Theology; Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992

DEFINITION: Thayer as quoted in Pardington states, "The word is used in the New Testament...of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust into the expiatory death of Christ" (Pardington, Rev. George P. Ph.D.; "OUTLINE STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE"; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 254)

"Reconciliation is the restoration to friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Old Testament reconciliation contains the idea of an atonement or covering for sin" (Taken from: "UNGER’S BIBLE DICTIONARY"; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)

RECONCILIATION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:

"And he slew [it]; and Moses took the blood, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it."

(Leviticus 8:15) "And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded [that] the burnt offering and the sin offering [should be made] for all Israel." (2 Chronicles 29:24) "And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. 16 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. 17 And it shall be the prince’s part [to give] burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel." (Ezekiel 45:15-17) "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24) These are the references where the term reconciliation appears in the Old Testament. Let us gather some facts from these verses.

1. There was shedding of blood in preparation for reconciliation. The blood was a means by which the alter was purified, so that sacrifices could be offered for reconciliation. (Leviticus 8:15)

2. There was a shedding of blood to make reconciliation for the nation of Israel. (2 Chronicles 29:24)

3. There will be offerings of animals in the Millennial Kingdom for the people of Israel. It is not known just why these offerings will be given. The Lord will be in their presence and Israel will have turned to Him nationally. Whether they will be under the sacrificial system literally or for a memorial, we are not told. (Ezekiel 45:15-17) It is of note that the offerings for reconciliation were commanded by God, not devised by man. Again, we see that the different items of salvation are God’s idea!

4. In this passage as well as the others, reconciliation is linked to the sin of the people. The sin was separating the people from God. (Daniel 9:24)

The question that might come to mind is this. Is reconciliation a prerequisite for salvation? We always tie reconciliation directly to salvation, but should we. It would seem that these verses show reconciliation to be the restoration of fellowship between Israel and God.

Salvation is not mentioned in these texts. It seems, at least in the Old Testament, that reconciliation may be that action which brings the believer back into fellowship with God.

It seems that Leviticus 16:20 might back up this idea. It mentions a reconciling of places rather than people. It seems that the term has the idea of correcting a relationship. In the case of the holy place, it was correcting from impure to pure.

Now let us move on to the New Testament.

RECONCILIATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:

WORDS USED

I will list the words and the passages where they appear. Comments will be made as needed. (All usages of the words are listed.)

VERBS

"katallasso" (Strong’s 2644) "properly denotes to change, exchange (especially of money); hence, of persons, to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile." (Vine, W. E.; "AN EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS"; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)

Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." It seems that we may have been reconciled even before we were saved. It seems that the term relates to that action of Christ which made it possible for God and man to have fellowship. It is a changing in the relationship.

1 Corinthians 7:11 "But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife." Though this passage is speaking of marriage and separation, it depicts the action by which the wife can be brought back into a proper marriage relationship with her husband. The term reconciliation again seems to mean the action of repairing a relationship.

2 Corinthians 5:18 "And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;" Here we see that it was God’s idea to reconcile us to Himself. It is also shown here that it is our responsibility to share the Gospel so that others might also be reconciled to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 adds to this thought.

"apokatallasso" (Strong’s 604) "to reconcile completely...to change from one condition to another, so as to remove all enmity and leave no impediment to unity and peace" (Vine)

Ephesians 2:16 "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" This passage indicates that there was enmity between God and man, but that the enmity was done away with by the cross. Again, it would seem that Christ’s work repaired a relationship, but it does not indicate that this is indeed, salvation. Salvation was made a possibility because man was reconciled with God through the cross.

Colossians 1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven."

Colossians 1:21 "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"

"diallasso" (Strong’s 1259) "to effect an alteration, to exchange, and hence, to reconcile, in cases of mutual hostility yielding to mutual concession" (Vine)

Matthew 5:24 "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." This shows the repairing of a relationship as has been mentioned before.

NOUNS

"katallage" (Strong’s 2643) "primarily an exchange, denotes reconciliation, a change on the part of one party, induced by an action on the part of another" Vine.

Romans 5:11 "And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." The word we are looking for in this text is atonement. It is normally translated reconciliation.

Romans 11:15 "For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?" This pictures the world reconciled. It seems that reconciliation was provided for all of mankind, through the cross of Christ. Christ’s action repaired the relationship between God and man. All has been done by Christ, so that man can come to God. If man refuses, then this results in his eternal position in the Lake of Fire.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 "And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;" 19 "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

"hilaskomai" (Strong’s 2433) It is translated merciful in Luke 18:13 and reconciliation in Hebrews 2:17. (This term is related to the Greek term translated propitiation. Romans 3:25; Hebrews 8:12)

Lu. 18:13 "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

Hebrews 2:17 "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Let us recap what we have learned from these passages.

1. We were enemies when we were reconciled. Romans 5:10; Romans 11:15; Ephesians 1:21

2. We were reconciled to God. Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 2:16. This reconciliation was a restoration of man to God, not the other way around.

3. We were reconciled by Jesus Christ. Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20/by His death Romans 5:10/by His blood Colossians 1:20.

4. We went away from God by our own will, and now Christ makes it possible for us to return. Though this verse deals with marriage it gives the essence of the term. That is one that has gone away of her own will is to return. 1 Corinthians 7:11

5. We are ministers and ambassadors of reconciliation to the world. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

6. The world is in view when God was reconciling. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

7. We are to beseech the lost to be reconciled to God. (We do this in Christ’s stead.) 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

8. God has COMMITTED the job of reconciliation to the saved! 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

9. We are reconciled WITH the Jews, unto God. Ephesians 2:16

10. There is more to reconciliation than man alone. Colossians 1:20, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself - by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." The earth and heaven are under duress in some manner due to the fall of man. The ground only was cursed in Genesis three, however this verse would indicate that the whole of creation is in the backwash of man’s sin and fall.

All things have been reconciled unto Christ. The completion of this is yet to come, but the provision has been made for all things to be reconciled unto him. In the creature realm it is limited to those that can, and do choose to respond to that reconciliation. (The angels can’t, but man can, if he desires.)

11. Reconciliation should cause joy in our lives. Romans 5:11, "And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."

Thiessen relates the terms propitiation and reconciliation thusly: "The two ideas seem to be related to each other as cause and effect: Christ’s death ’propitiated’ God, and as a result he is ’reconciled’" (Thiessen, Henry C.; "LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 327)

He relates an apt illustration. "At first God and man stood face to face with each other. In sinning, Adam turned his back upon God. Then God turned His back upon Adam. [due to His justice demanding He turn away from sin.] Christ’s death has satisfied the demands of God and now God has again turned His face toward man. It remains for man to turn round about and face God. Since God has been reconciled by the death of His Son, man is now entreated to be reconciled to God." Thiessen, p 327-328)

Have you really thought about all that we have been studying to this point? Have we really gotten hold of the truths that we have been studying? 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 states "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, [This almost sounds like God has not been keeping track of sins since the cross. This would be a good study sometime!] and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

"GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF"

IF WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST died for all sin - the sin of the world - IF WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST propitiated God for the whole world-IF WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST reconciled the whole world - IF WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST did all there was to do to bring the sinner to a point that all he had to do was to reject or accept Christ’s sacrifice for his sin - THEN - We have the sinner at what position before God? Think about it. What position is the lost person in today, before

almighty God?

IS HE NOT AT THE POINT OF ADAM IN THE GARDEN IN ESSENCE - TRUE HE IS IN A DREADFUL STATE OF SIN AND ALL ITS RAMIFICATIONS BUT ISN’T HE AT THE SAME DECIDING POINT THAT ADAM WAS?

"DO I WANT TO OBEY GOD, OR DO I WANT TO DO MY OWN THING? In reality I believe that is just were lost mankind is today, and has been since the cross!

Thus, one that argues against the total depravity of man being based on the sin of Adam - he argues a mute question. It really doesn’t matter in the context of salvation.

THE WORD OF GOD STATES THAT CHRIST HAS PAID THE PRICE, AND THAT YOU MUST RECEIVE HIS WORK,

OR SPEND ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE.

YOU WILL ACCEPT THAT IMPERATIVE OR REJECT IT. IN SO DOING YOU ACCEPT OR REJECT GOD’S INJUNCTION TO ADAM TO OBEY GOD.

The application of this thinking is to the fact that we are all like Adam - we all chose to sin. Thus at the point of decision which God has so graciously brought us through His Son, we will as Adam - reject God’s injunction to obey. THUS, WE HAVE THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN PROVEN AS WELL AS THE ELECTION AND DRAWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF THE ELECT TO GOD!

HE DID HIS PART. "That man is an utterly lost sinner who could never find his own way back to God, is a very unpalatable truth for the average natural man or woman. We all like to think that there is something we can do to help save ourselves, whereas, according to God’s Word we are not only lost, but without ability to retrieve our condition. It is remarkable how apt the colored folks are in quick illustrations of spiritual realities, as the following instance will show.

"A recent convert, a colored man, rose in a meeting to give his testimony to the saving grace of God. He told how the Lord had won his hear and given deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. He spoke of Christ and His work, but said nothing of any efforts of his own.

"The leader of the meeting was of a legalistic turn of mind, and when the Negro’s testimony was ended, he said, ’Our brother has only told us of the Lord’s part in his salvation. When I was converted there was a whole lot I had to do myself before I could expect the Lord to do anything for me. Brother, didn’t you do your part first before God did His?’

The other was on his feet again in an instant and replied: ’Yes, sah, Ah clear done forgot. Ah didn’t tell you ’bout my part, did I? Well, Ah did my part for over thirty years, runnin’ away from God as fast as evah my sins could carry me.

That was my part. An’ God took aftah me till He run me down. That was His part.’ It was well put and tells the story that every redeemed sinner understands." (Ironside/"ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTHS")

Let us close with a summation of the doctrine by Unger. "By this change lost humanity is rendered savable. As a result of the changed position of the world through the death of Christ the divine attitude toward the human family can no longer be the same. God is enabled to deal with lost souls in the light of what Christ has accomplished. (Taken from: "UNGER’S BIBLE DICTIONARY"; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press.

Used by permission.)

Verse 12

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

This section reminds me of a mission policy in a church in which we were members. We were also missionaries on deputation. I was asked to assist on the missions committee so I jumped at the chance. The first item of business for me was to read their missions policy.

They had devised a grid system by which they determined whether a missionary could/would be supported by the church. As I read the policy there were many required items. Being a Baptist missionary, being with a Baptist mission etc. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the requirements, just that I fit nowhere in their criteria. We were with an independent mission and were not going to be working with Baptists and a bunch of other noncriteria items. The result was that we, as members of this church, could not be supported by the church in our missionary endeavor. We had so many marks against us that we had no possible hope of support.

Indeed, when we asked the church to be our sending church, they did agree to send us, but there would be no financial support. Not sure how you send someone without support, but that was their decision and we were glad to abide with it and continue to be members and serve on the missions committee.

As we had no chance of support, Paul is laying out a solid case to show that the lost gentile was totally out of luck when it came to heaven. There was no way that any Gentile was going to make it into heaven.

Remember what he told them in the last section - they were dead. Now he adds five more things that were against them as dead men. They are also without Christ, not Jews, not under the promise, they have no hope and they are without God. They were at a disadvantage I’d say.

Consider these points:

Spiritually dead

Without Christ

Not Jews

Not under the promise

Having no hope

Without God

Hey, we weren’t just up a creek without a paddle, but we didn’t even have a canoe. We had no hope of life, we were without a Savior, we couldn’t get in because we were Jews, we weren’t sojourners so we weren’t under the promise, and we had no hope for anything and worst of all we were without God. Not a chance to gain entrance into heaven, no matter how hard we scrambled to suggest we might.

Now, if this is God’s opinion of the lost, and it is, then how can any lost person logically think that they can do something nice enough to gain entrance into heaven? They do not realize where they are spiritually before God or they would not entertain such folly as to think their good works will gain them anything.

No one standing at the pearly gates, if there are pearly gates, will offer any of these excuses for not having Christ and be accepted into heaven. Only Christ and His shed blood will allow entrance into eternity.

It almost seems that Paul is countering some teaching that they might have been receiving. He is taking great pains to show that they were totally unequivocally without hope before Christ. That there was no chance for their salvation except by the grace of God. Since verses eight and nine are so clearly for grace and against works it would seem that someone was teaching that there was some good in man and that that good was going to help them gain acceptance with God.

I’ve mentioned my father before on his death bed talking of spiritual things for the first time on a serious level. We could see a Lutheran church across from his hospital room and we talked of what they believed. He remarked, "Well, I have always tried to do as much good as I could and hoped that I would do enough to get in."

Do good he did, all his life, he did good, he would do for anyone that was in need, he would give of himself to do good, but this passage tells us that he could not do enough good to gain access to God. He was totally dead, without hope, without Christ, and without God unless he had accepted the gospel at some time earlier in his life. This was a slight possibility, as he attended a Methodist church back when the Biblical gospel had root in that movement.

I was able to share the simple plan of salvation with him, but only he and God know the results of that hearing of the Word.

Verse 13

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ah, there is a change in the landscape. Christ made a difference. Before Him we were way off from God, but now that Christ is a part of our life we are made close to God.

As you read this passage you get the feeling that not only were there some false teachings relating to our lostness, works, but also this text seems to indicate there was a division between the Jewish converts and the Gentile converts. Paul is making the strong case that these two groups are now merged into one in Christ.

Verse 14

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];

More theology coming at cha. "Who hath made both one" speaks to the unification of Spiritual Israel and the church. Not, that it is speaking of unification of all promises, rules and regulations however as some would teach. We, the church are not under the law, nor are we under the promise; we are under the cross as is all Israel. Israel was in a special state until the cross; there was a barrier between them and God, which only the cross could deal with. The work of Christ allows all peoples equal entrance into the presence of God without need of works or keeping of the law.

Just what is this "middle wall of partition?" A couple things might come to mind. There is the division of the temple, the outer area from the Holy of Holies where God dwelled. There is also the thought of the wall between Jew and Gentile. And there is also the wall between God and lost man. The question is this - which is it?

The answer is quite obvious if you read the context of verses twelve to sixteen. It is all that divided Jew from Gentile, or maybe a little more correctly we should view this as the division that kept Gentiles away from the Jewish relationship with God. There is a little thought, in my mind of that which keeps the lost from God, and that would be valid here, but specifically Paul is talking about the wall that kept the Gentiles from the Jewish relationship to God. This is a general statement of what has happened at the cross.

There were laws in the Old Testament to allow seekers to come into a relationship with God by becoming a Jew in lifestyle and commitment; however this wall that came down was the general wall that blocked Gentiles from direct access to God without coming to Him through the law and all it involves.

The Gentiles come directly, and the wall being removed, so do the Jews. There seems to be several aspects to this wall. The fact that it kept Gentiles from a relationship to Israel and God, the fact that it kept Jews from having direct access to God without the law and the fact that it kept Gentiles from direct access to God without the law.

Christ was our peace - He brought peace between all parties. One must wonder why the Jews do not see this. Well, not really, as they are still following the law, having rejected their Messiah and having their eyes darkened by God. A few have found that peace with God through the cross, but most Jews still await His coming and yet serve the law in some manner or another.

So, how does this apply to the movements today that want to mix the Old Testament with the New? Those in America and Israel that are trying to rebuild the temple by their own efforts. Those that take upon themselves Jewish names to find favor with God, those that take on the Jewish trappings in an attempt to put Jewish flavor to the Church.

Nowhere in the Word are we told to pattern the church after Israel, nowhere in the Word are we told to pattern our lives after Judaism, and nowhere in the Word are we told to stir the Old and New into one big pot of slime called Messianic Christianity. Messiah was Christ; Christ is Christianity so the two terms become redundant. Instead of pointing out their uniqueness in life and belief, it points out their error in life and belief.

When my brother died, I found that he had become involved in this movement to some extent or another. His girl friend was shocked to the quick when I told her I was not going to go to the expense of flying his remains to be scattered over the Jordan River. He had declared this a wish, but I rather doubt it was much more than a passing statement of hope in that he was planning to move to Israel to work assisting immigrants. He had told me only a year or two earlier that there was to be no expense in getting him into the ground. We both saw the futility of the modern mortician practices that dwell on the sorrow of bereaved people.

There is nothing in the Word to indicate that there is any significance to the human body after it ceases to live. It returns to dust, so why prolong the process with all the tactics of modern mummification and preparations for the departed. They are going to rot, no matter how nice you make the process begin so why not move on with the process at the earliest possible opportunity?

When I see mummies of the distant past I am interested due to history, but I also am humored at the ploys of man to make the old pile of dust last longer than the manufacturer designed it to last. We are dust; we will never be anything else, so why struggle and squirm as we do to keep this body from its intended future.

Personal opinion here, but I really cannot understand the expense Christians go to in giving their loved ones a big send off. They aren’t there to send, they are long gone folks - read the Bible. We aren’t in that shell, we are with the Lord ignoring what’s going on around the body we once knew. The cheapest method to dispose of the body is the good steward’s duty, not the terribly expensive funerals and caskets and flowers that are dying themselves by the way. They are just not quite as far along in the process.

To return to the point, if you have anyone trying to pull you back into compliance with the Old Testament laws of life and living, you have someone that does not understand that we don’t need that, someone that does not understand God’s ongoing program and someone that does not understand grace and all its benefits. Do not allow anyone to draw you back or away from God with such attempts - refuse them - follow what grace teaches - freedom from the law and all its requirements, the most significant one of which is, that if you try to obey one point of the law to gain with God, you are required to keep the entirety of the law perfectly and you will not succeed.

There is also the thought that there was a solid wall between the court of the Gentiles (in the temple) and the rest of the temple - to separate the Jews and the Gentiles. This pictures that partition being removed from between the two peoples.

Verse 15

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

Here we see the Scriptural basis for what has just been stated - Christ took care of all that stuff. He made from the two, Jews and Gentiles, one new man "making peace." There should be no division between Jewish believer and the Gentile believer - peace is their lot.

The term translated "ordinances" is the Greek word "dogma" or doctrine. One must wonder if this wasn’t speaking again of the false teaching that Paul was setting out to refute. He may have been working against those that had instituted doctrines of works to be followed to gain access to God. The further into this study the more it seems to me that he was writing against Judaizers.

At the very least he was attempting to stop the hatred between Jews and Gentiles. This was a strong hatred in this time as the Jews thought the Christians were a heretic sect of their very own. They wanted to stamp it out at all costs, yet Paul says that Christ did the work to stop this hatred and to bring about peace between the two parties.

There is another aspect of this enmity, or great difference between the Jew/law and Gentile/grace. The stark difference in the two is totally obvious, and this difference/enmity may have been giving rise to hard feelings between the two groups. The Jews that had been under the law may have felt it unfair that they had been raised under the law and all of its limitations to life, and then they see these Christians coming out of sin and the like to walk free from any restriction under grace. Even a Jew that had found release in grace might have felt unfairness in the ease with which the Gentiles were coming to God.

There is quite a difference between law and grace. In a sense law is all that grace is not. Grace is free and clear, without limitations and requirements while the law is costly in obedience and clearly has many limits and requirements.

The law was limited as well in what it could do for the believer. It could not put the person into a completed place in Christ until after the cross. He was not a believer in full standing. He was allowed a relationship with God, however limited. They did not have the Holy Spirit as those under grace, and they had not been fully restored from the fall nor their personal sin. They awaited the cross for both to find their completion. This was the reason for Sheol in Luke sixteen. It was a place where Old Testament saints enjoyed joy, but yet separation from God awaiting their full standing before Him in Christ. Christ went there to retrieve all those that were waiting and ushered them into the Lord’s presence after the resurrection.

The parable of the laborers illustrates what I am suggesting. The owner came and hired some, then later more, and then late in the day even more. When it came pay time all received the same amount. Those hired early cried unfair. I have to wonder if the Jews weren’t suggesting some unfairness in this idea of grace for the Gentiles.

Verse 16

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Does this not state what has been said? He wanted to reconcile both unto God. Evidently the Jewish believers were not yet reconciled to God. They were not yet fully children of God though, because their sins were only "covered" by the blood of animals, their sins were not "washed away" by the blood of Christ.

This is a very disturbing teaching to some but I believe it to be the teaching of Scripture. I was contacted by email by a man that held to a different belief on this topic wanting to discuss it with me. I told him if he would set aside his preconceptions and look at the subject openly I would discuss it. After about five rounds of emails it was obvious he was arguing against my belief because he disagreed and his entire line of thought was based on his belief which he was assuming was correct and as a result found my conclusions to be incorrect.

You can’t seriously consider the Word if you argue from your preconceptions as this gentleman and many others do today. My thought answers several questions of theology that had always bothered me. I asked the man to answer the questions that my position answers and never once did he attempt to give response, which tells me he had no such answers, thus he was willing to retain a belief that is inadequate because it is his belief rather than because it was Scriptural.

Christ has done all that is needed to bring all peoples, whether Jew or Gentile, to God in the full and proper manner that was required. There was full reconciliation with God.

Watch it now; there is another one of those "DOCTRINES" that we must deal with - "reconciliation."

Just what is reconciliation? I will include a study on the subject at the end of this section for those that want to look at the subject further. Basically it is bringing man and God back together after man turned away from God. In a marriage if one of the spouses leaves and then at a later time returns to the home and to the marriage it is called reconciliation. Thus it is with God, man turned from God in the garden and God was thus separated from man spiritually. Christ brought about all that was needed to bring man and God back together.

There may even be good suggestion that God turned away from man after man’s rejection of Him. We won’t delve into that here, but most any systematic theology would treat the subject.

Yes, there is the question as to whether Christ reconciled all mankind with God. There is indication that this was the case. Christ did all that was needed to bring all of mankind back into a proper relationship with God. The question is whether all mankind will accept that work on the cross. The answer is no they have not and will not.

There is even indication that Christ’s preaching in Sheol may have been Christ’s offering to Old Testament non-believers of all that He had done on the cross, but there is no indication that any accepted that work. It seems that man, once he has rejected God, has made up his mind and has had his heart hardened to further information relating to salvation. I am not convinced personally that the Gospel was preached to the lost Old Testament saints, but even if it was there is no indication than any lost turned to Christ, indeed they could not have, the Scripture is clear that once death overtakes the person, spiritual change is impossible.

Verse 17

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

This undoubtedly speaks of the earthly preaching of the Lord. He preached to all that would listen seeking to bring them into a peaceful relationship with God.

Verse 18

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

We all have access to God by the Spirit. This is an interesting verse in relation to what I was mentioning earlier relating to reconciliation. NOW, we have access by one Spirit. This is the crux of my thinking. The Old Testament saint did not have the Spirit dwelling within as we. The Old Testament saint/Jew did not have access to the Father until the cross. Seems proof positive to me that my thinking is correct.

In the next four verses we see a grand picture of what we have been talking about. It is a picture of Christ and the great body that He has prepared and provided for - the church. 19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Verse 19

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

The Gentiles in the Old Testament time that wished to unite with the Jewish people for a relationship with God were called strangers and sojourners - this seems to be a call back to those people. I often wondered why they were called thusly, instead of at some time in the process being called Jews. It would seem that there was always a distinction between them and the Jew.

The term "strangers" is used of anyone that is a person that does not normally belong in a land. God’s people were called strangers when they were in Egypt. Years ago I was able to make a trip to Ireland, where I automatically was a stranger. You couldn’t tell it till I opened my mouth and had no Irish accent, but I was indeed a stranger.

"Fellowcitizens" means one having the same citizenship as the others. There were some minor differences in the Old Testament sojourner/stranger and they were not full citizens of the house of God in an earthly sense, but were the same as the Jew spiritually. These Gentiles now are the same as the Jew in rights, in all aspects before God.

Leviticus 17:8 mentions these strangers, "...Whatsoever man [there be] of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you...."

The application in this text is that we are all fully God’s children, and that no matter what our looks, our talents or our possessions, we are equal before God - oh, yes, we ought to add, no matter what gender we happen to be - we are fully children of God. Not to say there are not differences in our function while here on earth.

Verse 20

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the

chief corner [stone];

We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets - we have a solid footing upon which to take our stand. We are part of a building that has Christ as the corner stone. He is the strength of the building, the identifier, if you will. All can look at this building and know that we are His.

The apostles we can understand since some of them were involved in the writing of Scripture and they were the teachers that went out into the world to evangelize, it was the apostles that set the world on its ear with the Good News. The work of the apostles was the founding of the church and their teachings were the strong foundation that we now build upon.

The question is, what prophets? They may be the New Testament prophets, though they seem to be of little importance in the written word. I would assume that this refers back to the Old Testament prophets which had set down their messages for the edification of the Old Testament saints. This teaching became some of the teaching of the New. This was an integrated part of the foundation that was set for the church to be built upon.

The Net Bible translators state that this is the New Testament prophets, however I have to wonder. There is no indication that I can think of to show that the New Testament prophets received any revelation that made it into the Scriptures. Yes, they did some predicting, but they did not add to the revelation itself that God made of Himself to man. Only the Old Testament prophets fit this requirement, if indeed my requirement of revelation is correct. Gill agrees that the prophets are of the Old Testament variety rather than New.

However, in studying the next section I ran into verse five which to me would show that this phrase IS speaking of the New Testament prophets. "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;" Note "now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets...." shows that the Old Testament prophets were not involved in this revelation and in my mind not in the verse twenty information either.

Barnes suggests that "prophets" probably refers to the whole of the Old Testament as a foundation. Indeed, this might be true, but prophets is in a phrase with "apostles" which would indicate specific people as "apostles" refers to the twelve.

Verse 21

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

The term "building" might be slightly misleading to the reader. It actually relates to edification or of building up. In whom all the building up is framed together, might be the sense of it. The builders are building up this building and the parts are fit together precisely.

On Public Broadcasting they have a show about old time tools, and workmanship. One show was about a building method that was used in Europe hundreds of years ago. The building had no nails, it had now bolts, it had no way of holding itself together other than tightly fit joints designed to seal the frame of the building together with great strength. The building was assembled by fitting these different beams together in the proper sequence so that the building took shape and was held together by the pieces that gave one another support.

The church is precisely built, there are no errors, there are no cost cuts that will weaken it, and there are no shortcuts to bring about cutting of expenses. It is "fitly framed." Actually, this can relate to how the body parts are fit together. Now, my body is not a good example of this, the knees are shot, the back is bowed and poorly supported, the roof is long gone and the ankles can barely support the upper structure, but even then I know how well my limbs and bones are tied together. They were fitly framed to do the work that was needed. Now, we can look back over the years and years that I have used this body, and the falls, and the stresses, and the injuries, yet the body continues to work and function in a relatively good way. Imagine how wonderful the design of this body is to have lasted through six decades of work - and I might add abuse.

Such is the building that Paul is speaking of. Only this building has no damage from the decades, only growing strengthening and broadening. The church grows as an organism and increases in all manner of ways due to the designer and builder.

Also, consider 1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

Verse 22

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

What a description of the church - a blending of all sorts of people, brought together by Christ to live with Him and to be a habitation for God in that wondrous body of Christ. The God that planned all these great things for us, the God that planned the universe and the God that gave His own Son to accomplish all this - He wants to live with us - and eternally at that.

My goodness, is there any better place in all the world than that to exist? I think not. We are a truly fortunate people to have met the Savior and be implanted into His body, His Church, the building built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/ephesians-2.html.