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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Ephesians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-10

The Father's Blessings- The Hope of Our Calling Through Predestination- In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul explains the hope of our calling as God the Father, in His great mercy, foreordained us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This passage of Scripture expounds upon Ephesians 1:3-6. Paul first describes man's depravity and despair ( Ephesians 2:1-3), then reveal's God's plan of redemption through His great love for mankind as He made us alive through Christ Jesus and ordained that we walk in good works ( Ephesians 2:4-10).

Outline- Note the proposed outline:

1. Man's Depravity — Ephesians 2:1-3

2. God's Plan of Redemption — Ephesians 2:4-10

Ephesians 2:1-3 — Man's Depravity ( Romans 1:18-32) - In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul describes the depravity of mankind. This passage parallels Romans 1:18-32, revealing the bondage of mankind to the power and dominion of Satan as a background for declaring God's wonderful grace and redemption in the next passage of Ephesians 2:4-10.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:1 — "And you" - Comments - Ephesians 2:1 begins a new thought, which is an exposition of God the Father's plan of redemption for mankind ( Ephesians 2:1-10), and it follows Paul's prayer for us to understand these great truths laid out in the epistle of Ephesians that only the Holy Spirit can reveal ( Ephesians 1:15-23). When we read the words "and you," we understand that Ephesians 2:1 follows a sequence of thoughts from the previous passage of Scripture, being connecting with a conjunction καὶ (and). Therefore, we must read and understand Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21 in light of what the preceding passage. The relationship between this opening phrase "and you" and the previous passage is that Paul's prayer now undergirds what Paul is about to reveal to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

"hath he quickened" - Comments - The Greek text of Ephesians 2:1 does not contain the English phrase "hath he quickened," but literally reads, "and you being dead in your trespasses and sins." The English translators added the phrase "hath he quickened" from the context of the passage, having borrowed this phrase from Ephesians 2:5, "hath quickened us together with Christ." However, this paraphrase in the English is accurate to the context of this passage of Scripture.

"who were dead in trespasses and sins" - Comments - We were not physically dead prior to our salvation, but rather, spiritually dead. That Isaiah , we were separated from the life that is in God who created us. Adam and Eve were alive and walked in perfect fellowship with God prior to the Fall; but after they sinned, a blood sacrifice was required as an act of worship in order to find communion with God; thus, we see the altars being used by the patriarchs prior to the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and Solomon's Temple, both of which continued the blood sacrifices to atone for sins.

T. K. Abbott tells us that some scholars have tried to make a distinction between παρά πτωμα (trespasses) and ἁ μαρτί α (sins); however, he believes that they are "synonymous" terms. 97] Such use of synonymous terms is common to Pauline literature.

97] T. K. Abbott, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 39.

Comments - The phrase "and you" first takes a digression to describe man's depravity ( Ephesians 1:3), before returning to the central thought of our new identity in Christ by saying, "God…hath quickened us together with Christ" ( Ephesians 1:4-6). Thus, Kenneth Hagin draws a connection between Ephesians 1:20 and Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:6. The phrase "who were dead in trespasses and sins" ( Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5) stands in contrast to the upcoming statement, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" ( Ephesians 2:6). When God exalted His Son and place Him at His own right hand ( Ephesians 1:20), He exalted His Son's body, the Church, with Him in the heavenlies. Another way to understand this statement is to say that we have been raised with Him and seated with Him. 98] If we have been raised together with Him, as Paul is about to say in Ephesians 2:5-6, then we have been given the same authority as Him. This authority has been conferred upon the Body as well as the Head. Because the Church came out of a lifestyle of being sin conscience, many believers have failed to learn how to become "resurrected and exalted" conscience. Hagin says that we have preached a "cross" religion when we need to be preaching a "throne" religion. 99] If we share His throne, we must share in His authority. This is what Paul is referring to in Romans 5:17 when he says, "For if by one man"s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." In this passage of Scripture, Paul will remind the Ephesians of their past ( Ephesians 2:1-3) and of the marvelous work of redemption in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 2:4-10), but he will then take them on into this epistle so that they might understand about their glorious exaltation and authority in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13) so that we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might ( Ephesians 6:10), and overcome the dominion of Satan.

98] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer's Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1984, 1992), 13-4.

99] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer's Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1984, 1992), 16.

Ephesians 2:2 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:

Ephesians 2:2 — "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world" - Comments- "Wherein" - That Isaiah , in our former state of being dead in trespasses and sins. T. A. Abbott notes that the phrase ἐν αἷς (in which) follows the feminine gender of its immediate antecedent ἁ μαρτί α (sin), but it includes the neuter παρά πτωμα (trespass) as well, since the pronoun αἷς is plural. 100]

100] T. K. Abbott, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), 40.

"the course of this world" - The NIV reads, "the ways of this world." The fact that this world is under the power of the prince of the power of the air, which is Satan, explains why John said in his first epistle that the whole world lies in wickedness, or under the power of the wicked one ( 1 John 5:19).

1 John 5:19, "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."

Comments- Paul says in writing to the Ephesians , "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world," ( Ephesians 2:2). In his epistle to the Galatians Paul makes a similar statement, "we were in bondage under the elements of the world."

Galatians 4:3, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:"

Galatians 4:9, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"

However, the reason Paul states our bondages to this world in two different ways in these two epistles is because each epistle carries a different emphasis. The epistle of Galatians emphasizes the need for believers to walk in the freedom and liberties in which Christ Jesus provided for us. In contrast, the epistle of Ephesians places emphasis upon the Father's work in our lives so that we might walk worthily and participate in fulfilling His divine plan of redemption, which is the course of Heaven.

Ephesians 2:2 — "according to the prince of the power of the air" - Comments - As the heavenlies serves as the place where God dwells, so does the air, or atmosphere of this earth, serve as the place where Satan dwells. Note that Paul did not use the word "heavenlies" in Ephesians 2:2 because Satan has no authority in the heavenly places, but Satan does have authority in the air, or atmosphere, on this earth. Satan is subordinate in his position in the atmosphere just as he is subordinate in his position to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul calls him the "prince of the power of the air.

Ephesians 2:3 — "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" - Comments- The phrase "children of disobedience" certainly applies to the unregenerated sinner, especially within the context of this passage. We find similar phrases in the Old Testament to describe those who are under the influence of Satan: "son(s) of Belial" ( Judges 19:22, 1 Samuel 2:12; 1 Samuel 25:17, 2 Samuel 23:6, 1 Kings 21:10, 2 Chronicles 13:7), "man of Belial" ( 1 Samuel 25:25, 2 Samuel 16:7; 2 Samuel 20:1), "daughter of Belial" ( 1 Samuel 1:16), "children of Belial" ( Deuteronomy 13:13, Judges 20:13, 1 Samuel 10:27, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7).

This phrase can also apply to the disobedient child of God. Anytime we as Christians walk in disobedience we give place to the devil and allow ourselves to come under the influence of the "prince of the power of the air," which is Satan.

Ephesians 4:27, "Neither give place to the devil."

Ephesians 2:3Comments (1) - Not only can an individual walk according to the course of this world, but a family and even an entire nation can be on the course of Satan. This takes place because of demonic leadership.

Comments (2) - There are many references to the office and work of Satan within the epistles of the New Testament. It is important to note that each of these references reveals a different aspect of his demonic kingdom as it relates to the theme of each epistle. Within the book of Ephesians , Paul is painting for us a picture of the Father's heavenly realm in which we live. Therefore, it was necessary for Paul to also paint a clear picture of Satan's spiritual realm that exists on earth within the hearts and lives of those whom he has captured. Paul will later teach us how to battle in this demonic spiritual realm ( Ephesians 6:10-18). For now, Paul wants us to understand that there are in fact two spiritual realms under which all men are subject. Paul is explaining to us how Satan has placed this world on a course of destruction, while God the Father has placed it on a plan of redemption. The underlying theme of Ephesians is the revelation of the Father's plan and our response as the Church in fulfilling this plan.

Ephesians 2:3 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.

Ephesians 2:3 — "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past" - Scripture References- For all have sinned ( Romans 3:23).

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Ephesians 2:3 — "in the lusts of our flesh" - Scripture References- Note how Paul lists many of the lusts of the flesh in his epistle to the Galatians:

Galatians 5:19-21, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Ephesians 5:3, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous Prayer of Manasseh , who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

Revelation 21:8, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Revelation 22:14-15, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

Ephesians 2:3 — "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" - Comments- Mankind has become the servants of sin ( Romans 6:16).

Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

The mind refers to man's "thoughts." In the Greek, this word is in the plural form ( των διαλογισμων). It refers to carnal reasons that man makes as he walks according to the five senses. The natural man makes decisions according to his fleshly desires and what he understands from his five senses.

YLT, "among whom also we all did walk once in the desires of our flesh, doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath--as also the others,"

Ephesians 2:3Comments- A preacher once said that every sinner has a future and every saint has a past.

Ephesians 2:4-10 — God's Plan of Redemption - Having stated man's depravity in the preceding passage ( Ephesians 2:1-3) Paul proceeds to expound upon God's glorious plan of redemption because of His great love for mankind.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:4Comments- Why is God rich in mercy: because He has a great love for us. For example, in Africa I have seen many poor children, suffering on the streets and in dire poverty, and even a dead child in a hut. However, when it comes to my children, I am immediately moved with compassion for them and immediately do what is necessary to relieve their suffering because of my great love for them.

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:5 — "Even when we were dead in sins" - Scripture References- Note:

Romans 5:6-9, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

Ephesians 2:5 — "hath quickened us together with Christ" - Comments- Kenneth Hagin says, "The act of God that raised Christ from the dead also raised His body. In the mind of God, when Jesus was raised from the dead, we were raised from the dead." 101]

101] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer's Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1984, 1992), 16.

Scripture References- Jesus is our life:

John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Ephesians 2:5Comments- When our children fall down in the mud and hurt themselves, we do not wait until they clean themselves up before we run to help them. No, we immediately rush out and pick them up with all of their uncleanness, and take them in and clean them up ourselves and tend to their hurts. Ephesians 2:5 tells us that this is the way that God accepts us, in our dirty lifestyles and uncleanness, while we were dead in trespasses and sins.

Ephesians 2:5Scripture References- Note similar verses:

John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

Colossians 2:13, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

1 John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:6 — "made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" - Comments- Even this position for a child of God to be seated with Christ in heavenly places must be experienced by faith. We can enjoy its full benefits only to the degree that we reach out to our heavenly Father in close communion, and by laying aside the things of this carnal world. In contrast, our fellowship with this world will cause us to be seated with those authorities over this carnal world, the rulers of darkness. Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

"Turn not back in unbelief, but press onward and upward until the darkness is left behind, and ye shall come out into the light. Ye shall see Me then face to face, and know Me as a man knoweth his dearest friend. Bring Me all that puzzles thee. Many questions need no answer, for when the heart is at one with the Father, there comes an illumination of the Spirit which transcends thought. Understanding becomes a state of heart rather than an achievement of the mind. Learn to worship, and thou shalt have rest of soul; yea, ye shall rise to a new place of fellowship, where ye shall be as the writer of the letter to the Ephesians said, ‘seated with Christ in the heavenlies'." 102]

102] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 64.

Ephesians 2:5-6Comments - Seated With Christ in the Heavenlies- Note that in Ephesians 1:20, God raised up Jesus from the dead and set Him at His own right hand.

Ephesians 1:20, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"

Therefore, since Jesus Christ is seated in the heavenlies, we are seated with him:

1 John 4:17, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he Isaiah , so are we in this world."

We have taken a position "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." ( Ephesians 1:21) This is because all of the authority that was given to Christ belongs to us through the use of His name and we are allowed to exercise this authority in this life.

Kenneth Hagin tells us that these two verses deal with the conferring of the authority that we now have in Christ Jesus. He explains that since the Head and the Body were raised together, then the authority was conferred together as well because they are one. You do not think of a person in part, but in whole. In the same way, God the Father conferred authority to Christ by seating Him as His right hand and we, the body of Christ, were seated with Him at that same time. 103]

103] Kenneth Hagin, The Believer's Authority (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1984, 1992), 13-4.

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:7Comments - Ephesians 2:7 reveals the purpose of God's work in us. One minister notes that this verse is telling us that it will take eternity for God to reveal to us His infinite love and riches that He has prepared for us. In heaven we will come to understand the deepness of the depravity of the human nature and the abundance of God's grace to save us and forgive us. He will give us infinity to serve and praise Him, seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenlies. Amen and Amen.

I remember in April 1997 when I first brought my wife Menchu from the Philippines to the United States. She had never seen so much prosperity and good things to enjoy. There were big shopping malls and supermarkets. Prices were cheap and much to enjoy. I took great delight for months watching her enjoy the riches that the U.S. had to offer her. It was my pleasure to buy her good things. I quickly purchased a new living room set for her; then I bought her a used car and was teaching her how to drive. But we were calling into the mission field after only twelve weeks in the States. It is God's pleasure for us to receive the abundance of His wealth. Like my marriage to Menchu, she did not earn any of these things. Rather, they were made available to her because of her new relationship to me as her husband.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:8 — "the gift of God" - Scripture References- Note:

Romans 12:3, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:9Scripture References- Note:

Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 — "For we are his workmanship" - Comments- The underlying theme of Ephesians is the role of God the Father in bringing the Church to the fulfillment of its divine destiny. Therefore, it says, that "we are His workmanship". This phrase emphasizes the Father's role in working in our lives. His work is to bring us into our destiny, which He has previously prepared for us. In contrast, the epistle of Philippians places more emphasis upon man's role in fulfilling this divine destiny. Thus, we read, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." ( Philippians 2:12-13) This verse places more emphasis upon our role of doing God's will.

"created in Christ Jesus" - Comments- This destiny can only be realized "in Christ Jesus". This is because our creation as fleshly born creatures was corrupted by sin. Thus, God recreated us as born-again spirit-filled believers to do good works. This new creation is in Christ Jesus, in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

"unto good works, which God hath before ordained" - Comments- This passage says that God has foreordained a plan and a specific work for every human being, before they were born. However, each person must choose to walk in this plan. This same truth, that God has called each Christian to a specific path, is restated also in 2 Timothy 1:9.

2 Timothy 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

The underlying theme of the epistle of Ephesians is the God the Father's role in man's redemption. This statement in Ephesians 2:10 is placed within a passage of Scripture on the office and ministry of God the Father as He orchestrated redemption thorough His Son by divine providence ( Ephesians 2:1-10). As the Father has a divine plan of redemption for mankind, so also has He planned a destiny for each person who will accept this overall plan of redemption, which is what Paul is saying in Ephesians 2:10.

"that we should walk in them" - Comments- God allows us as individual Christians to choose whether or not to follow this particular plan for our lives. Paul had to make a choice many times in his life. For example, when he was taken captive a Caesarea, he made a choice to face death for an opportunity to preach before Caesar. He chose what he believed was God's plan for his life ( Acts 25:11-12).

Acts 25:11-12, "For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go."

In addition, the context of this Epistle reveals that God does not just have a plan for us in this life, but also in the life to come. Each one of us will pursue this particular plan for our lives throughout eternity.

Ephesians 2:8-10Comments- God's Grace and Our Faith- Faith is our response to God's grace. God reaches out to man by grace and man responds to this grace by reaching out in faith. There are passages of Scripture that emphasize God's grace in His provision for man's salvation ( Ephesians 2:5, Titus 2:11).

Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,"

There are passages of Scripture that emphasize man's responsibility of responding in faith to God's grace ( Romans 10:8-11).

Romans 10:8-11, "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that Isaiah , the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

Each of these passages has a difference emphasis. The passage in Ephesians 2:5 and Titus 2:11 explain God's role in offering His grace to all of mankind through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The passage in Romans 10:8-11 places emphasis upon man's role in responding to the preaching of the Gospel and entering into the salvation experience by confessing and believing in Jesus Christ as Lord. The theme of Romans is about taking the Gospel to the Gentiles and their need to respond in obedience. In contrast, Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly places emphasis upon the role of the Father as He affects His divine plan of redemption to a dying world because of His great love. Therefore, as we read in Ephesians 2:8-10 about how God had brought salvation to us, we must understand that the underlying theme of Ephesians is the role of God the Father in bringing the Church to the fulfillment of its divine destiny. Therefore, it does not explain how we have to believe and confess Jesus as Lord, as Romans 10:8-10 emphasizes our role in being born again. Rather, this passage emphasizes the work of the Father in saving us.


Verses 1-21

The Father's High Calling: God's Role- In Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21 Paul explains the Father's high calling by expounding upon the three-fold office of the Trinity mentioned in the previous passage ( Ephesians 1:3-23). This passage is discussed in light of God the Father's redemptive plan for mankind. It explains how the Father gives us hope ( Ephesians 2:1-10), while the Son gives us a glorious inheritance ( Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13), and the Spirit empowers us ( Ephesians 3:14-21).

Outline- Note the proposed outline:

1. The Father- The Hope of Our Calling — Ephesians 2:1-10

The Son - The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance — Ephesians 2:11 to Ephesians 3:13

a. Christ's Work of Reconciliation — — Ephesians 2:11-22

b. Paul's Commission to Declare These Riches — — Ephesians 3:1-13

3. The Spirit- The Power Given to Every Believer — Ephesians 3:14-21

In Ephesians 2:1-22 Paul will describe the person who is not partaking of the spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 1:3) that God's children are now enjoying. Paul will describe the lifestyle of the Gentiles before their conversion to Christ Jesus.


Verses 11-13

The Son's Blessings- The Riches of Our Glorious Inheritance Through Justification - In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul tells us that in His mercy God the Father saved us out of the bondage of darkness and sin and has prepared for us a work, or plan, to do for Him. He then tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22 how God would do this by Jesus' redemptive work of reconciling all people back to Himself. This passage of Scripture expounds upon Ephesians 1:7-12. God called the Gentiles to become one with Israel, and thus, partakers of Israel's inheritance. Before this calling the Gentiles were without hope ( Ephesians 2:12). This plan is for all of the saints to work together in peace in order to build a habitation for God to dwell among us. In Ephesians 3:1-13 Paul elaborates on his personal calling as an apostle to the Gentile to reveal the "mystery" that he has just discussed in Ephesians 2:1-22. He explains that this mystery is found in Christ Jesus, in whom are hid "the unsearchable riches of Christ" ( Ephesians 3:8).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Christ's Work of Reconciliation — Ephesians 2:11-22

2. Paul's Commission to Declare These Riches — Ephesians 3:1-13


Verses 11-22

Christ's Work of Reconciliation - Ephesians 2:11-22 parallels Romans 9-11as they both explain how the Gentiles were united with Israel and became partakers of Israel's inheritance. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:11-22 that the Father's divine plan in redemption is to break down the dividing walls among nations in order to build a habitation for God to dwell among His people. Thus, He is trying to bring unity back to the people on the earth. The first time God poured out His Spirit at the Tower of Babel was to divide the peoples into nations. The second time was the day of Pentecost and it was intended to bring all nations back into one group making peace.

In Genesis 11:1-9 the gift of tongues was intended to divide the people into nations. In contrast, the gift of tongues that was poured out on the day of Pentecost was intended to unite all people into one new man in Christ Jesus. This is why the Jews of the Diaspora clearly understood them speaking in their own language in order for them to hear the Gospel and become one in Christ Jesus.

Paul's Reference to the Nation of Israel - In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul makes numerous references to Israel's role in God's plan of redemption. This is because God has not abandoned Israel, but rather grafted in the Gentiles so that all of mankind can partake of these blessed promises. Note how gently Paul refers to the Jews and their traditions in this passage of Scripture. This is because the church at Ephesus was made up of both Gentiles and Jews. Paul worked so hard to bring unity that he was careful not to provoke disunity.

Ephesians 2:11"who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands" - Comments- The Gentiles were called "uncircumcision" by the Jews.

Ephesians 2:17Comments- Within the context of this passage of Scripture, those "afar off" refers to the Gentiles ( Ephesians 2:13), and those "nigh" refers to the Jews. In other words, the Jews were closer to salvation than the Gentiles simply because they had the Law of Moses to direct them to God.

Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

Illustration- In the early 1980's, Jack Emerson, a friend in the ministry, told me that after been accused of being too aggressive in soul-winning and rebuking sin in the lives of believers, the Lord spoke to him to draw a line in the sand. The Lord told him to put a Christian on one side of the line, and a backslider on the other side, but relatively close to the line. The Lord told him to put a Muslim much further away from the line, far behind the backslider. After marking spots for various other unsaved people groups on the side of the line representing lost souls, the Lord asked Jack which ones were going to hell. Jack replied that everyone on the other side of the line was going to hell. The Lord replied by telling him to not worry about what others saying about his witnessing efforts, but to be bold and tell everyone about the Lord and a life of holiness.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ephesians 2:19Comments- Ephesians 2:19 stands in contrast to a believer"s condition before salvation, as described in Ephesians 2:12.

Ephesians 2:12, "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:"

Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Ephesians 2:20 — "And are built upon the foundation" - Comments- The books of the Old Testament Scriptures were written by those who walked in the office of a prophet, and the New Testament by those who walked in the office of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This is why Ephesians 2:20 tells us that the Church is built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets. Jesus made reference to this foundation by calling it a "rock" in Matthew 6:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

"of the apostles and prophets" - Comments- Vine says that the phrase "of the apostles and prophets" is the "objective Genitive" in the Greek text, i.e, the teaching laid down by the apostles and prophets ( 1 Corinthians 3:11, Hebrews 6:1).

1 Corinthians 3:11, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Hebrews 6:1, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection."

"of the apostles" (The New Testament Canon) - When we examine the authors of the New Testament, we see books written by Matthew and John , two of the Twelve. We can argue that Paul the apostle was incorporated into the office of an apostle at the same level of authority and anointing as the Twelve, for Paul himself says, "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles." ( 2 Corinthians 11:5) We then note that Mark wrote his Gospel under Peter's author as this apostle's memories of the life of Jesus. Luke wrote his two books under the author of Paul. James was bishop of the church in Jerusalem, carrying an authority that equaled that of the Twelve. Jude was a brother to James and Jesus Christ. Thus, the New Testament canon was closed when these twelve apostles and Paul died, because this level of apostolic authority ended.

"and prophets" (The Old Testament Canon) - Is "prophets" referring to the Old Testament prophets or the New Testament ministry of a prophet? Ephesians 3:5 suggests that this phrase refers to the New Testament office of a prophet.

Ephesians 3:5, "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;"

However, it is important to note that the books of the Old Testament Scriptures were written by those who walked in the office of a prophet. When the prophets ceased to prophesy, the Old Testament canon was closed. This is confirmed by Josephus, who says, "It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time." (Josephus, Against Apion 18) In addition, the opening verse of the book of Hebrews states that the Old Testament was delivered to us by His prophets ( Hebrews 1:1-2), thus revealing the fact that the Old Testament prophets were the ones who kept the canon open. Just as the New Testament canon closed when the twelve apostles dies, so did the Old Testament canon close when the prophets ceased.

Hebrews 1:1-2, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Song of Solomon , whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"

"Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" - Comments- The phrase "Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" simply means that Jesus Christ is the key to interpreting the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." ( John 5:39) Jesus said to the two on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." ( Luke 24:27) Graeme Goldsworthy says, "If Christ truly is our Lord and Saviour, then he is the Lord and Saviour of our hermeneutics." 104]

104] Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, c 2006), 19.

Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Ephesians 2:21Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

Psalm 122:3, "Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:"

YLT reads, "Jerusalem--the builded one-- Is as a city that is joined to itself together."

Ephesians 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ephesians 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/ephesians-2.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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