SALVATION IN EPHESIANS

#15 INCLUSION IN THE PEOPLE OF GOD

In his letter to the Christians at Ephesus Paul makes it very clear that all who believe in Jesus Christ are the people of God. He repeatedly emphasizes that the Jew - Gentile distinction has been eradicated by Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 2:12-19 he describes the pre-conversion status of the Gentiles:

      • separate from Christ
      • excluded from citizenship in Israel
      • foreigners to the covenants of promise
      • without hope
      • without God
      • far away
      • foreigners and aliens

And in 2:13-22 he describes our status after our conversion to Christ:

      • brought near
      • peace
      • access to the Father
      • fellow citizens with God's people
      • members of God's household

 The barrier and the hostility between Jew and Gentile has been eradicated in and through Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:14-22]:

      • Christ is our peace
      • Christ has destroyed the dividing wall of hostility
      • Christ has created one new man out of the two
      • Christ has reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in one body
      • God  has put the hostility to death by the cross of Christ
      • Both Jew and Gentile believers are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
      • Both Jew and Gentile are joined together in Christ to become a holy temple in the Lord
      • Both are being built together to become God's dwelling

Similarly, in 3:1-13, Paul teaches that through the gospel the Gentiles are

      • Heirs together with Israel,
      • Members together of one body, and
      • Sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus

This unity of Jew and Gentile in Christ, this new people of God known as the church, this body, the holy building in which God dwells by his Spirit, is, Paul teaches, the mystery of God that he had planned from eternity and has now made known in and through Jesus Christ [Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:1-6; 3:8-11]. The church is not an afterthought, nor is it a Plan B implemented because the Jews failed to recognize their Messiah. Rather, Paul teaches, the church was always in God's plan, the mystery hidden in the prophetic writings and now revealed in Christ, God's eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Through this new people of God, the church, God manifests the greatness of his wisdom [3:10].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007, 2017