Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.Ephesians 2:11-13
|outsiders||insiders, adopted children|
|called “uncircumcised heathen”||circumcised of heart|
|living apart from Christ||united with Christ|
|excluded from citizenship in Israel||ingrafted branches|
|ignorant of the promises||partakers of the promise|
|living without God||in Christ|
|without hope||filled with hope in the age to come|
|far away from God||brought near through the blood of Christ|
It is good for us to know from whence we have come. It helps us to appreciate more our current position. That was certainly the case with the Ephesian Christians and I am sure it is true for each one of us. Our present state is light years ahead of where we have come from. The clearer you know your past the less likely you are to return to it. It is a sobering reminder and motivation for staying “in Christ”.
There are some interesting expressions included in these verses:
- There is a play on words with the expression “called uncircumcised heathen” but in reality circumcised “Jews” of the heart. Conversely the Jews could be considered “Gentiles” of the flesh.
- The expression without God is literally “atheist”.
- The phrase “afar off” is derived from a Hebrew term. God was considered to dwell in the temple. The Jews considered it a privilege to be near the temple. Those who were remote from Jerusalem and the temple were regarded as far off from God, and hence as especially irreligious and wicked.
- Brought near signified to be admitted to the favour of God, and permitted to approach Him as His worshippers. Afar off and brought near were also synonymous with wicked and holy.
This is the term the Jews used to distinguish the Gentiles from the Jews, But note what God says through Isaiah (57:19) – “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord”. It seems Paul is referring to this scripture. Paul moves on to talk about these things in the next verses.
Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to church for a face lift.Church Signs
Don’t wait for six strong men to take you to church.Church Signs
The church is prayer conditioned.Church Signs
Draw near to God and He’ll draw near to you. Don’t make yourself afar off. It you’re far from God whose fault is that?Ian Vail