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Ray's study of Ephesians: Part 4

Updated on April 11, 2015
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Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in flesh by hands - remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new mad in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citzens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
-Ephesians 2:11-22

This very well may be my favorite passage in all of scripture. In this short passage Paul so clearly and simply tells the Gospel - that while you were far off, Jesus sought after you. Jesus did not wait for you to come to Him, He left His place in Heaven and came to earth to reconcile us with the Father. I think that to fully grasp that reconciliation, we have to remember the way that God created us to exist. In Genesis 1-2 we see a beautiful picture of a perfect creation where God and man walk and talk. There is no sin. There is no sadness. There is peace - perfect peace. When mankind gave that up, Jesus entered that darkness to preach peace to us. To reconcile us back to a place perfect relationship to The Father.

Continuing with the theme of adoption, Paul begins to speak to our new identity, the way that God the loving Father sees us. Paul tells us that we are no longer strangers and foreigners but instead we are fellow citizens and the household of God.

Photo credit: Ray Smith
Photo credit: Ray Smith

In 2011 I left my job and my home in America and began a life in Kenya, East Africa. In my 2-3 years living there I truly grasped what it meant to be an outsider. I was truly a stranger and a foreigner in Kenya. I looked different. I talked with a different native language. I had different customs. I learned to live life in Kenya. I ate the foods (I still miss a warm chapatti or a good samosa!) and I learned the customs. I even picked up some of the language and learned to drive on the opposite side of the road. Still, I was a stranger, an American living in Kenya. I had a visa stamped in my passport, but I was not a citizen. I was the very opposite of what Paul describes in this passage.

Notice the tenses that Paul uses throughout this book, especially this passage. He does not say that Christ will one day make us citizens of Heaven. Paul tells us that Jesus already has. Do you see the deep meaning of us being members of the very household of God. Heaven is a place where there is no sin or trespasses. It is a home of eternal peace. Heaven is the reconciliation between God and man where we co-esist with Him in love and peace. And Paul so kindly tells us that this is our new identity.

He pointed out in the previous passages that we are no longer sons and daughters of darkness, but we are adopted to God's family. And with that adoption means that He no longer sees us as outsiders looking in. When the perfect Father looks upon you, He sees someone that fits in with His family. He sees an important part of His Kingdom of peace. He sees the heart of Jesus in you. And He calls you His own. He has offered you more than a visitor's visa into His kingdom, He gave you a brand new visa that calls you a citizen.

You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens...

It's Your breath in our lungs...

© 2015 Ray Smith

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