God’s Word of Faith
Ephesians 2:1-22: Paul says that once we were spiritually dead because of sin, but God’s abundant mercy and love brings us to new life in Christ. He says that Christ breaks down the walls that separate Jews and Gentiles, and that all who believe in Jesus are united in one body.
From Death to Life
1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2At that time you followed the world’s evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger.
4But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, 5that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. 6In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 7He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8-9For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.
One in Christ
11You Gentiles by birth—called “the uncircumcised” by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies)—remember what you were in the past. 12At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God’s chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God’s promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all—to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
19So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God’s people and members of the family of God. 20You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.
Today’s Key Verse: Ephesians 2:5
…while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience, [God] brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved.
Reread verses 4-10. In your own words, describe what Paul teaches about God’s grace. Reread verses 14-22. Some Jews interpreted the Law of Moses to mean that they should have no contact with Gentiles. How does Paul’s message contradict that belief? Who belongs to God’s family, according to Paul? How does someone become a part of God’s family? In what ways does your community of faith invite people to become part of God’s family?
Sovereign God, thank you for the ways in which you transcend our differences. Be present amid communities in conflict, that peace and reconciliation may replace turmoil and strife. Amen.
Ephesians 3:1-21: The apostle Paul describes his call to minister to the Gentiles.