Ephesians 2:1-10 contrasts life without Christ with life with Christ, noting that in life without Christ there is sin and death, and in life with Christ salvation and life. It is written Salvation is not by works, but by the grace and faith of God. What is written next? I’ll look into it.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22) .
The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesian church in verse 11, ” You were formerly Gentiles in your flesh . ” They were hopeless and godless, ” he wrote.
Speaking of “strangers”, Saki Kubota sang “strangers” in 1979 and took the world by storm. I didn’t hear it in real time, but I heard it on some music program. This is a Silk Road themed song, very exotic. I listened to it again, it’s a good song. I have been on a family trip to the Silk Road, and the scene from that time seemed to come to mind.
Her stage name is Saki Kubota, and her real name is Sayuri Kume. I once attended a gathering where she was a musical guest, and she said she wandered off when she was in the spotlight as a singer and entertainer. However, she met Jesus and was saved, and she retired from the entertainment industry. She is now active as a gospel singer. She said that when she was invited to various churches, she would be told, “Please sing Gentile,” and she would sing if requested.
Sayuri Kume (formerly Saki Kubota) / Music Missionary
We were once separated from Christ, hopeless, and did not believe in God. We were at odds with God. We would be really hopeless if it ended here, but what happened to the Ephesians and to us? There is a big reversal of ” but ” (verse 13).
It is also mentioned in Ephesians 2:4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for the great love with which he loved us. We were dead in our sins, but God, being rich in mercy, poured out his great love on us and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth. Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross. We can be reconciled to God and have “peace with God” through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Formerly far from God, now he is near to God (v. 13). What made us do that? “By the blood of Christ.”
Christ on the Cross by Giotto
God’s plan of salvation began first with the Jews. And then there are the Gentiles. This is the teaching of the Bible, the order.
Israel is a covenant people. A promise has been made to God. It is written in the Old Testament (Old Covenant). They were circumcised as a sign of that. We are now in a new covenant with God through Jesus Christ. During the sacrament, Jesus said, ” This cup is the new covenant in my blood .” The Old Testament sign was circumcision, but what is the New Testament sign? Baptism.
There was a temple in Israel to worship God, but at that time Gentiles were only allowed to enter the (Gentile) court. Only Jews were allowed to enter the Holy of Holies (the innermost place), where God manifests himself and is present in the temple. For the Gentiles, God was far away. But when Jesus was crucified, the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The Holy of Holies, which the High Priest could only enter once a year, was torn apart from the Holy of Holies. So now anyone who believes in Jesus Christ can draw near to God.
We can approach God boldly in prayer. 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22) .
As children of God, we can draw near to God the Father (v. 18). By the Spirit we can intimately call out, “Abba, Father.” This is amazing. Paul begins this verse by saying, “Remember!” (v. 11). Once upon a time there was no hope. But not now. There is hope now in Jesus Christ. Remember that, the apostle Paul wrote to the people of the Ephesian church.
Christ is our peace (v. 14). Jesus makes two things one. The two things here are Jews and Gentiles. In Himself (in Jesus Christ), it is written that He will build ” a new man ” (verse 15). It is also written that he calls them ” one body ” (verse 16). What do you mean by “a new person”? This is the church.
Originally, the Gentiles were unclean to Israel. But God loved all nations, and the Gentiles came to be blessed. God chose Abraham, the progenitor of the Jewish people, not only to bless Israel, but also to bless other peoples. God said to Abraham. ” All peoples of the earth will be blessed through you ” (Genesis 12:3). Jesus the Savior was born as a descendant of Abraham. The prophecies made to Abraham have been fulfilled.
We Gentiles can now share in God’s blessings together with Israel. The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is now being preached all over the world. Many people are coming to have peace with God. They were once at enmity with God and died in their sins, but through Jesus Christ they have been reconciled with God, have been given peace with God, and are living a life full of hope.
Unfortunately, many Jews today reject Jesus. But their gifts and vocations will not change (Romans 11:29). Israel remains God’s chosen people. The Israelites are hardened against the gospel until the completion of the Gentiles. This is what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 11. From now on, as world missions continue to advance, if the number of Gentiles is sufficient and God approves, all of Israel will be saved. Currently, it is said that there are about 10,000 Messianic Jews in Israel who believe in Jesus. The time will come when the Gentiles and Israel will be completed as one body. This is a secret. The State of Israel was rebuilt in 1948, but what will happen to Israel from now on is a spiritual awakening. They meet the Savior Jesus.
Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is rampant on a global scale. During the Holocaust of World War II, 6 million Jews were slaughtered by Nazi Germany. In spite of such a tragedy, anti-Semitic public opinion is again present today. The same is true for the Japanese media. It is full of prejudice and discrimination and does not report factually and impartially. In today’s world, it is becoming more and more important to have the insight to see it through.
A “One New Man” is created. This is a secret. The world is heading here now. What, then, is “one body”? This is the church, which is “the body of Christ.”
What is the Church? A church is not a building. “Ecclesia”. It is a gathering of those who have been called out of this world by God. I think there are three forms of the church that we can see in today’s passage.
① Body of Christ (verse 16)
The head is Christ. As a part of the body, each of us has a role to play. It moves the body according to the command of Jesus who is the head. The role of hands, the role of feet, various. If the bodies move apart, the body will not move well, but if they are in harmony, if each plays its role, then as one body, it will be able to glorify God.
② God’s family (verse 19)
We are made children of God by believing in Jesus Christ. So even though we may not be related by blood, we are brothers and sisters. This relationship will last forever.
③ The Holy Temple (verse 21, Temple of God).
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells (dwells within us). Wherever two or three people gather in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus will be in the gathering.
We used to be estranged from God. We were at war with God. But a merciful God sent His Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, into the world. Christ is our peace. The place where the greatest reconciliation is needed is first with God. Give thanks for the peace we have with God.
That’s not all. We are ambassadors of reconciliation. 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:18-21)
I think there are various kinds of reconciliation, but in the future world, reconciliation with Jews will become very important as well as reconciliation with God. And “a new man” will be built up.