What a transformation! From being a nobody, to being a somebody! From having nothing, to having a great inheritance. From being an outsider, to becoming someone who belongs! To God! To His people! To being part of His eternal purpose for humankind! What praise is due to God!
THE PASSAGE FROM EPHESIANS 2:17-22
Eph 2:17 “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
A PRAYER BASED ON EPHESIANS 2:17-22
“Oh Lord, what a privilege it is to belong to You and to Your people! When we were nothing and had nothing of eternal value, You enabled us to hear the good news of what Jesus has done for us. We thank You that when we put our trust in Him, You allowed us to have access to You in prayer by Your Spirit.
We thank You that You have adopted us into Your family and that we belong to You and to all the other members of Your family throughout the world.
We pray that You will be glorified as You take up residence in us and that others may see and experience your presence in and through our lives, as we offer them to You. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.”
SOME NOTES ON THE PASSAGE. EPHESIANS 2:17-22
How Jesus Established Peace. 2:17
- Eph 2:17 “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” The “far off” were the Gentiles who were far off from God, from the promises of God and from the people of God. The “near” were the Jews who had the privileges of being the recipients of the covenants and promises of God, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” Rom 9:4-5.
- We saw that Jesus preached good news during His ministry and spelt out the foundation for how peace would be established through His death. For example as He celebrated the Last Supper, He indicated that peace through forgiveness would come through His death, “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Mat 26:27-28.
- He promised a sense of peace in giving rest to those who were troubled, Mat 11:28 “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
- After His resurrection, His first word to His gathered disciples was “Peace!” (Lk 24:36, “As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” See also Jn 20:19, 21.) He said a similar thing a few days later, Joh 20:26 “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you’.” Jn 20:26.
- Not only did Jesus speak about peace, He actually accomplished the reality of peace through His death and subsequent resurrection.
What Resulted From His Efforts To Bring Peace?
- Common access to God! Eph 2:18 “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” When people from Jewish or Gentile backgrounds responded to the gospel message and trusted in Christ, they were born again of the Holy Spirit of God. They gained access to God by His Spirit.
- Incorporation into the people of God and the family of God! Eph 2:19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Through Christ they were no longer outsiders. Rather, they now belonged. To God and to the family of God!
- Establishment on a sure foundation. Eph 2:20 “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” The Gentile believers were not just a recent addition to the purposes of God. They too were built on the same foundation as the Jewish believers, especially on Christ as the cornerstone.
What was God’s intention in bringing Jew and Gentile believers together in Christ?
- To create a holy presence on earth. His presence! By His Spirit! Eph 2:21 “in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” The temple was the symbol of the presence of God among His people.
- The growth into a holy temple would be numerically as more came to Christ. But it would also be spiritually as they matured together in Christ, Eph 2:22 “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” God living in and among His people! By His Holy Spirit! Indwelling His people.
No wonder Paul wanted his readers in Ephesus to understand just who they were in Christ and what they possessed, in Him!
Blog No 297 was posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Saturday 20th October 2018.