The Salvation of the Christians: Election, Part 3 (Eph 2)

Bible and crossWe need to skip ahead a bit. Paul follows the verses we just covered with a discussion of the greatness of Jesus the Messiah, and then he returns to the question of Jews and Gentiles.

(Eph 2:11-12 ESV) Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision [the Jews], which is made in the flesh by hands — 12 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. 

Paul is now quite plain. Before Jesus, the covenants were just for the Jews, and the Gentiles had “no hope” and were “without God in the world.”

(Eph 2:13-16 ESV) 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility  15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 

Jesus has now changed all that by the cross. The “dividing wall of hostility” is likely a reference to the wall in the Temple that kept the Gentiles separate from the Jews — allowing only Jews near the special presence of God in the Holy of Holies.

The cross, however, killed “the hostility” making Jews and Gentile “one man in place of the two.” The result is peace — shalom — and reconciliation with God “in one body.”

There is but one Messiah, one cross, and one body of Christ. Therefore, the only path to salvation is unity. Unless Jews and Gentile join into one, there can be no salvation for either.

(Eph 2:17 ESV) 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 

Jesus preached shalom — right relationship — both to Jews and to Gentiles. We cannot have shalom with God unless we have shalom with each other.

(Eph 2:18 ESV) 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

The Gentiles have received the Spirit, demonstrating that both Jews and Gentiles now have access to the Father as father. Having the same Spirit means unity is essential.

(Eph 2:19-21 ESV)  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. 

Paul now shifts from simple unity to something more tangible to his First Century readers. He speaks in terms of citizenship — and in Rome, only citizens could vote and enjoy complete rights to fair trials, etc. Citizenship was a rare and special blessing only a few enjoyed — and many paid high prices to gain citizenship.

But both Jews and Gentiles are citizens of the Kingdom. There are no class distinctions. No aristocracy. No inherited titles and positions. Everyone is a full citizen, neither more nor less — something the world would not see in a nation-state until after the American Revolution — and then in America only after the Civil War ended slavery.

We — Jews and Gentiles — are also “members of the household of God.” This meant more to Paul’s First Century readers than most of us could understand. Your identity was your family and your household. If God is your Father, then you are part of his family. And while family carries great weight in modern America, imagine that weight times 1,000 in the First Century.

Most sons followed their father’s trade in their father’s hometown. A son took a wife and lived in a room next to his parents’ room. With openings for windows. Glass was not yet invented. Privacy not only didn’t exist, it was so inconceivable, there was no word for it. Everybody knew everybody’s business — unless they were very wealthy.

So to be a part of God’s household was not just family. It was family of the most intimate kind — living in close proximity, eating together, sleeping in the next room, sharing everything.

Paul then culminates these images with an even more powerful one: the Temple. The church is a temple being built out of Jewish and Gentile Christians. Every reader in ancient Rome had seen many temples. Every major city had several — and they were typically beautiful, even opulent. And they indicated the presence not only of the god being worshiped but the special favor of that god.

But, of course, Paul surely had the Temple in Jerusalem particularly in mind. Most of his readers had likely never seen it, but it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was legendary during its time. Herod the Great was a sociopath, but he was called “great” for his architectural achievements — especially the Temple in Jerusalem.

To be part of the Temple — stones built into a temple for the Holy Spirit — meant being part of something spectacularly beautiful through which God himself showed his favor on his special, chosen, beloved people.

The Temple was a place of instruction, of prayer, of sacrifice, of worship, of song, of musical instruments, and offerings of money for those in need. It was symbolic of the unity of the Jewish people, one thing that all had in common and cherished. And Paul says this is what the church is for Jews and Gentiles alike and together.

Pilgrim saved for their entire lives to make a single trip to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice and witness and participate in the great festivals celebrated there in honor of YHWH. The Temple was a place of thanksgiving and national pride. It was even a place where heaven and earth were joined so that God could dwell among his people while still in heaven.

The Jews did not consider the ordinary laws of physics — as they understood them — to apply in the Holy of Holies. Rather, a gate between heaven and earth was open there, and God dwelled at the intersection of both — so that the Temple enjoyed an intense presence of God not found in other places.

For this reason, the Jews prayed toward Jerusalem and aligned their synagogues in that direction. They saw their worship and prayers as ascending toward God through the Temple, even if they were worshiping in Persia or Italia.

And this was the church being built out of new stones, both Jews and Gentiles, mortared with God’s shalom.

(Eph 2:22 ESV)  22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Atonement, Connection of Church with Israel, Election, Soteriology, The Salvation of the Christians, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Salvation of the Christians: Election, Part 3 (Eph 2)

  1. Price says:

    I wonder if Paul would make the same case with Methodists and Presbyterians…:) We in the modern age have changed our bigotry from Jew/Gentile to My Church / Your Church.. Perhaps some need to stop talking about the “one true church” and realize as you said above, “If God is your Father, you are a part of His family.” I see things changing for the better in this regard.. Hopefully it will continue.

  2. Mark says:

    Price, I think you can take it even further from My Church / Your Church to getting the same baptism and being in the same church sitting on the same pew bigotry of conservative/liberal, pro-life/pro-choice, young/old.

  3. Richard constant says:

    ok you guys what I’m going to try to do is put some complimentary Scripture in place.
    and not try to get ahead of J.
    what’s interesting is that there are so many facets kind of like a diamond (The Christ) catching the pure white light, (the Father) just refracting it, we see The beauty of white light refracted. and the apostles and Profits expressing how the colors work through the Spirit giving glorY to Christ accomplishing the will of his father being expressed through the Acomplished word show proving God’s righteousness through loving kindness And mercy, through the sacrifice of his son on a cross according to Scripture.

  4. rich says:

    GAL.4
    . 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.
    4:1 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 4:2 But he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 4:3 So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world. 4:4 But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a
    woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.

  5. rich says:

    PHIL
    1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 1:4 I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you 1:5 because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 1:6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 1:7 For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace together with me. 1:8 For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 1:9 And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight 1:10 so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, 1:11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
    Ministry

  6. rich says:

    COL.

    1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,
    1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.
    1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.
    1:18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.
    1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son
    1:20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
    Paul’s Goal in Ministry
    1:21 And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, 1:22 but now he has reconciled
    you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him –

  7. rich says:

    1ST. THESS

    6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. 1:7 As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1:8 For from you the message of the Lord has echoed forth not just in Mace-donia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, so that we do not need to say anything. 1:9 For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.

  8. rich says:

    1ST. TIM

    1:12 I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, be-cause he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry, 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, 1:14 and our Lord’s grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus. 1:15 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them! 1:16 But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that in me as the worst, Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 1:17 Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.

  9. rich says:

    Titus

    Salutation
    1:1 From Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness, 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the ages began. 1:3 But now in his own time he has made his message evident through the preaching I was entrusted with according to the command of God our Savior. 1:4 To Titus, my genuine son in a common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior!

  10. rich says:

    ABOUT A SLAVE IN ROME / NOW BROTHER IN CHRIST

    Philemon

    Salutation
    1:1 From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear friend and colaborer, 1:2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house. 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
    Thanks for Philemon’s Love and Faith
    1:4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 1:5 because I hear of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 1:6 I pray that the faith you share with us may deepen your understanding of every blessing that belongs to you in Christ. 1:7 I have had great joy and encouragement because of your love, for the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
    Paul’s Request for Onesimus
    1:8 So, although I have quite a lot of confidence in Christ and could command you to do what is proper, 1:9 I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love – I, Paul, an old man and even now a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus – 1:10 I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, 1:11 who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me. 1:12 I have sent him (who is my very heart) back to you. 1:13 I wanted to keep him so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. 1:14 However, without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your good deed would not be out of compulsion, but from your own willingness. 1:15 For perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a little while, so that you would have him back eternally, 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a dear brother. He is especially so to me, and even more so to you now, both humanly speaking and in the Lord. 1:17 Therefore if you regard me as a partner, accept him as you would me. 1:18 Now if he has defrauded you of anything or
    owes you anything, charge what he owes to me.

  11. rich says:

    Introduction: God Has Spoken Fully and Finally in His Son
    1:1 After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, 1:2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. 1:3 The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representa-tion of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 1:4 Thus he became so far better than the angels as he has inherited a name superior to theirs.
    The Son Is Superior to Angels
    1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you”? And in another place he says, “I will be his father and he will be my son.” 1:6 But when he again brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him!” 1:7 And he says of the angels, “He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire,” 1:8 but of the Son he says,
    “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
    1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.
    So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.”
    1:10 And,
    “You founded the earth in the beginning, Lord,
    and the heavens are the works of your hands.
    1:11 They will perish, but you continue.
    And they will all grow old like a garment,
    1:12 and like a robe you will fold them up
    and like a garment they will be changed,
    but you are the same and your years will never run out.”

  12. rich says:

    ROM.

    9:30 What shall we say then? – that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith, 9:31 but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it. 9:32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 9:33 just as it is written,
    “Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble
    and a rock that will make them fall,
    yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
    10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation. 10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth. 10:3 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.
    10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is by the law: “The one who does these things will live by them.” 10:6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 10:7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we preach), 10:9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10:10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 10:11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 10:12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 10:13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
    10:14 How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news.” 10:16 But not all have obeyed the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 10:17 Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.
    10:18 But I ask, have they not heard? Yes, they have: Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. 10:19 But again I ask, didn’t Israel understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger.” 10:20 And Isaiah is even bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I became well known to those who did not ask for me.” 10:21 But about Israel he says, “All day long I held out my hands to this disobedient and stubborn people!”

  13. rich says:

    THAT’S
    I HOPE OK J
    I THINK I LEFT ROOM TO CONTINUE….?????

  14. Richard constant says:

    I could do the other ones although you guys put them in.
    🙂

  15. Richard constant says:

    Close some doors today not because of pride,
    incapacity or arrogance,
    But simply because they lead you nowhere.
    Paulo Coelho

  16. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Rich,
    In the future, can you please combine your multiple lists of scripture and thoughts into a single post rather than posting 12 separate times? All the separate, smaller posts bump all the other “Recent Comments” from the window on the upper right. Not trying to be mean or anything, but I can’t determine who else has posted comments among the various topics.

  17. Richard constant says:

    I will try Kevin

  18. Royce Ogle says:

    Rich, king of cut and paste

  19. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Thanks, brother!

  20. Richard constant says:

    you guys only knew how ignorant I are in writing

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