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Study Notes on Ephesians 2

Updated: Jan 13

Ephesians 2

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Quickened means to make alive which happened when you believed on Christ for salvation.

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Verses 2 & 3 here describe the state of all unbelievers. Whether they know it or not, they are in service to the devil.

Why he is called the price of the power of the air is uncertain, though there are a wide variety of views concerning it. It may simply be that the wicked spirts, the fallen angels, of the devil primarily inhabit the domain of the air in some way that the bible does not elaborate on.

"As he (the devil) is the ruler of τὰ πνεύματα, whose aggregate τὸ πνεῦμα is, so he is the ἄρχων of the thoughts and ways of the ungodly." - Henry Alford

Colossians 3:5-6, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Before our conversion we were in that awful state.

The transition from "you" and "ye" in verses 1 & 2 to "also we all" should be noted. Both the gentiles and the Jews were in the same state of disobedience before faith in Christ. As Galatians 3:22 says, But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Also see Romans 11:32.

"The case of all men, Jews and Gentiles, alike described, children of wrath; that is, our estate and course is such by nature as deserves destruction, as tends to and will end in destruction, without the renewing grace of God." - William Burkitt

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Verses 1-5 here align closesly with what is said in Titus 3:3-7. Our own sin should help us to show grace and compassion on those that have not yet believed in Christ.

Because of God's love, He sent Christ into the world and promised eternal life to those that would believe on Him. We are saved by grace because of the mercy of God.

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Christ was not raised and glorified as a solitary person, but the facts of what He did are a firstfruits, a guarantee, that the same will happen with us. Here the apostle speaks of things as being so certain that they are already done.

How could salvation possibly be lost, if those that believe have been raised with Christ and made to sit in heavenly places? It's a done deal, and the promises of God cannot be broken.

"Christ's resurrection and glorification being a pledge of ours." - William Burkitt

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

As the church as Ephesus is an example, all future times will see and experience the riches of God's grace. As God has shown us incredible love, we should show love to others. See Matthew 22:37-39.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

How do we receive the saving grace of God (v. 5)? By placing our faith in His Son. Salvation does not come by our own efforts towards righteousness, but it is a gift of God. A gift is not something that earned or merited.

The "not of yourselves" in verse 8 corresponds to the "not of works" in verse 9. The gift of God refers to salvation just as Romans 6:23 does.

"On the part of God, salvation is by grace; on the part of man, it is through faith. It does not come to us by an involuntary act, as light falls on our eyes, sounds on our ears, or air enters our lungs. When we are so far enlightened as to understand about it, there must be a personal reception of salvation by us, and that is by faith. Faith at once believes the good news of a free salvation through Christ, and accepts Christ as the Savior." - TPC

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has decreed and chosen that those who believe on Christ should live their lives according to a pattern of good works. Of course not everyone will, neither is this a condition for salvation, but rather a proper response to all the incredible blessings and gifts described thus far in these two chapters of Ephesians.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Remember, and be grateful for your former state. Paul slightly changes course to elaborate on the love and mercy God has shown to the Ephesians and Gentiles in general.

The circumcision made with hands (Jews) would, with contempt, call Gentiles the uncircumcision. The New Testament makes clear now that believers are the true circumcision (see Philippians 3:3; Romans 2:28-29).

We were Gentiles in the flesh, Jews were circumcision in the flesh. But now, by faith in Christ, both groups are one new man and the flesh counts for nothing.

1 Samuel 17:26, And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Covenants of promises refering to the promised Messiah, the promise of the spiritual seed of Abraham by faith who was first prophesied in Genesis 3:15.

See Romans 9:4 for this verse elaborated on.

Galatians 3:14, That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Notice here in verse 12 that the Gentiles were at one time foreigners from the commonwealth (citizenship, community) of Israel (see Amos 3:1-2). However, as we read through verse 19 we see that by faith, believers are now citizens of Israel (see Romans 9:8; Galatians 6:16 etc.).

"Ignorant of a knowledge of the promised Savior, the Gentile brethren had once been, of all men, most miserable, holding or possessing no hope for salvation." - Garner-Howes

"The object of the apostle is to lead his readers, especially those converted from heathenism, to properly appreciate the mercy of God in giving them the gospel by reminding them of their former state." - R. E. Pattison, 1859

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

But now, a reversal of the condition described in verse 11, by being in Christ, you who were Gentiles in the flesh, are now close. By His blood we have access and communion with the Lord.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Anyone who believes is in the same kingdom, the same family with the same access to God. How many people of God are there? Only one: believers.

"Jesus Christ not only died to redeem Jews and Gentiles alike, but also to remove the Jewish barrier to equal worship and service for both Jews and Gentiles, In Christ’s death on the cross He resolved all grounds of distinction between their opportunities of salvation and privilege of worship in church worship and service." - Garner-Howes

Galatians 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

See Deuteronomy 4:6-8. The law was only given to the nation of Israel, and not other nations. It was to set them apart but now it has been done away in Christ.

"All these ordinances centering in Him and fulfilled by Him on the cross were displaced by the gospel. He taketh away the first that He may establish the second. He thus abolished the occasion of enmity which is its meaning in this passage." - R. E. Pattison, 1859

"The law that he abolished was that which had been given to the Jews concerning circumcision and new moons and food and sacrifices and the sabbath. He ordered it to cease because it was a burden. In this way he made peace." - Ambrosiaster 400 a.d.

Hebrews 10:9-10, Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to God by faith in Christ, and to each other by removing the distinctiveness of the law. There is one people of God.

"In bringing the Gentiles and the Jews alike under the power of the gospel two effects are produced they are reconciled to each other and both to God The first is the consequence of the second and both the fruits of Christ's death and made actual by the Holy Spirit." - R. E. Pattison, 1859

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Christ preached to both Jews and Gentiles through the apostles and the great commission.

Verse 18 is a great verse on the Trinity.

Acts 1:8, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Connect verse 12 with this one, and you see that Gentiles were strangers to Israel, but now because of Christ we are citizens. Believers are the Israel of God. We are now of the same family.

Galatians 3:26, For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

This refers to the "the commonwealth of the spiritual Israel." - Henry Alford

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Our doctrine and our present state of being in the Kingdom of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus is the corner stone, which is the most important part of the building.

There's a very interesting description of how the tribes and the apostles represent one building in Revelation 21:12-14.

1 Corinthians 3:11, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

See 1 Peter 2:4-5.

"Following the same metaphor, comparing the Church of Christ to a city, and to the temple, the believing Ephesians are represented as parts of that building; the living stones out of which it is principally formed." - Adam Clarke

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

From the foundation of Christ, both Jew and Gentile are the temple of the Lord which is each individual believer. In contrast to the temple of the Old Testament, every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit in whom God resides. See 1 Corinthians 6:19.


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