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Finding Unity in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Ephesians 2:11–22 - 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And 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 our 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 are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. 


What does today’s passage say?

In today's passage, Paul speaks to the Gentiles on their past condition before knowing Jesus Christ. Once excluded outsiders without citizenship among God's chosen people Israel, they were in the dark regarding the special covenants and promises He had spoken long ago (vv. 11-12). But now, by the atoning power of Jesus' shed blood on the cross, they have been amazingly brought near into God's forever family (v. 13). Jesus has established pathways of peace between Jews and Gentiles, tearing down the hostile divisions of racism and prejudice that separated them. He fulfilled the requirements of God's perfect Law through His sinless life and sacrificial death, thereby reconciling both groups of believers to God and bringing them together across ethnic lines by the mighty power of the cross (vv. 14-18). Now in Christ, Gentiles are no longer unwanted foreigners, but intimate fellow citizens and members of God's household with access to Him. Together with Jewish believers, they are being built up into God's holy dwelling place, the Spirit's sacred temple, through whom God makes His glorious presence beautifully known (vv. 19-22).


How can I apply Ephesians 2:11-22 to my life?

Paul reminds the Gentiles of what their lives were like before coming to faith in Christ. They were separate from God’s people, His covenants, and His promises of salvation. Now, by trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, they have been miraculously brought near and given full access to the Father as dearly loved members of His family. Not only have they been reconciled to God through Christ but reconciled with one another across ethnic lines in this new spiritual unity. Jesus has torn down divisions and hostilities, making all believers one through the power of the gospel. As fellow saints, we must strive to maintain this unity as God builds us up into His dwelling place through the Spirit at work in and among us. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.    Remember Your Past Sinfulness to Better Appreciate God's Grace (v. 11-12): Before knowing Christ, we were completely separated from God's chosen people and the special covenants He had made. We wandered aimlessly, with no eternal hope, just living in the world and following our own selfish, sinful desires. This vividly paints a picture of where we once were - far off, excluded from any relationship with God, unaware of our great need for a Savior. Now that we have been miraculously brought near to God through Jesus' atoning blood sacrificed on the cross, we must not forget our past or take for granted God's marvelous, undeserved grace. We should cultivate an attitude of humility, contrition, and overflowing gratitude, honestly acknowledging we did nothing to deserve the gift of salvation. But God, in His rich mercy, still chose to save us, adopt us as His very own beloved children, and amazingly give us an inheritance in His eternal kingdom. As we grow deeper and higher in our walk with Christ, we would do well to frequently look back in remembrance on our past sinfulness and devastation. This will plant our feet firmly on the ground of thankfulness for the gospel, passionately drive us to urgently share it with other lost souls still trapped in sin's clutches, and cause us to cling ever more tightly to our gracious Savior (Genesis 3:21, Romans 3:23-24, Romans 5:6-8, Galatians 4:4-7).

Food for thought: What specific ways has greater awareness of your own past sinfulness caused you to be more grateful for God's grace? How can you make absolutely sure you never lose sight of where you originally came from?

2.    Understand That Christ's Sacrifice Broke Down Barriers and Unites All Believers (vv. 13-18): When Jesus shed His precious blood for us and died the cross, He tore down the wall of hostility and hatred that separated Jew and Gentile for centuries. He fulfilled the requirements of God's Law once and for all, opening the way for peace, reconciliation, and unity to be established with God for all peoples who repent of sin and place their faith in Him, regardless of ethnicity. Those who used to be divided and alienated are now brought together as a new family united in Christ. For by grace through faith we are made one with each other in Him! Not only that, but His amazing sacrifice for sin tore down other sinful barriers of partiality and pride that had been built up between His followers over the years - things like favoritism, racism, discrimination, jealousy, and hatred. These have no place within God's true family. On the contrary, Jesus commands all of His followers to maintain fervent love towards one another, humbly laying our lives down in service for each other in the same way that He did for us. As fellow members of the family of God, you and I should view the varieties of human giftedness across His body as a cause for celebration rather than an obstacle. God is pleased to use this diversity to build up and unify His church (John 17:20-23, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 4:1-6).

Food for thought: What biases might you harbor towards other believers? How can you proactively promote unity in your church?

3.    Recognize That Through Faith in Christ, We All Have Access to the Father (vv. 19-22): In the past, we were excluded as unwanted strangers without citizenship in God’s kingdom. But now, through faith in Christ, we have been graciously brought near as fellow saints. As God’s dearly loved children, we can freely and boldly approach Him because of what Jesus did for us. His promises assure us that we can be confident in approaching Him in prayer and that He hears us. We have been given the privilege of intimate fellowship with the God as members of His family. Together we are being built up as God’s dwelling place through the Spirit’s presence with us. What an honor to advance His kingdom as His special possession, set apart to give Him glory. Our lives should resound with praise to Christ our Redeemer who called us from darkness into His light. May we live as purified instruments through whom God powerfully makes His presence and love known (Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Food for thought: What sins might be hindering your prayer life and intimacy with God? What practical actions can you take to draw closer to your Heavenly Father?

We have so much to be grateful for because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Those of us who were alienated from God now have free access into His presence as members of His household. And we who used to be divided from one another can now live in unity as fellow citizens together in God’s kingdom brought together by the power of the Spirit at work within us. As God’s holy temple, we should shine brightly for His glory, proclaiming the goodness of Him who called us out of darkness. Our lives should overflow with love for one another as we excel in building others up and make the grace and wisdom of God known so that many more will come to enjoy reconciliation with Him.



Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for adopting me as Your child and giving me full access to come boldly before Your throne of grace. I confess that sometimes I still drift back to old mindsets where I feel separated from You. Please strengthen my faith and understanding so that I will live fully aware of the intimacy I get to enjoy with You through Christ. I pray that You would build in me a deeper love for my brothers and sisters in Your family across all lines that divide. Tear down any prejudice or judgement I might harbor so I can love and serve alongside all believers for Your glory. I pray that You would help me to become someone who proclaims Your grace, wisdom, and might to all people.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.


Ephesians 2:14 – “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”



With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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