Ephesians chapter 2 is an overview of the past, present and future of all believers. Paul is addressing all people. It’s as if he wrote a mass email to all nations about the grace and mercy by the gift of salvation. The gift of eternal life and salvation is and always will be for all generations.
In Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1-10, Paul describes how we were all “dead” because of our disobedience and many sins. He refers to the devil as a spirit at work in our hearts urging us to disobey God. This is evident in our lives by how sin leads to death and destruction. Our decisions can lead us in the wrong direction causing us to sin and disobey. Before people are saved, they live by their sinful nature, and there are consequences to going against the grain. God truly designed us to live in peace and obedience to him. That doesn’t mean that our obedience only gives us a peaceful life because let’s be real…life happens.
In verses 4-5, it says: “But GOD is so rich in mercy and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead in our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” The simple reminder in verse 4 brings so much comfort to know how much He loves us and always will. Because of that love He has for us, God knew we were “dead” in our sins, and He knew we needed grace, so He gave us new life by raising Jesus from the dead. It is only by Grace that we were given the gift of salvation. There is a stark contrast between death and life, and between the saved and unsaved.
Verses 8-9 emphasizes the gift of being saved by grace only by faith in Jesus Christ. God knew our boastful natures, like how I did this, or I can do that, but we cannot be saved by anything we do or say, only by believing in Jesus and His death and resurrection for our sins. He covered it all. Jesus paid the debt we owed but couldn’t pay. Verse 10 tells us “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” We can live with that freedom in Him, just by our faith. However, even though it is true that we are saved by faith, that is not the end of our journey with the Lord but it is only the beginning of the good things we can do for Him. God created us to do good work for Him and to share his love. We all have different gifts and talents to be used by Him. We should allow Him to guide us in those gifts and be servants in love.
In the second half of Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11-22, Paul shifts his focus and writes about the Gentiles about how they were being called the “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews. The Jews were proud to be circumcised. They didn’t realize this physical act of circumcision only affected their body and not their hearts. Therefore, in their eyes, the gentiles were without hope and without God. They didn’t know the covenant promises God had made for us all. Christ brought peace to them and to all of us by uniting the Jews and the Gentiles to be a one people group and to end the hostility between them. God reconciled both groups by Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection.
Did you know that the word “peace” is written in the Bible over 400 times depending on the translation? God wanted us to live in peace within ourselves and with others. He brought peace by ending the Old Testament laws and regulations to create a new family which was reconciled by Jesus’ death on the cross. In the ending of Ephesians 2, Paul writes to us that the Gentile believers are no longer “strangers or aliens” of this world but a united family, one body, God’s holy people. The family of God is built on the foundation with Jesus as the cornerstone. With God as our foundation, let us live in peace with ourselves and with everyone we encounter, spreading the love of Jesus Christ.