Saturday, April 15, 2023

Ephesians | Session 10 | 2:10-15

In our study today from Ephesians 2:10-15, we find Paul describing how the Body of Christ is God's workmanship that was created in Christ and it was made possible when the law ordinances was removed making both Jew and Gentile one.  
His Workmanship 
Verse 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Every body knows verses 8-9, but not this one. His point is that, we, as the Body of Christ that is saved by grace through faith are his workmanship. We are his workmanship! He made us! We are the new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 2:14). As such, we were created in Christ Jesus the moment we trusted the Gospel and became the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). The other similar approach to the verse is that the Body of Christ, the one new man, is what God is building today and that is his workmanship. Either one is correct in the one is singular and the other plural. 

Unto good works is what God is doing through us. They are not our works, but his that he does through us (Romans 3:12; Colossians 1:6). 

Now some will say the opposite, spring boarding off of 1 Corinthians 3:9-10, when Paul speaks of himself as a wise master builder, and we are doing the good work of building the church today by reaching the world for Christ with the gospel. Even so, it is God doing it through us. 

In Time Past 
Verses 11-12: 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; 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:  Now he turns his attention back to the Gentiles who in time past 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:  This is the state of Gentiles prior to Christ. Why? - Because they were not included in the covenants that God had made with Israel. The only way for a Gentile to get into Israel's blessings were for them to be proselytized (Esther 8:17). Of course, this is no longer required today because of the blood of Christ that we will see in the next verse. 

The Error of Covenant Theology 
To me, these verses fly in the face of covenant theology that teaches there is only one people of God instead of Jew and Gentile. There was and is an obvious separation and that is what he is explaining in these verses. Again, we all approach the Scriptures with a filter that has been given to us. If you were raised or at least exposed to one form of hermeneutic, you have a filter that can hinder you from approaching Scripture with an open mind. Instead, we approach the Bible with a preconception and therefore just seek to prove it. In other words, we see what we want to see. 

Verse 13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  Again, this verse is still speaking of the Gentiles who were far off, but have now been made nigh by the blood of Christ. In other words, our status has changed from being far to nigh because of Christ's work on the cross and the blood that he shed to that end. This is the gospel or reconciliation as shared by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

Understand that in time past, for a Gentile to be saved, they had to recognize that they were outside of the nation, and could only be brought in by proselytization via circumcision and keeping the law of Moses just like the nation. But not now. Now, both Jew and Gentile come to God the same way through faith alone, apart from the works of the law. As such, verse 14. 

Verse 14: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Christ brought about peace between the Gentiles and God removing the middle wall of partition that was between us. Remember in the Old Testament that God separated his people from the rest (Exodus 11:7; Numbers 23:9). The only physical mention of this wall is the one that separated the court of women from the court of the Gentiles. Josephus mentions this wall as having been three cubits high. A cubit was the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger. That would make the wall about 4.5' tall and the penalty was death if crossed. Whether a spiritual wall or a physical wall, the point is that it is gone now and Jew and Gentile are reconciled to God in the same way through faith in Christ. 

Verse 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;  This is a continual thought from verse 14. Having abolished means to bring to nought or bring to an end. Christ did this in his flesh which is referring to the crucifixion. The enmity speaks of the cause of separation. 

What caused the separation between Jew and Gentile? - The law of commandments contained in the ordinances. Explain. The law actually placed a separation between the Jew and the Gentile. It actually served to alienate the nation of Israel from the rest. They were a set-apart people who saw themselves as the favorites of God in that they held the oracles of God (Romans 3:2). They had the only way to salvation and if you a Gentile wanted in, they had to become one of them. But when Christ came, by his death he abolished all of that and made in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.  

The law of commandments mentioned here is not a reference to moral law, but ceremonial, i.e., sacrifices, festivals, fasts, etc. cf. positive and negative commandments. It was the positive commandments that set Israel apart and caused occasion for the animosity between them and the Gentiles. 

For to make in himself one new man speaks of the two becoming one in the Body of Christ so making peace.

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