Paul is speaking here about remembering the grace of God in our lives and His great love that saved us even while we were still dead in sin.
Paul is speaking here about the differences between the gentiles and the Jews before Yeshua. The Jews had the Torah, the feasts of the Lord, circumcision, God’s covenant with Abraham, God’s covenant with Israel on Mt. Sinai, and other promises from God to the people of Israel. The Jews were already full of hope and expectation that God would save them. The Jews had the Temple in the place that God had chosen to have His Temple, Jerusalem. The gentiles on the other hand only had the false gods until that point with no access to the God of Israel, having no hope of salvation and no promise to hold fast to. There was a division between gentile and Jew that one could physically see at the Temple. Gentiles could not entire the Temple, only Jews. A physical dividing wall kept Jews separate from gentiles.
In verse 13, we see the change that was brought about through Messiah Yeshua: By his blood, he brought near those who had been distant (the gentiles) just like the Jews. By his blood, gentiles get to enter into the promises of God alongside their Jewish brothers and sisters. Along with the dividing wall, Paul speaks here of Messiah “abolishing” enmity so that the Jews and gentiles are now one in Messiah Yeshua, who has bridged the gap and made it possible for all, both Jew and gentile alike, to approach God. Where there was once enmity and division between Jew and gentile, there is now peace and love.
It’s important to remember that it was never God who restrained the gentiles from approaching Him but rather people who didn’t understand God’s love. God loves all people and has always desired to be in personal relationship with everyone. Through the work of Yeshua, the love of God is clear for all to see and the invitation to enter into relationship with Him is undeniably open to all who desire this.
In verses 17–18, it is written:
And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
In Greek, this describes something that was never before seen in the ancient world. Because of the removal of the division between Jew and gentile, early believers in Yeshua were the first to unite with people across ethnic boundaries to worship one God as God over all. Verse 18 begins with the words “for through him…”. In Greek, the word here carries with it the sense of a gatekeeper who decides whether or not people can enter in to see a king and who accompanies those who are approved when they go in and stand before the king. This is what Yeshua has done for us: He approached us, invited us in to see the king, and accompanies us as we approach the God of heaven and earth.
Verses 19–22 contain imagery of a building and uses this imagery to assert that gentiles are no longer strangers, but rather children of the house of God. This is a new assertion that was unheard of before then. All of us, regardless of ethnicity, are being built together as a holy tabernacle of God and Yeshua is preparing each of us to fit perfectly together as a single, unified structure in which the glory of God will be revealed.
Yeshua broke down the wall of enmity between Jew and gentile that had divided between them and united both Jew and gentile. In His perfect plan, both Jew and gentile are being built together in one holy temple in which His glory is made known.
We also receive a challenge in these verses to move beyond racism and hatred in our life. Instead, we must pray for and seek God’s heart for all of our brothers by the grace of the God. He has torn down the dividing wall between both Jew and gentile so that we may all worship the one true God side by side in love for one another, understanding our identity in Messiah Yeshua.
In Chapter 1, Paul goes into detail about the Gospel and how God has forgiven us and how God has a purpose and a calling on our life. Paul speaks clearly to the Ephesians of what he’s heard regarding them and he lets them know how happy it makes him.
In Chapter 2, Paul goes on to remind the Ephesians (and us) about grace. Today we live in relationship with the Lord but before we were dead in our sins, living according to the ways of this world, disobedient to the will of God. However, God in His great love towards us saved us from our sins, not because of anything we did to deserve salvation. He rescued us, raised us up together and set us in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua. All of this is by the gift of God’s grace, not anything we’ve earned. God has taken us out of the mire of our sin and shame so that we could walk in the fullness of our calling in Messiah Yeshua. He has rescued us so that we might unleash all of the good that God set within us for the good of His Kingdom.
In this passage, the main idea is that we were stuck in sin, under the control of the enemy, just going with the flow of the culture and trends of our day. And then the love of God delivered us from bondage to sin, and we are saved by the grace and redeeming power of God that comes not from anything we’ve accomplished but that leads to a life of fulfilling our calling in obedience to God. The grace of God did not die with Yeshua on the cross but continues to be active and effective even in our day:
What is the good news?
- God is good and the creator of the world, and He desires a personal relationship with us, that of a father-son/daughter or king-prince(ss).
- Sadly, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are in need of a sacrifice in order to draw near to God and renew our relationship with Him.
- God is full of compassion and has sent His beloved son, Yeshua to the world as an atonement for our sin.
- Yeshua died on the cross and bore the sins of the world on his shoulders and atoned for our sins.
- After 3 days Yeshua rose from the dead.
- God has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within His sons and daughters on the earth.
- He is returning to judge the creation and to bring His plans to full fruition in our midst.
The Grace of God
Acts 20:24 — The Apostle Paul calls the Gospel “the Gospel of God’s grace”. Grace is something that is done or given for someone who hasn’t earned it as a gift or volunteer act of service. The giver is not obligated to give anything to us and we are not entitled to receive whatever is given by grace. When someone shows you grace, giving a gift or serving you in some way as an act of grace, then you are being served or receiving a gift that you do not deserve from that person.
The Apostle Paul tells us that if we can earn something by our own efforts, then whatever we receive from those efforts has nothing to do with the grace of God. Romans 11:5–6 tells us that if something is given to us or done for us because of what we’ve done, what we receive is no longer a matter of grace but rather something we deserve or something that is owed to us.
Paul touches on the fact that God “breathed into us” renewed spiritual life through knowing Him even though we didn’t deserve this. He restored life within us, he brought us out of the coma of death by sin, spiritual death, and delivered us into right relationship with Him.
Furthermore, God has given us freedom from the power of the enemy and the chains of sin and death and empowered us to serve Him and Him alone, the one who truly loves us and desires the best for us, who defends us, and protects us, and cares for us. We didn’t deserve any of this! Not only have we received freedom from the chains of sin and death, God has restored to us our freedom of choice. Since Yeshua breathed new life into our souls, we have received the power to decide if we will remain in the grave and just go with the flow of sin and death or not. And the thing that is outstanding in all of this, as seen in verse 8, is that we are now seated with Yeshua at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Yeshua has not only restored us to life but has also given us authority to command the enemy and all of those working with the enemy to be far from us, to disappear. We are no longer slaves but children of God, having the full authority of heirs to the throne and the backing of our Father the King, able to command the mountains to move, demons to leave us and those we know, and for all of the sin in this world to be far from us. This freedom and authority is far from what we deserved, but God has given this gift to us freely.
Sometimes we think that the grace of God as some kind of abstract philosophy that has no basis in reality. However, the grace of God finds expression in flesh and blood through the body of Messiah. We are a part of the physical manifestation of God’s grace here on earth. He gives it freely to each and every one of us but also uses each and every one of us to offer his grace to those around us. Verse 10 speaks to God’s desire to use us to extend his grace to others around us.
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 — remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.
According to these verses, we see that what God has given us by grace, he has not given with an expectation of anything in return. God has given everyone the invitation to be saved regardless of what they have done or will do in service of God. However, the grace of God is not only reserved for salvation, but also for guidance once we are saved so that we will be able to distinguish between sin and those things that lead to life everlasting. A life led by God will be full of things like true humility, doing things that honor God, and being filled with devotion to God as we go about each day. The grace of God also leads us to eagerly await the judgement of God on the earth without fear but rather with expectation of the return of our Lord Yeshua and the day of the fullness of our adoption as children of God.
There will be many times in this life that we will notice a tension between relationship that comes by faith (thanks to the grace of God) and relationship that comes by works. The Scriptures are clear on these two aspects of our walk with God. The relationship between works and faith is not one of first doing then receiving grace, but rather receiving grace and so being able to do the “works” without all of the obstacles that face those who strive to do good outside of the grace of God.
Ask of God to reveal His great grace to you, all of those things that He has done in your life and in the Scriptures, and in the lives of others around you, that are entirely undeserved. As you do this, you will grow in your understanding of how God wants to use you to spread His grace in this world. God has given us grace and is ready to continue pouring His grace out on us and through us so that we may serve Him rightly and in true intimacy with Him.
Share this Post