Ephesians 2:11-22

11 You Gentiles by birth - called "the uncircumcised" by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies) - remember what you were in the past.
12 At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God.
13 But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies.
15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 1
16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 2
17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all - to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 3
18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
19 So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God.
20 You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself.
21 He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord.
22 In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.

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Ephesians 2:11-22 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EPHESIANS 2

The design of the apostle in this chapter, is to magnify the riches of divine grace, in the effectual calling and salvation of sinners, by Christ Jesus; in order to which, he describes the sad estate they are in by nature, and before conversion, even God's elect among the Jews, and especially among the Gentiles; and then observes how peace is made for and between them both, by Christ the peacemaker; and the various privileges and blessings which both enjoy, in consequence of it: he begins with the Ephesians, and expresses the former state they were in by a death, which is ascribed to trespasses and sins, Eph 2:1, and represents their walk and conversation to have been according to the world, and after Satan; who is described by his dominion over other devils that dwell in the air, and by his influence upon disobedient men, Eph 2:2, and that it might not be thought that the case of these Gentile Ephesians was worse than others, the apostle observes of himself, and other saints among the Jews, that their conversation before conversion was among the men of the world, and so according to the course of it, as the Gentiles; and that it was a very carnal conversation they had spent, in fulfilling the desires and lusts of the flesh; and that they were as deserving of, and as liable to the wrath of God in themselves, as other persons, Eph 2:3, to which former state he opposes their present one; they were not now dead in sin, but were quickened; which is ascribed to God as the efficient cause, and to his rich mercy and great love as the moving cause; and to Christ as the meritorious and procuring cause, by whose grace they were saved, and in whom they were not only quickened, but raised, and made to sit together in heavenly places; and the final cause and end of all this was, to show forth the abundant grace and kindness of God, through Christ, Eph 2:4-7. The doctrine of salvation by grace, the apostle takes up again from Eph 2:5, and to the moving cause of salvation, the grace of God, he adds the means, or instrument by which it is received and enjoyed, which is faith; and that is denied to be owing to the power of men, but is said to be a gift of God Eph 2:8, and the end in view, in putting salvation upon the foot of grace and not works, is to prevent boasting in the creature, Eph 2:9, and that works cannot be the causes of salvation, either efficient, moving, or procuring, is evident; since though they are to be performed as being agreeable to the purposing, as well as commanding will of God, yet they are effects, both of the work of grace upon the soul in time, called a creation, and of the decrees of God from eternity, Eph 2:10, when the apostle goes on to put the Ephesians in mind of their former state in unregeneracy, with the same view as before, to magnify the grace of God, but in a different manner; not as common to them with the Jews, but as peculiar to them as Gentiles; as that they were had in contempt by the Jews, and were in a state of alienation, not only from them, but from God and Christ, and the enjoyment of various privileges, Eph 2:11,12, wherefore the grace of God was the more conspicuous in their present state of nearness both to God and his people, brought about by the blood of Christ, Eph 2:13, who, as the peacemaker, not only made peace by the blood of his cross between God and them, but between them and the true Israel of God among the Jews; which was done, partly by abolishing the ceremonial law, which occasioned enmity, and kept up a division among them, Eph 2:14-16, and partly by sending, and preaching the Gospel of peace to them both, Eph 2:17, and by opening a way of access for them both unto the Father through himself, under the direction and influence of the Spirit, Eph 2:18, from all which it appeared, that they were not in a state of distance and alienation as before, but all belonged to the same city and family, and were built on the same foundation, and were united together in the same corner stone, Jesus Christ, Eph 2:19,20, and as the apostle compares Christ to a foundation, and a corner stone, so the church of Christ, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, to a temple; which being fitly put together, becomes, an Holy One in the lord, and a suitable habitation for God through the Spirit, Eph 2:21,22.

Ephesians 2:11-22 In-Context

9 but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.
10 God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.
11 You Gentiles by birth - called "the uncircumcised" by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies) - remember what you were in the past.
12 At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God.
13 But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies.
15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace.
16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God.
17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all - to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him.
18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
19 So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God's people and members of the family of God.
20 You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself.
21 He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord.
22 In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.

Cross References 3

  • 1. 2.15Colossians 2.14.
  • 2. 2.16Colossians 1.20.
  • 3. 2.17Isaiah 57.19.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. by the blood of Christ; [or] by the sacrificial death of Christ.
  • [b]. the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets; [or] the foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets.
Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.