Year B – Proper 11 – Ephesians 2:11-22

“So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”–a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands–remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far of have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.  He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.  So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off a d peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”

Summary – The stage has been set: you have been saved by grace through faith for good works.  But now the question arises for 1st century Gentiles of Ephesus: how can I be saved if God’s word came to Jews all these years?  Paul provides the answer: that which divided Jews from Gentiles, namely bloodline (v 11), covenant sign (circumcision v 11), and Jewish covenant code (Torah v 15) has been overcome that Jews and Gentiles may become one body.  Those distinguishers are not gone entirely: Jews are still Jews and Gentiles still Gentiles by birth; some are still circumcised physically and all are circumcised spiritually (in the heart) and new covenantally (by baptism); and the Torah still guides righteous living and covenant keeping.  Nevertheless, the things about these three areas that kept Jew and Gentile separate have been washed away in Christ who has preached peace to those far off and those near.

Insight – Getting a goldfish to walk around on your carpet apart from water is a pretty hopeless task, isn’t it?  Well, before Jesus came to earth, people who were not Jews were basically hopeless in trying to be a true person of God, a Jew.  But when Jesus died, His death got rid of the thing that separated Jews from people who weren’t by making it so that if you believe in Him, you were a true Jew, whether you used to be one or not.  That way, all different kinds peoples on Earth could be made a part of His family!

Child Catechism – What kind of person can be part of God’s family?  Every kind!

Discussion – If someone said to you, “I believe I am an Apostle and Prophet of God,” how would you answer them?  (think vs 20)  If someone said, “We should throw out the Old Testament because Eph 2:15 says Christ abolished it,” what would you tell them?

Prayer – Father, no barrier is too great that your grace cannot overcome it.  Thank you for your sovereign and all-powerful nature which gives us hope that you can and will keep any promise you have made.  Shape us in the image of your Son, by your Spirit, for your glory.  Amen


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