The letter to the church in Ephesus begins with a blessing. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Chapters one through three highlight some of those spiritual blessings, one of which involves our heritage in Christ. While most of us no longer wake up thinking about being a Gentile trying to interact with a Jewish community, it was a real issue in the early church. A spiritual blessing that we have in Christ is all of that was done away with. That is the theme of chapter two in the Ephesian letter.
When the chapter begins, we are dead (Eph. 2:1-3). We are dead in sin and children of wrath. There is nothing that we can do to change our spiritual state. Then God steps in. The grace of God is highlighted (Eph. 2:4-10). Phrases are used to describe the abundance of God’s conduct toward us: “rich in mercy,” “great love,” and “surpassing riches of His grace.” All of this underscores that God did not just barely pay the debt we owed but went beyond what was needed to redeem us back (Eph. 1:7-8).
That redemption brought us into a new relationship with God and with the Jewish people that were obedient to God through Jesus Christ (Eph 2:11-22). Not only were we dead before Christ, but we were also separated from God in every way, to the point that we had no hope and were strangers to God (Eph. 2:11-12). Those of us that “formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). There is a dividing line in a relationship with God. If I’m not near, bought with blood, then I am far away and have no hope. There is no middle ground. What separated us into two classes of people and what separated us from God was taken away (Eph. 2:14-18). From the two God made one people. We were reconciled “both in one body to God through the cross” (Eph. 2:16). Now that we are one, something else has changed.
In this new state of being near to God, we have a new spiritual heritage (Eph. 2:19-22). “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19). We are now brought into the family of God. All of this was built about the teaching of the prophets and the apostles with Christ being the cornerstone that fit everything together. In chapter three, Paul will expound on the fact that the Gentiles being a part of the blessings of God was a mystery that had been hidden but was now being revealed in Christ. It was part of God’s eternal purpose in His great wisdom and love. Do not take lightly the spiritual heritage and inheritance we have in Christ. It is by the grace of God, not of ourselves.