Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 2:11 - 2:13

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 2:11 - 2:13


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

A special reminder to the Gentile Christians:

v. 11. 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,

v. 12. 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;

v. 13. but now in Christ Jesus ye, who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

The apostle here addresses himself specifically to the Gentile Christians, who constituted the majority in the Ephesian congregation: Wherefore, remember that formerly you, Gentiles in the flesh, called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh, made by hand. He refers to the entire preceding section: All these things being so, namely, that you were quickened by God into a new, spiritual life, therefore remember. They should keep in mind and in view not merely the riches obtained, but also the poverty and misery from which they were released. They had in their former state been Gentiles in the flesh, by birth, Gentiles in the full sense of the term, representatives of the heathen world. The name uncircumcision, a name of contempt, was flung at them; they were regarded as unclean by the Jews. The apostle intimates, at the same time, that the latter had little reason for proud boasting, for he himself refers with some show of contempt to the "so-called circumcision which is made in the flesh by hand," for a mere incision in the flesh cannot be made the foundation of a real advantage, has no moral or religious value. All the Jews, therefore, that make this mere external rite a matter of boasting, the apostle means to say, are foolish.

Aside from this fact, however, it remains true: That you were at that time, apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and being without God in the world. At the time when the Gentiles were without Christ, outside of Christ, when they as yet did not know, did not have, Christ, they were excluded from citizenship in the kingdom of Christ, they were strangers to the fellowship with Him. They likewise had no share in the covenants of the great Messianic promise which God gave to Abraham and the patriarchs, Gen_13:15; Gen_15:18; Gen_17:8. To this covenant of grace the Gentiles were strangers, because they were strangers to God's own people, to the children of Israel. As a result, they were without hope; being ignorant of the salvation promised in the Messiah and realized in Christ, they had nothing to hope for beyond this world. Moreover, the last element, the climax of the darkness and misery of their former life, was the fact that the Gentiles were without God in the world. In this world, in this miserable, vain, and transitory world, they were God-less, without knowledge, without worship of the true God, and therefore without a support, like a mastless and rudderless wreck in the midst of a typhoon. That is painting their old heathen condition in the darkest colors.

Their present condition stands out all the more cheerful by contrast: Now, however, in Christ Jesus, you, who were formerly at a great distance, have come near in the blood of Christ. At the present time, at the time that Paul is writing, those very people that formerly stood afar off, as strangers to the citizenship of Christ, have now come near to the people of God, have been brought into the Church of Christ. See Mat_3:2; Mat_4:17; Mat_10:7; Mar_1:15; Luk_10:9-11. This wonderful change has been brought about in Christ Jesus. Now they are in Him, united with Him, in living, present, personal fellowship with the Savior. By the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for their deliverance from sin, death, and damnation, they have been added to the number of the believers joined in the communion of saints. The blood of Christ was the means which brought about the wonderful effect, just as it does today.