THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
Chapter
2:11-12 - The Study
"Remember - You Were Excluded"

J. Deering, AncientPath.net


VISUALIZED TEXT - "Remember - You Were Excluded," 2:11-12
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) 1  (conjunctions & prepositions underlined, words not in original text in italics)  (alternate text in purple)

 

(2:11)
Therefore
    remember, that
        formerly you
            who, the Gentiles
            by birth and
            called "uncircumcised"
                by those who call themselves "the circumcision"
                    (that done in the body by the hands of men)
THEREFORE

YOU GENTILES BY BIRTH

(2:12)
    remember that at that time
        you were
            separate from Christ,
            excluded (Alt., "alienated") from citizenship in Israel and
            foreigners to the covenants of the promise and
            without hope and
            without God
            in the world
YOU WERE SEPARATE FROM CHRIST

YOU WERE EXCLUDED FROM ISRAEL

YOU HAD NO COVENANT WITH GOD

YOU WERE WITHOUT HOPE

YOU WERE WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD

(2:13a)  

Commentary - "Remember - You Were Excluded," 2:11-12

Remember - You Were Excluded
(2:11)

    Therefore
        remember, that
            formerly you
            who, the Gentiles
            by birth and
            called "uncircumcised"
                by those who call themselves "the circumcision"
                (that done in the body by the hands of men)

This set of verses starts with Paul's familiar expression, "Therefore..." Chapter 2:4-10 (earlier studies) highlighted The Father's works such that "The Father might show His grace" (2:7). He then noted that the works of Man are NOT involved in that process (2:9), it is instead, "the gift of God" (2:8).

That paragraph ends with "We are the Father's workmanship - In Christ" - and that we were made to DO the FATHER'S good works (2:10).

"THEREFORE, REMEMBER"

As Paul addresses the Ephesian church he addresses largely Gentiles, and it is time to remind them of just who they were before their belief in Jesus.

Gentiles by birth
Paul brings up their non-Hebrew heritage. The Gentile was not born into an Hebrew family. Paul makes mention of "circumcision" as that was the sign that God gave to the Hebrews, through Moses and the Law, that would show them as Hebrews. Other cultures also practiced circumcision, but for the Hebrew male it was for a "sign." It was a ritual marking upon him that was supposed to remind him that he belonged to God, had a circumcised heart (a heart cut-out and set aside for God) and was a member of a covenant community. The very physical act of circumcision was performed by another man and not by God. We should see in this that the circumcised heart was also man's business. It would have to be man who circumcised his heart and not God.

Those of this Jewish community called the gentiles the "un-circumcised." This was a negative term to them as it implied that the Gentile did not have a circumcised heart, did not belong to the covenant community, and outwardly demonstrated that by the lack of physical circumcision. Oddly enough, it was the vast majority of the Jews who did not have the circumcised heart for God, as that was what led them into captivity in the first place. They believed that following the Law of Moses made them "holy," and had forgotten God.

There are seven things Paul pointed that Gentiles, historically suffered in these following areas:
1 They were Gentiles, not Jews
2 They were considered the "Un-circumcision" by the Jews
3 The were separate from and without the promised Messiah, Christ
4 They were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel
5 They were strangers of the covenants of the promise
6 They had no hope (Those things that were future for Israel)
7 They were without God (He had made His covenant with the Children of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)

Because of these disabilities they were "far off."

Q-1 What is the "Therefore" there for?
A-1 Makes us remember - that it is The Father's Grace that has placed us into the Body of Christ, and that it was a simple gift from Him.

Q-2 Who are the "uncircumcised?"
A-2 The Gentiles.

Q-3 Why?
A-3 Because God gave the "sign" of circumcision to the Children of Jacob, through Isaac, through Abraham, but not until the time of the giving of God's Law by Moses at Sinai.


(2:12)
    remember that at that time
        you were
            separate from Christ,
            excluded (Alt., "alienated") from citizenship in Israel and
            foreigners to the covenants of the promise and
            without hope and
            without God
                in the world

This means more than that they were heathen, destitute of the knowledge and expectation of the Messiah. As Christ is the only redeemer of men, and the only mediator between God and man, to be without Christ, was to be without redemption and without access to God. To possess Christ, to be in Him, is the sum of all blessedness; to be without Christ includes all evil.

As the heathen were not included in the covenant God made with his people, they held no interest in the promise or the execution of which that covenant secured. Their condition was therefore most deplorable. They had nothing to hope, because they were shut out of the covenant of promise. The promise of God is the only foundation of hope, and therefore those to whom there is no promise, have no hope.

And having no hope of redemption, the great blessing promised, they were, in the widest sense of the word, hopeless. They were moreover without God. This meant that they were atheists, in so far that they were destitute of the knowledge of the true God, and served those who by nature were not gods. Jehovah was not their God; they had no interest in him, they were without him. They stood outside of that community which belonged to God, who knew and worshipped him, to whom his promises were made, and in the midst of whom he dwelt. In every point, therefore, their condition as heathen afforded a melancholy contrast to that of the true people of God, and to that into which they had been introduced by the Gospel. Their alienation was from God and his covenant.


"(therefore,) REMEMBER" (as in Verse 11)

Separate from Christ
Paul calls upon the Ephesians to "remember" this list.

1. Separate from Christ, unable to be with Him or in Him.

The Gentiles did not have the advantage of being a part of the "Nation of Israel." Two thousand years earlier God loved a man named Abram who trusted God and as a result God called him to be the "Father" of many nations. God made promises to Abram, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob that would ensure the longevity of both the Nation of Israel and it's land. That family line became the Hebrew people and they became the family line of the Messiah. God was with those people in a special way that he was not with the other nations of the world - the Hebrew were His people and He dwelt among them. So, therefore, the Gentiles were not "in the family" of God and His Son Jesus the Christ.

2. Excluded, Gentiles were not citizens of Israel.

The Gentile was "excluded" by the Hebrew people. Paul says in the Book of Romans, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard?" (Romans 10:14). This is the condition the Gentile was in, and because they were not "children of Abraham," the Hebrew people (the Jews) excluded them from participating in their lives and religion. Some, very few, were allowed to join with the Jews through the process of proselytism, where a Gentile joined with the nation in the worship of the One True God - but even then, the Gentile was never given full citizenship.

3. Foreigners to the covenant of Promise, no blessings promised except general.

The Gentile world would be blessed by God through the nation of Israel, but would not receive any promises of blessings directly from God.

4. Without hope, no hope of being a member of "God's people."

The "Hope" of the Hebrew was the Messiah who was to come and free the Nation from sin, evil, and death. Then the establishment of His Kingdom would be upon the earth. But there was no mention of the place of the Gentile in that plan - except always separate from the Hebrew.

5. Without God, they did not worship the God of the Jewish people.

The Gentile world, as a rule, never embraced the One True God. God had His Gentile priesthood (Melchizedek for example) but as a rule the Gentiles became "a law unto themselves" (Romans 2:14). They simply did not worship Jehovah ("there is not god but Caesar").

6. They were "in the world," with No god but impotent idols. Our modern phrase for this is, "Anything but God."

Q-1 What were the characteristics of the "before Christ" Gentile?
A-1 Separate from Christ, Excluded from Israel, No Covenant, No Hope, Without God.
 


 

BIBLE REFERENCE - "Remember - You Were Excluded," 2:11-12

(2:11)
"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--"

   Romans 13:13
   1 Corinthians 6:11
    Ephesians 2:2
    Ephesians 2:3
    Ephesians 2;13
    Ephesians 5;8
    Colossians 3:7
    1 Peter 4:3
    1 Corinthians 12:2
    Ephesians 5:8
    Romans 2;28
    Colossians 2;11
    Colossians 2;13


(2:12)
"remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world."
    Romans 9:4
    Colossians 1:21
    Galatians 3:17
    Hebrews 8:6
    1 Thessalonians 4:13
    Galatians 4:8
    Ephesians 4:18


1 "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE,
Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968
1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988.
Used by permission."


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2014-09-21 2048