Becoming One Family

Key Verse: “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
—Ephesians 2:19

Selected Scripture:
Ephesians 2:11-21

THE MESSAGE OF THE Gospel of Christ was first preached to the Jews by Jesus and the Apostles. Later, beginning with the conversion of Cornelius (see Acts, chapter 10), the Gentiles also had the Gospel preached to them. It was largely to a Gentile audience that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was addressed. In today’s lesson, he first reminds the brethren at Ephesus that at one time they were not in covenant relationship with God. He says, “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; 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.” (Eph. 2:11,12) This all changed, however, as a result of Christ’s First Advent. His death was as a ransom for Father Adam. Since in Adam’s loins was contained all his future progeny, both Jew and Gentile, we see that Jesus’ death as a ransom for Adam secured the hope of life for all mankind. Truly, as Paul said, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:22

This message of hope was a special joy to the Gentiles, because they had never before been considered as part of God’s family. Explaining the reason for this joy, Paul says, “Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13) In verses 14-18 of our lesson, he further explains the new oneness of the family arrangement in Christ. In verse 14, he says that the blood of Christ has “broken down the middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles—the barrier which kept them apart. Part of the process of breaking down this wall was the fact that Jesus established a higher law, a law of love, which eliminated the need for the Jews who came into Christ to any longer keep the “law of commandments contained in ordinances.” (vs. 15) Paul also speaks in these verses of the peace resulting from the blood of Christ. First, his blood brought peace with God (see Romans 5:1) to all those who believed, whether Jew or Gentile. Second, this peace with God which was mutually, and equally, shared by all who put their faith in Jesus’ blood, placed both Jew and Gentile on equal footing, thus bringing peace to their relationship with one another. In Christ, Jews could fellowship with Gentiles, and Gentiles with Jews, for they were all of equal standing in him, all purchased by his blood. So complete was this peace and oneness of God’s family that Paul even says they all now have “access by one Spirit unto the Father.”—vs. 18

In the Key Verse, Paul sums up the matter for the Gentiles, using the symbolism of citizenship. Whereas at one time they were considered ‘foreigners,’ now they are ‘fellowcitizens’ of God’s household. He concludes his lesson by using the example of a building, beautifully describing its various features, all of which, working together and in harmony, bring honor and glory to the Heavenly Father. “[Ye] are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”—Eph. 2:20,21

Dawn Bible Students Association
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