“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13
Pual continues his letter to the Ephesian believers at in the Grecian city of Ephesus. He reminds them that as non-Hebrews, they used to be “outsiders” to the faith, which was initially given to the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, when God called Abraham to be the “Father of many nations”. Though Gid’s intent was never to exclude anyone from Himself, the Hebrews viewed this as an opportunity for exclusion of other people groups, as opposed to a responsibility to include them! So Paul, here is reminding them of those days when they were regarded as “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews who apparently were proud of being circumcised, a symbolic removal of the flesh, thus dedicating them to God in what I would think would be a very private way, which would inadvertantly illuminate pride. God’s intent was that this act symbolized the removal of their hard-heart’s flesh, although that wasn’t how it worked out!
Additionally, Paul reminded the Ephesians that before Christ, they were, “living apart from Christ, excluded from citizenship among God’s people and … the covenant promises God had made to them”. This almost meant exclusion from God, Himself by defaulted! This caused hopelessness in them because they were living outside of Christ!
These verses end with “but now”! This changes everything! NOW, they (and we) have “been brought near to Him (Christ) through the blood of Christ.” We talk of all that Jesus purchased for us on the cross, but I often wonder if we really now what this means! His blood, poured out for us on the cross is a BIG, BIG DEAL! He was the perfect sacrifice for the whole world’s sin, bought our freedom from sin and it’s consequences and forever broke the bondage of the curse of Genesis 3 off of us when He shed His blood on the cross and subsequently rose from the dead 3 days later! When we say and sing “there’s power in the blood of Jesus”, there REALLY IS!
This radical transformation wasn’t made because the Ephesians changed cultures, it came when they changed Saviors!
Whose is your Savior today? Do you remain excluded from God because you have rejected Christ or are now part of Him because you have surrendered yourself to Him?
Think about it!