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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 2 You were dead in your
transgressions and sins 3
in which you once lived following the age of
this world, 4 following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires
of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were
by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the
great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ 5 (by grace you have been
raised us up with him, and seated us with him
in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come he might show the
immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ
Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live
6 Therefore, remember that at one time you,
Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the
circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands,
were at that time without Christ, alienated
from the community of Israel 7 and strangers to the
covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far
off have become near by the blood of Christ.
8 For he is our peace, he who made both one and
broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and
legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person 9
in place of the two, thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God, in one body,
through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far
off and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one
Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and
sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the
household of God,
built upon the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. 10
Through him the whole structure is held
together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together into a
dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1 [1-22] The gospel of salvation
(⇒ Eph 1:13) that God worked in Christ
(⇒ Eph 1:20) is reiterated in terms of what God's
great love (⇒ Eph 2:4), expressed in Christ, means
for us. The passage sometimes addresses you, Gentiles (⇒ Eph
⇒ 11-13, ⇒ 19,
⇒ 22), but other times speaks of all of us who
believe (⇒ Eph 2:3-7,
⇒ 10, ⇒ 14,
⇒ 18). In urging people to remember their grim past
when they were dead in sins (⇒ Eph 2:1-3,
⇒ 11-12) and what they are now in Christ
(⇒ Eph 2:4-10, ⇒ 13), the
author sees both Jew and Gentile reconciled with God, now one new person, a new
humanity, one body, the household of God, a temple and dwelling place of God's
Spirit (⇒ Eph 2:15-16, ⇒ 19-22).
The presentation falls into two parts, the second stressing more the meaning
for the church.
2 [1-10] The recipients of Paul's
letter have experienced, in their redemption from transgressions and sins, the
effect of Christ's supremacy over the power of the devil (⇒ Eph
2:1-2; cf ⇒ Eph 6:11-12), who rules not
from the netherworld but from the air between God in heaven and human beings on
earth. Both Jew and Gentile have experienced, through Christ, God's free gift
of salvation that already marks them for a future heavenly destiny
(⇒ Eph 2:3-7). The language dead, raised us up, and
seated us . . . in the heavens closely parallels Jesus' own passion and Easter
experience. The terms in ⇒ Eph 2:8-9 describe
salvation in the way Paul elsewhere speaks of justification: by grace, through
faith, the gift of God, not from works; cf ⇒ Gal
2:16-21; ⇒ Romans 3:24-28. Christians are
a newly created people in Christ, fashioned by God for a life of goodness
(⇒ Eph 2:10).
3 [1-7] These verses comprise one
long sentence in Greek, the main verb coming in ⇒ Eph
2:5, God brought us to life, the object you/us dead in . . .
transgressions being repeated in ⇒ Eph 2:1,
5; cf ⇒ Col 2:13.
4  Age of this world: or
"aeon," a term found in gnostic thought, possibly synonymous with the
rulers of this world, but also reflecting the Jewish idea of "two
ages," this present evil age and "the age to come"; cf ⇒ 1
Cor 3:19; ⇒ 5:10;
⇒ 7:31; ⇒ Gal 1:4;
⇒ Titus 2:12. The disobedient: literally, "the
sons of disobedience," a Semitism as at ⇒ Isaiah 30:9.
5  Our relation through baptism
with Christ, the risen Lord, is depicted in terms of realized eschatology, as
already exaltation, though ⇒ Eph 2:7 brings in the
future aspect too.
6 [11-22] The Gentiles lacked
Israel's messianic expectation, lacked the various covenants God made with
Israel, lacked hope of salvation and knowledge of the true God
(⇒ Eph 2:11-12); but through Christ all these
religious barriers between Jew and Gentile have been transcended
(⇒ Eph 2:13-14) by the abolition of the Mosaic
covenant-law (⇒ Eph 2:15) for the sake of uniting
Jew and Gentile into a single religious community (⇒ Eph
2:15-16), imbued with the same holy Spirit and worshiping the same
Father (⇒ Eph 2:18). The Gentiles are now included
in God's household (⇒ Eph 2:19) as it arises upon
the foundation of apostles assisted by those endowed with the prophetic gift
(⇒ Eph 3:5), the preachers of Christ
(⇒ Eph 2:20; cf ⇒ 1 Cor
12:28). With Christ as the capstone (⇒ Eph
2:20; cf ⇒ Isaiah 28:16;
⇒ Matthew 21:42), they are being built into the
holy temple of God's people where the divine presence dwells
(⇒ Eph 2:21-22).
7  The community of Israel: or
"commonwealth"; cf ⇒ Eph 4:18. The
covenants: cf ⇒ Romans 9:4: with Abraham, with Moses,
8 [14-16] The elaborate imagery here
combines pictures of Christ as our peace (⇒ Isaiah
9:5), his crucifixion, the ending of the Mosaic law (cf
⇒ Col 2:14), reconciliation (⇒ 2
Cor 5:18-21), and the destruction of the dividing wall such as kept
people from God in the temple or a barrier in the heavens.
9  One new person: a corporate
body, the Christian community, made up of Jews and Gentiles, replacing ancient
divisions; cf ⇒ Romans 1:16.
10  Capstone: the Greek can also
mean cornerstone or keystone.
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