Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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EPHESIANS - Chapter 2

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Ephesians 2

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  DOCTRINAL  1, 15 -- 3, 21 (continued)

1.  The Church Is One with Christ  1, 15 -- 2, 22 (continued)

2, 1-10:  All Brought into Christ's Life.   The recipients of this Epistle to whom St. Paul adverts principally are converted pagans.  He draws of the pagan society from which they came a picture something like that of Rom. 1.    2 f.  They were before their conversion subject to the prince of the power of the air about us, i.e., the devil.  They had been subject not only to him, but to the desires of their own unregenerate nature.  Hence they were children of wrath, i.e., the wrath of God was upon them.  But not only the Gentiles, but the Jews also had incurred the wrath of a just God.    4 ff.  But God who is rich in mercy, by reason of the great love wherewith he has loved us, even when we were dead (spiritually) by reason of our sins, brought us to life together with Christ.  Those who are thus quickened share in the privileges of their divine Head.  They sit with Him in heavenly places: already their glorification has begun.  The Apostle, however, has said that we are called to holiness (1, 4).  Here he tells us that we must bring forth good fruits: God has made good works ready beforehand that we might walk therein.    8.  By grace we are saved and not through works.  We are not justified by the observance of the Mosaic Law or of any other law.  Nothing done before we become Christians could save us from wrath.  A soul in mortal sin cannot merit.  It cannot of itself even believe: the very beginnings of faith require grace.  Once justified, however, men are able to perform meritorious works and St. Paul constantly urges us to live worthy of the vocation to which we are called (4, 1).  If our natural works had been enough to transfer us from the state of sin to the state of grace, we might be proud of ourselves.  But St. Paul insists that we should not boast (1 Cor. 1, 29).

2, 11-22:  Gentile and Jew United.  St. Paul recalls that the Gentiles for whom he writes were formerly sinners, devoid of the privileges granted Israel.  They were not cheered by the hope of a Messias as the Jews were; and although they had worshipped many gods they were as a matter of fact without a God in this world.  From this condition they were saved by the blood of Christ; through Him, the wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles had been broken down.  Jews and Gentiles were made fellow-citizens.  Jesus had caused His gospel to be proclaimed throughout the world; salvation is accessible to all without distinction of race.  They are all members of God's household.    20.  This verse refers more likely to the prophets of the New Testament, so closely connected with the Apostles in 4, 11.

Confraternity Bible:

All Brought into Christ's Life  1 You also, when you were dead by reason of your offenses and sins, 2* wherein once you walked according to the fashion of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air about us, the prince of the spirit which now works on the unbelievers--- 3* indeed, in the company of these even we, all of us, once led our lives in the desires of our flesh, doing the promptings of our flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest.  4 But God, who is rich in mercy, by reason of his very great love wherewith he has loved us 5 even when we were dead by reason of our sins, brought us to life together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and seated us together in heaven in Christ Jesus, 7 that he might show in the ages to come the overflowing riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not from yourselves, for it is the gift of God; 9* not as the outcome of works, lest anyone may boast.  10 For his workmanship we are, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God has made ready beforehand that we may walk in them.

Gentile and Jew United  11 Wherefore, bear in mind that once you, the Gentiles in flesh, who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" in flesh made by human hand--- 12 bear in mind that you were at that time without Christ, excluded as aliens from the community of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise;  having no hope, and without God in the world.  13 But now in Christ Jesus you, who were once afar off, have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  14 For he himself is our peace, he it is who has made both one, and has broken down the intervening wall of the enclosure, the enmity, in his flesh.  15* The Law of the commandments expressed in decrees he has made void, that of the two he might create in himself one new man, and make peace 16 and reconcile both in one body to God by the cross, having slain the enmity in himself.  17 And coming, he announced the good tidings of peace to you who were afar off, and of peace to those who were near; 18 because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  19 Therefore, you are now no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are citizens with the saints and members of God's household: 20 you are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief corner stone.  21 In him the whole structure is closely fitted together and grows into a temple holy in the Lord; 22 in him you too are being built together into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.


2: The prince, etc.: Satan, the prince of demonical power.

3: Children of wrath: deserving of God's anger.

9: Works: i.e., mere human effort without God's grace coming before and with it.

15: The death of Christ supplanted the Old Law, which contained a strict distinction of Jew from Gentile.