Paul begins with your favorite subject, you! Don’t try to deny it. If we could take a wide-angle picture of the church tonight, blow it up big, put it on the back wall, who is the first one you would look for?
And you hath he quickened, The words “hath he quickened”, you’ll notice are in italics. What that means is that they are not in the original Greek text. They were added by the translators, but were not in the original Greek text, in this place. They do appear down in verse five, “having made alive”. Paul just began this second chapter by saying, “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins; Paul is wanting to share with them the glorious grace of God. But in order that you might appreciate all of the beauty and the glory of God’s grace, he is going to first paint a dark background, so that you can see the beauty of the grace of God. It’s sort of like a jeweler displaying a splendid diamond, he puts it on a piece of black velvet. Then he shines a light on it so that every facet of it can sparkle because of the black velvet background. So Paul is painting the black background in order that as he begins to share with you the glories of God’s grace, every facet might sparkle and you might see it in its complete beauty.
Unfortunately that black background is you! Dead in your trespasses and your sin. Now there is a difference between the trespasses and sin. Sin, in the Greek is to miss the mark. And it follows that a person can miss the mark who is trying to hit the mark. It isn’t always a willful kind of thing. It isn’t always a rebellious thing. Many times it’s just pure weakness on our part. We miss the mark.
It comes from the old English word that originated in archery, where they would put a hoop on a pole and each man with his quiver of arrows, would shoot his arrows through the hoop there on the pole out in the field. If he missed the hoop, then he was called a sinner. Thus the origin of the English word, sinner. The Greek word is hamartia. But it has the same meaning. It means to miss the mark.
Whereas, trespasses is a little worse, in that it is a willful and deliberate action of disobedience to God. A person can be a sinner who is trying to hit the mark, but is weak in his flesh and unable to be all that God would have him to be. He comes short of God’s plan. He is a sinner. He has missed the mark. But a trespasser is one who deliberately goes over the line, challenging God. It is a willful act of disobedience. But whether it be sin or a trespass, the results are the same—Spiritual death. The Bible says the soul that sinneth, it shall surely die. The wages of sin is death. And so whether it be just a sin, a missing of the mark, or a deliberate willful act of disobedience, the net effect of God is the same. It alienates you from God. You were dead, Spiritually dead, as a result of your trespass and sin.
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, The word walked, here, from the Greek is a word that might be better translated, meander. There is another Greek word for walk and that’s we usually think of a person just walking down the street. There is a gait and you are just walking in this gait. And then there is meandering down the street.
The best illustration that I know is my wife and I going through the mall. I walk! She meanders! I can go from Sears to Robinson-May in four minutes. She can take the afternoon.
It’s an interesting thing when you see a person walking. Your impression is that they are going some place. They have an appointment.
When you see a person meandering, you sort of think, they are just killing time. Now my wife denies this. She’s comparing prices and looking for the right article, you know. But when you see a person just sort of meandering, you know, from one window to another and just back again, you think, well, they’re just sort of killing time. They don’t really have any real purpose for the afternoon. They just sort of kill time.
It’s interesting in times past, you walked or meandered according to the course of the world. That is, your life was being wasted. Your life was without real purpose. Your life was without real meaning. And how true that is. Life without Christ lacks true purpose, because the only real purpose for our existence is to serve God and to live in fellowship with Him! And if you are not living in fellowship with God, you are just killing time. You are just meandering through life with no real purpose. And so in times past you were meandering according to the course of this world. That is you were just following every fad and every fashion that came along. You were just flowing with the flow of the world, going with the current.
When I was a youngster, my mom used to say to me, Chuck, any dead fish can float down the stream. It takes a live fish to go against the current. And you were just going with the current. You were just going with the flow in times past. But He has made you alive!
Now to go against the current of the world. Why? Because Paul goes on to tell us that you were meandering according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: In other words, Paul is saying that the current of the world or the flow of the world, is being orchestrated and directed by Satan. That Satan is behind the worldly flow. He is guiding it. He is directing it. So that in times past as you were meandering according to the course of the world, actually you were in Satan’s power, in his grip, and you were just flowing along with your life being governed and directed by Satan.
Now here is where I have a great difficulty, because I have talked to many people who somehow feel terrified to submit their lives to the will of God. They feel that to just say, well God, Your will be done. They almost cringe and wait for the lightning and to be rolled up in a ball in a corner, someplace. It’s terrifying, you know, I’ve submitted myself to His will. Surely, He is going to send me to some dark corner of Borneo or New Guinea or Africa and I’m going to be surrounded by snakes and bugs and creepy things. You know, they picture themselves under a netting with all of these vermin and all trying to get to them, you know. They can’t sleep at night because I’m so scared here, you know. The rats are running in the thatched roof. They picture themselves in someplace like that. Now, I’m here in the center of God’s will, you know. I’m terrified.
What a wrong concept of God! What a wrong concept of the will of God! If God wanted you to go to New Guinea to one of those primitive tribal groups and to bring them the gospel, God would first give you the heart of a biologist and a tremendous interest in bugs. You would find it extremely fascinating.
When Kay and I were over in New Guinea, I was ministering to the Wycliffe missionaries at one of their conferences. And a couple of ladies invited us to their little house there on the mission compound, where they would come back and do their actual work. They would go out to the village. They would live in the village for awhile. They would amass a lot of materials. Then they would come back and begin to collate the materials they had amassed. So they had their house in the mission compound. They invited us there for lunch. And when we first went in, they were eager to show us their mounted bug collection. And here on the wall were these beautiful, framed, mounted collection of bugs. There was every kind of beetle and bug that you could imagine. And as we were eating lunch, a bug went running across the floor. They didn’t jump up on the chair and scream. They said oh, we don’t have that one! They chased the thing down. They were all excited to mount a new bug on the board, you know, classify it and mount it.
We don’t need to fear the will of God! The Bible says (Phil. 2:13) it is He that works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. God plants His law on the fleshly tablets of our hearts. That is He gives us, in our hearts, a strong desire for a particular thing. And we suddenly discover that that which I’m desiring so much, is exactly what God wants me to do. He guides me with the desires of my heart.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. It doesn’t mean that He is going to give you, you know, every thing that you desire, but, He’ll put His desires in your heart. That is what it is saying. He will give you the desires of your heart. He’ll plant the desires in your heart. And what a glorious way to be led! That is why Jesus said, I delight to do Thy will, O Lord. And everyone who walks in the will of God can testify to the same, it is a joy! It is a blessing! It’s a thrill to be in the will of God! To be doing what God wants you to do is just a pleasure, a joy, a delight!
Now the amazing thing to me is that people who are fearful of submitting their lives to the will of God, who loves you and has only your best interest at heart. But people are fearful of submitting their lives to the will of God because Satan has lied to them and told them, you know, that’s going to be something horrible that is going to happen, that you are going to be miserable. You are going to be in absolute misery, you know, doing God’s will. That’s the lie of Satan.
But the thing is, those who are fearful of submitting to the will of God are flowing according to the will of Satan. It doesn’t make sense! Because Satan is out to destroy you!
God is out to do the best for you! I am convinced that none of us can improve on God’s will for our lives. And the wisest and the smartest thing that any of us can do is just surrender ourselves totally to do the will of God. That’s the path of joy. That’s the path of blessings.
But in times past we were just meandering according to the course of this world, which is being directed by the prince of the power of the air, that even now is working in the children of disobedience. He is directing and guiding their lives.
We remember the story of Jonah, how God called him to go to Nineveh. And being a true patriot, he didn’t want to go because Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. They Assyrians were extremely cruel people. They were the world power at that time. They were to conquer the northern kingdom of Israel. They were to attack the southern kingdom of Judah. They were a threat. They destroyed and actually captured the northern kingdom. They invaded the southern kingdom but God delivered Judah from the hand of Sennacherib, who was the king of Syria.
But the Assyrians were the enemies to Israel and Judah. Jonah didn’t want to go with a warning of God of their pending destruction. The reason why he didn’t want to go, he said, I know that God is merciful and gracious. If I go and preach to them, they might repent. And God maybe then, if they repented, would be merciful to them and wouldn’t destroy them.
And so I’m getting out here. I’m going to run from the call of God. I’m going to escape from the presence of God, because he said, he didn’t want to go for fear that they might get saved. That’s quite an evangelist! I don’t want to preach because people might believe and accept Jesus, you know. I want them to perish. Away with them, you know! So he got on the ship at Joppa heading for Tarsus. Tarsus was the end of the world in those days. It would be like today signing up to go to the South Pole. I mean it was the last frontier. And God sent a great storm and as they were trying to ride out the storm by throwing out the cargo and the tackling and everything else, some fellow came down into the hold of the ship. Here was Jonah. He was looking for stuff to throw overboard and here was Jonah, fast asleep. He woke him up. He said how can you sleep through this, man? Jonah said, I’ll tell you what. It’s all my fault. Throw me overboard. Things will be okay. You, see, he figured it would be better to drown than to go to Nineveh. I don’t want to go there. God might save them! Kill me! Throw me overboard! But they cast lots to see whose fault it was. The lot fell on Jonah. Reluctantly they threw him overboard. Jonah thought, ha, ha, I don’t have to go to Nineveh, but he was mistaken. God sent a great fish that swallowed Jonah. And for three days and three nights he sat in that fish saying, no way, I’m not going to go! Now it was miserable. Jonah spoke about the seaweed wrapped around his head. He spoke about it being as hot as hell. And you know the humidity must have been tremendous. It was dark. The whale would sound and go on down into the depths. Then he would come up. Here he is seasick. He said the waves were washings over me, the water splashing over me, the gastric juices and all. He was miserable. But he was tough cookie. I’m not going!
Now the part of the story that gives me the greatest difficulty is not the fish. I know that God can do anything. He could have made a Trident submarine to pick Jonah up. God prepared a great fish. The problem that I have is that Jonah sat that thing out for three days and three nights before he said, “uncle”. After three days, Jonah said, I cried unto the Lord. Out of hell, I cried unto God. Then, he shares the lesson. It’s an important lesson! It’s one we all need to learn. And God is determined we are going to learn it, one way or another. And you can make it easy on yourself. Or you can make it hard on yourself, but you are going to learn the lesson.
They that observe lying vanities (Jonah 2:8), forsake their own mercy. He was observing a lying vanity, thinking that he could hide from God. You can’t hide from God! He was observing the lying vanity of thinking that he could escape the call of God. You can’t escape the call of God. He was observing thinking that his will was better than God’s will for his life. Your will is never better than God’s will. Nothing better can happen to you, but to be doing the will of God.
So in times past, you were resisting the will of God. You were going the way of the world, flowing with the way of the world.
Guided by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience. 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past (We were all there at one time, in times past! We were all in that condition. And he describes the natural man and the things that govern his life.)
In times past, we were living in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. In times past, your life was controlled by the lust of your flesh and the lust of your mind, because you were by nature, sinful, children of wrath, even as others.
That’s the black background! Now, he is going to begin to splash on that black background, the brilliant colors of God’s grace!
4But God, There I was, hopelessly lost! Bound by Satan’s power, a slave to Satan and to the flesh and the things of my flesh, but God!
who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, God intervened! God intervened, because of His great love for you! He wasn’t willing that you should perish. He wasn’t willing that you should go down the tubes. But God, rich in mercy! The great love where with He loved us!
5Even when we were dead in sins, God loved you even when you were there in your trespasses, in your sins, alienated from Him, yet God loved you!
John said, herein is love. Not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Paul said, God has manifested His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly!
Here, he tells us the same. Even when we dead in our sins.
And even hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) So here is where they inserted this here, back into the first verse, because it was just heavy on the translators just to look at yourself, and that’s not easy! To look at your natural self, apart from God. What a mess we are! We don’t like to see that. And so rather than just dump it all on us, they sort of, you know, hath He made alive. They put that in, so that you wouldn’t get discouraged before you got this far.
Dead in your sins, He has made us alive together. Alive unto God! The Spirit is now alive. Jesus said, that which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Don’t marvel when I say, you’ve got to be born again! You’ve got to have the second birth, the birth of the Spirit.
6And hath raised us up together, (He has made us alive, but He has raised us up together.) and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: This why this is called the Alps of the New Testament. It lifts you up into the heavens. It takes man from that lowest state and lifts him right up into the presence of God, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
In the previous chapter, Paul was praying that we might know the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us that was manifested in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Raising Jesus up, setting Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, far above all of the principalities and powers and might and dominions and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in the world to come! Christ, high above! And where are you? Seated together with Christ in these heavenly places. This is our place, positionally, as believers, as we need to come into it practically. We need to realize what God has done and what God has made available for us. We need to be living above the world and the things of the world. We need to be seated with Christ, living with Him in those heavenly places.
And I love this seventh verse because he said, (now we are getting into the purposes of God, the future, the eternal purposes.), 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. God’s grace is so rich toward you, the kindnesses so marvelous and so abundant, that it will take all of eternity to reveal its fullness! The exceeding riches of His grace and kindness toward you through Christ Jesus. Throughout the ages to come, He is going to be revealing this!
I like to sort of play with this a bit. I like to think of it with Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the kind they had in the library at school, when you were a kid, that great, big, thick, thing. I don’t know how many pages, a thousand or more. And just change it from ages to pages. I like to think of each page as being an eon of time.
When we first enter into His presence in that eternal state, and we are so enthralled with the glory, with the wonder, the awesomeness of dwelling there with God, that we will be so enthralled that the first ten trillion years will just pass by like almost a breath. And we will think, oh surely, this is all there is. There can’t be any more than this. This is so glorious! This is so wonderful! And we think that we have seen it all and we know it all.
Then God will turn the page. And here another several trillion years in a whole new vista, completely different, more glorious than the previous, as He is revealing the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness. And throughout the endless ages to come. What glory that’s going to be! Whenever I think of eternity, I think, how foolish for a man to sacrifice that eternal kingdom of God for a moment of pleasure in sin, while he is living on this planet, Earth.
Jesus said, what would it profit a man if he gained the whole world but lost his own soul? Surely the most important thing in our lives, is establishing the security of our eternal future. That is done through faith in Jesus Christ. God, through the endless ages to come, will be showing to us the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus!
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. By grace! Grace is unearned, undeserved favor, blessing! There is no way that you can earn your salvation. There is no work that you can do to earn eternal life. It’s a gift of God. And none of us deserve it. There are no rules that you can keep that will qualify you. It’s God’s gift. It has to be received as a gift. The gift of God, His glorious grace. For by grace are you saved. And this is through your faith in the promises of God and our faith in Jesus Christ.
For salvation is not of yourself. You can’t do it. When the rich young ruler had come to Jesus seeking the way of eternal life, and after Jesus had dealt with him. He went away sorrowful because he was very wealthy. Jesus turned to His disciples and said, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. It’s easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. The disciples said, Lord, who then can be saved, if it’s so difficult? He said, with men it’s impossible. Know that! Salvation is impossible with man! But Jesus said, with God, all things are possible. And so God has provided eternal life, salvation for us. We cannot earn it, but it’s God gift to you, through faith in Jesus Christ. Not of your works. Aren’t you glad?
If God had set forth a list of “do’s” and a list of “don’ts”, and said, now if you do this, if you will read so many chapters of the Bible a day, if you will spend so many hours in prayer, if you will witness to so many people, if you will give so much of your tithes or whatever, then you will be saved. If I could earn my salvation, if I got a gold star every time I witnessed to some, if I got a gold star every time I, you know, was praying, if I could earn it, when I got to heaven, I’d be showing you my card with all the gold stars. Look at me. Look at how many stars I got. Heaven would one big bragging session, which would be miserable. Because as I am bragging to you about every thing I did, you would say, would you please shut up, I want to tell you what I did. And we would all be boasting in our own works.
But it’s not of works, lest any man should boast! What says the Scripture, Abraham believed God and God accounted his faith for righteousness! Now if Abraham was accounted righteous through his works, then he would have whereof to boast, but not in the Lord. He would boast in his works. And because salvation is through grace and faith in Jesus Christ, it eliminates boasting. I can’t boast of anything! All I can do is give glory to Jesus Christ and say, oh, praise the Lord!
I was a lost sinner. I was walking according to the course of this world. I was living after the lust of my flesh and the lust of my mind. I was, by nature, a child of wrath, but Jesus reached down. He lifted me up out of the miry clay. He washed me off. He set my feet upon the solid rock and now I stand in Him in heavenly places! Praise the Lord! Glory to God! He did it, you know!
And the glory all goes to Jesus, which is proper, which is right and which is God’s desire and purpose that Jesus receives glory and honor and praise. He’s the One who emptied Himself from the pre-incarnate glory that He had with the Father, the One who came as a servant, obedient unto death, even the death on the cross, wherefore God has also highly exalted Him. He has given Him a name above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord to the glory of God the Father! That no flesh should glory in His sight.
Paul goes on to say, 10For we are his workmanship, It’s not my works for God that count or that are meaningful. It’s God’s works for me that is truly meaningful.
Now, it’s sort of sad that in many churches you are constantly hearing of the work that you ought to be doing for God. And you are always being pressed to do the work for God. How much are you going to pledge to the church this year? And all of these things that they are urging on you as far as the work that you are doing for God, they make it a big emphasis on that, but you hear very little of the work that God has done for you. You hear very little of what God has done. What we do, if we enter into the finished work, because our salvation is a finished work. Jesus finished it on the cross. I enter in into the finished work.
We are His workmanship. The Greek word there is poiema, translated, workmanship. From this Greek word, poiema, we get a direct transliteration into English, the word poem. Poem comes from the word, poiema. You can see the relationship. And a poem is work of art. And an artist is always seeking to express himself in his work. You are His workmanship. What does that mean? God wants to express Himself in you! And so as we with open faces behold the glory of the Lord, we’re being changed from glory to glory into the same image by His Spirit that is working in us, as God expresses Himself through us. God wants you to be an expression of Him.
So you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Now, our salvation is not of our works. It is by grace through faith. But as God works in me, He prepares me and is preparing me for the good works that He would have me to do for His glory. Works that have nothing to do with my salvation. Works that have to do with the expression of my appreciation for God’s love and God’s grace to me. It’s my response to God. Because of God’s tremendous love for me, I respond to Him! So many times we are trying to make God respond to us. But God is not the responder! God is the initiator! And we are the respondent. God initiated His love for me. I respond to that love. God initiated His grace toward me. I respond to that grace. And that is why it’s so important that we come to know God. We know how loving He is and how much He loves you! And as we come to know this great love that God has for us, then we respond to that love. And then we love Him because He first loved us.
So God is the initiator. Man is the responder. In most churches you’ll get just the opposite. Let’s praise the Lord so that God will bless us. Oh, no, no, no. That’s not true praise, that’s cheap. God can see through that. You don’t praise to the Lord to get a blessing. You praise the Lord because of the blessing. God has been so good. He’s blessed me. Oh, bless Your name, Lord. And the truest praise is that, which is spontaneous, from your heart in response to the grace of God! When you know that you don’t deserve it. You realize what a miserable failure that you’ve been. Then God suddenly blesses like you can’t believe! And you say, oh, no, Lord, You are so good! Oh, Lord, that’s amazing! Thank You, Jesus!
Well, that’s a spontaneous response. That’s the truest form of praise. If I just am saying, oh, I love You, Jesus. I love You, now, Lord, you know I need this. I love You Jesus, but please Lord. But would You do this? But Lord, I love You. And I am praising in order to get something from God. That isn’t true praise. I can’t initiate. God initiates. I respond. So these good works that God has before ordained. That’s just my response to the grace and to the love and to the work of God, that’s in my life.
Now as God is working in us, He is preparing us for the good works that He has already determined that we should accomplish for Him. God has your future all mapped out and designed. God knows exactly the work that He wants you to accomplish for His kingdom. When God created you, He had a purpose for your life, an eternal purpose for your life. He had plans for you, the works that you should accomplish for His glory.
Now it is absolutely wrong for us to think that the highest calling of God, is to be an apostle or to be an evangelist or to be a missionary. A lot of times, we hear of a person making a sacrifice, going to the mission field. We say, oh, they have responded to the highest calling of God. No. Maybe for them, yes. The highest calling of God is whatever God has called you to be. And not all are apostles, not all are evangelists, not all are pastors-teachers. It’s being what God wants you to be, where God wants you to be, doing what God would have you to do. In a broad house, there are many vessels. Each of them each of them have a purpose.
In your body there are many parts to the body. Every part of the body has a function. Not all are the eye. Not all are the ear. Not all are the hands or not all are the fingers. But it’s important that each part of the body fulfill its function in the body in order that the body might properly fulfill its purposes. And so it’s wrong to think that God calls everybody into the ministry or the ministry is the highest calling of God. It’s only the highest calling of God if God has called you to be a minister. But if He hasn’t called you to be a minister, the worst thing in the world you can possibly do is try to be a minister. God calls people to be mechanics, and car salesmen, and everything else. We’re all a part, though, of God’s handiwork, his poiema. God is preparing us for the good works that He has before ordained, that we walk in them.
I can look back on my life from this point. I can see how that God was preparing me from the beginning. From birth, as Paul said, separated from my mother’s womb. I can see how God had His hand on my life, all the way along, though I didn’t realize it! I wasn’t aware of it. So many times as I was going through, hard, difficult, periods of life. I look back now and I realize the God was teaching me vital, important, lessons in order that He might, ultimately, bring me to that work that He had before ordained that I should accomplish for the kingdom. It’s wonderful now from this vantage point, to look back and to see, oh man, yes! God was in that! I remember when I went through that. Oh, that was hard. That was miserable. I thought that God had forsaken me for sure. Boy, was I complaining to God about that. And look, that was just the thing that God was using me, at that time. And look now, and He puts the pieces together. I can see. I can understand.
So Paul says, 11Wherefore 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; You at one time were Gentiles. You were uncircumcised Gentiles, called that by those who are circumcised.
12That 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: A pretty sad place to be! Without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise of God. You had no hope. You were without God in the world.
But again this “but”. 13But now in Christ Jesus (Again you remember, he drew that dark picture in the first three verses, but then he said, “But God who is rich in mercy”. So he draws another dark picture of your past as a Gentile, stranger, alien, without God, without hope.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Once without hope, living in the darkness of the world, but now you have been drawn nigh to God through the blood of Jesus Christ.
14For he is our peace, who hath made both (the Jews or the circumcised and the uncircumcised. He’s made both of us one.)one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; He has broken down the middle wall of partition that once separated us.
God chose Abraham to become the father of the nation that would bring the Messiah into the world. Thus, they were a chosen people, a chosen nation. They were chosen by God to be the nation that would bring the Messiah into the world. But the promise to Abraham was through thy seed the Messiah, all of the nations of the world shall be blessed. Now the Jews took this favored nation, kind of status, and they began to believe that God loved only the Jews and God would save only the Jews. They became very anti Gentile. They talk about anti-Semitism, but the anti-Semitism that you see today is nothing compared with what the anti Gentile was among the Jews. In fact, they believed that it was impossible for a Gentile to be saved! They believed that God only created the Gentiles in order to fuel the fires of hell. And that salvation was only for the Jews, never for the Gentiles. Actually some of the early church believers in Jerusalem, held to that belief. They came to some of the Gentile believers and they said, unless you are circumcised and you keep the law of Moses, you can’t be saved! You’ve got to become a Jew.
Paul is here teaching that through Jesus Christ, you who once a Gentile, called uncircumcised by the Jews, who are circumcised, you are aliens to the covenants and the promises, strangers. But you have been brought nigh through the blood of Jesus Christ, made a part of the family of God. For Jesus is our peace. He has made us both one.
So Paul will say to those at Colosse (Colossians 3:11), there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian or Scythian, bond or free, Christ is all and in all! He is our peace. He has broken down the walls that once separated us. He has made us one.
I think that it is tragic that when Jesus came to break down the walls to make us all one, that people are so often trying to build up walls. And unless you see it as I see it and believe it as I see it, brother, you know, they’ll get on the radio and castigate you and everything else because you don’t see things eye to eye with them. And they are building up walls. They are fencing themselves in to these little boxes. God help us! Jesus is our peace. If he can break down the wall between the Jew and the Gentile, surely he can break down the walls between the denominations, the walls that we have built up within our denominational fortresses.
15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; The best way to make peace is to eliminate both Jew and Gentile and just make a new man. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away, all thing have become new!
I’m Irish, no I’m a Christian. I’m Scottish, no, I’m a Christian. I’m German, no, I’m a Christian. You see, even the ethnic barriers are down.
Christ has made us all one. He is the common denominator. I am in Christ. You are in Christ. We are one! And that’s exactly how He wanted it to be. That we not have divisions and walls built up between us, but we just feel that openness of love for each other. He abolished in His flesh, the enmity that separates man.
Now it’s interesting that in the modern existential philosophy, the whole effect of that philosophy is isolating of man. It’s loneliness. You are on an island all by yourself because you are the one who determines what is truth as you feel it and as you and you relate to it. You may not be seeing what the next fellow is seeing but he has no right to try and tell you what he sees. You have only the right to interpret it as you see it and as you feel it to be. And it’s very lonely. It isolates man. It builds all kinds of walls. But in Christ Jesus all of the walls are down. And we are just one in Him!
16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: Through the cross, the enmity was abolished. It was taken away.
17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (the Gentiles) and to them that were nigh. Peace to both of us.
18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now again going back to the third verse of the first chapter, as Paul is saying, thanks be unto God for all of these Spiritual blessings that we have in Christ in the heavenly places. He is still listing the blessings. Oh, what blessings there are for us! By grace you are saved through faith. God is working in you as He is preparing you for good work. You who were once aliens and far off, He has brought nigh. He has broken down the walls that once separated us from the promises of God that were to the Jews and the covenants that God had made with Israel. Now He has made one of two of us. We are now one in Christ Jesus. We have the same access. And again, access to God, for through Him, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The Bible says, therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace because Jesus has made access for you to come. It means, well I suppose it means more to the Jew. They knew the separation from God. They had to come to the priest. The priests would go before God to represent them. But he would go with the blood of the sacrifice. He would be the mediator between the people. They wouldn’t go directly to God. They would come to the priests. And the priests would take the sacrifice and offer it for them unto the Lord. There was that thick veil in the temple, that symbolized the fact that the access to the presence of God was very restricted and very limited just to the high priest and only on the Day of Atonement, and only then after many sacrifices. So that was that distance that they felt, separated by the veil. But when Jesus died, you remember, the veil was ripped from top to the bottom. He made the way whereby we can have access directly to God!
(Hebrews 4:16) Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we might receive mercy in the time of need, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. And so access to God. there is one God, one Mediator, between God and man, that’s the man, Christ Jesus! But He has given me access to the Father in and through Him.
19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; You’re the family! You are no longer outside! You are no longer a stranger! You are part of the family! Welcome! The door is open. Come on in. You are part of the family.
20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; And so here is the household of God. The door is open. Welcome!
21In whom all the building fitly framed together (joined together)groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: So here we are, God’s people. God dwells among His people, the temple of the Lord.
22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. God doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, Solomon said. But He dwells in the hearts and in the lives of His people. He is dwelling with here tonight. God’s presence, God’s love, God’s power.
Jesus said where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst. And Jesus is here tonight, to bless you, to help you, to take care of your problems. Don’t be afraid to talk to Him. Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to Him. Don’t be afraid to share your needs. He is here to help you. He is here to minister to you. You are part of the family. You are an important part of the family. God loves you. He opens the door and He says come on in. Come on in.
You remember Jesus in Revelation, third chapter, said behold, I stand at the door and knock. He is talking to the church in Laodicea. If any man will hear My voice and open the door, I’ll come in and I’ll sup with him. That is, I’ll eat supper with him. It’s interesting. Jesus always loved to eat with people.
You remember He invited Himself for dinner. We never read of Him turning down an invitation, even when Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus for dinner, Jesus went though He knew there was a lot of antagonism in Simon’s heart towards Him. But it was a free dinner. He ate with sinners and publicans. They found fault with Him for that. But He was always willing to eat with anybody who would open the door.
In that culture, eating with someone was the most intimate experience that you could have because you were becoming one with that person. And if you saw the way they ate, you would understand it. There was no fancy china, no silverware. Hands. No fancy little butter dishes, bread plates. Hands. They would pass around the big, round bread and you would pull off a chunk. Of course they always washed their hands before dinner. You remember that. But then there were bowls of soups and salads on the table, sauces. You would take and pull off a chunk of bread, hand it to the guy next to you. He would pull off a chunk and hand it to the guy next to him. They would go around the table, each pulling off a chunk of bread. Then you would start dipping, all of you, in the sauces and in the soups. Eating it with your hands. And there were no rules against double dipping. So by dinner’s end you had shared not only the food but your germs. You had really become one with each other. And they saw it that way.
Jesus is saying, I want to become one with you. I want to enter into that intimate relationship where you become a part of me and I become a part of you. That’s what He longs to have with us. He has made it possible by His death for us. He has broken down the walls that we have built up. Denominational, ethnic, the various walls that man builds up around himself. He said, look, you are all a part of the family. You all belong to the household of God. He wants us to just share that love together and that oneness together in Him. Oh, thank God, Paul said, for the Spiritual blessings that He has bestowed on us through Jesus Christ.
Father, we do thank You. Lord, we appreciate all that You have done, all of the work in our behalf. We appreciate the grace. We appreciate the salvation. We appreciate the work of Your Spirit in us. We thank You, Lord, that we have access in You tonight. Lord, You told us to cast all of our cares upon You because You do care for us. And Lord, there are people here tonight that are filled with cares. They are going through some difficult times. They are facing some heavy situations this next week. And Lord at this point, they are sort of confused because they don’t know the way out. They don’t know the answers yet. They are filled with cares this evening. Help them Lord, to cast their cares upon You, because You are here, Lord. Reach out and touch them. Minister, Lord, to Your body. Work in us as You prepare us, Lord, for the works You would have us to do for You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8171, (KJ Version)