Saturday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 2:11-13

Remember Where You Came From

Paul has already spoken of the state of man apart from Christ only a few days ago; now he speaks of the state of the Gentile world apart from the knowledge of the true God as it was before Christ came.  Psalm 147:19-20 states: “[God] declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel.  He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know His rules” (also see Deuteronomy 4:6, 32-34).  Israel was different—a creation of God through the loins of Abraham, a nation set apart to which He had given His law and established His covenant in the flesh by circumcision.  Each of the terms used here to describe the nations (Gentiles) expresses the fact that they were outside the God’s covenant and not His covenant people: the “uncircumcision,” “separated from Christ,” “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,” “strangers to the covenants of promise,” and worst of all, “having no hope and without God in the world.”  One only has to read the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, to discover just how ugly and immoral the Gentile world was: cult prostitution in pagan temples, homosexuality, pederasty, slavery, cruelty in war, lawlessness—all of which were reflected in the gods (demons, actually) they worshiped—which in turn were simply the projections of their own lascivious and vicious appetites.  The Gentile world was exactly how Paul describes it here.

But then comes 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Thus, through Christ’s blood, the Gentiles have been reconciled to God.  Through faith in Christ, Gentiles may no longer be separated, alienated, strangers, hopeless, and without God in the world.  On the contrary, they are now members of the covenant through the circumcision of the heart, which is the only circumcision that now matters.  And this was always God’s plan—to create a people to whom he would give His law to be a light to the Gentiles, and who would one day bring forth the Messiah to save the Gentiles.  And so it has happened.

And so now, the Church is largely Gentile; but it did not have to be this way.  We could still be separated, alienated, strangers, hopeless, and without God in the world.  But God has not willed it so; He has determined our salvation, instead.  So bless God that though our ancient ancestors were wretched pagans, we are now God-fearing Christians.  And pray for God’s ancient people, the Jews.  Pray that they will come into the fold through faith in their Messiah, and we truly be one in Christ when he returns to gather us both in.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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