God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. God’s purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders by birth. You were called “the uncircumcised ones” 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 God’s people, Israel, and you did not know the promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ.
For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new person from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and to us Jews who were near. Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
You see God has always wanted us to be with him. Humans have always been a little fickle, for the most part; we need good solid tangible evidence before we drop all doubt. So, God sent us just that right when we needed it. He came as Jesus, in a human body, which was just as stinky, easily broken, easily got sick, just like you and me. You may think that us as modern humans need even more evidence then the people of biblical times, but you know what, God sent his son just as needed, at the exact time. Before Christ, people kept turning away from God, so he would give them a little curse here, a little storm there, maybe flood the planet. People would remember for a while, then they would turn away again. So, God sent his Son as he had always planned, to take away our sins, to make us free, and to unify us all, as a HUMAN race. I didn’t put the scripture marks in the above paragraphs because I wanted you to read it, not just skim over it, but read it. God came as Jesus at the time he did, for his good pleasure (Ephesians 1:9). We have all now heard the good news, the truth, the life of Jesus Christ, god chose each and every one of us to be his (1:11, 13, 14).
The first paragraph is Ephesians 1:9-14. It reminds us that God picked us from the very beginning to be his, but he wants us to know the truth first, and to choose him. When we make that decision (1:13) he gives us his Holy Spirit as he promised (1:14).
The second paragraph is Ephesians 2:11-18. There Paul is reminding the Gentiles (the non-Jews) that they were once separated from the people of God, they did not know the truth. The law separated them from knowing him. But because of Jesus Christ, they (the Gentiles) now know God, because of what Jesus has done; he has brought the peace between Jews and non-Jews alike.
All of human kind is essentially united because of Christ. The only separation should be between those who know Christ and those who do not, and we who do, should do all we can to live as a light and to serve those who don’t. Sacrifice our lives to God, so we can serve those who do not know Christ.
We are all now citizens of God’s kingdom, of his people (2:19). The third paragraph is Ephesians 2:19-22. The house of the Lord is ours, and the corner stone is Jesus Christ. We the people are all equal, we have been carefully joined together, and have become a holy temple for the Lord (2:21).
My main point is this; when you look at the world, what do you see? What nations are “great”? What have they been essentially built upon? What is wrong with those nations? What has crept into their foundations to cause these walls to crack? Thank God the church has nothing to do with physical buildings, it is with people who want to know God directly and want to follow Jesus.
Case point (this applies to other nations as well) The United States (for the most part) was created on Christian values, God honoring values. The United Kingdom turned around and became a Christian Nation Update 4/12 12:50pm after making very bad decisions in the name of Christianity (as pointed out by an anon commenter), what makes these nations, to this point (I do have some doubt as to how long they can stay this way), “great”? I believe is because they are using Christian ethics, which are slowly being depleted and changed to “let people live as they want”, but I do believe that the Christian values is what makes them great. But I also believe because we were also founded on the idea of freedom, we have grown stronger by embracing other’s ideas, this sounds contradictory. But what did Christ do, he united, the Gentiles and the Jews. Christ can unite anything; I believe the United States and the United Kingdom are the biggest examples of uniting in the world. Each of those nations have people from all over the world, who have come together to seek common freedom, which is only possible do to our core values. Just a thought; we must unite, in the church, as a nation, as a world of believers, so we can serve against evil.