The Epistle to the Ephesians
E W Rogers, Oxford
This section commences with the words "Wherefore remember", and at its close are the words "Now therefore ye are no more", v. 19. The whole paragraph, therefore, has to do with the extraordinary change which has occurred in the ways of God with men, so that the position once occupied by them has been abandoned for a new position which believers now
An Illustration. In order that we may be able to understand the matter, we will use an illustration. Imagine a double-storied house, in which there are occupants in both the upper
Let us use this illustration in examining the section of the Ephesian Epistle now before us. We will first consider
The Position of the Jew and the Gentile prior to the effective operation of God's grace towards them. The position of each is defined as "in the flesh", v. n, and "in the world", v. 12, the "flesh" being their standing as connected with the first Adam who fell, and "the world" being that system of which Satan is the "prince", John 14. 30. Those who occupied the upper storey are the Jews, for they had many privileges over the Gentiles. They had the physical right of circumcision which was the external seal of the promise given to then-fathers. Religiously they were "near" to God, in that He had given them a ritualistic and typical system which gave them a right of approach to Him which the Gentiles lacked.
Those who occupied the lower storey were the Gentiles, the uncircumcision. They were "without Christ" for "salvation is of the Jews", and the Messiah was not to come through Gentile stock. Therefore, they were "without hope", this hope being that which was entertained by Israel: "we hoped that it was he which should redeem Israel", Luke 24.21 r. v. They were "alienated from the commonwealth of Israel", 2. 12 r.v. j they had no rights in their national privileges. They were "strangers r.v. -that is, all the detailed covenants made later by God amplifying the one great
The barrier which was erected was "the middle wall of partition", 2. 14. It was "the law of commandments contained in ordinances", or as Paul calls it in Colossians, "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us", Col. 2. 14. To it Israel had, as it were, put their signature before witnesses. They had agreed to comply with its terms, not knowing that, because of their fallen nature, it was contrary to their leanings and against their best interests. It brought death, not life. Indeed, it provoked even greater enmity than already existed between them and God, and between them and the Gentiles. Israel's legal code which contained enactments both civil and ritualistic only aggravated
That the moral requirements of the Mosaic law are evidenced in those who walk after the Spirit is approved by all (see Romans 8. 4). They are not a means of approach to God nor a ground of righteous standing before Him, but the essential
The Offer which was made "to the Jew" first and then to the Gentile later. It was made to all, both those who were in the upper and lower storeys. As verse 17 shows, the offer of "peace" between the two parties, and between both God and r.v. The word "preached" is that for
The Position in the case of those who have accepted the offer. They have an altogether new position. He "made both
They are, as it were, now resident in a new bungalow which has no upper and lower storeys, for all are on the same level. None has privileges above the other. There is no middle wall
Paul's use of the metaphor of a "body" is peculiar to him. No other New Testament writer employs it. It did not exist in Old Testament times nor in the days when the Lord Jesus was here on earth. Its birthday was the Pentecostal day of Acts 2.
In this section Paul clusters them all together - "one new r.v. marg. "One new man" stresses
There is no doubt that there is here an intended allusion not only to the Ephesian temple but to that of Solomon, which latter had its sundry chambers. So, too, this Universal Church
The Foundation of this new place. It is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself
This "holy sanctuary" is well founded. The Lord Jesus is the chief corner stone, binding both Jew and Gentile securely What unity and harmony God has wrought! Yet what havoc, discord and worse have been wrought by those who should have learned better. They certainly had not "so learned Christ".
Shaphat of Abel-Meholah and Elisha