If you claim to be a Christian but have no interest in what God’s will is for your life, you should be very concerned about what you’ve bought into as Christianity. In our first lesson, Paul demonstrated God’s intention for each of us to be involved in His purposes. Are you recognizing how much you’re worth to Him? Then the next progressive step is to be developed into actually fulfilling what God intended for you to do from the very beginning.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked 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: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past 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.
Paul is describing why we do not instinctively do God’s will – we are “dead in trespasses and sins”. Our deeds, therefore, expose not only that we’re too busy, but that we are dead. In the physical realm, we live and then we die. In the spirit realm, we can’t realize we’ve been dead until after we’ve been made alive. In our studies together, we’ve learned that “sins” do not just speak of failing to keep the best set of rules we can come up with – it’s much deeper than that. Because of our sins, Jesus suffered and died. Sins, which are between us and God, are the reason we are dead to Him. As a consequence, on our own we each stand responsible for falling short of the glory of the One Whose done everything for us. This is the reason Paul describes us as dead. Being physically born an Israelite isn’t enough – we’re still in need of something only a God with resurrection power can perform. For, indeed, He is the Author and Finisher even of our personal faith, having already chosen, predestinated, created, and redeemed us and being the only One Who can spiritually activate us from within. This is further proof that God is in us.
This also describes how we’re not doing His will – our lives are headed completely away from Him. The New Revised Standard Version puts verse 1 this way: “You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived”. Being unaware that we are dead, we ignorantly walk “according to the course of this world” or age. We’re so oblivious that we readily accept that those offering child sacrifice or drinking blood are the only actual followers of the devil or are adversarial to God. Yet all along we’ve been living “according to the prince of the power of the air” himself. This “air” is Strong’s #109 – to blow, expressing at the same time, how meaningless and subtle this misdirection is. It just seems natural to keep following “the lusts of our flesh,” and “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”. How truly lost we are, seeing no definite purpose in this life – how do we escape this?! Only through being “quickened” by God Almighty from within.
What we must get is that being on this broadway of destruction that Jesus also spoke of includes assuming you’ll be just fine going on doing it your own way (Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 7:13). Recognize the subtle danger of following any other pathway besides the one your Father predestinated just for you. Cookie-cutter religious systems attract the dead who are burying their dead (Luke 9:60). Don’t remain as one of the walking dead who keep repeating their “past” while trying to appease their conscience with vain religion. God’s quickening power transforms you from being a child of “disobedience” and “wrath” to assuming your position as one of the sons of God. Also, watch out for “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” which convinces so many that you cannot known God’s will for your life.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Paul here emphasizes that conversion is totally by God’s grace, mercy, and love. We cannot bring this about or work this up, remember – “we were dead”. To be “quickened together” is #4806 from #4862 union and #2227 make alive, give life. Reconciliation and lasting unity between Israelites is possible once we’ve been made alive “with Christ”. That’s why it’s so important that we preach “Christ Jesus” and nothing else. Though God moves in each of us through various circumstances, we’re all made alive the same way – by the power of God’s grace. Understand, this isn’t just a racial awakening, but the much-needed spiritual awakening within the Israelite.
Though in our dead condition our tendency is to consistently drift further away, suddenly something supernatural can interrupt this pattern and lift us out of our trespasses and sins or falling short. God makes us alive inwardly and points us toward the straight gate, making us ready to take our first steps on the way few find, which is narrowed down by God Himself for us not miss (Matthew 7:14). As will become more apparent, the purpose of God bringing us personally to life is for us to become usable in the things God intends for us to do.
So stop struggling with whether or not you are worthy. Here it says God has “great love” for you and “is rich in mercy” towards you. For Paul to emphasize our dead, helpless condition magnifies how much God “loved us” when He “quickened us together with Christ”. Note the past tense throughout these verses, proving there is nothing we can do for ourselves – Christ has already accomplished all the work for us to be raised up to live for Him. How do we know? Because this says God raised Him up from the dead and He is seated on the right hand of God and we were “with” and “in” Christ. Recognize that Christ fully accomplished every single thing God predestinated Him to do, and He did it for you. We confirm that He “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” by taking on the Christ mindset from above, assuming our place of service that God has marked out for us to do.
After we’re quickened, our attitude cannot remain the same – we have been “saved”. Overall, He does this so “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” GOD PRESERVES HIS PEOPLE THROUGH HIS WORD AND HIS WORD BY HIS PEOPLE. The way God chooses to express His grace to His people is through “kindness”. We reflect this by the way we treat one another which is just as important as the work itself. The way we leave a legacy that will benefit those in “the ages to come” is by undertaking our part.
Obviously, to teach anything that excludes the individual Israelite’s need for this power as a result of personally encountering Christ is a false gospel (John 1:1-13; I Timothy 3:1-5) Of course, those who remain dead (who claim to be teachers of God’s Word) make up clever, theologically-sounding reasons why nothing Christ said or did should personally matter to us, just like the Pharisees did in Paul’s day. But what a dead man cannot do is understand and, therefore, explain what it is to be made alive. Stop being blown away by their hot air and mark their un-Christian character and shameful behavior.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Paul provides further clarification where a lot of people have been misled. Some think being a Christian is working for and maintaining your own salvation. According to Paul, this is unnecessary and impossible because Christ has already accomplished it for you. Clearly, God quickening and saving us “is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We can’t earn it – it is only “by grace…. through faith”. Get this from the very beginning, our relationship with God is about His glory, not ours. If others appreciate you and “boast”, remember that even your faith is a product of God’s grace. We couldn’t do anything to save ourselves regardless of whether we wanted to or not. God’s predestinated plan was for Jesus’ redemptive work to be the only way. Stop trying to do what’s unnecessary and prepare to help bring the message of Christ’s completed work to other Israelites the way God wants you to.
Think about it, if someone gives you a “gift”, you don’t work to pay them back for it. A gift is something that someone gives you freely because they’ve already done the necessary work to pay for what they want you to have. So if someone works to buy you something and you turn around and try to pay them for it, it will only be an insult to them. Presuming we need to add to the work of Christ for salvation is an insult to Him that His blood wasn’t enough. Maybe you wonder why God isn’t blessing you very much in what you are doing or you just can’t seem to find God’s will for your life. Repent of your dead works and receive that the gift of salvation from Christ and what He paid was enough (Hebrews 6:1). YOU WILL NEVER BECOME USABLE FOR GOD’S WORK IF YOU’RE NOT SATISFIED THAT WHAT CHRIST DID WAS ENOUGH TO SAVE YOU.
In this immediate context, being “saved” or salvation is in relation to being quickened from the dead in this life. Otherwise, your existence during this age and in this body would continue on the road to destruction as was described in the first 3 verses of this chapter – “dead in trespasses and sins… disobedience… the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind… wrath”. Salvation by God’s grace is the only way to end this vicious cycle many call ‘life’. In addition, though our works cannot save us, they are proof that we have been saved. Having been quickened from the dead inwardly is proven by the works we do after we profess Christ. The bottom line is that God can and will do whatever He wants with us:
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Paul says clearly right here that we were “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”. The New Revised Standard Version cuts through the ambiguity and gives us a much clearer rendering – “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” What does that say about us then if we do not end up doing God’s will in our lives?
To be “created in Christ Jesus” is Strong’s #2936 – through the idea of… manufacturer; to fabricate. Discovering, inventing, and manufacturing things has always been a big part of our race’s progression and success. This is teaching how God has placed in you a unique way to expand and produce something for Him. Some think Christianity is what you think about, a “get out of hell free” card, a hobby, or some family tradition. Paul is explaining that it is our way of life to become a usable tool to perform some particular work for God. No matter how theologically sound you may be, if it hasn’t resulted in you finding out God’s will and walking in it daily, you’re still dead in trespasses and sins while being puffed up. This is where the necessity for repentance comes in – changing the direction of our lives from “the course of this world” to being “his workmanship”. In order to become usable we must repent. For God has “ordained that we should walk in” good works – living to do what God predestinated us to do. We are to have our minds occupied with being His workmanship day by day. The Greek word for “workmanship” is Strong’s #4161 product… fabric… thing that is made. BY CHOOSING AND PREDESTINATING US, GOD MADE US AND HAS NOW QUICKENED US TO DO A PARTICULAR WORK FOR HIM.
It’s time to recognize that everything God does for you is to make you more of what He can use for His honor and glory. For He is a God of purpose – that’s why He has chosen and predestinated you. He has certain “good works” that He intends for you to do and “we should” want “to walk” only ”in them.” WE WERE MADE ALIVE OUT OF OUR FALLING SHORT TO RISE UP AND DO HIS WILL. Therefore, if you’re no closer to doing God’s will then you were before you claim to have come to Christ, what makes you think you actually did? It’s your Christian responsibility to become focused on His will and then submit yourself to being equipped to do it.
For us to be “created in Christ Jesus” was both the purpose of Him dying and awakening you in this life. For Paul to say that “God hath before ordained” for us to walk in “good works” is to show the application of His predestinating us to Sonship. Christ did not sit down until His work was finished, and until we fulfill what our Father wants us to do, we have no business thinking it is time for us to quit and not do anything. Don’t be satisfied you’re living out your Christian life until you are preparing and then actually participating in some way. The true church wasn’t intended by God to be like a theater or a sporting event where the majority of those attending are spectators. This is why Paul uses the analogy of the body in chapter 1 and throughout this Epistle – we all have purposes and functions to perform together.
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past nations in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That 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: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Now we come to an overview of the religious framework which existed when Christ came and fulfilled the ceremonial aspect of the Mosaic Law not only as Prophet, Priest, and King, but as the Sacrificial Lamb. It was God’s plan for the majority of “the commonwealth of Israel” to be outside of “the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands”, because their religion was their biggest obstacle to recognizing their need to be “made nigh by the blood of Christ.” So just as God promised, many “nations in the flesh” sprung from Abraham’s loins through Jacob, and in Paul’s day were at an advantage being the “Uncircumcised”. For they did not have all the external, religious traditions to overcome as the “Circumcised” Israelites from Judaea, to simply come to Christ. Though they knew nothing of “the covenants of promise,” seemingly “having no hope, and without God in the world”, they were still “made nigh by the blood of Christ.” “Wherefore” Paul is telling these Ephesians to “remember” what Christ did for them, and that it’s now time to become usable for His work. For if the blood of Christ is not enough to convince you to want to become all God predestinated you to be – nothing else will. Confirmation that you’ve been quickened/converted is the potential you see in yourself as to how far God can take you in your life.
Circumcision is a work God gave to Abraham that was handed down through his descendants. Ultimately, it was not given to separate us from one another, but as a sign that God had separated us from the rest of the world for His purposes. The problem for our people isn’t a need for more external religion, but that they are “without Christ”. Therefore, how is it we confirm we know that we are no longer “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”? When we are quickened from the dead and trust in Christ by faith personally.
Anyone who thinks being a Christian is anything other than having a personal relationship with God through Christ is no better off than these Judaean Israelites. For they thought keeping the law and being circumcised was the way to go. They were still “without Christ having no hope, and without God in the world”.
Before this study began, you may have been “afar off” from knowing God’s will and doing His work. Hopefully now you realize you were “made nigh by the blood of Christ.” It is only by humbling ourselves in light of God’s grace then that we will ever come to know the will of God. The indication you are on the right track is when you begin to find a sense of peace as you pursue it in your daily life:
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having 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; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Quit searching for solutions in religious routines and warmed-over politics, and find everything you need in Christ Who “is our peace”. Only Jesus can break down all the divisions which exist between Israelites. When the Judaean Israelites of Paul’s day began hearing of those outside their religious world receiving Christ as the Messiah, animosity grew in their hearts due to their own confusion and religious pride. Regardless, Christ still “abolished in his flesh the enmity” which separates Israelites from one another, for He “hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us”. Many of our people today are just as hard-headed and externally motivated. This is one of the reasons so-called ‘Christianity’ (in all its forms) is failing so miserably and is dying. Stop dividing over external religion, rules, and regulations – it is pointless. What Christ accomplished “in one body by the cross” made all the pomp and ceremonialism of non-effect, especially that which was invented after His resurrection and ascension.
The aspect of the law Paul mentions here is in reference to all the ceremonies associated with the Temple sacrificial system from the Mosaic Law. These were ordained by God for a time but as we see, Christ fulfilled them all, “even the law of commandments contained in ordinances”. For to continue going along with all that in Jerusalem was unnecessary even then, since the Perfect Lamb of God already fulfilled it. Doubtless, this former Pharisee longed for his Judaean brethren to follow his example of letting go of external religion because of Christ. This also applies to those today who are holding onto man-made denominational traditions and doctrines as well, especially those which presently seek to support the false state of Israel, the Jews, and Israelis.
There’s nothing that cannot be reconciled between humble Israelites under Christ – He’s “made both one”. All religious pride and self-righteousness only exists in the vain imaginations of those who are not looking to Christ alone as their Source of peace. Any seeming “enmity” which is between Whites today has been abolished by Christ and is dead. The quicker we realize this and repent, the more room there will be in our hearts for the One Who is our only real peace.
More and more in the name of tolerance, ‘conservative’ politics through the churches continues pulling our people further away from Christ and, therefore, one another. Making known what Christ has accomplished and can do in others’ lives is what brings peace and reconciliation to the hearts of our people. Sustaining peace comes when you are in the center of God’s perfect will and are being used in His work – that’s what preaching the authentic Gospel message produces. If Israelites would just let go of all the divisions and embrace Christ as “our peace”, there would be unity in such a way that we would be like “one new man, so making peace” with one another. Repenting of externalism by rallying around Christ is the only way we can approach any lasting progress as a people. Christ is the only One Who can bring unity and peace to Israel.
Many allow a confused or troubled heart to obstruct them from knowing God’s will and becoming usable in His work. Yet the Prince of Peace is in you – seek Him for yourself. These non-Judaean, dispersed Israelite nations, for instance, may have felt inferior since they were not familiar with everything in Scripture which led to the coming of the Messiah. Yet if they understood what Christ accomplished for them, there was no reason for them not to see their value to God. Therefore, His peace isn’t something that’s negotiated, but through His blood, Christ has already “broken down the middle wall of partition between” the scattered “nations” of Abraham’s seed, and those “that were nigh” in Judaea – “that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross”.
So being religious didn’t make any difference to Christ. In fact, we see here that Christ’s redemption was meant to crush our religious pride which is a main cause of division and fuels discord “between us” as Israelites. If you have religious pride because you’re a Catholic, a Baptist, or even an Identity Christian, you are trying to uphold something Christ came to destroy.
Those who are religious – love trouble, wanting to fuss, fight, and debate everybody – misrepresent Christ. It’s time for those assuming our position as the sons of God to show that Christianity is different than what they’ve been seeing – it makes you “new”. Prove you’ve been made alive by spreading peace in and through your life. Give others room to grow and to walk in the light God has given them. One of the main things about becoming usable is being able to participate with other Christians peacefully. We can look forward to accomplishing many things when as a body of believers, we seek unity by laboring together for Christ as “one new man” both in direction and purpose. We must tear down the silly walls that divide us as brethren so that we can become more usable in God’s work together.
A main consideration in becoming usable then is wanting to get the Gospel of Christ to other Israelites for the purpose of peace. Whatever God wants you to do involves you having peace and being a part of helping your people find peace as well. You need peace with God, peace within, and peace with others – it’s all been accomplished by Christ. It’s not Biblical to preach that peace can come through any other influence or force. Genuine peace then isn’t a mere condition but an accomplishment only Christ could have made through His blood for His people alone.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
As far as those with or without a religious background, once we’re made alive, “both have access”. “For through him” we personally come to know God’s will and can become usable in His service. Stop waiting for an outside influence to communicate to you what to do – you have direct “access by one Spirit unto the Father”, especifically when it comes to His predestinated plan for your life. For the same One Who has chosen you before the foundation of the world wants to instruct you. There is no need to settle for second hand information, for there is one Mediator between God and man – Christ Jesus Who is in you. Though there may be others who occasionally provide clarity or opportunities to gain experience, take full advantage of the free admission in the theater of your mind to your Father’s direction on your own personal pathway.
There should be no confusion – it is by “one Spirit” alone we have this access. It’s not through all the many modes and ways of external religion, rituals, or just the right beliefs. It is only through the Way, the Truth, and the Life Himself that we can come to the Father. Keep this in mind when you hear those who avoid the things of the Spirit and living by faith in exchange for their teachings. All genetic Israelites “have access by one Spirit unto the Father” – the God of Israel. Even in that, this access isn’t just at appointed times, from within a tabernacle or temple made with hands, with self appointed experts. Within every Israelite it begins the very moment you are quickened and believe. The more you take advantage of this access the more usable you will become. Him having predestinated you in the past with complete access now and in the future, there is nothing that can stop you.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Here Paul is summing up everything thus far in this Epistle. “Now therefore” we are right where we need to be as Israelites assuming our position as the sons of God. This describes who has a mind to build the kingdom of God by accomplishing His will together. His is the greatest work, having designed us to be “fitly framed together” with our “fellowcitizens” who are also being equipped after having been raised from the dead within. We are living stones who possess an innate sense that we are all being built together into something of worth and significant value. What’s His mode of constructing this building? Through spiritual growth (I Peter 2:2-5).
Spiritual growth doesn’t begin and end through finding out that you’re an Israelite and then becoming over-possessed by your hatred for non-Whites. As Paul has already demonstrated, our first step into growth is to become focused on God’s will. If you’re not yet concerned with this, you may call yourself a Christian, but you’re not Christlike. For just as “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” fulfilled His unique purpose, now it is your turn to find yours and accomplish it. This illustrates what it’s like for Israelite brethren to mutually assemble ourselves as called-out believers. We can be far more effective “together” than we could ever be apart. If we are faithful to follow Christ individually, He is sure to bring us together with other faithul Christians. We must never lose sight that everything is to be built upon what Christ accomplished and taught, and “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”. It’s about wanting to be “built” as a part of “the building fitly framed together” which is “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” With so much to be accomplished, this could never be the experience of someone who is clueless as to God’s will for their life. WE WERE CREATED TO CREATE, MADE TO MAKE, AND ARE BEING BUILT UP TO BUILD.
Where does the Bible teach we ever become too spiritual to work? The time to sit around and do nothing is over once you know God’s will and have opportunities to serve Him. The way to become acquainted with the kingdom of God within you isn’t just thinking about doctrine but pushing up your sleeves and helping build something for God. Becoming something for God is about moving closer to your people – it’s about building, progress, and growth. If you do not get to this place, you are falling short of God’s glory still. For those who have truly been made alive prove it by doing God will (II Peter 1:10).
We become so much more acquainted with each another when we get involved in what God is doing. We are “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” because we are all “in the Lord”. Indeed, God is in us, but He is also Omnipresent in the Universe, therefore, we are in Him. Therefore, the only thing that can be between you and doing God’s will is your own flesh.
Finally, here’s verse 22 from the New Revised Standard Version: “in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God”. Again, we see an emphasis on focusing on those who show evidence of their faith. There is no other reason for God to quicken you from the dead other than to make you into what He wants you to be.
Within those of our people who profess to be Christians, even among those who believe in the racial aspect of the Gospel, how many are actually focused on God’s will and are usable in God’s work? Understand, if finding out you are an Israelite means anything, it is that God wants to use you. God didn’t choose, create, redeem, and quicken any of us to just to sit around because we think we know some things. The sole purpose is to accomplish what he predestinated us to do for His glory.