Part X

Ephesians 2:11-22

This is part Ten to the divine purpose in history and prophecy

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Sermons of S. Lewis Johnson
Divine Purpose in History and Prophecy
Ephesians 2:11-22
Eschatology Doctrinal Studies, Part X TRANSCRIPT

[Prayer] We thank Thee for the truth that is contained within it. We thank Thee
for the foundation of the body of Christ and the suffering and death and resurrection of
our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and we thank Thee too for the gift of the Scriptures to
guide us in our Christian life and to guide us in our Christian thinking. And again Lord
we ask that Thou be with each one of us enable us to understand the things that we read
and ponder and may the result be that we’re drawn closer to Thee through our Lord and
through that which he has done for us. We especially express our gratitude to Thee Lord
for the goodness shown to us in Christ. And we ask for Thy presence with us now in this
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[Message] Well we are turning again to the Divine Purpose in History and
Prophecy and this is number ten in our series and tonight I’m going to be pressed a little
bit to finish right on time and I want to say simply this that we’re going to stop here for
two more times and deal with the subject that we are looking at tonight which is the
present age. And so tonight we’ll look at Ephesians 2:11-22. Next week, the Lord willing,

we’ll look at 2 Ephesians 3 verses 1 through 13 and then on our third study we’ll look at
Acts, chapter 15. Each of these we will deal with in the way in which unfolds for us the
characteristics of the present age. And so tonight we are turning to Ephesians 2, verse 11
through verse 22 for the first of these three subjects which are continuing studies into the
Divine Purpose in History and Prophecy. Ephesians chapter 2 in verse 11,

“Therefore remember that you once Gentiles in the flesh were uncircumcision by
what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by hands that at that time you 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. But now in Christ
Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ for he
Himself is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of
separation having abolished in his flesh the enmity that is the law of the commandments
contained in ordinances so as to create in himself one new man from the two thus
making peace. And that he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the
cross thereby putting to death the enmity. And he came and preached peace to you who
were far off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one
spirit to the Father
You’ll notice how often the Apostle Paul refers us to the doctrine of the Trinity
and there is a very good illustration of it there through him the second person we have
access by one spirit the third person to the Father, the first person of the eternal Trinity.

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens
with the saints and members of the household of God having been build on the
foundation of the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone
in whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord in
whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
The modern use of the term “alienation” John stock points out in his little book on
Ephesians comes from Ludwig Feurerbach, the Bavarian philosopher who live in the
nineteenth century through Karl Marx who was very much influenced by Feurerbach.
And this alienation which came to be prominent in the thinking and in the speaking of
the Communist and such came to be attached to all who were disillusioned with the
system, the establishment. And we have lived through a generation or so in which this
has been rather prominent and reading our papers and listening to the testimonies of
some of the more radical and more liberal members of our society, we have heard them
over and over again, alienation. The answer that was suggested a generation or two ago
was that what we need to do really was to drop out of society. And the result was a
preaching of the values of socialism and even communism. And so we are coming out of
a period of time in which that was rather prominent.
Well we don’t have time to talk about political side of something like that. I only
mention the term “alienation” because it is one of the terms that arises in this chapter.
And to suggest to you that Paul has something a whole lot better than anything that has
been suggested by the political, the sociological, the philosophical age in which we are
living and which we have come through. What Paul suggests is that there is a new man,
a new humanity that is entered by faith and one may enter it without class struggle and
the doors are opened for any who hearing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are attracted
by it and come to him in faith. As he puts it in verse 15, “Having abolished in his flesh
the enmity that is the law of the commandments contained in ordinances so as to create
in himself one new man from the two thus making peace.”
Francis Fawkes has a little book on Ephesians has some good ideas in it. He has
written some other things that I’ve profited from, a British preacher of the word and also
an academician. If as he suggests Ephesians is really like a sermon on the eternal
purpose of God then chapter 2, verse 11 though 22 is important because that is what we
are talking about. We are talking about the eternal purpose of God. And what we may
expect to find, if Mr. Fawkes is right, is that we are going to have insight on the relation
of Jew and Gentile in the church.
Now, we have brought our series of studies from the creation all the way up to in
our last study we look at the nature of the church. We talked about the beginning of the
church and so we are going to pause here for three studies in order to deal with the
question of the present age, what really is characteristic of the present age. And what I
hope to show is that what we have characteristic of this age is just to mention it is first of
all the universal preaching of the Scriptures and secondly the building of a new society,
the New Testament calls it the Church, and this involves its formation which we have
already talked about in our last study. We will also look at the new character of the
church dealing with the place of Gentiles and Jews within it, the equality that we have in
worship and service yet with differing roles of the sexes, the universality of the priesthood
and spiritual gifts, and also dealing with the simplicity of the corporate worship in its
ordinances and meetings. And then, finally, we’ll say something about the government of
the church and conclude with a study that will deal with its climax in apostasy and
ultimately the coming of the Lord.
But now, we want to look at Ephesians 2:11-22, what we have seen in the stages
of the New Testament unfolding of the purpose of God at this stage that we’ve been
talking about is that Gentiles may be saved. Now, that was something that in New
Testament times was not accepted very easily. But the New Testament makes that plain
and when we look at Acts chapter 10 and Peter’s preaching to Cornelius in Cornelius’
house that fact was established though there were some questions about it. Then
secondly, the question arose well if Gentiles can be saved or they saved by the coming
Jews or must they in being saved become Jews or maybe they will be saved as Gentiles and not become Jews at all? Well that questions was settled at the conference in

Jerusalem, and there it was made plain the apostles underlined it that the Gentiles may be
saved as Gentiles; that is, they possess the blessings of God apart from entrance into
And then another and final question is if the Gentiles are saved do they share
equally in the covenantal blessings with Israel? Now, these are some of the things this
latter particularly that the apostle will take up in this section beginning at chapter 2 in
verse 11 and going on through chapter 3 inverse 13. Looking now, specifically, verse 11.
“Therefore remember.” Well the first thing that he talks about is the alienation of the
Gentiles in the past ages the therefore makes the connection. We tried to underline these
things in the study of the Bible; I hope you get into the habit of looking particularly at the
conjunctions that begin the sentences because if you do you will have some clues
regarding the meaning. So here we have the therefore or wherefore which makes the
connection with chapter 2, verse 1 through verse 7, for verses 8 through 10 are just a little
bit of passage a kind of place in which the apostle bypasses for a moment the main topic
and talks about divine grace. So the connection is made with verses 1 through 7 where
he has outlined the work of the Lord in salvation and salvation by grace.
So first of all in verse 11 he says, “Remember that you once Gentiles in the flesh
who are called un-circumcision by what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by
hands.” So you can notice the first thing he does is call upon them to recollect,
“Remember that you once Gentiles in the flesh,” that at that time you were without Christ,
you were aliens, you were strangers from the covenants of promise, you had not hope,
you were without God in the world. You know, it is never bad to shed a tear or two of
remembrance of what we were before we came to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest stories in the Christian faith in the last few centuries is the
story of John Newton. You’ve heard it before, I’ll repeat it again because it’s something
that all of us may identify with. Newton was an Anglican clergyman and hymn writer. He was the son of a merchant sea captain. He had a very unsettled childhood and

turbulent youth and in the midst of it had a few periods of time in which there was a
rather intense religious experience. But, nevertheless, he was forced to join the Royal
Navy. He tried to escape. He was arrested in West Africa and, eventually, became
virtually the slave of a white slave traders’ black wife. In fact, when time came to eat she
would throw him pieces of bread underneath the table so he would eat in that fashion.
He had sunk that low. She humiliated him and he lived hungry and destitute for two
years involved in the slave trade himself as the slave of a former slave.
Well in seventeen hundred and forty-seven he boarded a ship for England. And
as they made their way back they hit a violent storm in the North Atlantic that nearly sank
them. It was March 10, 1748 when the hold was rapidly filling with water Newton hurried
to his place by the pumps, for that was his job, and he said to the captain “If this will not
do the Lord have mercy on us.” He was startled by his own words “mercy” because he
hadn’t thought about that for a long time. In fact he said later in astonishment I said
“mercy, mercy” what mercy can there be for me? This was the first desire I had breathed
for mercy for many years. Well about six in the evening the hold was free of water and
their came a gleam of hope he said he saw the hand of God displayed in our favor and
he began to pray. He said, “I couldn’t utter the prayer of faith. I couldn’t draw near to a
reconciled God and call him Father. My prayer for mercy was like the cry of the ravens
which yet Lord does not disdain to hear.” So on March 10 he sought mercy and found it.
And we know something of his influential life. He had great influence on
Wilberforce, who was one of the moving forces behind the fight against slavery. Other
men that he influenced greatly were William Cooper, who has written a number of our
hymns. Thorton, Vin, in fact they Olney collection of hymns and poems with Cooper
which resulted from the relationship the two had. Among John Newton’s well know
hymns are “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” we’ve sung that, “Glorious Things of
Thee are Spoken,” “One there is above all others,” and, of course, the immortal “Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound.” When he left the sea he entered the ministry. He printed
a text in bold letters and fastened it right over the wall of his study, mantelpiece. And
there it was “Thou shalt remember that thou was a bondman in the land of Egypt and the
Lord thy God redeemed thee.” And it stayed there. He said later on the things that he
forgot were manifold. In fact, one of his favorite expressions was either “I forgot, I soon
forgot, this I also I totally forgot.” Later on Richard Cecil who was his biographer noticing
that Newton was beginning to show the signs of age urged him one day to stop preaching
and to take life easily. “What” he replied “shall the old African blasphemer stop while he
can speak at all?” One thing he couldn’t forget was the great salvation. He was forgetting
everything else but he couldn’t forget that and he was determined that nobody else
Then there is a story near the end of his life he was in Bath, England and one day
he met will William Jay on the streets of Bath and Newton complained that his powers
were failing fast. “My memory” he said “is nearly gone but I can remember two things
that I’m a great sinner and that Christ is a great savior.”
Well I say it’s never bad to shed a tear or two in remembrance. And so the
apostle calls upon the Ephesians, remember, remember what you were, remember that
you once were Gentiles in the flesh. Now, notice when he says “gentiles in the flesh”
what he’s thinking about of course is that they didn’t have the mark of relationship to
God. And the mark of relationship to God was circumcision. “You were Gentiles in the
flesh, uncircumcised. He goes on to say “who are called un-circumcision by what is
called the circumcision which is made in the flesh with hands.”
Now, in verse 11 and 12 and particular in now, verse 12 notice the disability of the
Gentiles that Paul puts his fingers on. “That at that time you were without Christ no
covenantal sign in the faith, you did not have the Messiah” this was before the Messiah
period, before the coming of Christ. They were without the Messiah, “aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel, no citizenship among God’s people, strangers from the
covenants of promise” the foundational Abrahamic covenantal promises were not for
them. They had not participated in them. They were strangers from the covenants of
promise. We talked about them, we talked about those three unconditional covenants
that God had cut in the Old Testament, the Abrahamic, the Davidic, and the New
Covenant and the Gentiles were left out. Of course, there was a place for them but so far
as the Law of Moses was concerned it was given wholly to Israel to prepare them for the
coming of the Messiah. And so Israel was left out they were strangers from the covenants
of promise that foundational Abrahamic promise given to Abraham and confirmed to Isaac
and Jacob inclusive of the promises of the other covenants.
Then he goes on and adds having no hope without a sustaining covenantal
promises what could they expect? And, furthermore, Israel had failed in its calling. In
Isaiah, chapter 43, we are told that one of the reasons that God gave the law, gave the
covenants to Abraham and his seed was that they would be a missionary people and
reach out to the Gentiles. But in Isaiah, chapter 43 in verse 10, it’s very evident that God
regarded them, as having failed in their mission. So having no hope and without God in
the world, in the world may incidentally qualify the whole verse but at least it qualifies
the left without God in the world. So how could you sum up the Gentiles like Ephesians
before the coming of our Lord, well someone has done it this way. An old commentator
that they were churchless, they were hapless, they were hopeless, they were godless and
they were homeless. John Eddy, the Scottish commentator, says “Their future was a night
without a star.”
Now, having said what they were, the apostle talks about the reconciliation of the
Gentiles in verse 13 through verse 18, “But now,” that’s a temporal expression, “But now,”
so he moves from the past to the present, “But now, in Christ Jesus you who were once
far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” And this “but now,” marks the
intervention of the Lord God. “But now, in Christ Jesus you have been brought near
through the blood of Christ.” So instead of being simply in the world without hope, they

are in Christ. The spiritual alienation that they had experienced has now, become
spiritual union because they are united to the Messiah these Gentiles who have believed.
I guess, if we were looking for the best example of all of this the best example
would probably be the Apostle Paul’s experience except that he was not a Gentile. But in
chapter 4, verse 9 and following the apostle, in chapter 3 of Philippians, verse 4 through
verse 9, he talks about his own experience. He says “Though I also might have
confidence in the flesh, if anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more,
circumcise thee today of the stock of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the
Hebrews, concerning the law, a Pharisee, concerning zeal, persecuting the church,
concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless, but what things were gained
to me these I have counted laws for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things lost for the
excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss
of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him not
having my own righteousness which is from the law but that which is through faith in
Christ the righteousness which is from God through faith.”
If you look in Paul’s writings you’ll probably find the “heart of hearts” of all of his
writings the keynote, the one master chord which seems to vibrate, pulsate through the
whole divine symphony of his writings, as someone has put it, is the watchword of the
great Elijah, “Jehovah liveth now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been
brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Now, first of all, the reconciliation of the Gentiles to Israel, he says, “For he
himself is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of
separation. In Christ Jesus you far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ and
he himself is our peace who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of
petition.” Now, notice that the reconciliation is the reconciliation of Gentiles to Israel,
“For he himself is our peace who has made both” what both, both Jews and Gentiles one,
“and who has broken down the middle wall of separation.” What middle wall of

separation? Well the middle wall of separation was the separation that was made by God
between Jews and Gentiles. That’s what he’s talking about, not separation from God but
at this point separation from the divine covenants and the Jewish people who possessed
them. So he is talking about the reconciliation of Gentiles to Israel now with the wall
having been broken down. What was the middle wall? Well it was the law. What
produced the enmity between the Gentiles and Israel, the law? The law given by God to
Israel and given to Israel only and Israel’s affirmation of the fact that they were the chosen
people of God was the enmity that was produced between the Jews and the Gentiles.
Having been chosen, the Gentiles not having been chosen, you can understand, of
course, how that would not be too popular with other people.
John Calvin in his commentary’s framed a syllogism, this is what it is. I just read
this today and I put it in my notes because I thought it was rather interesting. This is his
syllogism that he framed. He calls it that. “If the Jews wish to have peace with God they
must have Christ as their mediator. But Christ will not be their peace in any other way
than by making out of them and the Gentiles one body. Therefore unless the Jews admit
the Gentiles to fellowship they have no connection with God.” That’s rather interesting
because it was the other way around for so long and now, of course, it is necessary for
Israel to acknowledge by virtue of the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, that a
way has been opened for the Gentiles.
But Paul says, “The middle wall of petition has been broken down,” this is a most
vivid figure and it has to do with the situation in Jerusalem and requires, I think, a little
explanation. You may know that the temple in Jerusalem was the place where Israel
carried out its worship. The temple had a series of courts. The outer court of the temple
was the court of the Gentiles. Gentiles could enter that court. But then there followed
other courts. Secondly, there was the court of the women. The women could go into the
court of the Gentiles and the women who were Jewish could go into the court of the
women. But after that then the court of the priests and only the priests could go beyond
that. And then after that the holy place itself. So only into the first of these courts could a
Gentile come, the court of the Gentiles.
Between it and the court of the women politically correct language “wimmin”
“wimmin” the plural of “woffem” we don’t say woman anymore we say “woffem” you
didn’t know that. A woman is a “woffem” you’ve got to avoid that word “man” so put
“fem” instead “woffem” and the plural of it is “women” that’s they way they pronounce in
some parts of the South anyway. But that’s “wimmin” and that way you avoid “men.” So
I’m trying to do this I have a book on politically correct language I’m trying to get used to
it. You know, chronologically enhanced is what I am. [Laughter] That’s better than
saying I’m old. I’ve been saying that for twenty years in Believers Chapel and now I say
chronologically enhanced. That has class, I think, chronologically enhanced. I wish I was
enhanced in some other ways but, nevertheless, I’m not I like that at least. I may be poor
but I’m chronologically enhanced.
Anyway, coming back to the topic in the court the Gentiles could only come into
the court of the Gentiles. They could not go in to the court of the Israelites, the court of
the women, the court of the priests. They certainly could not go into the holy place
which only the high priests could go in once a year. So between the court of the Gentiles
and court of the women there were barriers built up all away around and signs were
placed on stone monuments or memorials all around the barrier and the signs were
designed to keep out the Gentiles warning them that if they went it they were going to be
subject to death. Josephus talks about all of this and he says that those stones had
descriptions like this was the stone wall which had the petition which had the inscription
which forbade any foreigners to go in under the pain of death. Josephus had said other
things about that. I had in my notes some of the things that he said but can’t seem to find
them right now. But at any rate there were signs about, engraved stones, that said if the
Gentiles attempted to go in they would be worthy of death.

One of the most interesting archeological discoveries was made in 1871 during
excavations that were carried on by the Palestine Exploration Fund on the temple area.
And there Mr. Clermont-Ganneau found one of the very pillars which Josephus describes
having been set up on the barrier to which Paul here refers. It is now preserved in the
museum at Constantinople and bears the following inscription in Greek letters “No man
of another nation to enter within the fence an enclosure around the temple and whoever
is caught will have himself to blame that his death ensues.” It’s very interesting that that’s
been found and that was one of the stones that were on the temple barrier when the
Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians. It’s very interesting.
At any rate, I think, you can see that what he is talking about is the barrier that
existed between Israel and the Gentiles and he says, “Now, he himself is our peace who
has made both one, has broken down the middle wall of petition having abolished in his
flesh the enmity that is the Law of Commandments that is contained in ordinances so as to
create in himself one new man from the two thus making peace,” one new man from the
Now, circumcision, sacrifices, washings, abstaining from certain kinds of food
were symbols of the things that were used by God to remind the Jews that their lot was
different from that of the rest. And just as today peoples are known by various things that
may characterize them. The Red Cross, the White Cross distinguishes the French from the
Red Cross of the Burgundians, just like the Blue Cross of the Cowboy’s helmets
distinguish them from the horse cowboys, and so the thing that distinguished the Jews
from the Gentiles was the fact that they could not come into the temple area. God had
established that and had given them the law and they had the law and the Gentiles did
not have.
John Chrysostom has something to say regarding this. He talks about it. He’s one
of the early preachers. He says this, “He does not mean that he has elevated us to the
high dignity of theirs but he has raised both us and them one to one still higher.” I will
give you an illustration,” he says. “Let us imagine there are two statues one of silver and
the other of lead and then shall be then both shall be melted down and the two shall
come out gold.” So, thus, he made the two one. So what Chrysostom says then is that
we have here the Gentiles, we have here the Jews and as a result of the coming of Christ,
as a result of the work on the cross, as the result of the formation of the one new man,
what we have is not simply a union of Jew and Gentile but we have the two made into
something better. They are in Christ, Jew and Gentile in Christ. So there is what he calls
“one fresh or new man.” The people of God have entered a further stage of their
I imagine that this was something that this was rather startling for the people of
the day. The people of that day have the same kind of attitude that we have toward
people who are different from us. One of the things that I learned in taking classical
Greek a long time before I ever knew anything, really much about the Bible, although I
had grown up in a Presbyterian Sunday school, was the fact that the Greeks spoke of
themselves as Greeks and everyone who was not a Greek was a barbarian. That’s the
way they talked about it. That’s the way a lot of people really think. They don’t say it
but they really think that way. We’re the people and the others are the barbarians. That
was the way the Greeks though about them.
Now, the Jews when it came to salvation thought of themselves as the elect of
God and everyone else a spiritual barbarian. What Paul is saying is that as a result of
Christ coming the enmity, the Law of Commandments contained in the ordinances, only
Israel’s, that has been abolished so that now one new man is created from the two thus
making peace.
Over in 1st Corinthians chapter 10, verse 32, Paul says something that is apropos, I
think, he says “Give no offense either to the Jews or the Greeks or to the church of God,
Jews, Greeks but then Jews and Greeks who are converted the church of God, the one
new man, in fact, the new order of mankind. So Paul says then that there has been a
reconciliation of the Gentiles. But there is reconciliation also of Gentile and Jew to God
and he talks about then in verses 16 through 18, “That he might reconcile them both to
God in one body through the Cross” notice, both of them, “thereby putting to death the
enmity.” The Gentiles who had no access because they were not the elect people of God
they didn’t even have the law, they weren’t even able to worship God. They had to
become Jews if they were going to part of the people of God. But now, the people of
God are in unbelief largely Israel having been set aside so he says “In that he might
reconcile them both to God in one body through the Cross thereby putting to death the
enmity. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who
were near” probably a reference to the ministry of the Lord after the Resurrection. When
he came in, for example, in the gathering of the apostles and the first word that he said to
them was “Peace” and peace is preached, the peace with God, the peace between Jew
and Gentile. “And he came and preached peace to you,” and then verse 18, “for through
Him we both have access, we both Jew and Gentile by one Spirit to the Father.”
Now, notice these verses, they’re rather important. He says that both of these
have come from enmity to amity. That is unbelieving elect people from enmity to amity
and then those who were not the elect people of God they too from the natural enmity in
which they were born have now, if they have believed, come to friendship with God.
And included among this story of reconciliation are these things, peace through
nullification of the law, verse 14 and 15, “He himself is our peace, he has made both one,
he has broken down the middle wall of separation, he’s abolished in his flesh the enmity
the Law of Commandments contained in the ordinances.” And then he mentions the
preaching of peace and the post Resurrection experiences.
And then he says, “Through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
I like this word access, prosagoge this Greek word is a word that was used in many ways
and there are some marvelous little pictures if one takes the usages of it and apply them
to spiritual things. It was the word used to bringing a sacrifice to God so that an
individual made an approach with his animal sacrifice. That’s really what we do when we
believe in Christ. We really in essence what we are saying is Lord this is my sacrifice, the
Lord Jesus, and I come to you in power in the power of the sacrifice and your word
which tells me just how significant it is. It was also used of the bringing of men into the
presence of God that they may be consecrated to his service. And it was the word used
for introducing a speaker or an ambassador into the national assembly. An above all, it
was the word used for introducing a person into the presence of a king. I don’t know
whether that is the figure that he had in mind or not. It could be simply the bringing of
the sacrifice to the priest. But it may be used in the sense of the introduction of a person
into the presence of the king.
Well, of course, that is true isn’t it spiritually for through Him we both have access
and introduction by one Spirit to the Father? And if that’s the sense of it, it is certainly
true. We have access to the Father; we have been brought near through Jesus Christ.
Look back at verse 13, “But now, in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been
brought near by the blood of Christ.” And then in verse 19 through verse 22, the apostle
sums up things. “Now, therefore, or consequently then, introduces the conclusion, quae
cum ita sint, we used to read in Latin all the time “since these things are so.” “Now,
therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God.”
Now, this is very important. What this says is that the Church is made up of Jew
and Gentile. We talked about the beginning of the Church on the Day of Pentecost. We
talked about the fact that it was a kind of modification of the character of the people of
God; the things that took place by virtue by the baptismal work of the Holy Spirit in
which we were united together through faith in Christ. And what we have come to is one
people of God, whether Jew or Gentile, sharing equally in the blessings of the covenantal
Now, we have made the point in this series that the blessings that we inherit are
the blessings of the unconditional covenants, that is, the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic
covenant, and also the New Covenant. The New Covenant, of course, the redemptive
foundation, the Abrahamic covenant having to do with our son-ship, our relationship to
the Lord God by virtue of our faith which is the ground of our or the means by which we
come to be in Christ, the Davidic covenant having to do with the everlasting throne and
the everlasting kingdom in which also share. We share in the promises that God made to
Abraham, that he made to David, that he made to Israel with the New Covenant. Those
covenantal promises Gentile believers share in the present day. That’s made very plain in
the New Testament. If you just look at some of these things here now. Here we have
Gentiles who were without Christ, without the Messiah, but now, in verse 13 we read
they’re in Christ. In verse 15 we read “having abolished in his flesh the enmity that is the
Law of Commandments contained in ordinances so as to create in Himself one new man,
the whole church, in Him.” And verse 21 “In whom, in who, in Christ, the whole building
being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” So those who were without
the Messiah are now in the Messiah.
Further in verse 19 we read, “Now, therefore you are no longer strangers and
foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
They were aliens, and now, they are fellow citizens. We are told in verse 19, they are
strangers, that’s what they were, but now, they are members of the household of God.
We were told in verse 17, that they had no hope but now, they have come to peace. And
we were told they were without God that maybe the worse of all, without God in the
world, verse 12. But now, we read, we have received an introduction by one Spirit to the
I would say that what Paul is saying is that in the Church of Jesus Christ, Jews and
Gentiles possess all of the covenantal blessings promised through the covenants of the
Old Testament, Abrahamic, Davidic, and New. They now, have those promises. They are
no longer strangers, they are no longer foreigners, and they are fellow citizens with the
saints, members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. The foundation of apostles
and prophets, the word of God built on that foundation, the word of God, sufficiency of
Holy Scripture for our salvation. Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. This
entire building, the household of God, is like a temple. In fact, he goes on to say in
whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. He
is the chief cornerstone. You know, a cornerstone is that part of a building which if it’s
lost the walls collapse and the building collapses. Our Lord is the chief cornerstone
according to the figure here, and this is a holy temple in the Lord in whom you are also
being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Notice that the one new
man is being built not being rebuilt, not rebuilt but being built.
National return for the nation of Israel lies in the future. What Paul is talking
about here is the fact that the covenantal blessings belong to Gentiles and Jews. There is
one body of believing people and they have inherited them and the believers in Christ are
united in that. So far as the future of National Israel is concerned, well a lot passages deal
with that question. Here, of course, he simply acknowledges the oneness of the two in
I thought I had something that I wanted to say to you but I don’t guess that I do
have. What I’d like to do, we have a few minutes, and perhaps we can open it up for a
question or so. So if you’d like to give me your question, I’ll try to answer if I can,
providing you speak loud enough. Would you speak a little louder? [Person asking
question] What does it say? So, no not that I know of. [Person asking question] She’s
asking if there is a chief cornerstone. Well, I’ll have to look at the original text but I’m not
sure I can even answer it them because we may have some differences of viewpoints in
the variant readings. So we may have differences that we just have to live with. Let’s see,
chapter 2, here it is. This is the word that means the chief cornerstone, akrogoniaios
[person asking question] a little louder, usually. But this is the word that means a chief
cornerstone. In fact, I have a little simple lexicon in the back of this book. Let’s see what
they say cornerstone or keystone. So chief cornerstone would be essentially the same
What does your text have? [Person responding] [Person asking question] That’s
what I said when I said their future is something else. The national difference between
Jews and Gentiles is not done away with. A Jew is still a Jew, a Gentile is still a Gentile,
and there is a future for ethnic Israel, believing ethnic Israel. So they have the promises
with reference to their future, in fact, the Abrahamic promises, the Davidic promises
specifically speak of the future of national Israel and that lies in the future. One of our
three studies we are going to devote to that in the present age. So when we are talking
about what we are talking we are not seeking to do away with the ethnic difference
between Jews and Gentiles, we’re talking about position and privilege here not about
national origins. Does that help or clarify?
Yes Larry? [Larry asks question] Well, I think, they are just two different figures,
foundation is of course Christ and his work, that’s the foundation of the church. The
figure that the apostle uses here is related to a temple because he’s talking about that.
But I don’t think there is any significant difference in them in the sense of a conflict but
two different illustrations.
[Person ask question] Of course, there is a way in which we may harmonize that, a
way in which many have done it is what the apostles and prophets talk about. Well they
talk about Jesus Christ and they talk about Him as the supreme Savior of the Lord God
and so thus in that sense we say he is the foundation, we’re just looking at the same truth
in a slightly different figurative way because the foundation of the apostles and prophets
is what they said about the Messiah that was to come. I’m taking the term prophets as
being Old Testament prophets and in another place or two it may taken with reference to
New Testament prophets but at least the apostles and prophets had one primary message
and that was the son of God and his saving work. And so what they taught is the
foundation, the reality in other words of the message.
Yes ma’am! [Person asks question] Is there a name given to them? Well, Marilyn,
I’ll tell you the reason I’m hesitating I’m thinking I wanted to think of something cute to
say but I couldn’t think of anything on the spur of the moment to be cute and because
I’m comically underprivileged at the moment or something. Yeah, there is something
that is usually said of them. They are usually said to be pre-millennists; that is they
believe the Lords coming before the millennium and usually what goes with that is that
Israel will enter into a promised blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic
covenant, the New Covenant at that time. The passages that speak specifically about that
are the passages about the Abrahamic covenant in the Old Testament, the Davidic
Covenant in the Old Testament, the New Covenant and the chapters in Jeremiah
associated with there are about 33, 31, 32, 33, 34 in Jeremiah and then the New Testament
Romans chapters, well really primarily chapter 11, and Acts chapter 15, for example and
some of the passages in the gospels. So does that answer?
[Person asks question]. Well as you know there are three kinds of Jewish
synagogues, the Orthodox, there are Conservative, and there are Liberals. Those are three
distinct groups. The Orthodox would not take kindly to that comment by his Jewish
friend. But many of the Jewish friends of the second two persuasions are very liberal; do
not really make much over the Jewishness at all and nothing over their Jewishness in the
spiritual sense. It’s mainly in a sociological sense of rather, what’s the word, or a family
sense, since they belong to that body of people and that’s about it.
[Person asks questions] Elect of God, those that have believed in Christ as the
Scriptures say are elect. Not just Israel, but Israel is the elect nation. “You only have I
known of all the families on the earth,” God said through the prophet Amos, “You only
have I know of all the families on the earth.” The law as we said remember when we
had the lesson on the law, the law was given only to Israel. The promises were given to
Abraham confirmed to Isaac and Jacob to David and through Jeremiah the prophet to the
people of Israel. [Person asks question] The nation only them. There is no hope for us
except that Scripture right from the beginning made a way, an opening for Gentiles; God
said to Abram “Indeed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” So when the seed of
Abraham became there was a place for Gentiles. As a matter of fact, the Old Testament,
Gentiles could be saved they just had to become Jews. It was open to them but if they
were males they had to be circumcised. It’s the sign of the covenant and so on.
[Person asks question] That’s pretty well what this passage we’ve been talking
about says. They formed “one new man” but the differences, the ethnic differences still
pertain. [Person asks question] Yeah, right. Israel has a future. We’ll talk about that.
We’ve got to stop now, it is eight thirty-one. But next week we’ll look at chapter 3, verse
1 through 13 and it has fuller information on this and then the following time we’ll be on
Acts chapter 15, and some of these questions will I hope will become much clearer.
Let’s close with a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father we are grateful to Thee for the opportunity to study the word of
God together. We thank Thee for the apostle and for his faithfulness and for the
preservation of the word of God which we are able to study in nineteen hundred and
ninety-two and through it come to the conviction that our sins have been paid for by the
atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Enable us to be faithful representatives of him in
our day to our friends and family.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.