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Ephesians Chapter Two


I. Content of the Chapter


The Generation of the Church

A.  Who is comprised of men who were dead in their sins (v.1-3)

B.  Who is born because of the great love of God (v.4)

C.  Who is born by the grace of Christ’s resurrection(v.5-9)

D.  Who is the workmanship of God (v.10a)

E.  Who is created by God in Christ (v.10b)


The Building of the Church    

A.   Who is built through the blood of Christ ---- the Gentiles have become the material for the building through blood (v.11-13)

B.   Who is built through the breaking of the cross ---- to eliminate the fleshy gap to form the two into one new man (v.14-17)

C.   Who is built in the oneness of the Spirit ---- we have both access by one Spirit to the Father (v.18)

D.   All the saints are built together in the kingdom of God and the household of God (v.19)

E.   Who is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (v.20a)

F.    Who is built upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ (v.20b)

G.   Who is fitted and built together in Christ ---- to be a habitation of God in Spirit (v.21-22)


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Eph. 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

YLT: “Also you -- being dead in the trespasses and the sins,”

Meaning of Words: trespasses”: be lost, cross the line, fall into error, and depart from the right path; “sins”: miss the mark;

Literal Meaning: dead” refers to the spiritual death, namely, being separated from the life of God (Eph. 4:18). The spirit of the one who was dead was non-functional at all and totally incapable of resisting against sins.

“Trespasses and sins”, things that are right in essence but cross the line then they have become trespasses. Things that are corrupted or evil in essence are sins. The former refers to transgressions that are manifested as well as all the wrong conducts that exceed the scope of God’ will, while the latter (i.e. sins) includes broadly all conducts and positions that are immoral as well as intentions, actions and status that are not up to the standard of God. St. Augustine said, “Trespasses are sins committed inadvertently, but sins are sins that are committed intentionally.”

“Dead in sins and offenses”, it includes the following meanings: (1) “Dead” refers to being dead spiritually. As regards man’s situation before God, though he is living, he is also dead, because he is “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18). (2) “Dead” also points to the destiny of the “second death” (Rev. 20:14). Regarding man’s end in the future, the eternal death is inescapable, for “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). (3) “Dead” also means that our physical body will definitely be subject to corruption of decay (1 Cor. 15:50), for death has passed upon all men for the sake of sins (Rom.5:12). (4) To sum up, men are daily living under the shadow of death (Matt. 4:16, Luke 1:79). (5) Sin has brought death to man, and death uses sin to control man: a). causing man to be desensitized to committing sins; b) causing man to be helplessly under the dominion of sin and be unable to extricate himself from sins.

“And you He made alive”, there is no such phrase in the original. It was added by the translators of the Bible.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)       “Dead” is the loss of the sensations of life and ability ---- in the positive aspect, one is insensible of the love of God and has no strength to do good to please God. In the negative aspect, one is devoid of the least sense of the dominance of sins over him, and has no strength to resist it

2)       If each of us wants to understand what the salvation is and to increase spiritually, what is of the foremost importance is that we should know what kind a person we were used to be (before we are saved). Here, it points out that we were not only men who are sinful and evil, but also men who were dead!

3)       To ask a dead person to live a holy life is simply impossible. Since we have already known that we were formerly dead, we shall know the most important thing for us is to overcome the death.

4)       The most destructive damage of sins to humankind is that the death reigns over men (Rom. 5:12, 14), thus causing men to lose the (spiritual) sensation of life and functions.

5)       Concerning sins, there is not a single one who is the bystanderhe who has committed sins is dead in sins and offenses. He who makes and administers the law is dead in sins and offenses likewise. Everyone is a participant in the arena of trespasses and sins, and perdition is the only fate shared by them.

6)       Once a body loses its life, it will become icy cold and stiff. Men ---- who are indifferent and stiff-necked toward God, cold and ruthless toward man, stodgy towards things ---- walk according to the dead letters and regulations, not in life.

7)           Once a body remains for a long time, it will become stinky (John 10:39). All the words or conducts making others be uncomfortable are the proof of the deadness of the spirit. .


Eph. 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

YLT: “in which once ye did walk according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,”

Meaning of Words: walked”: conduct, manner, directs oneself; “this world”: that which is of this world; “course”: fashion, generation, age; “works”: operates, energy, effort, moves force.

Literal Meaning: in which”, it refers to the time before we have been saved.

“You once walked”, it speaks of the condition of being lost in trespasses and sins.

“According to”, it implies that one has no opinion of his own, but only follows others blindly.

“This world”, it refers to a systemized organization schemed by Satan, which is manipulated to attract or consume men.

“Course”, it is what has been shown in the sight of men, which is also means “fashion” or “modern”. Men in the world usually like to pursuit what is fashionable. Once the wind of the fashion blows, they will let themselves go and revolve around it.

“The prince of the power of the air”, it refers to Satan, who is the leader of the evil spirits in the air (Eph. 6:12) and the prince of this world. The whole world lies in the evil one (1 Jn. 5:19).

“The sons of disobedience”, it refers to men that rebel against God in their will. When the spirit of Satan works within men, they will follow it to do what is not well-pleasing to God, then they will become sons of disobedience.

This verse speaks of the works of the devil: (1) its sphere of activities ---- “in the air”; (2) its associate workers in the air ---- “evil spirits”; (3) the time of its activities – “now”; (4) the targets of its work ---- “ the sons of disobedience”; (5) the way of its operation ---- it “works in” the hearts of man”; (6) the content of its work ---- to cause people to “walk according to the course of this world” and to obey its desires”; (7) the goal of its work – to caused man to be as rebellious as itself to God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      If we “walk according to the course of this world”, we just obey Satan, “the prince of the power of the air”, for the various circumstances of this world throughout all generations are the traps of Satan to snare and delude man.

2)      Our life before we were saved was “according to the course of this world” outwardly, and was inwardly “according to the evil spirits. Therefore, we were totally “dead in trespasses and sins” in the sight of God (2:1).

3)      “Sins” are different from one generation to another. Each generation has its own type of sins, and each time of period has its own sort of sins. The “course of this world” is different from the course of the previous generations.

4)      A man who has not been born again cannot help from following the course of this world. If he does not follow the course of this world, he will feel being dropped behind and be unable to catch up with the times.

5)      When the tidal current of “modern” and “fashion comes, most people will be swept into the tide. In spite of paying any cost, men are quite ready to follow it and count it an honor. The very reason is that they have fallen into the trap of the evil spirits.

6)      Since we Christians are not of this world, if we live according to the course of this world, our life will be conformed to this world and we will lose the testimony of separation from this world ---- this is unacceptable to God (Rom. 12:2; Jam. 4:4; 2 King 17:33).

7)      Though we Christians live and walk in this world, we do not live without any purpose, but live according to God’s will and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

8)      We Christians should live a life to change the tide of this world, not follow the course of this world.

9)      Satan is working fiercely within man. The sins of man are the clear sign of its brutal working in man.

10)   If we give room to envy and strife within the church and live in our flesh, we are living “according to this world” (1 Cor. 3:3) and “according to the course of this world”.


Eph. 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

YLT: “among whom also we all did walk once in the desires of our flesh, doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath -- as also the others,”

Meaning of Words: conducted”: behave self, have conversation, live; “lusts”: intense desire; “fulfilling the desires of”: to satisfy; “desires of”: wishes, (esp. referring to the desire to do the wrong and prohibited things); “were by nature”: according to the natural disposition or according to the nature.

Literal Meaning: conducted ourselves…”, unrestrained, let it loose freely.

“The flesh”, after the fall of man, man was corrupted into the flesh by Satan, and the evil disposition came into man, thus desiring to commit sins.

“Lusts”, it refers to the desire of man which is abnormal or even exceeds the normal sphere.

“Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”, it means satisfying the desires of the flesh and the mind. The desires of the flesh pertain to the outward things, and the desires of the mind speak of the inward thoughts.

“And were by nature the children of wrath”, according to the nature of us, we were the same as others in disposition as well as in the end ---- awaiting God’s judgment and wrath (Jn. 3:36).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men in the world have tree enemies: (a) the world, (b) Satan, (c) the flesh. They follow the world”, obey the devil” (v.2) and indulge in the flesh.

2)    The world (the stage), Satan (the director) and the flesh (the actor) coordinate together to cause people to be dead in trespasses and sins.

3)    The desire granted by God, for instance our appetite for food, is originally good. If one’s appetite is not properly controlled, it will bring harm to him. When the normal desires of men turn to the desires of the flesh, it must be harmful and profitless. Moreover, the “indulgences” will aggravate the condition and bring terrible result.

4)    The “desires of the mind” are often affected by the “desires of the flesh.” As a result, we shall not follow the desires of our hearts presumptuously, lest we sin against God.

5)    We sinners deserve nothing before God. What we deserve was the wrath and penalty of God (because we were “children of wrath”).


Eph. 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

YLT: “and God, being rich in kindness, because of His great love with which He loved us,”

Meaning of Words: mercy”: compassionate, sympathy, show solicitude for; great love”: much, deep and abundant love;

Literal Meaning: but God”: “but” indicates that it is the turn of an event. “God” brings the turning point of life for men. Only God can give hope to us.

“Who is rich in mercy”, “mercy” means showing a sympathetic heart as well as supplying real help to those who are in affliction. Sinners differ wildly from God, and they do not deserve the love of God. Thus sinners firstly need the mercy of God, and such mercy is rich – unlimited and inexhaustible.

“Because of His great love with which He loved us”: love is the very nature of God. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). God’s love is great concerning various aspects: (1) The degree of His love is immense ---- a love of sacrificing His only-begotten Son; (2) Its time is unlimited ---- His love is unchanging; (3) Its value is immeasurable ---- His love is incomparable and invaluable; (4) Its capacity is tremendous ---- everyone has the opportunity to enjoy His love; (5) Its power is herculean ---- His love overcomes all obstacles.

God’s mercy is His compassion towards us. The great love of God motivates Him to send His only-begotten Son into this world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is “but God”, not “but I”. It is not how I am resolved, how I abstain from sinning, how I wanted to believe in the Lord, but God” Who has mercy on me.

2)    Our sins are so numerous and heinous that no one can save us, except for God who is “rich in mercy”.

3)    God’s mercy is before His love and encompasses those who are not lovely. God pulls them out of our pitiful condition to a lovely position.

4)    God will always treat us in His mercy at first. Only if we despise His mercy will He deals with us according to His righteousness.

5)    Only those who know the love of God can fully appreciate the preciousness of His salvation.

6)    Those who feel indifferent towards the love of God cannot be greatly used by Him.


Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

YLT: “even being dead in the trespasses, did make us to live together with the Christ, (by grace ye are having been saved,)”

Meaning of Words: “alive”: one who has been dead revives;

Literal Meaning: made us”, it reveals that the love of God is totally active and the great power of God is upon us with great effect.

“Made us alive together”, this is the first step of our salvation ---- our spirit has recovered its original function, i.e. it has “passed from death into life” (Jn. 5:24-25).

“(By grace you have been saved)”, this phrase in parenthesis is explaining the previous text, indicating that our salvation is not due to our own merit. “Grace” is a magnanimous act of God in His mercy and great love towards sinners.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Being “dead in trespasses” and “made alive together with Christ” are what we have experienced before and after our being saved. Before we were saved, we ignorantly committed sins and offenses without any sense of shame or disgrace. After we are saved, our spirit has been quickened. If we have some evil intention, we will immediately find no peace within.

2)    To be saved is to receive the Holy Spirit into us. The Holy Spirit quickens our dead spirit, thus making one be born again (Jn. 3:3-6).

3)    The revival of our spirit is the beginning of God’s recovery work in us.


Eph. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

YLT: “and did raise up together, and did seat together in the heavenly in Christ Jesus,”

Meaning of Words: raised us up”: to raise us up from the dead;

Literal Meaning: and raised us up together”, the word “and” indicates that “raising us up” in this verse differs from “making us alive” in the previous verse. To be raised up is the second step of our salvation ---- the new life we have received from God has its function of life and power of life, causing us to rise up from the grave and to be separated from all the dead things and deeds.

“Made us sit together in the heavenly places”, this is the third step of our salvation, referring to the new position we have received in Christ. Though we are in the world, we transcend above the world. Though we live on the earth, we live a heavenly life and nothing can disturb us. “Sit” has the meaning of peace and security.  

 Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    God has saved us, making us overcome Satan in Christ. He has given us His risen life to overcome our flesh. And He has made us together to overcome the world.

2)    Our salvation is none other than what God has done for us in Christ – God has already made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Therefore, whenever one meets the temptations or difficulties, he shall believe the salvation granted by God instead of asking for help from God.

3)    The nature of the church is the resurrection ---- “raised us up.” All the natural activities and the union of the flesh are not of the church.

4)    The position of the church is heavenly – “sit us together in the heavenly places”. All the lowly things and the worldly principles are not of the church.

5)    The three “together”s in verses 5-6 point out that all things are done by Christ Himself. But when Christ is accomplishing these things, He includes us, thus causing us to share in all of His accomplishments.

6)    The three “together”s are facts that will not be realized until we see the Lord face to face, but facts that had early accomplished. We can appropriate the facts to make them be subjective experience of us.

7)    In the heaven” means “in the heavenly places”. Generally, Christians are amphibious ---- we can enjoy the heavenly riches on the earth, that is, though we are on this earth, we are actually like in the heavenly places.

8)    If we can stand on the heavenly position of us to see all things on the earth, we will no longer crave after the world.

9)    To sit together with Christ is to have the same vision, the same life, and the same words as Christ. Most Christians today only have the snobbish perspective, the worldly life and the filthy words, for they are not seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

10)  “Sit in the heavenly places” indicates that we have not to struggle or strive, but simply enjoy the victory of Christ. Though we are living in a world of turmoil, we can enjoy the rest of the heavenly places.

11)  We must firstly be united with Christ so as to enjoy His life and transcendence.


Eph. 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

YLT: “that He might show, in the ages that are coming, the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,”

Meaning of Words: kindness”: gracious kindness, friendly gestures, benevolence, generosity;show”: to unfold, to prove;

Literal Meaning: the exceeding riches of His grace”, God’s grace given to man is so rich that it is exceedingly transcending.

“In kindness towards us”, God has loving-kindness, so He granted us His kindness and His grace.

“Show”: to exhibit and unveil for the whole universe;

“In the ages to come”, it refers to the infinite generations after the church came into being, including space and time and all things contained therein.

This verse speaks of the purpose of God’s salvation. What has mentioned in the previous two verses, verses 5 and 6, is the purpose of God’s kindness towards us ---- showing the riches of God’s grace toward us to all things in the ages to come.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The riches of His grace shown to us are not due to our asking, but the preparation of God while we were in ignorance.

2)    All of God’s gracious kindness is given to us “in Christ Jesus.” Without Christ, we will no longer enjoy the loving kindness of God.

3)    God not only uses the church to bear His testimony in this age, but also uses it to manifest Him from eternity to eternity throughout all ages.


Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

YLT: “for by grace ye are having been saved, through faith, and this not of you -- of God the gift,”

Meaning of Words: by”: the basis; “of”: the origin;

Literal Meaning: by grace”, it is the principle of God’s giving grace to men freely.

“Through faith”, it is the procedure by which man receives the grace of God.

“This” is a neuter word, so it neither refers to “grace” nor to “faith,” because both faith and grace are feminine none. Therefore, it should refer to “have been saved”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All things pertaining to the grace of salvation are of God. Nothing is of our own doing.

2)    The salvation is out of God, not man. It is even a gift granted by God. Therefore, salvation is not something that we can attain by ourselves, nor can we ever deserve to receive.  

3)    Concerning the salvation granted to us, on God’s part, it is entirely of the free grace of God who sends the Lord Jesus to come and save us. On man’s part, we need simply receive by faith.

4)    Strictly speaking, even the “faith” of us is not out of ourselves, but the gift of God, for we can not produce any faith through ourselves and the Lord Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

5)    Faith is the way of receiving grace. All the spiritual realities are touched through faith.

6)    When we begin our Christian life, we do not depend on our own works, but the accomplished salvation of us. Our Christian life from the beginning to the end is all based on the principle of full reliance on the Lord Jesus.

7)    Paul repeated the phrase in verse 5, “by grace you have been saved”. He might fear that we would deal with our difficulties through our own effort. Formerly, we were saved by grace, the continual salvation of us in life is also by grace (2 Cor. 1:10).

8)    How God grants the faith through which we are saved, so that He also grants the faith in our daily life.


Eph. 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

YLT: “not of works, that no one may boast;”

Literal Meaning: the salvation is totally the grace of God and has nothing to do with our conducts. There is nothing we can boast of in the matter of our salvation.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If there is anyone who boasts of being saved, he may have not been truly saved.

2)    Apparently, God does not like man to boast of spiritual things (Jam. 4:6, 1 Pet. 5:6). We should never be like those self-righteous Pharisees who were abandoned by God (Luke 18:9-14).


Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

YLT: “for of Him we are workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God did before prepare, that in them we may walk.”

Meaning of Words: workmanship”: a masterpiece (such as a piece of artwork), a carefully produced product, craftsmanship, and a work of creation; walk”: to walk in, communicate;

Literal Meaning: we” includes all the children of God.

  “Workmanship”, God’s work is to make the great multitude of His children into one church.

“We are His workmanship”, our being saved is entirely the work of God. We have no part in this work, so we are “His workmanship”. This word can also be translated as “masterpiece,” for the Church, wrought by God, is the masterpiece of God among all His creations.

“Created in Christ Jesus”, God gave us His life through Christ Jesus, causing us to be partakers of God’s disposition (2 Pet. 1:4). This is the New Creation of God.

“Created… for good works”, this is what God requires of those who have already been saved. God’s only request for the unbelievers is that they should have faith in Him

“Which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”, it means that we should walk in the will of God, which was prepared for us long before the foundation of the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The church is the masterpiece of God elaborately created by Him. It is the crystal product of God’s wisdom and power. The whole mind of God is occupied in the church, and only the church can satisfy His heart (Is 53:11).

2)    Our God is a working God, for “we are His workmanship”. The most central work of God is to conform us into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). He grants us all kinds of grace for this purpose. Therefore, after we are saved what is most important for us is not what we can do for God, but let God do what He desires to do on us.

3)    The mission of the church is to do the “good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. This “good” is not the good in the moral concept of man, but the “good” in the will of God, that is to live out, manifest, and testify the fullness of the God Who fills all in all.

4)    What God request of the unbelievers is simply to believe, not to do good works. However, to those who are have already been saved, God asks them to do “good works”.

5)    The Church need not necessarily do good works in the sight of men, but must do what God wants us to do.

6)    To do “good works” is not the premise for our salvation, but the result after we are saved.

7)    “Good works are not an incidental work for Christians, but a certain part of the eternal plan of God for His people ---- this is the purpose of God who had early predetermined to save us.

8)    Good works” of Christians are an acknowledgement of the grace given by God. We have known that God has given us the best Life, so we have to live in and manifest this Life.

9)    The phrase “that we should walk in” in this verse matches to the phrase “in which you once walked” in verse two. Formerly, we were dead spiritually and walked in death accordingly. However, we are now alive in Christ, so we ought to walk in Life. Man died firstly, and then sinned. Likewise, man has also been made alive firstly, and then does “good works”.

10)  “Walk in the good works”. ---- Good works” are simply Christ Himself. The purpose of God’s works is Christ. No matter what kind of occupation, we believers are all doing the works of God and should walk in the good works in the sight of God.

11)  Though a lot of men serve God, they are not truly doing the works of God. What kind of service that God really delights in is that all the intentions, motives, and goals are wholly for Christ. Christ should be the head in all our service and work.


Eph. 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--

YLT: “Wherefore, remember, that ye once the nations in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands,”

Meaning of Words: remember”: recall, thought of; “in the flesh”: to do things according to the flesh; by hands”: done by hands, do things by human hands; “called”: was entitled, was told to;

The Background: circumcision was a mark that God had ever established the covenant of God with Abraham because of his faith. It was also a ceremony that all of Abraham’s descendants throughout all of his following generations would keep (Gen. 17:9-14), which had become a distinguishing mark between them and the nations. For this reason, circumcision had become a proof that the Jews were different from all the nations in the flesh, indicating that the Jews were the chosen people of God.

Literal Meaning: “Gentiles”: all the people who are not Jews.

“Uncircumcision”: it is a disparaging term used by the Jews to call the Gentiles.

“Circumcision”: the Jews;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The difference between believers and unbelievers does not lie in the physical marks.

2)    Religious men like to use the outward physical marks to distinguish themselves from others and despise those who have no such marks.

3)    The outward physical circumcision is not the real circumcision. True circumcision is “of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter” (Rom. 2:28-29).


Eph. 2:12 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.

YLT: “that ye were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world;”

Meaning of Words: without”: having no share, separated, become estranged, and isolated; commonwealth”: citizen, nationality; “being aliens”: negligently separated, estranged, divergent; covenant”: will, agreement; “strangers”: outlander;

Literal Meaning: were without Christ”: Christ is “Messiah” in the original, literally meaning “the Anointed One of God. The Jews hoped for the coming of the Messiah, but Gentiles has no such hope.

“Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”, the Israelites are the people of God as well as a nation reigned by God. Therefore, the phrase “aliens from” indicates that the Gentiles do not have the authority, blessings, government and the presence of God outside the kingdom of Him.

“Covenants of the promise”, it referred to the covenant that God made with the children of Israel, through which man might freely receive the blessings of God. For example, the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen. 15:17-21), the covenant made through Moses (Ex. 19:5), and the covenant with David (2 Sam. 7) and etc.

“Strangers”, it means that this matter has nothing to do with them, who have no portion of the promise.

“Having no hope”, it indicates that all the hope in the life of unbelievers is empty and deceitful.

“Without God”, it means that they do not know the only true God. They have neither portion of nor relationship with God and all that He has.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men in the world should have the relationship with Christ by receiving the salvation of Christ through faith.

2)    The “covenants” have a promise as well we responsibilities. Many Christians only care for the promise, but overlook the responsibilities.

3)    God is the hope of mankind. Men who are without God have no hope, and their ultimate end is vanity of vanity. God is the hope for those who believe Him. His riches is our riches, His glory is our glory – What a “hope of glory”! (Col. 1:27).


Eph. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

YLT: “and now, in Christ Jesus, ye being once afar off became nigh in the blood of the Christ,”

The Background: the Jews thought that God abides in the temple and entering the temple was their privilege. Since the Gentiles were distant from Jerusalem the temple, they were also distant from God. For this reason, the Jews called the Gentiles, “those who were far off.”

Literal Meaning: you who once were far off”, it indicates that the Gentiles are distant from the Jews in the flesh, and are distant from God in spirit.

“By the blood of Christ”, there is no difference between the Gentiles and the Jews in the receiving of the salvation ---- by the blood of Christ Jesus.

“Have been brought near”, on one hand, the Gentiles are brought near to God. On the other hand, they are also brought near to those who are in Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    How precious the blood of Christ is! It has abolished the separation between God and man ---- the sin, thus opening the way for us who once were distant from God to draw near to God with boldness and confidence (Heb. 10:19).

2)    That we have been brought to draw near to God on one hand depends on the blood of Christ, on the other hand, depends on the position of being in Christ, Who is the way (Jn. 14:6). Without Christ, no man can come to the God Father.

3)    After we are saved, we can not only draw near to God, but also approach all those who are of God. If we do not feel intimate with the children of God, we may have not lived in the life of God (1 Jn. 5:1).


Eph. 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

YLT: “for he is our peace, who did make both one, and the middle wall of the enclosure did break down,”

Meaning of Words: peace”: tranquility, safety (it has the meaning of “being bundled together”); made both”: the two hostile sides; made both one”: made one, to become one; “broken down”: destroy; separation”: the closure, blockage;

The Background: the Jews were always hostile to the Gentiles, and it was manifested in the matter of the temple ---- the temple in Jerusalem had a “high wall”, which was used to separate the Holy Temple and the court of the Gentiles. Besides, there is a sign on the door written: “The Gentiles are forbidden. He who trespasses will be put to death.”

Literal Meaning: “He Himself is our peace”. Not only is there no peace between the Jews and the Gentiles, but it was also of no possibility for them to be in harmony. However, since Christ Himself has become the factor of peace between them, they now have peace because of Him.

“Who has made both one”, the Jews and the Gentiles have become one now in Christ.

“The middle wall of separation”, it refers to the various ordinances in the laws of the Old Testament (v. 15), which separated the Jews from the Gentiles. For the Jews thought they were the people who kept the laws (of God given through Moses), thus having a strong sense of superiority over the Gentiles. This wall has been destroyed by the Lord Jesus now!

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “For He Himself is our peace”. ---- What sweet words! Only through Christ, there will be peace between the holy God and the filthy sinners, and between the Jews and the Gentiles who have hostility throughout generations. Without Christ, there will be no peace.

2)    Christ is the only factor of peace in the midst of so numerous people. Without Him, there will be no peace among us.

3)    Apart from the Lord, all the peace is all false and transient. If we want to have the genuine and permanent peace, we should exalt Him, love Him, highly value the fellowship with Him and consider Him as the one we love most. All the hostility and separation will be immediately dissolved. All the efforts and works of seeking peace outside Him are of vanity.

4)    In the old corrupted men, there are certain things that block the fellowship with God, which must be destroyed and eliminated.


Eph. 2:15 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 from the two, thus making peace,

YLT: “the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace,”

Meaning of Words: abolished”: invalidated, canceled; “enmity”: mutual hostility; create”: to create into; “new”: a new variety, a new nature, something entirely new that has never been seen before.

Literal Meaning: in His flesh”, it refers to the crucifixion of the Lord in the flesh, through which He had broken down the middle wall of separation and abolished the enmity.

“The law of the commandments contained in ordinances”, the children of Israel’s refer to their laws and regulations in serving God as ordinances, such as the sacrifices, the festivals, fasting and etc. These are the essential factors that make them special, and also the cause of the enmity between them and the Gentiles. Each ordinance is taken as a commandment. Commandments also carry the laws, which confine the Jews within and close out the Gentiles.

“So as to”, it speaks of the purpose for the abolition of the enmity ---- His purpose in the positive aspect.

“Create… one new man”, the “new man” does not refer to several individuals who have been saved in Christ, but the Jews and all the Gentile believers, namely, the church. The church is thenew man” created by God, a race that has never existed before in the world.

Thus making peace, since we have become one new man in Christ, there is no reason for any dispute or conflict. This peace also includes peace between God and man.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Thenew man” of God is entirely new and must be new. All that is of the old man has no part in thenew man.”

2)    In the old man, there are differences in race, nationality, ethnicity, language, locality, social classes, gender and etc, so it is very difficult to find peace. If we expect peace, we must live in the new man.

3)    All the divisions within the Church are caused by the old man. If we refuse to deal with the old man but expect to have this “peace”, it will be tantamount to trying to “catch fish by climbing a tree.”


Eph. 2:16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

YLT: “and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity in it,”

Meaning of Words: putting to death”: extinguished till total disappearance, eliminate, kill, and destroy;

Literal Meaning: in one body”, it does not refer to the physical body of Jesus, but His mysterious spiritual body, which is comprised of the Jews and Gentiles who have believed Christ.

“Reconciled… to God”, “reconcile” means being peaceful, equal, worthy of, and harmonious. Man can not reconcile to God by nature, nor can be worthy of God. The salvation of the cross has resolved the problems between God and man, and thus men are reconciled with God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      Peace accomplished by the cross has two aspects ---- one is to bring peace to the Jews and the Gentiles, and the other it to make the entire human beings be reconciled with God through our Lord Jesus.

2)      The significance of the cross is to bring peace between God and man, and also among men themselves. Therefore, there are two kinds of great fellowship in the church of God ---- fellowship among men themselves, and fellowship between God and man. When we have smooth fellowship with God, we will naturally have good fellowship with men.

3)      Only those who are willing to be crucified with Christ and those who are willing to crucify all things and reject them, can have part in the church of God.


Eph. 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

YLT: “and having come, he did proclaim good news -- peace to you -- the far-off and the nigh,”

Literal Meaning: preached peace”, it does not mean the Lord preached the gospel on the earth, but after His resurrection, He preached the gospel of peace to all the people of the whole earth through the apostles and the church.

“You who were afar off”, it refers to the distant Gentiles.

“Those who were near”, it referred to the Jews who were near.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      Peace with man is the result of having peace with God.

2)      Not only those “who were afar off” need to receive Grace from God, but also those “who were near”.

3)      Good communion with man is very important, for it is a proof of good fellowship with God. If the situation of the church is not good, it is because of the lack of fellowship among the saints. Contrarily, if we are willing to receive the peace done by the cross, the church will be greatly revived.


Eph. 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

YLT: “because through him we have the access -- we both -- in one Spirit unto the Father.”

The Background: access”, a word used in old times, was usually used to describe a person who was brought before God to be consecrated for the holy service. This word was also used when a man brought a person who would be presented before the emperor. In fact, in ancient Persian royal government, there was a kind of government official’s title which was similar to the word “access” ---- his function was to introduce the person who came to the court to pay respect to the king.

Literal Meaning: by one Spirit”, all the works of Christ on us is accomplished through the Holy Spirit.

“Access… to the Father”, the usage of the “Father” here is to emphasize that God is the source of our life. That we can have access to the Father is due to the selection of God the Father, the accomplishments of the Son, and the working of the Spirit. Now God sees us as a blameless person without any problem.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)      The more a person lives in the spirit, the more will he realize the preciousness of the life, the efficacy of the blood and the power of the cross of Christ.

2)      The church is the place where man can approach God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. The church must have the living presence of Christ as well as the Holy Spirit.

3)      Our privilege of approaching God is a priceless blessing. We can come before God at anytime, bring our difficulties, problems, loneliness, and anxieties to Him and pour out our heart upon Him and ask for His guidance.


Eph. 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

YLT: “Then, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God,”

Meaning of Words: “stranger”: host; “foreigner”: sojourner who has no civil rights; “fellow citizens”: men who have the same nationality;

Literal Meaning: fellow citizens with the saints”, citizens of the kingdom of God where God reigns. The purpose of God is to save us into His kingdom to enjoy all the rights of the kingdom of God and take all the responsibilities of His kingdom.

“Members of the household of God”, this house is the church of God (1 Tim 3:15). Believers in Christ have a sense of belonging among them in the church, namely, an intimate relationship of life and enjoy the peace and warmth of the household of God. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Household pertains to the matter of life, and citizenship refers to the matter of authority. In the house, we enjoy, but in the kingdom we shall bear responsibilities.

2)    The true growth of us in life starts from life to the authority.

3)    The kingdom is where we are safeguarded, while the household is where we find rest. Once we are saved, we enter into both God’s kingdom and His household. We should treasure this position rather than leave neither the kingdom of God nor the house of Him.

4)    We Christians should neither be visitors in the church, nor enjoy the service from others only, but do duties of the household.

5)    If we forsake the self-centeredness, we will then realize the goodness of the spiritual life in the household of God which He has prepared for us.


Eph. 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

YLT: “being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being chief corner-,”

Meaning of Words: built on”: construction, structure; “foundation: foundation stone; “cornerstone”: a stone strategically placed to holds two walls together;

The Background: when the Jews built a house and laid the foundation, they would firstly place a piece of stone called “cornerstone” in the outermost corner. The cornerstone was usually a huge stone at the corner position which is used to connect the walls, thus supporting and stabilizing the whole construction.

Literal Meaning: the foundation of the apostles and prophets”, it refers to the truth and teachings witnessed by the apostles and prophets, which is the foundation of building the church. Strictly speaking, the truth and teachings witnessed by the apostles and prophets are none other than Christ Himself.

“Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”, Christ Jesus is a rock to those who trust in Him. He is the one who keeps us. He is the cornerstone and also the chief stone. He is reliable and has been tried. He is the One who connects us so that we may be built together into the dwelling place of God in Spirit.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The church is built on the basis of Holy Bible left by the apostles and the prophets, not the opinions of men.

2)    The testimony borne by the church shall neither be more than the testimonies borne by the apostles and prophets, nor less than what had they done.

3)    Christ is the “cornerstone” of the church. All those who are out of every tribe and every tongue in the church have been united in Christ. We must regard Christ as the ultimate intention concerning all things.

4)    To be built” implies that we can neither be independent nor rely on our own selection, but serve the Lord with the other brothers and sisters together according to the arrangement of the Lord.

5)    If the “building has not been complete, it is absolutely not a house. If the church wants to be the “temple” of the Lord, we must be built up.


Eph. 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

YLT: “in whom all the building fitly framed together doth increase to an holy sanctuary in the Lord,”

Literal Meaning: being fitted together”, fitted refers to the joints that join the bones together; “being fitted together”: being joined together by the joints, being knit together.

“Grows into”, it refers to the continual and gradual growth. “Grows into”, it means becoming something due to the gradual growth. We Christians are living stones (1 Pet. 2:5), so we shall be grown up. When each stone is growing, the whole church will be grown up.

“Holy Temple”, it is a holy building. This temple is holy and is worthy of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “In Whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord”. Obviously, the building of the church is the growth of the stature of Christ. This is not a matter of method, but a matter of the growth of life.

2)    Only as we allow the life of God to grow freely within us, can we have the true building of the church.

3)    “Being” implies that the building of the church is still going on. God has not finished His work, but still works in the church until His will is fully attained.

4)    “In Whom the whole building, being fitted together” indicates that the children of God should have the normal relationship with the Lord so that they will have the normal relationship with other saints.

5)    The “whole building” is also translated “each building.” The church is united as one in order to glorify God on the same purpose. Though each part of the building has its own function, the whole does not damage the parts, and the parts do not hinder the whole. This is the amazing reality of the church.

6)    “Holy Temple in the Lord” indicates that the church is of the Lord. Christians usually make the mistake of not devoting the church unto the Lord, but taking the church as something of their own.

7)    The holy Temple is the place for praying and worshiping God. If the church becomes a place for social intercourse, it will lose its nature of “holy” temple.

8)    The Church is a living organism, so it can grow.

9)    If believers are not fitted together, they will not grow in grace.


Eph. 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

YLT: “in whom also ye are builded together, for a habitation of God in the Spirit.”

Literal Meaning: in the Spirit”, God communes with us in the Spirit. “Dwelling place of God”, it refers to the holy temple, i.e. the holy house, in the previous verse.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The significance of a “dwelling place” is the rest. The church must let God find rest, and thus it will be counted as the residence of God.

2)    How much God rests in the church is determined by the extent to which how much we let the Spirit work in the church.

3)    If any of the building material has not been used in the building work, it is of little worth and can never be built in the house. We believers should be built so that we will fulfill the function of us.

4)    Anything in the church must rely on Christ. Without Christ, there is no real building work to speak of.

5)    Spiritual” is the basic principle of this spiritual palace. We should bring the worldly concepts, styles, methods into the church, which will eventually cause the church to become a social organization.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The State of believers before they are saved

A.  Who were dead in trespasses and sins (v.1)

B.  Who walked according to the course of this world (v.2)

C.  Who walked according to the prince of the power of the air (v.2)

D.  Who conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh (v.3)

E.  Who fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind (v.3)

F.   Who were by nature children of wrath (v.3)

G.  Who were without Christ (v.12)

H.  Who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (v.12)

I.     Who were strangers from the covenants of promise (v.12)

J.   Who had no hope in the world (v.12)

K.  Who were without God (v.12)


The Four Stages of Grace

A.  Dead: “dead in trespasses and sins (v.1)” ---- lying ---- who has no life

B.  Alive: “made us alive together with Christ (v.5)” ---- alive ---- who has life

C.  Be raised: “raised us up together (v.6)” ---- living ---- who has a living life

D.  Sit: “made us sit together in the heavenly places (v.6)” ---- rest ---- who lives the heavenly life


Things Concerning the Salvation

A.  The premise of being saved ---- “by grace” (v.8)

B.  The way of being saved ---- “through faith” (v.8)

C.  The savior ---- “Christ” (v.10)

D.  The purpose of being saved ---- “lest anyone should boast” (v.9)


The Knowledge of the Salvation

A.  The necessity of the salvation ---- dead, the sons of disobedience and the children of wrath (v.1-3)

B.  The reason of the salvation ---- the mercy of God, the great love of God and grace (v.5-7)

C.  The content of the salvation ---- alive, raise and sit in the heaven (v.5-6)

D.  The premise of the salvation ---- Christ and faith (v.7-9)

E.  The purpose of the salvation ---- glorify God and walk in the will of God (v.10)


The Being of Christ

A.  Our partner (v.6)

B.  Our savior (v.10)

C.  Our redeemer (v.13)

D.  Our peace (v.14)

E.  Our cornerstone (v.20)


The Jewish and Gentile Believers

A.  Who once were far off have been brought near (v.13)

B.  Who once had enmity have peace (v.14)

C.  Who once were separated have been made one (v.14)

D.  Who have made both one:

1.  One new man (v.15)

2.  In one body (v.16)

3.  Have access by one Spirit (v.18)

4.  Be fellow citizens (v.19)

5.  Be members of the household of God (v.19)

6.  Be built together for a holy temple and a dwelling place of God (v.21-22)


The Essence of the Church

A.  Which is of the resurrection (v.6)

B.  Which is of the heaven (v.6)

C.  Which is of the spirit (v.18)

D.  Which is of the new creation (v.15)


The Status of the Church

A.  In Christ (v.10)

B.  In the heavenly place (v.6)


The Functions of the Church

A.  Do gook works prepared by God (v.10)

B.  Be the dwelling place of God (v.22)


The Sevenfold Effects Caused Through Christ on us

A.  Be brought near by the blood of Christ (v.14)

B.  Be reconciled through the cross (v.16)

C.  Be raised through the resurrection of Christ (v.6)

D.  Be the sons through the Spirit (v.18)

E.  Be fellow citizens with the saints (v.19)

F.   Be the holy temple by the cornerstone (v.20-21)

G.  Sit together in the heavenly places (v.6)


The Kindness in Christ for us

A.  The situation before our being saved (v.1-3):

1.  Who were dead in trespasses and sins

2.  Who walked according to the course of this world

3.  Who obeyed the devil

4.  Who conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh

B.  The situation after our being saved (v.5-6):

1.  God made us alive together with Christ

2.  God raised us up together with Christ

3.  God made us sit together with Christ

C.  The purpose after our being saved:

1.  Show the exceeding riches of God’s grace to the coming ages (v.7)

2.  Do good works that God has prepared for us (v.10)

D.  The condition of our being saved

1.  The rich mercy and great love of God (v.4,7)

2.  The faith of men (v.8)


The Status in Christ

A.   The status before our being saved ---- without Christ (v.11-12)

1.    Uncircumcision (v.11)

2.    Without Christ (v.12)

3.    Being aliens from the promise (v.12)

4.    Have no hope (v.12)

5.    Without God (v.12)

B.   The present status ---- in Christ:

1.    Christ is our peace ---- we are reconciled with both God and men (v.14-15)

2.    Be members of the household of God

3.    Be a new man ---- in one body (v.15-16)

4.    Be fellow citizens ---- share the same promise (v.19)

5.    Become a holy temple in the Lord ---- a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (v.21-22)

C.   The key to this transformation ---- the cross:

1.    Christ is our peace (v.13-14)

2.    We are changed by Christ (v.15-16)

D.   The building of the new man ---- the manifestation of the testimony

1.    One body

2.    One new man

3.    One holy kingdom

4.    One household of God

5.    One holy temple


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Overcomer Wu & Mary Zhou