Theme: From Alienation to Restoration

In this passage, Paul applies the truths from verses 1-10 to a specific problem in the church he wrote to: disunity among those who were already made one in Christ.


Main Sections:

We were always Enemies of God (verses 11-12).
The Ephesian church experienced two types of alienation. The first was communal estrangement: The cultural community of the Jews had great disdain for Gentiles, but this was not to be the heart of those Jews who were now Christians.

Spiritual: The Gentiles had been “separate from Christ,” with no true King to govern them. They had been “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel,” not part of God’s plan for Israel. They were “strangers to the covenants of promise” given through Abraham and David. They had “no hope” because true hope only comes from God and through His promises. They were “without God in the world.”

We are now a Spiritual Family in Christ (verses 13-18) .
When we are saved, we’re placed into God’s family together with all other people who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, regardless of culture, nation, or background. We no longer want to be defined by what we came from. We are all loved the same; there is no favoritism with God.

Two virtues become realities in the family of God: a settled heart and a new environment. Note how many times “peace” is used in these verses. God’s intent for His family is not just proximity but togetherness. This word for “new” refers to something of a different kind. When God takes both Jew and Gentile and makes them one, it is something the world has never seen before!

As members of God’s family, we enjoy a new environment in prayer. What a privilege it is to talk to God as a father! We could never have access to God without the mediator of Jesus Christ or the Spirit who underpins the ministry of the Son.

Three Metaphors for our Restoration (verses 19-22):
Citizens of a Heavenly Realm – We are no longer primarily Jews, Gentiles, Americans, or any other label. We are Christians and have a higher citizenship (Philippians 3:20).
Members of a Divine Household – God wants us even closer than citizens of His kingdom. We are called children of God along with Christ.
Stones in God’s Temple – Christ is the chief cornerstone; the Word given through the prophets and apostles forms the foundation; and each stone is fitted together and perfectly arranged according to God’s blueprint.

Application Points

  • Where do you place your identity? Is it located in a social or cultural group? How can you find your identity in Christ above anything else?
  • Labels from our past don’t matter anymore when we are saved. Is there any enmity in your heart towards a fellow believer? Ask the Holy Spirit to work His unity in your heart so you can work it out in our local church. This is God’s design for His people!
  • Prayer is a privilege to be exercised privately and together. Do you make regular, focused time to talk with your Heavenly Father? How can you practice this in your life? Do you meet with your spiritual family to pray? God ordains the local church to sustain us spiritually. Praying together is crucial to our unity as a body.
  • Each stone in God’s Temple is precisely placed and expertly fitted. That means God puts you exactly where you are for a reason! Our placement is not of our own will but God’s, and He has a divine purpose for you here. Do you know it? Are you living it out?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:

  • James 2:1-7, Colossians 3:19, Philippians 4:2-3, Acts 15:37-39, 2 Timothy 4:10, Matthew 18:15-20, Galatians 6, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 – Sinful separation even in the church and how to resolve it.
  • Romans 2:28-29, John 4:1-42, Romans 4:9-12, Ezekiel 11:19-20 – God cares not about externals but the heart.
  • Genesis 12-15 – God’s covenant promises to Abraham.
  • Jeremiah 31 – The new covenant.
  • Psalm 146:5 – Hope comes from God’s promises.
  • Romans 1:19-20 – Gentile separation from God.
  • James 4:1-3 – The source of disunity is sin.
  • Isaiah 9:6 – One of Jesus’ names is Peace.
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus as our Mediator.
  • Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8:15 – We too are sons with Christ.
  • Hebrews 2:11, Romans 8:17 – We have been taken into God’s household.
  • Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22-23, Matthew 21:42 – God’s Temple.

A Hymn to Encourage: “Like a River Glorious”

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day;
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed,
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.