Ephesians 2:12 by Robert Dean
What is the purpose of baptism in the Christian life? Listen to this lesson to learn that it is not a part of being saved but is an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Hear a history of baptism in the church and how Bible translators added at times to the confusion. Find out if “old man” refers to our sin nature. Hear two out of five characteristics of Gentiles before the Church Age. Let this lesson remind you how much God has given all believers during this dispensation.
Series:Ephesians (2018)
Duration:50 mins 49 secs

Gentile Deficits
Ephesians 2:12
Ephesians Series #67
May 24, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Opening Prayer

“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity we have to study Your Word. As the psalmist said, it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Father we’re thankful that You illuminate our thinking by the truth of Your Word.

“Father, as we study today, help us to learn to appreciate the manifold grace that You have bestowed upon us as Gentiles who are now joined together with Jews in the body of Christ, because of all that Christ did. And living in this unique Church Age where we experience this incredible number of blessings that is the focus of Paul’s writing here in Ephesians.

“Father, we ask that You illuminate our thinking, challenge us in application as we study these things this morning. In Christ’s name, amen.”

Slide 2

Open your Bibles to Ephesians 2:12. In this verse we will be studying Gentile deficits. These are problems that the Gentiles have. Early in the chapter in Ephesians 2:1, he described the Gentiles as being:

“… dead in their trespasses and sins, in which they once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.”

We saw that this idea of being spiritually dead is defined in Ephesians 4:18, “having their understanding darkened, being—or because (a causal participle there) they were—alienated from the life of God.”

The term “alienated” is one that we will also see in Ephesians 2:12, but here it is used a little differently: alienated from the covenants of promise.

Slide 3

Ephesians 2:11–13, the opening introduction to the next section, is setting the stage for this new entity, this new organism called the church.

Ephesians 2:11 has been the topic of our study in the previous weeks, “Therefore, remember that you—then he introduces this parenthetical thought—once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—”

Then he returns to his main line of thought in Ephesians 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.”

We studied through the previous verse. Paul wants them to remember something, “Therefore remember …” and he wants them to focus on what they were in the past. This is not just in the past before they were saved, but it is what they were as this class of people known as the Gentiles.

The Gentiles had a different status in God’s plan prior to this present Church Age. As Gentiles, they were uncircumcised. The Jews looked down on them, not early on in the early period of the Age of Israel, but later.

After the return from Babylon during the intertestamental period—between the Old Testament and the New Testament—there arose religious groups and religious parties in Israel who emphasized God’s blessing to the Jews through the Covenant of Abraham. The sign of the covenant was circumcision; so therefore, they became arrogant and prideful and conceited.

This is an extremely wrong attitude, and they began to look at circumcision as having a salvific value, that is, the blood that was shed in circumcision had a redemptive value to it. So they were placing their salvation on the basis of works—that is, the works of this particular ritual.

Slide 4

Last time when we looked at what the Bible teaches about circumcision, we saw that it was a physical rite, a physical ritual that was the sign or the symbol of the Abrahamic Covenant. The purpose for circumcision was to indicate something that was separated unto God, something that was distinct, something that was unique. It had a greater significance, a spiritual symbolic significance. It was emphasized in several passages that it represented a circumcision of the heart.

Slide 5

We looked at Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16; and Deuteronomy 30:6 because these passages in the midst of the Law are talking about the real significance of circumcision. It symbolized the removal of something, so that someone would live a life in obedience to God’s Word.

Slide 6

Leviticus 26:41, “… and that I also have walked contrary to them …”

This is God speaking; Leviticus 26 is the context of the fifth cycle of discipline. So ‘them’ are the disobedient Israelites, and He would walk contrary to them. That’s bringing discipline and judgment into the nation: He would disperse them in the fifth cycle of discipline, which is the meaning of the next line,

“… and have brought them into the land of their enemies.”

Then God says, “… if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled …”

That means that as disobedient Israelites, they were arrogant, they had rejected God, but it turned to idolatry. We know now that in the fifth cycle of discipline that came upon Israel, they hadn’t turned to the physical idolatry that you find in the ancient world, but it was a spiritual idolatry, a mental idolatry.

Many Jews today have rejected God: they are atheists, they are secularists, they are agnostic, they have no interest whatsoever in the things of God or in the Bible. They look at being Jewish as something that is completely related to just an ethnic heritage.

They need to humble themselves under the hand of God. This is what God is saying here, “… if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled ….” It indicates the ultimate problem is really arrogance and refusal to accept their guilt.

Slide 8

They have to have a circumcised heart, referred to in Deuteronomy 10:16. I looked a little bit at the context last time where God is telling them to be obedient to Him and to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Slide 7

At the conclusion to that long section God says, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart …” Using that imagery from physical circumcision to indicate the removal of something; that is, the removal of their arrogance and in that place being humble to God.

Slide 9

In Deuteronomy 30:6, God talks about how in the future, when He brings them back to the land, He “… will circumcise their heart and the heart their descendants …”

Remember that circumcision of the heart emphasizes separation unto God and obedience to God. But how it is manifested and the secondary characteristics of it are going to be different in each dispensation.

Slide 10

In the Church Age dispensation it is also true of believers, but it is connected to the baptism by the Holy Spirit, which I just touched on briefly last time.

Colossians 2:11, “In Him—that is, in Christ; thus related to a positional reality or our legal position before God—In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands …”

This indicates that it is past tense, it is true of every believer there in Colossae, and it therefore happened at the time that they were saved. So it was related to all of the different things that God does for us at the time of salvation.

But it is further described in the next phrase, “… by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh …” So that spiritual circumcision—circumcision of the heart—is something that occurs at the instant of salvation. It is something that is related to the removal of the body of the sins of the flesh.

Now that doesn’t refer to the removal of the sin nature, but the power of the sin nature, for every believer still struggles with sin nature day in and day out, and much more so than we admit to ourselves or that we often realize. “The circumcision made without hands” is related to this event that occurs in the removal of the tyranny or the power of the sin nature.

Slide 11

There’s one passage that clarifies this, Romans 6:4–6, which is clearly talking about baptism. Baptism is a word that does not inherently mean getting wet. Baptism is a word that indicates identification with something for a purpose. Often it was an act that occurred at the beginning of something.

There are secular uses of the word “baptism.” For example, the verb was used to indicate the action by which a recruit—a hoplite in the Greek army—once he got out of basic training, would immerse or dip his sword or spear into a bucket of blood in order to identify it with blood—that he was ready to go and fight and to take the life of the enemy.

It is a physical act. In some cases, it involves immersion, but it symbolizes something, and that’s what’s important. It’s identification with something that usually occurs at the beginning of something.

Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him—that is, with Christ—through baptism into death …”

The reason there is so much confusion over this:

By the 14th to 16th century, you had a few English translations of the Bible coming about. If you go back far enough, you come to Alfred the Great who was a great Saxon king of England, who translated the Psalms and some other portions of the Old Testament from Hebrew into the English of that day. He was a scholar, he knew Hebrew, and he was a very godly man. He was a believer, and we will get to meet him when we go to Heaven.

Later John Wycliffe founded a movement of men who were preaching the gospel throughout England, known as Lollards. He was engaged in translating the Bible into the language of the people. He died, but he was later declared a heretic, and the Roman Catholic Church had his remains dug up, and his remains were burned at the stake because he was a heretic. Such superstitious silliness in the Middle Ages!

Because the early church had shifted from a literal understanding of baptism as immersion into water to the idea of sprinkling, that caused great problems. Also, baptism shifted from believer’s baptism at the time of faith in Christ, changing to infant baptism. It was connected with citizenship in the state, so that if you were baptized, you were a good citizen of the state.

The state was a Christian state, so all of these other things got all messed up with baptism. So that by the time you get into the 1500s when people like William Tyndale are translating the Bible, rather than translating it as immersion, which would cause a huge eruption, because at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, you had the rise of the Anabaptists—a term that means to be baptized again.

With the rise of the Anabaptists, they were saying “No, no, no, infant baptism is wrong. Sprinkling is wrong. This association with the state and citizenship in the state is all wrong. There is a separation of church and state, and baptism must be by immersion, and it must be at the time of one’s faith in Christ.”

This was seen as a political act at the time, and there was a great hostility to these Anabaptists. When they started up in Switzerland in the area of Zürich under the teaching ministry of Ulrich Zwingli, he rejected their ideas, and in fact, they were arrested and executed. This was a real problem.

To avoid those problems, Tyndale and others transliterated the word from BAPTIZO in the Greek to baptism or baptize in the English. That way he avoided the problem of using a translation of immersion and getting caught up in all of the problem with the Anabaptists. To this day, we have this transliterated word, and people are still confused about baptism.

Here baptism isn’t a baptism into water; it is a spiritual baptism, an identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We could translate this to get the sense,

“Therefore we were buried with Him through spiritual identification with His death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

It’s looking at the physical act of baptism by immersion, and that the immersion is an identification with death which pictures the reality of the spiritual baptism, which was an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection—being raised to new life.

His point is that at that instant of salvation, when we’re identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, we are given new life; we are raised to new life. There are certain realities associated with that new life.

Romans 6:5–6, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death—through the Holy Spirit baptism—certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man”—that refers to all that we were before we were saved. It’s not referring to the sin nature; the sin nature was not crucified with Christ. The old man—all that we were as a spiritually dead person—is crucified with Christ, identified with Christ.

“…that the body of sin—now that’s the sin nature—that the body of sin might be done away with.”

Many people think the old man is the sin nature, but the problem with that is: let me read it this way, “that our old sin nature was crucified with Him that the old sin nature might be done away with.” That doesn’t make sense! Because if the old sin nature was crucified with Him, then why does it still need to be done away with?

That’s why these are two different terms. The old man refers to all that we were as a spiritually dead unbeliever. We’re crucified with Him, identified with Him in His death, burial and resurrection, so that our sins are paid for and they are no longer the issue. For the purpose that in the future in our spiritual life and spiritual growth, the actions of the sin nature would be done away with, because what happens is the power, the tyranny of the sin nature over us is broken.

Once saved, we have the option to live unto Christ, to live and follow Him and not just simply follow the dictates of our sin nature. Because a spiritually dead person has only one option, and that’s to live according to the dictates of the sin nature. For the spiritually dead person, everything they do, no matter how good it is, no matter how kind it is, no matter how wonderful they are, everything comes from their sin nature.

But once we are saved, that old man, all that we were, is crucified with Christ. The power of the sin nature is then broken, in order that we can do away with it as we live unto God through our spiritual growth and spiritual life, so that we will no longer enslave ourselves to the sin nature.

Notice in Romans 6:4–6 that in this idea of doing away with the body of sin, we no longer live according to sin, and we’re to walk in the newness of life.

Slide 12

We’re going to connect this to Galatians 3:26–29. Let me give you a little background. In Galatians the problem is, there were a group of people who historically have been called Judaizers. They were like the Pharisees. Some of them were probably believers, but they had forgotten what grace was.

They said you had to obey the law, especially circumcision, in order to either (a) be saved or (b) live the spiritual life. They were introducing this legalistic ritual observance as necessary for both salvation and also the spiritual life.

Paul addresses the Galatians because they’ve gotten all confused with this. Galatians 3:26, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” That’s all that’s necessary: faith alone in Christ alone.

He explains it further, Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized—or identified with—into Christ …” You’re identified with His death, burial and resurrection, Romans 6:4–6, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Something else that happens at that instant of salvation: we’re identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. That is called “putting on Christ.”

Galatians 3:28, because we’re in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ.”

The context here is talking about those who are trying to convince them to come back under the Mosaic Law where—go back to what you’ve learned about the tabernacle and the temple—women could only go so far into the temple. They could go further than Gentiles. Gentiles had to stop at a certain point, and we will look into this when we get to Ephesians 2:14, because there it talks about the wall of separation.

They discovered this wall of separation, soreg in Hebrew. Gentiles could go that far and no further; women could go further into the court of the women, but they couldn’t go any further.

Only free males could enter into the inner courtyard, the court of the men, in the tabernacle and worship God. So, there were limitations on slaves, limitations on women, limitations on Gentiles.

Paul is saying here that in Christ there are no limitations. We are all in our priesthood. We all have equal access to God. He is not saying that the physical distinctions have been eradicated. Jews are still Jews, Gentiles are still Gentiles, ethnically. Slaves are still slaves. That is why Onesimus had to be freed from Philemon. They are still male or female.

Galatians 3:28b–29, “… for you all are one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed—not physically—according to the promise.”

There’s our phrase, which will be significant in our passage in Ephesians 2:12 in understanding that Gentiles prior to the Church Age were alienated and separated from the promise of God. They could be saved, but that promise was given to the Jews, not to the Gentiles.

Slide 13

Ephesians 2:12, “… that at that time—that is, at the time when they were spiritually distinct from Israel, when they were the uncircumcised, when they were a category of person that was not the same as the Gentiles. “… 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.”

There are some who have taken this in different ways, but grammatically we have to look at this in terms of one thing: we have to break it down and look at Paul’s flow of thought here.

Slide 14

Ephesians 2:11, “Therefore” indicates “in light of what I just said,” Ephesians 2:9–11, that we have been saved by grace and not by works. We are a new creation from God’s workmanship, a new work of art that includes Jew and Gentile. It’s not on the basis of works. Circumcision would be a basis of works.

“Therefore …” In light of this, remember … What do they have to remember? It’s indicated by the word “that.” “That” introduces the content of what they are to remember—“… remember that you were once Gentiles in the flesh.”

He is not talking about their salvation, that before you were saved you were a Gentile, now you’re something else. He’s talking about what they were at a particular time, before there was a church, before the church existed in AD 33. The Day of Pentecost, which is the birthdate of the church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, was when they were indwelt, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and were beginning to be filled by means of the Holy Spirit.

Prior to that believers did not have a sanctifying relationship with God the Holy Spirit; that began on the Day of Pentecost. Before that they were Gentiles in the flesh—the Uncircumcision—a class of people.

Paul introduces this parenthetical phrase here in Ephesians 2:11 “—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision made in the flesh by hands—” He starts this thought in Ephesians 2:11, “… remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh,” then reminds them what that means.

In Ephesians 2:12 he comes back and says “that.” It’s the same word used in Ephesians 2:11, and it indicates that he’s picking up this thought again. He’s starting it up again and reminding them of what they were as Gentiles—this class prior to the Church Age—stating in Ephesians 2:12, “that at that time.”

Slide 15

We could paraphrase Ephesians 2:11 this way, “Remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh … The ellipses there represents his parenthetical thought, “… you, once Gentiles in the flesh were without Christ …

Slide 16

Continuing the thought in Ephesians 2:12, “… that at that time you were …”  then he lists five things.

Slide 17

A breakdown of those five things:

1.       Without Christ.

2.       Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.

3.       Strangers from the covenants of promise.

4.       Having no hope.

5.       Without God in the world.

None of this means that they couldn’t be saved. We have many examples in the Old Testament of Gentiles who became saved. Some became proselytes and entered into Judaism, such as Ruth when she married Boaz. There were others like Naaman the Syrian who had leprosy and was healed by Elisha who went back to serve the king of Syria. He continued as a Gentile without becoming a proselyte; he was saved.

Many others in the Old Testament stories were Gentiles who became saved. Some became proselytes. Rahab the harlot is mentioned as marrying a Jew, becoming a proselyte and becoming Jewish.

We see that there is salvation for the Gentiles, but they’re still distinct from the Jews. There are significant differences, and that’s what we are looking at here.

Slide 18

Ephesians 2:12, “… that at that time you were …” At that time” should be underlined here. “At that time” is significant. He is saying that at THAT time, which is identified in the previous verse as when they were once Gentiles in the flesh called Uncircumcision. He’s not just talking about “you Ephesians before you were saved,” he’s talking about a time period that was before they were joined to Christ and could be in Christ. It’s really taking us back to the Age of the Gentiles.

The word there for time is KAIROS, which refers to a time or a period of time, and we get part of that because the verb “you were” is in the imperfect tense in the Greek. And the imperfect tense refers to continual action in past time. So, it’s talking about this class of people called Gentiles who continued through this period of time to be in this position.

Slide 19

All of these things that are listed have to do with the Gentiles being distinct from Israel during the Old Testament. This takes us to an understanding of the ages of civilization and looking at this particular chart because this is a verse that is going to help us to understand the ages in God’s plan, as well as dispensations.

  • Eternity past before God created the heavens and the earth.
  • He created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1.
  • The fall of Satan; then shortly thereafter—this didn’t take eons or anything, is a very short time period between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, is the time when Satan fell.
  • God created Adam and Eve.

There are no Jews. From Adam and Eve until Genesis 12:1 and the call of Abraham, there are only Gentiles. Gentiles didn’t know they were Gentiles. The term “Gentile” doesn’t come into effect until you have Jews, and the Jews called those who weren’t Jews, Gentiles.

This is the Age of the Gentiles. It began with the creation of Adam and Eve and goes until the call of Abram in Genesis 12, which begins the Age of Israel. The Age of Israel is broken down into two dispensations, which we will see later.

The Dispensation of the Patriarchs is the usual term I use. Another term that has been used by dispensationalists is the Dispensation of Promise because that’s when you have the promises given in the Abrahamic Covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It precedes the giving of the Law to Moses, the second dispensation, the Dispensation of the Law. That’s all part of the Age of Israel. The Age of Israel ends at some point at the cross, but technically, it ends on the Day of Pentecost, right after the cross, when the Church Age begins.

The Church Age extends from the Day of Pentecost, AD 33, until the rapture of the church. At the end of the rapture of the church the Holy Spirit is also removed. In 2 Thessalonians He is called the Restrainer, and the restrainer is removed. There will not be any more baptism by the Holy Spirit because baptism by the Spirit is baptism into Christ.

There are some dispensationalists who don’t take the restrainer as the Holy Spirit, but here’s the problem. If you are in the Tribulation and you can still be baptized by the Spirit, then you’re in the church. But you don’t have any Church Age distinctives going on during the Tribulation, which is demonstrated by looking at 2 Thessalonians, as well as Revelation 4–19.

The church is not present during the dispensation of the Tribulation; the Church Age ends with the Rapture. Then Christ’s second coming is after the seven-year Tribulation and the Messianic Age. Then the Great White Throne Judgment; then we go into Eternity Future.

These are the five great ages:

  • The Age of the Gentiles
  • The Age of Israel —God works distinctively through the Jewish people: the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • The Church Age, which is coterminous with the Dispensation of Grace
  • The Messianic Age, which is coterminous with the Millennium
  • Eternity Future

Slide 20

Ephesians 2:12, “that at that time—that is prior to AD 33 on the Day of Pentecost and the beginning of the church—you were—imperfect tense, continual action. All five of these are the objects of that verb—you were without Christ, being alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

Slide 21

The first one: “without Christ.”

I would guess that if you read this and just skimmed through—you’re “without Christ”—you probably thought you weren’t a believer. That would be pretty obvious, but that’s not contextually accurate. It’s talking about the situation prior to AD 30. It is not talking about their individual salvific situation, but as a class of people—the Gentiles. All five of these describing the Gentiles as a class prior to the Church Age.

First of all, they were without Christ. You’ll often hear me say that if you’re not a believer, you are without Christ, without hope and without eternal life. That’s not how Paul is using the term here. It has the idea of being separated from something or apart from something: they were separated from Christ.

The idea is not salvation. Really, we have to understand that Paul is writing in Greek. He uses the Greek word CHRISTOS, which means the Anointed One. But CHRISTOS translates the Hebrew word Mashiach—the Anointed One.

As a class, Gentiles had no Messiah. They had no promises of a Messiah. They had no idea that a Messiah was coming, unless they had some contact with the Jewish people. As a whole they did not have any idea that a Messiah was coming, that God was sending a Messiah. But Israel had a Messianic hope. Paul emphasizes this in other passages, such as in Romans.

Slide 22

In fact, there are several passages that talk about the Jewish privileges that were theirs in the Age of Israel.

Jewish Privileges in Romans

1.       Romans 3:1–2 states that God granted them the privilege of being the custodians of Scripture.

Prior to the call of Abraham, God had worked through the Gentiles, through all of the people from Adam until Noah. We all know what happened: by the time of the flood—the great judgment of God on the face of the earth where He flooded the earth—that during that time God reaches a point—anthropopathically—of exasperation with the human race. He sees how evil they are.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah survived with his wife, his three sons and their wives; when they got off the ark there were eight believers. They give an offering to God. God made a new covenant with Noah that is a revision of the previous Creation Covenant and the Adamic Covenant, which we’ve studied in the “God’s Plan for the Ages” series. Then when He made this covenant with Abraham, He continued to work through all the people.

But what happens? He tells them to scatter over the face of the earth, but they don’t. They collect in cities and in groups, such as in Babel, and they build a tower trying to reach God, and it had profound significance of rebellion against God. They failed to scatter, so God came and saw this rebellion from most of the human race. Instead of judging them by a flood again, he scatters them by giving them different languages—that was the judgment at the tower of Babel.

Because the Gentiles had rejected Him, God works now through one person. He calls one believer out in Genesis 12 to bless him for his faithfulness, and that is Abraham. In Genesis 12:1–3 He outlines the way He is going to bless and provide for Abraham. Genesis 12:7 includes the promise of the land. Again, this is part of the promises that will be mentioned in this passage.

As part of that, God is now going to work only through the Jewish people. He is going to send prophets, He is going to reveal Himself specifically through Scripture, so that all of the Old Testament writings are done by Jews; they are the custodians of the Scripture.

Romans 3:1, “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?”

It isn’t that they’re better than everybody else, so they shouldn’t have become arrogant about it, but they did.

Romans 3:2, “Much in every way! (The profit of being set apart by God through circumcision.) Chiefly because to them was committed the oracles of God.”

God is going to reveal Himself through the Jewish people.

Slide 23

2.       Jews were granted privilege of priority in the apostolic age.

Because they had been the ones who were the custodians of Scripture, because they were the ones through whom the seed of the woman came—that is, through them the Messiah came—they had a priority in the proclamation of the gospel.

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.”

Wherever Paul went, he would first go to the synagogue, go through the Old Testament passages, go to the messianic prophecies. Eventually he would be kicked out, but a number of Jews would be saved.

There was a large number of Jewish-background believers in the early church. In fact, one demographer who’s done extensive study on this suggests that by the end of the second century—that is, by the turn-of-the-century from 299, 300, to 301 finishing up the second century—he claims that about 50% of the Christians, of the believers, were ethnic Jews.

You think about how many got saved in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and later. Then they and their children and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were all Christians. So it makes perfect sense. He has a lot of documentation to substantiate his thesis, so that’s quite interesting.

It’s not till right after that that you start getting more of a majority of Gentiles, and they turn against the Jews. You have the rise of allegorical interpretation, the rise of Christian anti-Semitism. All of this takes place into the third century.

Romans 1:16, “for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

Slide 24

3.       Jews had the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the promises, and the Law. They served God in the tabernacle and temple, and they were a kingdom of priests.

Romans 9:4, “… who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.”

There were no promises given to the Gentiles in any covenant in the Old Testament. The promises were all given to Abraham and his descendants: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Other promises were given in the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant.

Slide 25

Ephesians 2:12, “… that at that time you were without Christ—that is, you had no messianic promise, you had no understanding of a coming Messiah. The second thing is, you were—aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”

[Slides 25 and 26 are out of order. Slide 26 should come before Slide 25. Pastor Dean corrects the error below.]

Slide 26

4.       The Jews were granted to provide the line of humanity of the Messiah.

Romans 9:5, “of whom are the Fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God.”

Slide 27

The second thing that Paul states in Ephesians 2:12 is they were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”

Slide 28

This is an important passage to understand because of two keywords that are used.

APALLOTRIOO: to be estranged, to be excluded, to be alienated, to be a stranger. That’s the same word we saw earlier in Ephesians 4:18 that talks about being alienated from the life of God.

Here it is also in the perfect tense which indicates a past completed action with results that go on. What Paul is talking about here are five things that were characteristic of Gentiles as a class prior to the Church Age: they were aliens—or they were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel.

Slide 29

That term “commonwealth” is POLITEIA, from which we derive our English word “politics.” Ephesians 2:12, they were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”

Slide 30

Some people talk about this as citizenship or as a manner of life, but we get clarification on this meaning from Ephesians 2:19, “Now, therefore, you—that is, you as believers—are no longer strangers and foreigners—they are no longer excluded from the what?—but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

“The household of God” goes further, as defined in the next verse as those that are built on the foundation the prophets and apostles. He’s talking about the church, so it is talking about a group of people in the church who have a commonality.

Slide 31

POLITEIA, the word used in Ephesians 2:12, “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” is talking about those that had this commonality in their descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Which is then going to be significant for understanding the next phrase “strangers from the covenants of promise …”

Because of time, I will wait look at the last three as we begin next Sunday morning.

Closing Prayer

“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study Your Word today, to be reminded of Your manifold grace in our lives. That prior to the Day of Pentecost we would have been members of this class of Gentiles that were without Christ, no understanding of a Messiah, a messianic hope. That we were excluded from Israel, we were strangers to the covenants of promise; we were without hope and without God.

“Father, we have been richly blessed because we are in Christ, we are united together with saved Jews, so that we are a new people of God, a unique people of God: members of the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the church. What a great privilege it is to be a member of Christ’s body, to be given these privileges, to be given all of these blessings.

“So often we act as if they’re not true, we ignore them, or we don’t know them. Yet when we read through Ephesians we come face-to-face with all that You have given us, and that we need to learn all of these blessings, then live on the basis of them and exploit them for Your honor and glory.

“Father, we pray that if anyone who may be listening to this message has never trusted Christ as Savior, that they would understand that salvation is not based on a work, it’s not based on a ritual, it’s not based on doing anything to impress You. It is based simply on trusting Christ because His work on the cross is what was impressive.

“It is the fact that He paid for sin, that sin is not the issue anymore because He paid the penalty, and we have eternal salvation by believing in Him and Him alone. There’s nothing else that counts. Belief is it: believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, ‘and that by believing You may have life in His name.’ We pray these things in Christ’s name, amen.”