In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from God’s people, Israel, and you did not know the promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. - Ephesians 2:12
Paul talks to the Ephesians about citizenship. He reminds them that at one time they were strangers from the things of God, “living apart from Christ . . . excluded.” He may have been using a reference to the greatly coveted and privileged Roman citizenship (Acts 22:28).
The Greeks called those who lived outside their cities “pagans.” The Jews also spoke disparagingly of the ethne or Gentiles, meaning those outside the knowledge of the God of Israel. Instead of thinking of them as those with whom they should have shared their knowledge of Jehovah, the Jews created a sense of alienation. But now these Ephesian Gentiles, these outsiders, had stepped inside the promises of God and had become true citizens of the heavenly kingdom. “But now you belong to Christ Jesus,” Paul says. “Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us” (Ephesians 2:13-14).
Stuart lived for seven years in America as a registered alien. The day he became a United States citizen, I watched the brotherly hugs and handclasps and knew that the unseen wall had been broken down! Becoming a citizen of a great nation is a good thing, but becoming a citizen of heaven is even better!
For Further Study: Ephesians 2:11-22
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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