“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves:  {it is} the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

These two verses truly cannot be separated, for together they express the same complete thought.  These verses consummate this section in the believer’s past, present and future.  We were dead in trespasses and sin, God saved us by His grace, raising us now to heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and we will someday be in heaven displaying the grace of God.  None of us depends on our own works or merit, “For by grace are ye saved”, literally, “For by the grace you are saved.”  In the original Greek, the definite article is there, pointing out that it is something special.

“For by grace are ye saved, through faith”
Literally:  “For by grace you are saved through the faith”–By mere favor. “By the grace” already mentioned in v. 5, and so with the definite article.  It is not by your own merit; it is not because you have any claim. This is a favorite doctrine with Paul, as it is with all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.

           GRACE:  (charis)–This is simply unmerited, undeserved and unearned favor from God. The Greek word grace (charis) was also used by the Greeks as their greeting to each other.

         This word properly means, favor. It is very often used in the N.T., and is employed in the sense of benevolence, or a prosperous state of affairs; the Christian faith, as the highest expression of the benevolence or favor of God; the happiness which Christianity confers on its friends in this and the future life; the apostolic office; charity, or alms; thanksgiving; joy, or pleasure; and the benefits produced on the Christian's heart and life by religion–the grace of meekness, patience, charity, etc.|
        Out of God’s infinite treasure chest He lavishes His grace upon sinners with restraint or hindrance.  Lest they might forget the doctrine that he ever preached, Paul reminds them that works of the Law never saved them; on the contrary, they were saved by God's grace shown in the gospel. He is telling them that this salvation was obtained through (dia–by means of) the faith.

        THROUGH FAITH:  (dia pisteôs)The instrument cause of salvation.  The commitment of your person to The Person.  Faith is the only element that the sinner can bring to this great transaction of salvation.  Yet it too is the gift of God.  The definite article “the” is found before faith in the Greek, showing that the faith, or the gospel, is meant.   Understand this one important point: grace is God’s part; faith is our part.

Paul is telling these Ephesians that you are now brought into a state of salvation, your sins being all blotted out, and you are made partakers of the Holy Spirit; and, having a hope full of immortality, you must not attribute this to any works or merit of yours; for when this Gospel reached you, you were all found dead in trespasses and dead in sins; therefore it was God's free mercy (grace) to you, manifested through Christ, in whom you were commanded to believe; and, having believed by the power of the Holy Spirit, you received, and were sealed by, the Holy Spirit of promise.  

         “and that not of yourselves:”
         Literally:  “and this not of yourselves”

         Therefore understand that this salvation is in no sense of yourselves, but is the free gift (grace) of God; and not of any kind of working done on your part, so that no man can boast as having wrought out his own salvation, or even contributed anything towards it.  “By grace are ye saved, through faith in Christ.”  This is a true doctrine, and continues to be essential to the salvation of man to the end of the world.
         But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as being the gift of God?  This question is answered by the Greek text:  “By this grace ye are saved through faith; and THIS (this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of works: so that no one can boast.”  Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man's own. God never believes for any man, no more than He repents for any man.
         In these words our apostle informs the Ephesians, and in them all succeeding Christians, that their complete salvation, from the first to the last, from the lowest to the highest step, depends upon God's free favor and grace in Christ, and not upon any merit or desert in ourselves; works having no meritorious or casual influence upon our salvation, (for they are not causes, but effects, of that grace by which we are saved,) to the intent that all boasting may be excluded, and

“it is the gift of God”
Literally:  {it is} the gift of God”–Paul shows that salvation does not have its source is “not of yourselves” literally:  “not out of you,” of men, but from God.

             GIFT:  (dôron) It is God's gift and not the result of our work.

The salvation is not due to ourselves, but is God's gift. Understand that salvation is a gift, not  reward.  The grammatical construction of the Greek does not allow us to make "faith" the subject of the last clause. It is not merely “faith,” but salvation through the faith, which is the gift of God.

         “not of works”
         Literally:  “not from works”–The salvation is not due to works of law, or to our own merit; hence there is no ground for boasting.  Many people try to earn salvation by their own works:  they create rules, regulations, etc., and by so doing they insult the Giver (God) because all these are contrary to grace. 

         Understand that there are but two possible sources of salvation–men's works, or God's grace; and the two are so essentially distinctly opposite, that salvation cannot be of any combination or mixture of the two, but must be wholly either of the one or of the other.   Salvation is NOT of works.  It CANNOT BE of  works.  It CANNOT be earned:
1.      By Confirmation
2.      By Baptism
3.      By Holy Communion
4.      By Church Membership
5.      By Church Attendance
6.      By Tithing
7.      By (Trying to be) Keeping the Ten Commandments
        Which nobody can do.
8.      By Living by the Sermon on the Mount
9.      By Being a Good Neighbor
10.    By living a moral, respectable life.

Although these things may be good, but none of them are good enough to get you salvation, even if you could succeed at them (which you cannot do).  Besides, these listed are all WORKS, and Paul has just said, “not of works.”  Understand this all important fact:
1.     Man is not saved by works.
2.     Man is not saved by faith + works.
3.     Man is not kept saved by works.
4.     Man is saved by faith ALONE.
5.     Jesus did all the working that was necessary.
        a.     He did it ALL.
        b.     Any attempt to add any working on man’s part is blasphemy against God.
               It is saying that that Jesus’ crucifixion was not good enough to pay for our salvation.
        c.    Jesus’ work is a finished work.
             And why is this?  To preclude any boasting on the part of man.

“lest any man should boast”
Literally:  “that not anyone should boast”–That no man should glory.

         It is all of God's grace; and it is all of God’s glory.   There is nothing that man can “crow” about, for Jesus has done it all.  “Where is boasting then?  It is excluded. By what law? Of works?  Nay, but by the Law of Faith(Rom. 3:27).
         This is a world of boasting.  Every worldly institution is permeated with it.  At election time we see vividly the amount of boasting and braggadocio that can come out of the mouths of men who in the first place are self-servers and self-aggrandizers.  All commercials that come out over the air are basically boasting.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

         “For we are His workmanship”
         Literally:  “For we are {His} workmanship”–simply speaking, “a thing of His making;” i.e., “handiwork.” Here the spiritual creation, not the physical, is referred to (Eph. 2:8,9).

           WORKMANSHIP:  (poiema)–The Greek word from which we get our word poem.  We are His “poem” and the Church is His new creation.  The body of His believers is His poem and His new creation in Christ Jesus. 

It is God Who saved us; Who makes us new creatures, He had made us through the gospel. We are not saved by works, but are His workmanship. So far is this salvation from being our own work, or granted for our own works' sake, that we are ourselves not only the creatures of God, but our new creation was produced by His power; for we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  He has saved us that we may show forth the virtues of Him Who called us from darkness into His marvelous light.  For though we are not saved for our good works, yet we are saved that we may perform good works, to the glory of God and the benefit of man.

         “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”
         Literally:  “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”– Designed henceforth to abound in them; that we might give ourselves to them.   “Good works” cannot be performed until we are “created unto” them. Paul never calls the works of the law “good works.” We are not saved by, but created unto good works.

           CREATED:  (ktisentes)–This verb originally means, “to make habitable; to people.”  Hence it means, “to found.”  In I Pet. 4:19 God is called Creator (ktistês)-“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to {Him} in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (ktistês)

        “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature (creation–ktisei) more than the Creator (ktistês) (Rom. 1:25).

The word (ktistês) is also used for the “creation” itself.
        “For we know that the whole creation (ktistês) groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22).
        “And from the beginning of the creation (ktistês) God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6).

With reference to a holy life; or, the design for which we have been created in Christ is, that we should lead a holy life. The primary object was not to bring us to heaven. It was that we should be holy. Paul held perhaps more firmly than any other man to the position, that men are saved by the mere grace of God, and by a Divine agency on the soul; but it is certain that no man ever held more firmly that men must lead holy lives, or they could have no evidence that they were the children of God.

         “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
         Literally:  “which God before prepared that we should walk in them”–Greek, “before made ready” (compare John 5:36).  For what are we created?  For “good works.” 

When we get to the last part of this epistle, we will be told how we are to walk in a way that is creditable and acceptable to God.  While we are seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, we are to walk down here in a way that will bring glory to His Name.  God has already marked out beforehand for each believer His purposes: the particular good works, and the time and way which He sees best. God both makes ready by His providence the opportunities for the works, and He also makes us ready for their performance.  Not only works the necessary outcome of faith, but they are the character and direction of the works made ready by God.  Walk in them, not “be saved” by them.

        “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you” (John 15:16).
        “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, {and} prepared unto every good work” (II Time. 2:21).

         It is His ordination that all who believe the gospel and are saved should practice good works. God has graciously quickened us, saved us, made us new creatures, and prepared us unto good works.
          Upon being saved from sin we are made partakers of the Spirit of holiness; and it is natural to that Spirit to lead to the practice of holiness; and he who is not holy in his life is not saved by the grace of Christ.  The before ordaining, or rather preparing, must refer to the time when God began the new creation in their hearts; for from the first inspiration of God upon the soul it begins to love holiness; and obedience to the will of God is the very element in which a holy or regenerated soul lives.
         It was ever the purpose and will of God, that those to whom He gives spiritual life should be holy and abound in good works. The deliverance of men from a state of sin and death, by making them alive to holiness, is of God. It springs from His love, is the fruit of His Spirit, and is given not merely to save men from perdition, but to manifest in all ages and worlds the riches of His grace, in kindness to believers, through Jesus Christ.

Good works do not justify the man, but the justified man does good works (Gal. 5:22-25).

In these three verses Paul addresses the Ephesian Gentiles, and describes their condition in order that the grace of God might shine forth even greater. 


Verse 11:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh by hands”

For the previous ten verses Paul has been speaking of salvation in general, but here in v. 11 he now begins to focus specifically on the work of Christ for the Gentile in particular, for that is the primary ministry of Paul–to the Gentiles.

         “Wherefore, remember”
         Literally:  “Therefore (or because of this), remember.”

         So then remember that once you were Gentiles; you were called the uncircumcision by those who laid claim to that circumcision (which is a physical thing) and a thing produced by the hands of men.  Also remember that at that same time you had no hope of God; you were aliens from the society of Israel, and strangers from the covenants on which the promises were based; you had no hope; you were in this world without God.     Now everything has changed for you.  Because of what Christ Jesus has done, you, who were once far off, have been brought near.  Always remember this great truth.
         Paul’s purpose in this evidently is to excite a sense of gratitude in their bosoms for that mercy which had called them from the errors and sins of their former lives to the privileges of Christians. It is a good thing for Christians to “remember” what they were:  i.e., There but for the grace of God would I be.
         It is good for believers to remember, or call to mind, the sin they were once guilty of, and the misery they were exposed to, in their natural and unregenerate state.  It may in many ways such remembering may be of use and advantage to them, and they be spiritually improved by them.  This remembering may…
1.      Excite us to magnify the greatness of God's love, and to admire the freeness and riches of His grace.
        This we shall certainly do, when we remember, that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
2.      Inflame our love to Jesus Christ: Mary loved much, when she remembered that much was forgiven her.
3.      Increase our godly sorrow for sin:

        WHEREFORE: (dio)–This conjunction applies the arguments in vv. 1-10 to the Gentile Christians

“ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,”
Literally:  “remember that you, the nations” {were} in {the} flesh”–You were Gentiles in the flesh, Gentiles in respect to circumcision, i.e., under the dominion of the flesh, subject to the control of carnal appetites and pleasures.  Neither circumcised in body nor in spirit.

Remembrance of all that God had done would awake gratitude.  Paul affectionately reminds the gentile converts of the unspeakable gift they have received in being introduced, through Christ, into his church.  That you may ever see and feel your obligations to live a pure and holy life, and be truly thankful to God for your salvation, remember that you were once heathens in the flesh, without the pure doctrine, and under the influence of your corrupt nature; such as by the Jew's (who gloried, in consequence of their circumcision, to be in covenant with God) were called uncircumcision; i.e., persons out of the Divine covenant, and having no right or title to any blessing of God.

        GENTILES:  (Greek:  ethnê; Hebrew: haggôyîm)–Literally:  “the nations.”  This included the races outside Israel.

Rabbinic Judaism regarded them with feelings akin to those with which an old-fashioned high-caste Hindu eda European. Some precepts of the Talmud (though much later, in their collected form, than Paul’s day,) are fair illustrations: “It is forbidden to give good advice to a Gentile;” “it is forbidden to cure idolaters, even for pay; except on account of fear;” “he that steals from a Gentile is only to pay the principal; for it is said, He shall pay double unto his neighbor”

        IN THE FLESH:  (en sarki)–Literally:  in flesh.  That is, Gentiles in respect to circumcision.  In contrast with “the circumcision in the flesh;” meaning, men who bore in their flesh, as uncircumcised, the marks of their being Gentiles.

         Some may question, does “in the flesh” mean, “physically,” or in the “unregenerate state” as Rom. 8:8–“So then they that in the flesh cannot please God” refers? Surely, it does refer to the flesh, for the same phrase immediately below clearly refers to a physical thing, literal circumcision. Here probably the special reference is to the absence of the bodily mark of covenant. They were uncircumcised Gentiles, at a time when no way was yet revealed, other than that of circumcision, by which to enter into explicit covenant with God.      
         There was a circumcision not in the flesh, not made with hands, but of the Spirit, and in the heart.   In contrast with “the circumcision in the flesh;” meaning, men who bore in their flesh, as uncircumcised, the marks of their being Gentiles. Uncircumcision; uncircumcised Gentiles. Circumcision in the flesh; Jews, who had the outward sign of circumcision, but not the thing signified by it.

        “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is {that} circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
        “But he
{is} a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision {is that} of the heart, in the spirit, {and} not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29).          

         “who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision.”
         Literally: “those having been called Uncircumcision by those have been called Circumcision”–Jews, who had the outward sign of circumcision, but not the thing signified by it.  The abstract words are used to describe Gentiles and Jews as in Gal. 5:6–“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

         The Gentiles were called (in contempt), and were, the Uncircumcision; the Jews were called, but were not truly, the Circumcision.  In time, this distinction caused friction because Israel became excessively proud of her position.  Israelites came to look down on Gentiles, and hatred developed into the hearts of both groups.
         The church in Ephesus was made up largely of Gentiles.  There was just a small colony of Jews there. Gentiles are further identified as the “Uncircumcision.”  This label was put on them by the so-called “Circumcision,” the Jews as a term of derision. God made a real distinction between Jew and Gentile, beginning with Abraham and advancing to the advent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Israel occupied a unique position among the nations.  A Gentile could come in only as a proselyte.

“in the flesh by hands”
Literally:  “in {the} flesh made by hand” That outward circumcision which is performed in the flesh by hands.

         In contradistinction from the circumcision of the heart. They had externally adopted the rites of the true religion, though it did not follow that they had the circumcision of the heart, or that they were the true children of God.  In other words, the name of “Jew” and the rite of “circumcision” were designed but as outward symbols of a separation from the irreligious and ungodly world unto holy devotedness in heart and life to the God of salvation. Where this is realized, the signs are full of significance; but where it is not, they are worse than useless.
        True circumcision is that of the heart. Circumcision of the heart is a figurative expression for inward purity, as old as the book of Deuteronomy (see Deut. 10:16; 30:6; also Jer. 9:26). 

“That at that time ye 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.”

         “That at that time ye were without Christ”
         Literally:  “that at that time you were without Christ”–That is: “Apart from Christ.” Greek, “separate from Christ;” having no part in Him; far from Him.

          In these verses there is a description of the sad condition and hopeless plight of the Gentile.  It is also an accurate picture of any lost person–“Without Christ.”  This is the best definition of a lost person.  It is the opposite of being “in Christ.”  The past state of the Gentile Christians is described when they had no knowledge of Christ.  Not only were not Christians, but had no knowledge of the Christ or Messiah, and no title to the blessings which were to proceed from Him.
         Paul is telling them that they not only were not Christians, but had no knowledge of the Christ or Messiah, and no title to the blessings which were to proceed from Him. They had not heard of Him; of course they had not embraced Him. Paul explains that they were living without any of the hopes and consolations which you now have, from having embraced Him. The object of Paul’s is to remind them of the deplorable condition in which they were by nature; and nothing would better express it than to say they were “without Christ,” or that they had no knowledge of a Savior.
        They knew of no atonement for sin. They had no assurance of pardon. They had no well-founded hope of eternal life. They were in a state of darkness and condemnation, from which nothing but a knowledge of Christ could deliver them.
        All Christians should, in like manner, be reminded of the fact that, before their conversion, they were “without Christ.” Though they had heard of Him, and were constantly under the instruction which reminded them of Him, yet they were without any true knowledge of Him, and without any of the hopes which result from having embraced Him. Many were infidels. Many were scoffers. Many were profane, sensual, corrupt. Many rejected Christ with scorn; many by simple neglect.  All were without any true knowledge of Him; all were destitute of the peace and hope which result from a saving acquaintance with Him. We may add, that there is no more affecting description of the state of man by nature than to say, he is without a Savior. Sad would be the condition of the world without a Redeemer-sad is the state of that portion of mankind who reject him. Reader, are you without Christ?

        WITHOUT CHRIST:  (chôris Christou)–Literally:  “apart from Christ;” having no part in Him; far from Him. A different Greek word (aneu) would be required to express, “Christ was not present with you.”

         “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”
         Literally:  “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel”– Not being of the race of Abraham, who were in covenant relation with God.  

Alienated from the citizenship of Israel.   This is the accurate definition of a Gentile.  The Gentile had no God-given religion as had Israel.  They had no right to go back in the Old Testament and take the promises which God made to Israel and then appropriate them for themselves.  We do not have that right either.  God did not make those promises to us.

        ALIENS:  (aphllotriômenoi)–To all these the heathen had been strangers, and of course they were deprived of all the privileges which resulted from having the true religion.

The word “aliens” here means merely that they were strangers to. It does not denote, of necessity, that they were hostile to it; but that they were ignorant of it, and were, therefore, deprived of the benefits which they might have derived from it, if they had been acquainted with it.

        COMMONWEALTH: (politeia)–This word literally means “citizenship”, or the right of citizenship, and then a community, or state. It means here that arrangement or organization by which the worship of the true God was maintained.

This is the second characteristic of their state before their conversion to Christianity. This means more than that they were not Jews. they were strangers to that polity–(politeia), or arrangement by which the worship of the true God had been kept up in the world, and of course were strangers to the true religion. The arrangements for the public worship of JEHOVAH were made among the Jews. They had His law, His temple, His Sabbaths, and the ordinances of His religion.

         “strangers from the covenants of promise.”
         Literally:  “strangers of the covenants of the promise”–The various covenants made with the patriarchs which contained the promise of Christ, of which they were ignorant, and hence not partakers of the hope.

           STRANGERS:  (chenos)This word literally means a “guest,” or a “stranger,” who is hospitably entertained; then a foreigner, or one from a distant country

 Here the word means that they did not belong to the community where the covenants of promise were enjoyed; that is, they were strangers to the privileges of the people of God.  He had made certain promises to the nation Israel.  The covenants which God made with Israel are still valid, but no Gentile has any right to appropriate them.  God has promised the children of Israel the land of Israel—all of it.  They will get it someday, but it will be on God’s terms, not their terms.

        COVENANTS OF PROMISE–(diathêkôn tês epangelias)–Literally:  covenants of the promise were those various arrangements which God made with His people, by which He promised them future blessings, and especially by which He promised that the Messiah should come.

To be in possession of them was regarded as a high honor and privilege; and Paul refers to it here to show that, though the Ephesians had been by nature without these, yet they had now been brought to enjoy all the benefits of them. It may be remarked, then unite the word “promise” here with the word "hope"–having no hope of the promise. But the more obvious and usual interpretation is that in our common version, meaning that they were not by nature favoured with the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., by which there was a promise of future blessings under the Messiah.

“having no hope”
Literally:  “having no hope”–No hope beyond this life; no hope of any kind.

         They had no divine “promise,” and therefore no sure ground of “hope.” Epicurus and Aristotle did not believe in it at all. The Platonists believed the soul passed through perpetual changes, now happy, and then again miserable.  This belief is still alive today in those who believe in the myth of “reincarnation.”  The Stoics believed that the soul existed no longer than till the time of the general burning up of all things.
         Look at the religions of the world.  They really offer no hope.  They cannot promise resurrection and are hazy about what happens after death.  The cults offer no hope at all.  They put up hurdles that no honest human being could ever get over.   Having no hope was the tragic plight of the Gentiles, and is the condition of all unsaved people today.   To the lost man, this present life is all-important, and if he misses out on the fun here, then he is doubly hopeless.
         Paul does not mean to affirm that they did not cherish any hope.  It is true of perhaps nearly all men that they cherish some hope of future happiness. But the ground on which they do this is not well understood by themselves, nor do they in general regard it as a matter worth particular inquiry.  Some rely on morality; some on forms of religion; some on the doctrine of universal salvation; all who are impenitent believe that they do not deserve eternal death, and expect to be saved by justice. Such hopes, however, must be unfounded. No hope of life in a future world can be founded on a proper basis which does not rest on some promise of God, or some assurance that He will save us; and these hopes, therefore, which men take up, though they do not know why, are delusive and vain.

         “without God in the world.
         Literally:  “without God in the world”–Walking without the knowledge of the true God

This does not mean that God has removed Himself from man, but rather that man has removed himself from God.   A man is godless because of choice.  There is nothing to look forward to over there.

        WITHOUT GOD:  (atheists)That is, they did not have “God” in the sense we use the word.

         The Eternal Being who made and governs all things (compare Acts 14:15, “Turn from these vanities unto the living God who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things therein”), whereas the Jews had distinct ideas of God and immortality. Compare also Gal. 4:8, “Ye knew not God … ye did service unto them which are no gods” (I Thess. 4:5). So also pantheists are atheists, for an impersonal God is NO GOD, and an ideal immortality no immortality.
         They had gods– many of them, and many lords; but in no Gentile nation was the true God known, nor did they have any correct notion of the Divine nature.  Their idols were by nature no gods, for they could neither do evil nor good. Therefore they were truly without God, having no true object of worship, and no source of comfort.  He who has neither God nor Christ is in a most deplorable state.  He has neither a God to worship, nor a Christ to justify him.  And this is the state of every man who is living without the grace and Spirit of Christ.  All such, whatever they may profess, are no better than practical atheists.


1.     We were without Christ.
2.     We were aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel.
3.     We were strangers from the covenants of promise.
4.     We were without hope.
5.     We were without God in the world.


“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ”

         “But now in Christ Jesus”
         Literally:  “But now in Christ Jesus”– NOWin contrast to “at that time” (v. 12).       

Once so far off, separated from God, they have been brought nigh, and the means that brought them is “the blood of Christ.”  After having set before the Ephesians the black and dark part of their lives, before their conversion to Christianity, in the foregoing verse, Paul now begins here to acquaint them with the blessed change which was made in their state, and by Whom the change was made.

“ye who sometimes were far off”
Literally:  “you, the {ones} then being afar off”–The Jewish description of the Gentiles. Far off from God and from the people of God (v. 17; Isa. 57:19; Acts 2:39). 

        SOMETIMES:  (pote)–Formerly; before…

               AFAR OFF:  (macran)That is, from Christ, His church, His covenant.  This means that they were formerly far off from God and His people.       

         From saving hope, and from God Himself, but now are made as nigh as the Jews, and have as much right to expect the aforesaid benefits as they, because the blood of Christ has purchased them for you, and sealed them to you.
         The expression is derived from the custom of speaking among the Hebrews. God was supposed to reside in the temple. It was a privilege to be near the temple. Those who were remote from Jerusalem and the temple were regarded as “far off” from God, and hence as being peculiarly irreligious and wicked.

         “are made nigh by the blood of Christ”

Literally:  “came to be near in the blood of Christ”–Thus “the blood of Christ” is made the seal of a covenant IN which their nearness to God consists. In 1:7, where the blood is more directly spoken of as the instrument, it is through His blood.

         The Jews came near to the mercy-seat on which the symbol of the Divine presence rested, by the blood that was offered in sacrifice; that is, the high priest approached that mercy-seat with blood, and sprinkled it before God. Now we are permitted to approach him with the blood of the atonement. The shedding of that blood has prepared the way by which Gentiles as well as Jews may approach God, and it is by that offering that we are led to seek God.
         In the temple was the court of the Gentiles, way off to the side.  Gentiles were permitted to come, but they were away far off. This is a terrible, awful condition that Paul describes.  But notice that now something has happened for the Gentiles who are in Christ–all has changed.  They were without Christ; now they are in Christ.  The distance and barriers which separated them from God have been removed.  They have been made nigh, not by their efforts or merits, but by the blood of Christ.

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