Ephesians 2
Their former darkness
1You, however, were deprived of life, involved in transgressions and contradiction of His law, in sins and errors, 2living merely as members of an age, a universe not under God, but under a power working invisibly in the air as ruler of the world by means of a spirit, a leaven that handles the minds and souls of those who exist in disobedience. 3In this condition which you shared with the rest of the blind world, a condition to which are attached all the desires of the flesh, motions of the will, and of thoughts, belonging not to the children of God, but to the children of the wrath of God, denizens of a misbegotten state — 4in such a condition the charity and kindness of God which abound beyond all measure, making continual proof of the compassion and mercy that flow from Him, saved you and me from this death, this subjection to sin. 5The Christ who reigns so gloriously above all that is averse from him, he gave us life — for giving is his law, and by a gift we live. 6God raised us out of it all with Christ, and He sat us down on the right hand of power with Him and gave us dominion, 7thus to show in the ages to come the infinite preponderance of love and goodness over all else, revealed in His kindness and the grace and favour conferred on us in Christ Jesus. 8Always realise with gratitude that only through God's giving and through faith we reach salvation, not from ourselves, not through any works of our own, 9not for anything about which it is possible for us to take credit to ourselves. 10We are ourselves the work of God, so constituted in Christ Jesus to perform works prepared beforehand, made to walk in them, and to do them as the end of our being for which we exist.
Christ has cancelled all that alienates from him
11Your condition as Gentiles was a condition of dependence on the flesh — in that character you were designated as uncircumcised by those tribes of Israel calling themselves the circumcision in allusion to the physical rite so called. 12Gentiles you were in every sense of the word, untouched by the Christ, strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, without any part or share in the inheritance promised to others and secured to them or their heirs by document and covenant. 13You had no share in all that, you had no hope, no God. But now, not in the world where this unfriended condition was your lot, but in Christ Jesus you that were “far off” have become “near” (Is. lvii. 19) and the blood of the Christ accomplished it. 14For that “peace” of which the prophet speaks is Christ; he has made one where there were two before, he has removed the barrier, 15he has abolished the hate, cancelled the laws, commandments and decrees supporting the old caste, and all this he did in his own flesh that in himself he might make those two contraries one, and make out of that old discord one new man, making “a peace,” 16making a reconciliation of the two in a body reconciled to God. 17And where did he do all this but on the cross where the hate was nailed and slain? And so he came, when the reconciliation was made, and preached peace, “peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near” (Is. lvii. 19). 18Thus through him is the way of approach for both of us in one Spirit, that way which approaches the eternal Father.
19Your condition then is no longer one of alienation, strangeness, subjection. You have received the citizenship of the saints, you are members of a household, the house of God; 20you are, as it were, stones in a temple built up on a foundation of apostles and prophets, the chief “corner-stone” 21of which is Christ Jesus, on which stone the whole building rises, and each block is fitted into its place, until a temple to the Lord be framed, 22a holy building wherein as the spiritual habitation of God you yourselves find your place and nature with all the rest.

This digitised version of St Paul from the Trenches 1916 © British and Foreign Bible Society 2014

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