From Death to Life
1In the past your spiritual lives were dead because of your sins and the things you did wrong against God. 2Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives. You followed the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. 3In the past all of us lived like them. We lived trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people.
4But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. 5We were spiritually dead because of the things we did wrong against God. But God gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. 6And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. 7He did this so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace. He shows that grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. 8I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believe. You did not save yourselves. It was a gift from God. 9You cannot brag that you are saved by the work you have done. 10God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would do good works. God had planned in advance those good works for us. He had planned for us to live our lives doing them.
One in Christ
11You were born non-Jews. You are the people the Jews call “uncircumcised.”# People not having the mark of circumcision as the Jews have. Those who call you “uncircumcised” call themselves “circumcised.” (Their circumcision is only something they themselves do on their bodies.) 12Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not citizens of Israel. And you had no part in the agreements# The agreements that God gave to his people in the Old Testament. with the promise that God made to his people. You had no hope, and you did not know God. 13Yes, at one time you were far away from God. But now in Christ Jesus you are brought near to God through the blood of Christ’s death. 14Because of Christ we now have peace. Christ made both Jews and non-Jews one people. They were separated as if there were a wall between them. But Christ broke down that wall of hate by giving his own body. 15The Jewish law had many commands and rules. But Christ ended that law. Christ’s purpose was to make the two groups of people become one new people in him. By doing this Christ would make peace. 16Through the cross Christ ended the hatred between the two groups. And after Christ made the two groups to be one body, he wanted to bring them back to God. Christ did this with his death on the cross. 17Christ came and preached peace to you non-Jews who were far away from God. And he preached peace to those Jews who were near to God. 18Yes, through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father in one Spirit.
19So now you non-Jews are not visitors or strangers. Now you are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family. 20You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone# Literally, “cornerstone.” The first and most important stone in a building. in that building. 21That whole building is joined together in Christ. And Christ makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the Jews. You are being built into a place where God lives through the Spirit.