Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 2:11-12

Διὸ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ποτὲ ὑμεῖς τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σαρκί οἱ λεγόμενοι ἀκροβυστία ὑπὸ τῆς λεγομένης περιτομῆς ἐν σαρκὶ χειροποιήτου ὅτι ἦτε τῷ καιρῷ ἐκεῖνῳ χωρὶς Χριστοῦ ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς πολιτείας τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ξένοι τῶν διαθηκῶν τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἐλπίδα μὴ ἔχοντες καὶ ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. Therefore, remember that formerly you were unbelievers in the flesh, the ones being called “uncircumcision” by the one being called “circumcision” in flesh made by human hands, that you were at that time separate from Christ and foreign to the decrees of the promise, not having hope, and without God in the world.

Paul continues now with a conclusion to what he previously stated. It was by grace that the readers are being saved, and as a result, they need to remember what God has done in them through Jesus Christ. Paul points to what they used to be before they came to Christ through faith. They were unbelievers who were called, “Uncircumcised.” The one calling them “uncircumcised” was the one who is circumcised, i.e., the Israelites, who were circumcised by human hands. Paul also points out that they were at that time, meaning, while they were unbelievers, separate from Christ. As unbelievers they were not connected to Christ. Furthermore, as unbelievers they were alienated from the nation or house of Israel. Still more, as unbelievers they were foreigners to the decrees of the promise, perhaps a synonymous phrase referencing the Law or the Torah. Finally, as unbelievers they did not have hope and they were without God.

Therefore, remember that you formerly were unbelievers in the flesh, the ones who are called uncircumcised by the one who is called circumcised being made by human hands in the flesh, that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the state of Israel, foreign to the decrees of the promise, not having hope, and without God in the world.

We should remember as Paul urged his readers that we were once lost. We were hopeless. We were without God. We were separate from Christ and foreign to God’s commands, which he gave to his chosen people. We were likewise separate from Israel. In other words, were were once desolate and destitute. This position was characteristic of our lives before coming to Christ through faith. We can be thankful, therefore, that we have been saved by God’s grace, for which we can now have hope, be with God, be connected to Christ and God’s chosen people, knowing the Law.

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