So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. – Ephesians 2:19 NLT
God has taken each one of those whom He has called and placed them into His very own family and made them His very own children. We are talking about the adoption of those who used to be His enemies. While we used to live apart from Christ and totally devoid of a relationship with God the Father, we now enjoy an intimate relationship as His sons and daughters. We have become His heirs. “The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)” (Romans 8:16-17 NLT). At one time we lived in the world without God and without hope, but now we have a restored relationship with Him and are considered a part of His family, with all the rights and privileges the come with being a child of the King, including eternal life. “…since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life (Titus 3:7).
Paul makes it clear to his Gentile readers that their position has been dramatically altered because of what Jesus has done. At one time they were called, “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews. They were looked down upon by the Jews. Not only that, they were despised and hated. Prior to the cross, the Gentiles had no relationship with Christ, the Messiah. He was the Messiah of the Jews. They had not been expecting or hoping for a Messiah. They would not have known who He was had He shown up right in front of them. Also, Gentiles were, for the most part, excluded from any kind of citizenship among the Jews. While they could choose to become members of the nation of Israel, it was both rare and difficult, which made them virtual strangers among the Jews.
Even more significantly, the Gentiles were left out when it came to the promises that God had made to Israel. When it came to the covenant promises God had made to Abraham, Moses, and David, the average Gentile was clueless and probably disinterested. As a result, they were without God and without hope for the future. Their lot was cast, their doom sealed. Their future hope was totally contingent of God doing something for them through the seed of Abraham. The nations of the world would have to be blessed through the line of Abraham. There was no other way.
And yet, now all those Gentiles who have come to faith in Christ have been placed into God’s growing family, which includes Jews and Gentiles, poor and rich, the influential and the insignificant, the powerful and the weak, slave and free, male and female, old and young, educated and uneducated. “We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21 NLT). What a marvelous truth, what an amazing reality, what an unbelievable privilege. We are part of the dwelling, the Church, where God lives by His Spirit. Inexplicable and incredible.
Father, Thanks for placing me in Your family. What an amazing thought. I can’t even begin to fathom the full import of that reality. I have a difficult time getting my head around just what that means, but thank You for making it possible. Thank You for making me Your own. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men