Saturday, 6 August 2016
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Ephesians 2:19
These words take us back to verse 12 –
“…that at that time you 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.”
After that, Paul explained how both Jew and Gentile have been united into one fellowship. In further explanation of that, he says, “Now therefore…” It is a summary idea of what has been explained in those preceding verses.
He then follows with, “…you are no longer strangers and foreigners.” The word for “stranger” signifies “an alien.” The word “foreigners” is more closely aligned with someone who lives in an area, but is not a member of the culture of that area. Abraham, for example, lived in Canaan. However, he was not a Canaanite. Instead he was a pilgrim or a sojourner. He had free movement in the land and was friendly with those of Canaan, but he could not really have been called a citizen as they were.
Next Paul gives the contrasting thoughts by stating the word “but.” Instead of being apart from the commonwealth of Israel as strangers and foreigners, the Gentiles are now “citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” We have been brought into that commonwealth, and we have full rights as citizens of the nation, and we have full membership in the household of God. The contrast is seen in the two words of each category. Those who were “aliens” now have citizenship; those who were sojourners now have a household.
Through the work of Christ, all people are entitled to these benefits if they will but reach out and receive what He has done.
Life application: Paul’s words again show us that through the work of Christ, we have a new status. He doesn’t say that we now have the right to citizenship (as if it is something future and which could be lost), nor does he say that we now are accepted in order to be welcomed into God’s household (as if we could do something which would cause that door to be shut). Rather, he states that the transaction is complete in Christ. The deal is done!
Lord God, Your word tells us that because of what Christ did, we are brought into full citizenship with the saints. We too now share in the commonwealth of Israel. Your word also says that we are now members of Your household. Our sojourning is over and we have come home to You. Help us to keep this in mind as we pass through this life which continues to seem contrary to that. The world truly is not our home. We have come to the heavenly Mount Zion and are destined for eternal glory because of Christ our Lord. Amen!