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1: And he hath quickened you - In the nineteenth and twentieth verses
of the preceding chapter, St. Paul spoke of God's working in them by the
same almighty power whereby he raised Christ from the dead. On the mention
of this he, in the fulness of his heart, runs into a flow of thought
concerning the glory of Christ's exaltation in the three following verses.
He here resumes the thread of his discourse. Who were dead - Not only
diseased, but dead; absolutely void of all spiritual life; and as incapable
of quickening yourselves, as persons literally dead. In trespasses and
sins - Sins seem to be spoken chiefly of the gentiles, who knew not God;
trespasses, of the Jews, who had his law, and yet regarded it not,(Eph 2:5). The latter herein obeyed the flesh; the former, the prince
of the power of the air.
2: According to the course of this world - The word translated
course properly means a long series of times, wherein one corrupt
age follows another. According to the prince of the power of the
air - The effect of which power all may perceive, though all do not
understand the cause of it: a power unspeakably penetrating and widely
diffused; but yet, as to its baneful influences, beneath the orb of
believers. The evil spirits are united under one head, the seat of
whose dominion is in the air. Here he sometimes raises storms, sometimes
makes visionary representations, and is continually roving to and fro.
The spirit that now worketh - With mighty power; and so he did, and
doth in all ages. In the sons of disobedience - In all who do not
believe and obey the gospel.
3: Among whom we - Jews. Also, formerly had our conversation:
doing the will of the flesh - In gross, brutal sins. And of the mind -
By spiritual, diabolical wickedness. In the former clause, flesh denotes
the whole evil nature; in the latter, the body opposed to the soul.
And were by nature - That is, in our natural state. Children of wrath -
Having the wrath of God abiding on us, even as the gentiles. This
expression, by nature, occurs also, (Ga 4:8,Ro 2:14); and thrice
in the eleventh chapter. (Ro 11:24) But in none of these places does it
signify, by custom, or practice, or customary practice, as a late
writer affirms. Nor can it mean so here For this would make the apostle
guilty of gross tautology, their customary sinning having been expressed
already, in the former part of the verse. But all these passages agree in
expressing what belongs to the nature of the persons spoken of.
4: Mercy removes misery: love confers salvation.
5: He hath quickened us together with Christ - In conformity to him,
and by virtue of our union with him. By grace ye are saved - Grace is
both the beginning and end. The apostle speaks indifferently either
in the first or second person; the Jews and gentiles being in the same
circumstance, both by nature and by grace. This text lays the axe to
the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves.
Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the backwardness of mankind to receive it,
yet knowing the absolute necessity of its being received, again asserts the
very same truth, (Eph 2:8), in the very same words.
6: And hath raised us up together - Both Jews and gentiles already
in spirit; and ere long our bodies too will be raised. And made us all
sit together in heavenly places - This is spoken by way of anticipation.
Believers are not yet possessed of their seats in heaven; but each of
them has a place prepared for him.
7: The ages to come - That is, all succeeding ages.
8: By grace ye are saved through faith - Grace, without any respect
to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift. Faith, with an empty hand,
and without any pretence to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing.
And this is not of yourselves - This refers to the whole preceding clause,
That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God.
9: Not by works - Neither this faith nor this salvation is owing to
any works you ever did, will, or can do.
10: For we are his workmanship - Which proves both that salvation is
by faith, and that faith is the gift of God.
Created unto good works - That afterwards we might give ourselves to them.
Which God had before preprepared - The occasions of them: so we must still
ascribe the whole to God. That we might walk in them - Though not be
justified by them.
11: Wherefore remember - Such a remembrance strengthens faith, and
increases gratitude. That ye being formerly gentiles in the flesh
- Neither circumcised in body nor in spirit. Who were accordingly
called the uncircumcision - By way of reproach. By that which is called
the circumcision - By those who call themselves the circumcised, and think
this a proof that they are the people of God; and who indeed have that
outward circumcision which is performed by hands in the flesh.
12: Were at that time without Christ - Having no faith in, or
knowledge of, him. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel - Both as
to their temporal privileges and spiritual blessings. And strangers to the
covenants of promise - The great promise in both the Jewish and Christian
covenant was the Messiah. Having no hope - Because they had no promise
whereon to ground their hope. And being without God - Wholly ignorant
of the true God, and so in effect atheists. Such in truth are, more or
less, all men, in all ages, till they know God by the teaching of his own
Spirit. In the world - The wide, vain world, wherein ye wandered up and
down, unholy and unhappy.
13: Far off - From God and his people. Nigh - Intimately united to
14: For he is our peace - Not only as he purchased it, but as he is
the very bond and centre of union. He who hath made both - Jews and
gentiles, one church. The apostle describes,
Each description is subdivided into two parts. And the former part of the
one, concerning abolishing the enmity, answers the former part of the
other; the latter part of the one, concerning the evangelical decrees,
the latter part of the other. And hath broken down the middle wall of
partition - Alluding to that wall of old, which separated the court of
Israel from the court of the gentiles. Such a wall was the ceremonial law,
which Christ had now taken away.
- The conjunction of the gentiles with Israel, (Eph 2:14,15).
- The conjunction of both with God, (Eph 2:15-18).
15: Having abolished by his suffering in the flesh the cause of
enmity between the Jews and gentiles, even the law of ceremonial
commandments, through his decrees - Which offer mercy to all;
see (Col 2:14).
That he might form the two - Jew and gentile. Into one new man - one
16: In one body - One church. Having slain - By his own death on
the cross. The enmity - Which had been between sinners and God.
17: And he came - After his resurrection. And preached peace - By
his ministers and his Spirit. To you - Gentiles. That were afar off - At
the utmost distance from God. And to them that were nigh - To the Jews,
who were comparatively nigh, being his visible church.
18: For through him, we both - Jews and gentiles. Have access
- Liberty of approaching, by the guidance and aid of one Spirit to
God as our Father. Christ, the Spirit, and the Father, the three - one
God, stand frequently in the same order.
19: Therefore ye are no longer strangers, but citizens of the
heavenly Jerusalem; no longer foreigners, but received into the very
family of God.
20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets
- As the foundation sustains the building, so the word of God, declared
by the apostles and prophets, sustains the faith of all believers.
God laid the foundation by them; but Christ himself is the chief
corner - stone of the foundation. Elsewhere he is termed the
foundation itself, (1Co 3:11).
21: On whom all the building fitly framed together - The whole fabric
of the universal church rises up like a great pile of living materials.
Into an holy temple in the Lord - Dedicated to Christ, and inhabited by
him, in which he displays his presence, and is worshipped and glorified.
What is the temple of Diana of the Ephesians, whom ye formerly worshipped,