Ephesians 2:1 – At one time you were corpses; animated by a false life, driven by a counterfeit force, and self-justified by a contrary worldview.
Individual Redemption: Cause and Effect (2:1-10)
Separated from God we are “corpses” (yet unburied) by reason of the weakness of our flesh and our guilt of opposing (so-called) truth. It is not that we were once alive and our sins made us dead, but that our sins are the evidence of our death (Rom. 5:12). As a contrary worldview, there is a cultural order to this present age (Rom. 12:2) – we are imprisoned in death and operate out of a principally dead “system” and, ironically, do not know we are dead (2Cor. 10:4b-5). In this place and age, accordingly, there is a ruler with the capability and rite to exercise dominance in the substance that “fills the space between the earth and the dwelling of the moon.” Paul claims that this ruler is the pneuma (spirit; breath; air) that is now filling the “walking corpses” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:7-9). The lifestyle of this system centers on living in and out of self-will that is driven by the “wind.” Destroying reason and pure thought, the “germination” of our descent from Adam (Rom. 12:5) sets all humanity on a headlong course to destruction (Rom. 2:1 – 3:20).
However, not because of, but rather, in spite of who we are – because of God’s “active compassion,” because of God’s immeasurable “unconditional love,” which “love God poured out on us to pour into others;” by means of an absolutely free gift (and thereby expecting nothing in return) we exist “safe and delivered from danger and destruction.” We have been raised with Christ, now in the presence of God (the immediate and direct results of God’s act of grace – 1Cor. 15:2-23), far above “the space between the earth and the dwelling of the moon” and beyond the “counterfeit culture of this age.” Through faith, out of and through persuasive volition, not of any merited act on our part, but by a “sacrificial gift-offering” of God (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16) have we been rescued. Neither God’s rescuing act (salvation) nor the intentional volition to believe (faith) originate in works. There is no “self-congratulating,” because we are Christ’s “result/product;” we are His “work of art.” God “pre-fitted” this worldview for God’s church and the church for this worldview (Rom. 8:29-30).
Corporate Reconciliation: Cause and Effect (vs.11-22)
Gentiles (the “uncircumcised”) were aliens, de facto; culturally (by not being Jewish) and spiritually (by being separated from God). Jews were “far off” from God by means of their God-counterfeit religion. Both were without hope, and as of yet “unburied corpses.” We were “’made’ in the flesh by human hands” [this Greek term, in the Old Testament Septuagint (LXX), is used to describe the making of idols]. Those Aliens and strangers, and those “far off” have, now, been reconciled to God and one another by the Christ Event (Rom. 5:8-10; 2Cor. 5:18-21; Col. 1:19-23). He, Himself, is our peace. Ironically, His violent death destroys that which killed the “circumcised” and kept the “uncircumcised” far away from God. His Resurrection Life fuels our live for living, together, as a corporate body. The two opposing peoples are made into one new person – “something completely unlike what it was beforehand.” All cultures have become one people – the church – through “the killing cross of Christ” (Rom. 10:12-13; Gal. 3:10-13; 28). Through this unity of diversity alone, the indwelling divinity gives access to all, in and of faith, to God the Father (Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 4:6-7; Heb. 4:16).
We are no longer strangers and aliens, and known as “those far away,” but we are “fellow citizens,” in the church, God’s household. This household is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets (both speaking forth God’s worldview) [the Christian First Principle], with Jesus Himself as the cornerstone of the household. We are being fitted together (often painfully), growing into the full expression of Christ on the earth; a “permanent home” of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 6:16). In Trinitarian Formulation Paul concludes, “Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Sprit.” [VS 22]