Ephesians 2 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Ephesians 2)
2:1 And 1 you [hath he quickened], who were a dead in 2 trespasses and sins;

(1) He declares again the greatness of God's good will by comparing that miserable state in which we are born, with that dignity unto which we are advanced by God the Father in Christ. So he describes that condition in such a way that he says, that with regard to spiritual motions we are not only born half dead, but wholly and altogether dead.
(a) See (Romans 6:2). So then he calls those dead who are not regenerated: for as the immortality of those who are damned is not life, so this knitting together of body and soul is properly not life, but death in those who are not ruled by the Spirit of God. (2) He shows the cause of death, that is, sins.

2:2 3 Wherein in time past ye walked 4 according to the course of this world, b according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now 5 worketh in the c children of disobedience:

(3) He proves by the effects that all were spiritually dead. (4) He proves this evil to be universal, insomuch that all are slaves of Satan.
(b) At the pleasure of the prince. (5) Men are therefore slaves to Satan, because they are willingly rebellious against God.
(c) They are called the children of disobedience, who are given to disobedience.

2:3 6 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our d flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and 7 were by nature the e children of wrath, even as f others.

(6) After he has separately condemned the Gentiles, he confesses that the Jews (among whom he numbers himself) are not the least bit better.
(d) By the name of flesh in the first place, he means the whole man, which he divides into two parts: into the flesh, which is the part that the philosophers consider to be without reason, and into the thought, which they call reasonable. And so he leaves nothing in man half dead, but concludes that the whole man is by nature the son of wrath. (7) The conclusion: all men are born subject to the wrath and curse of God.
(e) Men are said to be the children of wrath passively, that is to say, guilty of everlasting death by the judgment of God, who is angry with them.
(f) Profane people who did not know God.

2:4 8 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

(8) Now from this follows another member of the comparison declaring our excellency, that is, that by the power of Christ we are delivered from that death, and made partakers of eternal life, to the end that at length we may reign with him. And by various and different means he emphasises this, that the efficient cause of this benefit is the free mercy of God: and Christ himself is the material cause: and faith is the instrument, which also is the free gift of God: and the end is God's glory.

2:6 And hath raised [us] up g together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

(g) That is, as he adds afterwards, in Christ, for as yet this is not fulfilled in us, but only in our head by whose Spirit we have begun to die to sin, and live to God, until that work is fully brought to an end. And yet the hope is certain, for we are as sure of that which we look for, as we are of that which we have already received.

2:8 For by h grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

(h) So then, grace, that is to say, the gift of God, and faith, stand with one another, to which two it is contrary to be saved by ourselves, or by our works. Therefore, what do those mean who would join together things of such contrary natures?

2:9 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(9) He specifically and completely takes away from our works the praise of justification, seeing that the good works themselves are the effects of grace in us.

2:10 For we are i his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

(i) He speaks here of grace, and not of nature: therefore if the works are ever so good, see what they are, and know that they are that way because of grace.

2:11 10 Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are k called Uncircumcision by that which is l called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

(10) Applying the former doctrine to the Gentiles, he shows that they were not only as the Jews by nature, but also after a special manner, strangers and without God. Therefore they ought so much the more remember that same so great a benefit of God.
(k) You were called in no other state than as Gentiles, so that all the world might witness your uncleanness.
(l) Of the Jews who were known by you by the mark of circumcision, the mark of the covenant.

2:12 That at that time ye were m without Christ, being n aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

(m) He begins first with Christ, who was the end of all the promises.
(n) You had no right or title to the commonwealth of Israel.

2:13 11 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

(11) Christ is the only bond of the Jews and Gentiles, by whom they are reconciled to God.

2:14 12 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];

(12) As by the ceremonies and worship appointed by the Law, the Jews were divided from the Gentiles, so now Christ, having broken down the partition wall, joins them both together, both in himself, and between themselves, and to God. From which it follows, that whoever permanently establishes the ceremonies of the Law, makes the grace of Christ void and of no effect.

2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in o one body by the cross, having p slain the enmity thereby:

(o) He alludes to the sacrifices of the Law, which represented that true and only sacrifice.
(p) For he destroyed death by death, and fastened it as it were to the cross.

2:17 13 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

(13) The preaching of the Gospel is an effectual instrument of this grace, common to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles.

2:18 For q through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

(q) Christ is the gate as it were, by whom we come to the Father, and the Holy Spirit is as it were, our guiding man who leads us.

2:19 14 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

(14) The conclusion: the Gentiles are taken into the fellowship of salvation, and he describes the excellency of the Church, calling it the city and house of God.

2:20 15 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the r chief corner [stone];

(15) The Lord committed the doctrine of salvation, first to the prophets, and then to the apostles, the end of which, and matter as it were and substance, is Christ. Therefore that is indeed the true and universal Church which is built upon Christ by the prophets and apostles, as a spiritual temple consecrated to God.
(r) That is the corner stone of the building, for the foundations are as it were corner stone of the building.

2:21 In whom all the building s fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

(s) So that God is the workman not only of the foundation, but also of the whole building.