In verse 11, the Apostle Paul directs the Gentile Christians in the church at Ephesus to remember the time prior to when they became a new creation in Jesus Christ. It was a time in which Jews referred to them as the Uncircumcision. It was not a complimentary term. The Jews were considered to be of the Circumcision because they had inherited the promise given to Abraham. They were God’s chosen people — a people chosen by God through which all families of the earth should be blessed (Gen. 12:3) and the people chosen to receive the holy scriptures through Moses and to receive the word of God through the prophets.
The Gentiles had no such standing. They were without promise; God had not spoken directly to them.
Every born again Christian of today can relate to Paul’s instruction to remember when they did not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. All Christians, even those mature in age and faith, are impacted by Paul’s directive. One who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior in his long-past youth can imagine how desperate and alone he would have been without Christ in difficult times.
Believing Gentiles from every era are brought close to God by the blood of Christ. Jews experienced a closeness to God through the Abrahamic covenant and the covenant of the law. Personal failure to keep the law placed the Jew in need of God’s grace and gift of faith. Both Jew and Gentile are in like need of Jesus Christ. He is the door by which all men must enter in. He is the provision for both Jew and Gentile. He has broken down the barrier between Circumcision and Uncircumcision. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Christ has paid the price of sin for all — both the Jew and the Gentile. By Him all are reconciled to God and all have access to Him through one Spirit.
Paul is specifically addressing the differences dividing the Jew and Gentile. The same discussion, however, applies to individuals who are divided by denominational divisions in the Christian community. While one denomination may pride itself in its doctrinal purity or its missions or its history of service or its loving tolerance, all who are saved are saved by grace through faith. The saved, regardless of denominational ties, are unified with each other by Jesus Christ. He breaks down any and all partitions of separation. All who are saved have access unto the Father by one Spirit.
Unity within the church at Ephesus and within the church today was not and is not achieved through the efforts of man. Unity is through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit. All who are second born are not strangers, but are fellow citizens in the household of God. We are made fellow citizens solely by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The one thing which all born again Christians enjoy is a new relationship with God. The bond of that new relationship is not achieved by human input (It is not of works, lest any man should boast). One can experience a warmth when in the physical presence of those who follow Him, but one does not achieve the new relationship with God by rubbing elbows with each other. The new relationship is a gift bestowed by the grace of God. It is by that gift that men may become luminaries of His love.
There exists a long history of division within the church. The division between the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision was not of Christ. Christ is our peace — a peace that unifies. Well meaning men may preach unity, but men cannot achieve unity without Christ. Christ and Christ alone brings unity through the Spirit. Let men not seek unity for unity’s sake, but let each seek Jesus Christ and find unity.
It is through Christ that we are made fellow citizens with the saints. It is through Him that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. The new relationship is all about what Christ does through us. The fullness of that relationship is evident when we decrease so He may increase. Let us decrease such that He may fitly frame us into a holy temple, a habitation of God through His Spirit.
The church is a habitation of God. It is a home to His Spirit. It is a habitation built upon the love of Him who gave His only begotten Son. God’s love is to shine outward from us, His habitation.