By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands --
Up until this point Paul has been laying the foundation for who we are as believers. That includes all believers. We are all recipients of the fantastic grace of God. We are all the beneficiaries of His magnificent blessings. We have been transformed from death to life. We have been both raised with Christ and seated with Christ. All of this is ours forever (into the ages of the ages). Paul will now speak of the fantastic way in which we are all united in Christ.
The point will be that we are all one body in Christ. The emphasis will be on the uniting of the Jews and Gentiles in Christ which was a real issue in the early church. Today we don’t think much about that. The issue for us relates more to the fact that we are all united in one body in Christ regardless of sex, nationality, race or political party. We are all one in Him. As individual sinners, we have been united in Christ through His shed blood in order that together we might live out God’s message of love to the world. We live together in the new form of the kingdom. We need to remember that it was always God’s plan to bring his message of love to the world. There are examples of Gentiles who came to belief in the Old Testament. They include, Rahab, Ruth and many in the city of Nineveh who responded to the preaching of Jonah. There were certainly many more who also believed.
OK, so I finally get to the verse at hand. In verses eleven through thirteen, Paul will begin the discussion about this union that is in Christ. The message is to believers who were Gentiles. Just as he had earlier reminded all, both Jews and Gentiles that they had moved from death to life when they believed, he now reminds the Gentiles of the division that existed between Jews and Gentiles in the past. Those who had been hostile with one another in the past were now made one in the body of Christ.
Paul reminds the Gentiles of how far they had to travel to reach God. We must all remember our former plight and how much the grace of God reached out to us where we were. Both Jews and Gentiles were in a state of spiritual death until they believed but the Jews in their pride had viewed the Gentiles as significantly inferior. Now they were all one in the body. They were united by faith in Jesus. In the next two verses, Paul will more vividly speak of the past division and the current unity in Christ. In Christ we are all one.