Once you were dead to God because of your disobedience and sins. You lived in sin like the rest of the world, obeying the commander of the powers in the unseen world – the spirit that is at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God’s laws. All of us used to live that way, following our passions and the inclinations of our sinful nature. And by this very nature we were objects of God’s wrath.
But God is rich in mercy and because he loved us so much, he gave us life by raising us up with Christ, even when we were dead because of our sins. (Remember, it is only by grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So in the coming ages God might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and that is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – It not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good things he planned in advance for us.
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “the uncircumcised” by those who called themselves “the circumcision” (which is something that only affects the body and not the hearts.) You were living apart from Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel and cut off from the covenant promises they had been given. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away from God have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace. He made the two groups – Jews and Gentiles – into one when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility which divided us. He set aside in his flesh the system of law with its commands and regulations. His aim was to create in himself one new people from the two groups, thus making peace, and in one body to reconciled both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
He brought this good news of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are fellow-citizens with all God’s people and members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the chief cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple for the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.