Ephesians: Precision Thinking for Accurate Theology
Session 7 | Ephesians 2:1-2
An overview and proof of pronoun importance
- A summary glance at Ephesians 2 shows that the pronoun changes are…
- Of fundamental importance
- Of theological precision
- Of the nature that they must be explained and cannot be ignored.
- The following displays different focus between 1st person plural (we/us, etc.) and 2nd person plural (ye/you, etc.)
||2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience
||It was the gentile people who walked according to the course of this world
|3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.4 But God, who is
rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
||(by grace ye are saved;)
||Paul has moved from you (vv. 1-2) to “we” (v. 3) and “us” (v. 4). Either he is unbelievably bad at grammar (and the Holy Spirit inspired bad grammar) or these changes of pronoun have meaning.
Paul further gives a
parenthetical statement that switches from “us” (vv 4-5a) to “ye” (v. 5b), then back to “us” again (v. 6). This switch has to have meaning.
|6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
||8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
||Paul reverts to “ye” in v. 8, coming back to his parenthetical statement of v. 5b.
|10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
||11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without
Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh
by the blood of Christ.
|14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
||17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
||While verses 14-16 speak of both groups, they do so from the reference point of the Jews; Paul speaks of the law of commandments, no doubt a reference to the Mosaic Law, and only relevant for the Jews. In verse
17 the first reference is to those afar off. Both groups enjoy the peace of the reconciliation in Christ, as is seen clearly in verse 18.
<tdclass=”text-left”>18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
||19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being
the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
||If the saints are all believers, then how have the gentiles suddenly become fellow citizens with the saints? Under the standard evangelical definition, it would have been better to say, but now ye are saints.
In the terminology used, the Ephesians and the saints are not the same people.
You, Us, and Us Together | Ephesians 2:1-7
Paul speaks of some things that are true for you (the gentiles) and also true of us (the Jews) and thus are true of us together, both Jews and Gentiles.
* Verse 1 –
* The verb hath he quickenedis borrowed for the completion of the sentence in v. 5. However, grammatically it could just as readily be he loved from v. 4 (both thoughts would be theologically correct, so no change of doctrine is effected).
* Do not be taken in by the oft-given remark that /dead people cannot do anything/. This argument is created by Calvinists to “prove” that a sinner cannot accept Jesus Christ without first being regenerated by election. However, the sentence grammatically is connected with v. 2, saying, /ye walked, being dead/. The death spoken of is not the inability to make choices, it is the deadness in which the unsaved sinner is living, walking, and breathing.
* Gentiles have been /loved/ and /quickened/, but in cannot be deduced that this is a gentile experience alone, for vv. 4-5 conclude that the Jews and Gentiles have had the same experience. Note that since the Jews are the elect nation, the love of God and the quickening work of God is not related to election, thus election must pertain to something else.
* Verse 2 - To walk according to the course of this world (which is ruled by the prince of the power of the air) is precisely what people who are dead in trespasses and sins do.