Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (ESV)
We do not like to be excluded. Whether it is an elite club, a group of popular people, or even people who have certain skills that we lack. We do not like to be left out. Paul reminds the Ephesian readers that for hundreds of years they were the outcasts. They were Gentiles. In our modern society, we don't make much of the use of the word Gentiles. But, that distinction was a very big deal. Paul goes into detail about just how big of a deal it was to be a Gentile versus being a Jew.
Paul lists five distinct ways that the Gentiles were outcasts. They were:
- Separated From Christ. They had no Messiah. They had no deliverer from their sin.
- Separated From the Commonwealth of Israel. The Jews had God as their Lord and King. He was their provider and grantor of all blessings.
- Separated From Covenants. All throughout the history of the Old Testament God made covenants with his people, the Jews. They were told that they would have a priesthood, a kingdom, a nation, and an eternal future in heaven for those who believed. The Gentiles had no such Covenant.
- Separated From Hope. Because they had no Savior they were lost in their sin. They were without hope.
- Separated From God. The Gentiles had thousands of gods. But in reality they had none. As the Jews knew from God himself, there is only one God. And this God of Creation was the God of the Jews. The Gentiles were separated from the only God and left to follow false imitations.
Think for a moment of how you were separated from God before you placed your faith in Jesus Christ. Give him praise for how he has broken down barriers and made you one with God's people.