Ephesians 2

God has made us alive with Christ

1 Before, your spirits were dead. You were doing wrong things and you were not obeying God. 2 You were doing the same kinds of wrong things as other people in this world do. You were like all the other people in the world who do not obey God. You were obeying the spirit who rules the spiritual powers in the air. That spirit is working now in everyone who refuses to obey God. 3 In past times, all of us were like those other people. We did whatever things our own bodies and minds caused us to want. God was angry with us, as he was angry with everyone else. And, as a result, he would have had to punish us.

4-5 But God is so very good and kind! Our spirits were dead and we were doing wrong things. But still God loved us so very much that he made us alive with Christ. God has saved you only because he himself is so very kind. 6 Also, God raised us up with Christ and he caused us to sit with Christ in heaven. God has done these things because he has joined us with Christ Jesus. 7 God did these things to show, for all future time, how very good he is to us. He wanted to show how very great and kind he is to us by Christ Jesus. 8 God has saved you only because he himself is so very kind. He has saved you because you believe him. You could not save yourselves, but it is God's gift to you. 9 He has not saved you as a result of any good thing that you yourselves have done. So, nobody has any reason to say how good they themselves are! 10 It is God who has worked in us. He himself has made us what we are. He had already prepared good things for us to do. And he has joined us with Christ Jesus so that we can do those good things.

Christ has brought Jews and Gentiles together

11 So, remember what you were before. You were born Gentiles, whom the Jews call ‘those people that nobody has circumcised’. But the Jews call themselves ‘we whom somebody has circumcised’. They say that because of what men themselves do to their bodies. 12 Remember that, at that time, you were separate from Christ. You did not belong to Israel's people. You did not belong to the people that God had chosen. You were strangers. God had made no agreements with you, by which he promised certain things to you. You were living in this world with nothing good to hope for. You were living without God. 13 You were far away from God. But now, because you are united with Christ Jesus, God has brought you near to himself by Christ's blood.

2:12An agreement is when two or more people, or God and people, agree about something.

14 It is Christ himself who has stopped us from being enemies. He himself has brought the two separate groups of people, the Jews and the Gentiles, to be one group. In his own body, he has broken down the wall between them that made them separate. He has taken away the thing that made them enemies. 15 He has brought to an end the Jews' rules. Those rules told them what they ought to do. In this way, he stopped the two groups of people from being enemies. 16 By his death on the cross, Christ stopped the Jews and the Gentiles from being enemies to each other. In one body, he brought both groups of people back to God, to be God's friends. 17 Christ came and he told people God's message. He told them about how they could be friends with God and with each other. He told it to you Gentiles, who were far away from God. He told it also to the Jews, who were near to God. 18 By Christ, all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, can come to the Father by the same Spirit.

19 So now, you Gentiles are not strangers any more. You are not foreign any more. But now, instead, you belong with God's people. You belong to God's family. 20 You belong to the building that is God's house. God's special workers, and the people who spoke his messages, are like strong stones under this building. They are like strong stones that hold the building up. And Jesus Christ himself is like the most important stone in the building. 21 He holds the whole building together. And he makes it grow into a house that belongs only to the Lord. 22 He himself is building you together also into a house where God lives by his Spirit.