From Death to Life
1 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. 2 Yes, in the past your lives were full of those sins. You lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. 3 In the past all of us lived like that, trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. Like everyone else in the world, we deserved to suffer God’s anger just because of the way we were.
4 But God is rich in mercy, and he loved us very much. 5 We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) 6 Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. 7 God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.
8 I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9 You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about. 10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.
One in Christ
You were not born as Jews. You are the people the Jews call “uncircumcised.*
” Those Jews who call you “uncircumcised” call themselves “circumcised.” (Their circumcision is only something they themselves do to their bodies.) 12
Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not citizens of Israel, and you did not know about the agreements†
with the promises that God made to his people. You had no hope, and you did not know God. 13
Yes, at one time you were far away from God, but now in Christ Jesus, you are brought near to him. You are brought near to God through the blood sacrifice of Christ.
14 Christ is the reason we are now at peace. He made us Jews and you who are not Jews one people. We were separated by a wall of hate that stood between us, but Christ broke down that wall. By giving his own body, 15 Christ ended the law with its many commands and rules. His purpose was to make the two groups become one in him. By doing this he would make peace. 16 Through the cross Christ ended the hate between the two groups. And after they became one body, he wanted to bring them both back to God. He did this with his death on the cross. 17 Christ came and brought the message of peace to you non-Jews who were far away from God. And he brought that message of peace to those who were near to God. 18 Yes, through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father in one Spirit.
So now you non-Jewish people are not visitors or strangers, but you are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family. 20
You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation that the apostles and prophets prepared. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone‡
in that building. 21
The whole building is joined together in Christ, and he makes it grow and become a holy temple§
in the Lord. 22
And in Christ you are being built together with his other people. You are being made into a place where God lives through the Spirit.