What does Ephesians chapter 2 mean?Chapter 2 emphasizes the theme of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. First, Paul describes the process of salvation as the result of God's grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1–10). Human effort, and human goodness, are completely ineffective in our salvation. Second, Paul transitions to a focus on unity in Christ (Ephesians 2:11–22). This includes tearing down the previous divide between Jews and Gentiles who are now one spiritual family.
The first section (Ephesians 2:1–10) begins by noting believers "were dead" in their sins (Ephesians 2:1) in which they had previously walked, following the way of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). This is true of all believers before coming to faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:3). Yet God's mercy (Ephesians 2:4) has made us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). This is Paul's first mention of being saved by grace. The contrast between death and life offers a stark contrast between the unsaved and saved.
Ephesians 2:6 continues with a focus on believers being raised up with Christ, mentioning grace a second time (Ephesians 2:7). Ephesians 2:8–9 are some of the most well-known words in the Bible, emphasizing salvation by grace through faith. It is not the result of works, so no one has reason to brag. Verse 10 ends this section by noting that we are God's workmanship or "artwork" and have been created to do good works. In fact, God prepared in advance for believers to accomplish these tasks.
The second section (Ephesians 2:11–22) transitions to unity in the body of Christ. Writing to Gentiles, Paul notes that they were once called "the uncircumcision" (Ephesians 2:11). They were separated from Christ, without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12). Yet through Christ they have been "brought near" (Ephesians 2:13). The dividing wall has been taken down (Ephesians 2:14), with the law of commandments abolished to make one new family (Ephesians 2:15), creating reconciliation and ending hostility (Ephesians 2:16).
Jesus came to reach people of all kinds and in all places (Ephesians 2:17). Through Him we "have access in one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2:18), emphasizing the triune nature of God. Gentile believers are no longer "strangers and aliens" but are united with Jewish believers in Christ (Ephesians 2:19). This united family, the church, is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Everything grows from Him and for Him (Ephesians 2:21–22).