New Testament for Everyone
Warning Signs on the Wrong Road
2 So where do you come into it all? Well, you were dead because of your offences and sins! 2 That was the road you used to travel, keeping in step with this world’s ‘present age’; in step, too, with the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is, even now, at work among people whose whole lives consist of disobeying God. 3 Actually, that’s how all of us used to behave, conditioned by physical desires. We used to do what our flesh and our minds were urging us to do. What was the result? We too were subject to wrath in our natural state, just like everyone else.
4 But when it comes to mercy, God is rich! He had such great love for us that 5 he took us at the very point where we were dead through our offences, and made us alive together with the king (yes, you are saved by sheer grace!). 6 He raised us up with him, and made us sit with him – in the heavenly places, in King Jesus! 7 This was so that in the ages to come he could show just how unbelievably rich his grace is, the kindness he has shown us in King Jesus.
Grace, Not Works
8 How has this all come about? You have been saved by grace, through faith! This doesn’t happen on your own initiative; it’s God’s gift. 9 It isn’t on the basis of works, so no one is able to boast. 10 This is the explanation: God has made us what we are. God has created us in King Jesus for the good works that he prepared, ahead of time, as the road we must travel.
Two into One Will Go
11 So then, remember this! In human terms, that is, in your ‘flesh’, you are ‘Gentiles’. You are the people who the so-called ‘circumcision’ refer to as the so-called ‘uncircumcision’ – circumcision, of course, being something done by human hands to human flesh. 12 Well, once upon a time you were separated from the king. You were detached from the community of Israel. You were foreigners to the covenants which contained the promise. There you were, in the world with no hope and no god!
13 But now, in King Jesus, you have been brought near in the king’s blood – yes, you, who used to be a long way away! 14 He is our peace, you see. He has made the two to be one. He has pulled down the barrier, the dividing wall, that turns us into enemies of each other. He has done this in his flesh, 15 by abolishing the law with its commands and instructions.
The point of doing all this was to create, in him, one new human being out of the two, so making peace. 16 God was reconciling both of us to himself in a single body, through the cross, by killing the enmity in him.
Unveiling the New Temple
17 So the Messiah came and gave the good news. Peace had come! Peace, that is, for those of you who were a long way away, and peace, too, for those who were close at hand. 18 Through him, you see, we both have access to the father in the one spirit.
19 This is the result. You are no longer foreigners or strangers. No: you are fellow-citizens with God’s holy people. You are members of God’s household. 20 You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with King Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is fitted together, and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 You, too, are being built up together, in him, into a place where God will live by the spirit.