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From Death to Life

2 1In the past, your spiritual lives were dead because of your sins and the things you did wrong against God. 2Yes, in the past you lived doing those sins. You lived the way the world lives. You followed the ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now working in those people who refuse to obey God. 3In the past, all of us lived like those people. We lived trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We were [evil] people. We should have suffered God's anger because of the way we were. We were the same as all other people. 4But God's mercy is very great, and God loved us very much. 5We were [spiritually] dead. We were dead because of the things we did wrong against God. But God gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God's grace (kindness). 6And God raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavenly places. God did this for us who are in Christ Jesus. 7God did this so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace. God shows that grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. 8I mean that you are saved by grace. And you got that grace by believing. You did not save yourselves. It was a gift from God. 9No! You are not saved by the things you have done. So no person can boast [that he saved himself]. 10God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would do good things. God had already planned those good things for us. God had planned for us to live our lives doing those good things.

One in Christ

11You were born non-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 on their bodies.) 12Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not citizens of Israel.* And you did not have the agreements* with the promise [that God made to his people]. You had no hope, and you did not know God. 13Yes, 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 (death) of Christ. 14Because of Christ we now have peace. Christ made us both (Jews and non-Jews) one people. The Jews and the non-Jews were separated like there was a wall between them. They hated each other. But Christ broke down that wall of hate by [giving] his own body. 15The Jewish law had many commands and rules. But Christ ended that law. Christ's purpose was to make the two groups of people (Jews and non-Jews) become one new people in him. By doing this Christ would make peace. 16Through the cross Christ ended the hate between the two groups. And after the two groups became one body, Christ wanted to bring them both back to God. Christ did this with his death on the cross. 17Christ came and preached peace to you people (non-Jews) who were far away [from God]. And he preached peace to the people (Jews) who were near [to God]. 18Yes, through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father in one Spirit.* 19So now you [non-Jews] are not visitors or strangers. Now you are citizens together with God's holy people.* You belong to God's family. 20You believers are like a building that God owns. That building was built on the foundation that the apostles* and prophets* prepared. Christ himself is the most important stone* in that building. 21That whole building is joined together in Christ. And Christ makes it grow and become a holy temple* in the Lord. 22And in Christ you people are being built together with the other people (the Jews). You are being made into a place where God lives through the Spirit.*

uncircumcised People not having the mark of circumcision like the Jews have. circumcised People having the mark of circumcision. circumcision Cutting off the foreskin. This was done to every Jewish baby boy. It was a mark of the agreement God made with Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14). Israel The Jewish nation (people). agreements The agreements that God gave to his people in the Old Testament. Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. holy people God's people are called holy because they are made pure through Christ and belong only to God. apostles The men Jesus chose to represent him in a special way. prophets People that spoke for God. most important stone Literally, "cornerstone." The first and most important rock in a building. temple God's house--the place where God's people worship him. Here, it means that God lives in his people.

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