Those “with” and Those “without”

Those "with" and Those "without"

“That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens
from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers
from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God
in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have been brought near by the blood of Christ”
Ephesians 2:12-13 –

There are movements today in some countries that identify with those who are “without:” “Those without land,” “Those without homes,” “Those without power,” “Those without a partner,” “Those without names,” etc. Each raises the flag of a cause they defend.

Paul speaks of the Gentiles with a past (“before”) and a present (“now”). The past of the Gentiles is grouped into the word “without.” They were those “without.”

There were many pagan gods and religious syncretism. Diana was the most famous goddess of the Ephesians. The Ephesians had never heard of Christ, so Paul calls them “those without Christ.”

“Without Christ.” It is not neutral ground, it is a tragedy.

“Without citizenship.” God had turned the Jews into a nation, which in its time was mighty, noteworthy, and meant to enlighten and bless the other nations: that was its purpose.

“Without a covenant.” God had made an agreement with the Jews, and although by extension it reached the Gentiles, as a nation they were strangers to the covenant. That is why the Jews always told them they were “without.” They even prayed like this: “Lord, I thank you that I am a Jew and I am neither Gentile nor a woman.”

Wiersbe says that historians refer to great hopelessness in the ancient world, with hollow philosophies, vanishing traditions, and religions that generated neither faith nor hope. The beliefs did not provide strength to endure life or to face death. They were “those with no hope.”

The heathen had countless gods, but these many gods amounted to nothing; that is why they were without God. In reality, it was not that Godhad left them, but that they left God. History says it all started with one God, but as they moved away from the one true God, they began creating many false gods.

“But now,” Paul says, history can change. It is that, for both those Ephesians and for us, we do not need to be the “without” because God has called us to be those “with.” “Those connected to God,” “Those with hope,” “Those with a covenant,” “Those with a citizenship,” “Those with Christ.”

The “without” are defeated; the “with” are invincible.
“Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible,
than the soul that feels its nothing and relies wholly on God”
(Proohets and Kings, p. 174).

Be the one “with” today. God bless you…