One New Humanity | Ephesians 1:3-14

December 27, 2012

Book: Ephesians

As Christians, we are one new humanity and God’s people are the new family, Let’s learn more about this from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Introduction to Ephesians

Open your Bible to the letter to the Ephesians. Today, we are going to run through this letter and look at some core ideas of this writing, and in the coming weeks, God willing, we will go through this letter in detail.

The story of how Paul came to Ephesus is mentioned in Acts 19. For over two years Paul was there and a lot of people because of followers of Jesus. Years later, after being in prison, Paul wrote this letter.

Ephesians 1-3 talks about the story of the Gospel; how all history came to its climax in Jesus. Through Jesus God creates a multiethnic community of followers.

Ephesians 4-6 Paul explores how the Gospel story should affect how we live every part of our life story; personally, in our neighbourhood, in our communities and in our families.

We will be learning about the one new humanity, the new family and much more.

Ephesians 1:1-2 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul was an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.

Apostle means – “One who is sent” on behalf of someone else.

Here Paul is the one sent by Christ Jesus to the whole of the non-Jewish world.

See how the name Jesus is mentioned: Christ Jesus. So is He Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus?

Christ is a title that was given to Jesus by early Christians. It means anointed, anointed messianic King. Christ means King.

So, Paul is an official sent ambassador on behalf of King Jesus by the will of God.

To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

In Ephesus. Some early manuscripts do not have “in Ephesus,” see footnote. It has “to God’s holy people, the faithful in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians does not mention any individual in the church. It does not seem to address any problem in the church. Ephesians seems like an essay that was written to Christians in general but mainly circulated in Ephesus; summarizing Paul’s whole vision of the gospel and our living in response to the gospel.

Ephesians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Where do grace and peace come to us from? Lord Jesus Christ or God our Father?

Paul does not understand God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as two separate individuals, but he sees God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as two personalities crucially interrelated with one another.

Paul adds another personality to the Godhead:

Ephesians 1:13-14 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

We have Christ, Holy Spirit and God here.

Here we have the roots of what we call the Trinity.

That God was the Father, so we can call him our Father. God send His son Jesus and Jesus said He and the Father are one. Then Jesus said:

John 14:16-17 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17the Spirit of truth.

Paul grew up as a Jew, a Pharisee who had the concept of One God. Later he had an encounter on the way to Damascus of the risen Jesus Christ. He then moved to Arabia for 3 years to relook at the scripture based on the revelation of Jesus and he would re-envision the whole concept of God and now much further to the OT understanding of God, he is understanding God as God our Father who sent His Son Jesus and is now revealed in these last days as the blessed Holy Spirit.

Our understanding of the Trinity is the most important Christian theology. All other theology is secondary to the understanding that God is Triune.

Some passages to understand Trinity: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Titus 3:4-7, Jude 20-21.

Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Paul beings with a beautiful poem of praise for all of the things we need to thank God for and he tells the whole story of what God is up to in Jesus, in the past, in the present and in the future. He brings it all down to the work of Jesus.

Ephesians 1:9-10 9he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, (God has been working out his purposes in history and Jesus is the critical link, the hinge pin of unfolding everything about what life is about and human existence is about and what history is all about. This has been an mystery which was been made known to us. What is that purpose of God in Christ?) 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

To Bring Unity To All Things In Christ.

In other words, God brought all things up to the head of Christ Jesus. ….to sum up or summarize everything in heaven and on earth in Christ Jesus.

the Greek word is Ana-kephala-io.

It is, to sum up, to unify, to bring everything together to the main key point.

Paul is saying that all of human history and the history of the earth reached its key unifying purpose to which everything was moving was all summarized and unified and brought together in Jesus.

If the whole universe has to be unified and brought together, this means that the universe and humanity are deeply fragmented and disconnected. People are living as strangers, disconnected, selfish and fragmented. Society is fragmented. So we have a world where everything is disconnected and fragmented because of sin. But because of Jesus the Messiah or the King, everything is being brought together to unity, to rediscover its purpose, to rediscover its mission and through Jesus, the universe and all of this story is going somewhere. Paul uses the word, “anakephalio” to sum up, or to bring everything in unity.

So the question is: How did this universe get fragmented?

Ephesians 2:1-2 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Paul is talking about the human condition here. He is telling as to why we ended up in such a situation.

What is wrong with humans according to Paul?

We are dead.

We have the story of humanity. God created them and put them in the Garden of Eden. Humans have a choice to partner with God and reflect God’s image but he exercised his own will in the garden and man sinned. He got fragmented, and society gets fragmented. Everybody is seeking his/her own self and image. This is humanity, disconnected from each other, all running for themselves and self-empire, wanting to make money, fame, and comfort for themselves. This fragmentation has come into the family.

Paul uses a metaphor for this telling us that we are living, but we are actually dead, something has died inside of us that is fundamental to who we are. Paul connects the dead situation as transgression and sin.

Look at the three words and expressions of what is sin according to David: Psalm 32

Psalm 32:1-2 ESV Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity.

Three words here for sin


Transgression is intentional moral choices that are wrong. I know this is wrong, I know this is violating the other person, I know this is violating God, it is not honouring God, I know this is wrong in every way but I will do it because I want to do it. That is transgression. Transgression is to be forgiven, it has to do with the violation of God’s commandments.


Sin is the Bible’s word for moral failure. I am made for a purpose, I am made to reflect God but I want my own way and I have sinned. Sin is to be covered


Iniquity is immoral or unfair behaviour, my attitude.

Because of the sin in the garden, humanity is in sin. Therefore we do transgression, our deeds are wrong, we also do iniquity, and our behaviour is wrong. We fail as humans because of sin, and that results in death inside of us, because of which we are fragmented within ourselves and among ourselves.

I am only looking for my good and will achieve it at any cost. I will even kill others to get what I want. So, a man who was to reflect God and to show God’s qualities of love is now living only for his small group of family and close friends, but when it matters I do not mind standing up against my own family because all I live for and want is my own pleasure, comfort and my happiness. That is what Paul calls dead in transgressions and sins. So there is money, sexuality, and power used for my own pleasure and comfort. So we have man, family, society, governments and civilizations which are all fragmented because of sin. It is like we are alive but actually dead.

We were dead in transgression, sin and iniquity. This is the diagnosis of the human condition, so what is Paul’s response here?

Ephesians 2:4-6 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

The dead human was made alive with Christ. This happens in our salvation.

Here is the story of the Bible goes like this:

Out of the fragmented humans, God chooses one family and makes a covenant with that family.

They are not special, but God chooses them by his grace. From Them comes Israel and from Israel comes Jesus Christ.

So, Paul says out of the human God brought his Son Jesus and faith in his death and made us alive.

Jesus was specifically the Messiah of Israel, but what Jesus came to do was something for all sinful, dead, broken humanity. This is ana kephalaio, uniting all things in Jesus.

So Paul’s vision of Jesus is that Jesus is the one perfect human and he was the human that God made all of us be but we failed and now we are dead. So Jesus’ life was lived on our behalf. Jesus’ death was death on our behalf. When Jesus died he absorbed the individual and collective sins and fragments of human nature on the cross. His resurrection from the dead was also for us and on our behalf.

So Paul says if you join yourself to Jesus as your Messiah, your King, all of a sudden what is true of King Jesus is now true of you. You might be miserable, you might not be of noble birth, and you may not be educated, but the moment you grab on to Jesus by faith, his life now belongs to you and his resurrection life is now available to you.

Ephesians 2:4-6

 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

When we were baptised we were raised up from death and seated us in the heavenly realms. So every time you open yourself to Jesus’ presence through the Spirit in your life, you take steps to grow and change yourself, and you allow him and his word to transform you. You are allowing God to make you into a new kind of human, like Jesus. You are rediscovering your new identity in Christ and this family that we belong to.

So all of humanity is summed up in Jesus. Jesus the human. He lived for us. Jesus dies for us. He was raised for us. So humanity finds its purpose, healing, potential, and our new future in Christ Jesus.

Why did God send Jesus?

Because of His grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:11-12 11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The early Christians know that Jesus was a Jew and he was a Jewish Messiah. So the early Christians had a problem: Do I need to become a Jew to become a follower of the Jewish Messiah? This was a huge dispute in the early church. So the leaders of the church decided “no.” If you are not Jewish, you don’t have to get circumcised to become a follower of Jesus. You do not have to follow Sabbath rules to follow Jesus.

See what Paul says:

Ephesians 2:14-16 14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

The fragmented humanity has been made one with Christ.

This man finds his purpose in Jesus.

The fragmented society finds its purpose in Jesus.

What is the nature of the fragmented person?

They are selfish, in competition with each other, proud, arrogant, and thirsty for power. So they lie, murder, kill and covet.

Paul says that at the cross, all of that gets dealt with and gets reconciled. So what happens is God is creating people who come through the cross to the other side. God’s purpose is to create a new humanity.

This is a new family. The church is the new family of God. Our identity is no longer by the identity of our history:

What tribe do you belong to?

The place you were brought up.

What brands do you wear or not?

What were your habits and sins before coming to Christ?

In this new family, all of us stand on level ground because of the cross. So Jew, Gentile, Indian, American, British, and South African have all become one through the cross.

Murder, adulterers, gamblers, thieves, and the common man have to come to Jesus and become one through the cross. That is the church, we were formerly different and fragmented, but we are made one through the work of Jesus on the cross. Because every human being is dead in trespass and sin and we are to be made alive and we all stand on equal ground at the cross.

New Humanity

So in this new humanity, in this new family of God, we are defined by one thing alone, Jesus loved us and died for us and has given me life.

We have heard of this kind of spirituality: “I was a sinner and Jesus has saved me and given me eternal life.” The problem with that is you make the work of Jesus too small for you and your life. Yes, that is true but as much as I am changed and transformed, we are brought into a community of God and we together are God’s people. I am part of God’s family and my Christianity has to be practised in the community of God’s people. The whole plan of God is to create a new humanity.

So, we who have come from various educational backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, and different life experiences have one common story, that my life is no longer my own because King Jesus loved me and gave his life for me.

So, in Chapter 3, Paul talks about his unique role to be an apostle, “sent one,” to the gentiles.

That is Ephesians 1-3. Ephesians 4-6 is all about learning how to become a part of this Jesus-cantered family, a new lifestyle.

What Is This New Family All About? It is becoming like Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, (What is this new family all about? It is becoming like God) created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

If you are following Jesus, if you have given your life to Jesus, you have been called to become a member of this new family.

So what does it mean to live in this family, new humanity formed by Jesus?

Ephesians 4:2-3 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

  1. UNITY.

Jesus unified the fragmented people as one, but we are to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace through the love of Jesus. Humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love fuel unity in society.

Ephesians 4:4-6 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Now Paul, explores the conduct, and the new family values of this family. Living in Unity.


Ephesians 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do.

You are not a gentile anymore, you are not jew or non-Jew, but you belong to Jesus), in the futility of their thinking.

Ephesians 4:18-19 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

Ephesians 4:20-24 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!—21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, (What is this new family all about? It is becoming like God) created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

  1. LOVE

Ephesians 5 talks about core values:

Ephesians 5:1-2 1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

What is the core ethic here repeated 3 times? Love

Love that is committed to laying my life for elevating the others regardless of who they are. That love is portrayed on the cross.

So What Is This One New Humanity Marked With?

  1. Unity.

This is a family where unity and reconciliation with each other should be one of our highest values.

  1. Conduct.

Conduct is all about holiness.

  1. Love.

Everything regarding our life is done with this in mind. You find new ways of looking at money, power, and sex in this new community of God. We do these things very differently.

Marriage is done this way, work is done this way, the ministry is done this way, and the church is conducted this way. If we are all doing this, everybody becomes equal and elevated.

This new family will be fully completed and become completely like Jesus at the return of Jesus.

This is the big story that Paul is telling in Ephesians.

I am sure this series will change our whole idea of our time before the coming of the Lord and our conduct in our life, family and church. This book challenges our idea of ourselves. We have something big to live for.


Let us take time to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for taking our place on the Cross. His death and life have given us new humanity for those who believe in Jesus. Today, we have the power to live a new creative lifestyle. Thank God for His church of which we are a part. Thank God for City Harvest where Jesus meets with us every Sunday and our other weekly gatherings. Let us continue to live in love and unity. Let us seek the help of God to overcome every misconduct and live our new creation life in Jesus.

Life Application Points:

Man Is Fragmented Because Of Sin.

Jesus Took Our Death On The Cross.

By Grace, We Have Been Saved Through Faith and have got this new humanity.

Jesus Destroyed Every Barrier Between You and God.

I Need to make effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.

Be Holy in all your conduct.

Love is the fundamental characteristic of who God is and it is a value that is to describe his children as well.

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