I. WHEREFORE REMEMBER
A. Paul had been contrasting what they were before receiving the gospel to what they are now.
1. Before they were dead in their trespasses and sins.
a. They walked according to the course of this world.
b. Their lifestyles were being governed and directed by Satan.
c. They were controlled by their fleshly desires.
d. They were destined for the wrath of God.
2. Now they are saved from the old life and the impending wrath of God.
a. They were alive in Christ.
b. They were seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
c. They had a glorious eternal future of discovering the exceeding richness of the grace and kindness of God.
d. God was working in their lives making them an expression of Himself, as He prepared them for the good works He had before ordained that they should accomplish for Him.
B. Paul again turns to the past as he describes what they were before receiving Christ.
1. Gentiles in the flesh.
a. By birth.
b. By practice as they lived after the flesh.
c. Living in the flesh, being slaves to the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
2. Called Uncircumcision by those who were called the Circumcision.
a. God had made a covenant with Abraham which is recorded in Genesis 17
b. In this covenant God promised to:
1. Multiply him exceedingly.
2. That he would be the father of many nations.
3. He would make him exceeding fruitful.
4. Kings would come from him.
5. He would be a God to him and to his seed.
6. That God would give to him and to his seed the land of Canaan.
c. The sign of the covenant would be circumcision.
1. The cutting away of the flesh. This had a much deeper significance than just a physical rite.
2. It was to signify that they would be a spiritual people not living after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
3. It was to be symbolic of a work that had been wrought in their hearts.
4. The true circumcision was of the heart not the flesh. Ezekiel spoke of the people being uncircumcised in their hearts. When Stephen faced the Jewish council he accused them of being uncircumcised in their hearts.
3. The term uncircumcised was a term of derision, spoken by the Jews concerning the Gentiles.
a. Samson's parents were upset because Samson had chosen a daughter of the uncircumcised Philistines.
b. David said concerning Goliath, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
c. Paul gets in a little dig against the Jews when he says here, "that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh, made by hands." That was not the true circumcision.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.
4. In times past, you were without Christ.
a. Without the anointed One.
b. Without the Savior.
c. Think how dark your world was before Christ.
1. You were justifying or rationalizing all your bitterness, and anger and hatred, and it was eating you up.
2. You felt you had a right to get even, to take revenge.
3. Some of you even thought that love and forgiveness was a sign of weakness.
5. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.
a. The root word in Greek is polis which usually referred to a city with walls.
b. It is also associated with the Greek word polites.
c. We get our English words such as politics, policies, and politan, such as metropolitan, or cosmopolitan from these Greek words.
d. Israel was as a walled city, you were outside the walls.
6. Strangers from the covenants of promise.
a. The Old Testament records many covenants that God made with the nation of Israel whereby He promised them blessings.
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make [you] afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
7. Having no hope.
a. It is so hard to be around people who have lost hope.
b. We have heard it said of some, "He is hopeless".
c. What a sinking feeling it brings when the Doctor says "I'm sorry, there is no hope."
d. Hope is a close kin to despair.
8. Without God in the world.
a. This explains why they had no hope.
b. David said, "Why art thou cast down O my soul, why are you disquieted within me? Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise Him who is the health of my countenance and my God."
c. In Paul's benediction in the Roman epistle he said,
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.