A new take on Ephesians 2

June is Pride month, for the LGBTQ/ queer community, and usually I don’t post much. Not to ignore it, but more because I can’t quite figure out what to say or how to say it. This year, I have been ruminating on a few things. Specifically….I have been reading Ephesians…. and yesterday morning I was stuck on chapter 2, specifically verses 14-18:

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”

Let me just start by saying I realize not everyone is going to track with where I am going, and that is ok. I have to be faithful to the heart God has given me for the LGBTQ community. If you are open at all, I’d encourage you just to listen. Not judge, not condemn, but listen. That’s all I ask. I’ll trust that if it’s something the Lord wants to teach you about now, he’ll do that. I’m not here to argue or debate. Just share…and plead.

I know we all see this passage in Ephesians and read it literally, that yes, we who are not Jewish by heritage now have access to the savior promised to them. We are grafted in. Having been married to a Messianic Jew for 25 years, I get that so clearly. I used to joke that I am about as gentile as they get (haha!) But I am trying to put myself in Paul’s shoes, at how revolutionary it might have been for early believers, to include the Gentiles in all the promises of God. After all, for generations the Gentiles were people who they just knew were outside of God’s favor. God didn’t love them, they were just sure of it. Heck, the honesty of Psalms shows they prayed for God to smite them and bring judgement on them. Granted, they were worshipping another god, bowing to idols, I know. But still.

I can’t help but wonder if here, even in a country full of such richness of culture and heritage, we get stuck in reading this as Jew/Gentile and we forget it has such larger implications. Could we (shouldn’t we?) begin to read this that Jesus has brought peace to us, between those who are “same sex oriented” and those who are “opposite-sex oriented”?

Call me heretical, but what if we could, in grace and mercy, read Paul’s words to us like this instead:

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united queer and straight into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us….Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”

Isn’t that what this passage really means? In Christ, people who were at opposite ends were brought together to reflect the goodness and richness of the glory of God. In times of election, I could say the same for Democrats and Republicans, frankly. At the cross, we are supposed to be equals. Yet somehow…. this seems a bigger bite to chew.

Back in Paul’s time, I’m sure some Jews thought “but those Gentiles are not holy! They do things/think things we aren’t supposed to as Jews”.

Hm. I thought Jesus made us holy and that settled the score. Holiness, sanctification, being made whole and complete into who we were created to be, to reflect God’s glory in all its fullness, to a world that thinks there is no hope – isn’t that the job of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t that what happens to all of us when we submit our lives to Jesus and walk out his principles? More than than that, sure it feels risky but we have Peter right there in Acts arguing for the inclusion of the Gentiles in the promises of God in our sacred text. What if this became us, arguing for the inclusion of those who are LGBTQ in our own churches?

Too often we shut the door at even considering and asking questions. We tout verses “The Bible says THIS”! I know what it says. I have done the research on original language, original usage, passage context, and read things on both sides of the argument. But do we ever enter into conversation to see their humanity, ask their story, see that they too bear the image of the one we claim? Or do we stay away because we don’t know how to start? All it takes is an invite to lunch and a humble heart willing to learn.

If they are seeking Jesus, they are part of the body of Christ – just a part too afraid to bring their whole selves to church because they fear how everyone will react. If you have reached a place of trust with someone so they actually TELL you this is part of their story – LOVE THEM. They have not “changed” who they are. You are just now seeing a part of them they don’t show too many people. Defend them. Include them. Have them to dinner. Help them grow in the gifts God has given them. Pray for them. Then help others get to a place of compassion and understanding too.

The larger LGBTQ community needs the life of God just like the larger straight community, people. We all need Jesus. We all have massive glaring inadequacies, we have all failed, we all want better for our kids, our communities, our families and the world. Can we make it more about that than their sexuality? They are SO MUCH DEEPER than that. We all are.

Author: tamapress

I'm an avid reader, tea drinker, and outdoor adventure seeker. Recent transplant to Colorado and LOVING IT! Convinced that God is still out to fix this broken world, and He uses us to do it. Chasing after things that matter...

5 thoughts on “A new take on Ephesians 2”

  1. Tama- your mercy and grace are so refreshing. And, yes, I see Christ wanting us to love the whole of humanity….if not MORE with those ostracized.

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  2. I have several comments on the opinion that you submitted and am going to respectfully show your error
    “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united queer and straight into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us….” Christ died for sinners. On must be born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven. Active sinners – homosexuals – are not Christian. Christ will not share us with Satan. Should they renounce their sin, turn to Christ and follow Him, then, and only then will they be children of God. I’ll cite a few scripture:
    1 John 2: 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” 
    1 John 1:6 – If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
    1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

    “Holiness, sanctification, being made whole and complete into who we were created to be, ” Romans 1 teaches that homosexuality is “unnatural”, “a shameful act”, and “against nature” so, no one was created to be a homosexual. (Romans 1:26-28)

    “The larger LGBTQ community needs the life of God just like the larger straight community, people.” The homosexual community does need Christ. The point is to maintain that they sin unrepentantly against the One who loved them first, and He will not accept them into His kingdom unless they repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
    The churches should accept them in, just not endorse their sin.
    Sometimes my writing seems rude, and that is not intended whatsoever, but, I hate to see homosexuals being led down a path that is not good for them, and candy coating the sin only hurts them
    Blessings

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    1. There isn’t enough space to explain why and how I landed where I have landed, and I do see and understand the verses you have quoted. I have dug into multiple translations, multiple contextual texts, and wrestle with how I believe God has called me to love this misunderstood group. I do think there is confusion sometimes and lust, just like with the straight community, and that does need to be addressed. Aside from their sex life though (because that isn’t what the kingdom is about), how can we say that God didn’t create them in the womb, knowing full well their orientation? This is certainly not the gospel I preach, the gospel I hold to is one of grace won on the cross.. and I hold in tension Jesus challenge that we are accountable for what we teach. We may need to agree to disagree, and yet still call people to lives of repentance and following Jesus

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      1. Sorry for being so long in returning the comment – life has been a bit busy.
        Christ would not create a person in what He has called, “unnatural”, “against nature”, “error”, “shameless acts”, “degrading their bodies” (Romans10)
        The need to be love, but loved with the truth – they are rebelling against Christ, and He has a better way for them…. blessings

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