Since this is Labor Day, I thought I’d include this dialog from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Delmar O’Donnell: You work for the railroad, Grampa?Coen, J., & Coen, E. (2001, February 2). O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Blind Seer: I work for no man.
Delmar O’Donnell: Got a name, do you?
Blind Seer: I have no name.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, that right there may be the reason you’ve had difficulty findin’ gainful employment. You see, in the mart of competitive commerce…
I was reading this morning’s “Verse of the Day” on Bible Gateway when I noticed how the Apostle Paul phrased Ephesians 2:19. I think the Revised Standard Version does an excellent job of communicating the nuance that Paul used.
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,Ephesians 2:19
As you may remember, Paul was a Jew and had invested the first part of his life in becoming a Pharisee1. So, he crafted this verse to communicate to both Jews and Gentiles. Let’s break this verse down.
We Are Not Vagabonds
In today’s verse, Paul addresses the Christian Gentiles living in the wealthy city of Ephesus, a city located in modern-day Turkey. Paul first tells us that Gentile Christians are not vagabonds – a person who wanders from place to place without a job or home. Instead, we Gentile believers in Jesus have a home in God’s household.
Our citizenship is with “fellow saints and members” of God’s household! We are “fellow citizens,” not citizens in addition to saints and members of God’s family. Rather, we are “fellow citizens.” This is true in this life and our lives in heaven.
Instead of a caste system in God’s kingdom, we Gentiles are equal citizens. God shows no prejudice or partiality among His children. We know this from many verses, such as:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28
Why This Matters
I’ve probably not written anything that you didn’t already know. So, why does it matter? It matters because we must be as cautious as Paul when looking at others. If God was willing to graft the “wild branch”2 into the True Vine, we must not allow our prejudices and preconceptions to deny anyone from hearing the good news and being received into the kingdom of God.
Someday, you may be walking on a street of gold when you spot Paul. Based on what Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you can greet Paul, give him a bear hug, and say, “Paul, it is so good to see you finally!” And he will hug you back and enjoy your membership in God’s household.
#Christianity #Christian #Devotional
You may like: Citizens of the Household of God
- Acts 23:6 – New International Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2023%3A6&version=NIV ↩︎
- Romans 11:17 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011%3A17&version=ESV ↩︎