We’re All Fellow Citizens


I grew up in a small town in East Texas in the 1960s and ‘70s and experienced racism firsthand. One practice I remember specifically was at the movie theater, where blacks were not allowed to enter the main floor and could only sit in the balcony. Sadly, such policies were all too common at the time and highlighted the tension between the races.

Similarly, the scripture today contrasts two differing peoples who experienced not only racial, but immense social and spiritual differences. This passage focuses on the “what, how, and why” of God bringing reconciliation, beyond earthly limits, to these people.

  • How do examples, past and present, of immense need for reconciliation among differing peoples highlight our greater need of reconciliation with God?


 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What was Paul asking believers to remember in verses 11-12? Verse 13 begins a contrast. Summarize the contrast of verses 11-12 to what is described in verses 13-18.
  2. Verses 14-15 identify a “peace.” How do the surrounding verses describe how that peace is attained?
  3. What are the characteristics of reconciliation described in verse 19?
  4. Upon review, how might you summarize the “what (vs. 11-12), how (vss. 13-18), and why (vss. 19-22)” of reconciliation presented in this passage?
  5. Verse 19 contains the phrase, “you are,” which refers to identity. How does our identity change when we are “in Christ”? What are the noted changes in our identity highlighted in this passage?


“Having no hope and without God…” It just can’t get worse than that. Then two amazing words, “But now,” change everything (vs. 13). Not only was God providing a hope and purpose to the Gentiles, but to all. There was no longer separation based upon covenant markers such as the Law and circumcision. The new distinction would be “in Christ,” or not. Verse 17 identifies those who were far off (Gentiles) and those who were near (Jews). Both required a savior. Only through the cross is reconciliation found. This section begins with alienation and ends with reconciliation. The middle, verses 13-18, might be summarized as “Christ died to be our peace,”—he died to bring reconciliation between God and us.

  • Pray that you would live out reconciliation with all those God puts in your path.
  • Through our reconciliation with Christ, we receive a new identity. Pray to grow in a greater understanding, both in knowledge and experience, of this new identity.