The Ephesian Gentiles to whom Paul was writing had previously been dead—separated from God in their sins, as the Jews had been before they received the blessing of salvation through the death of Christ. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, the Ephesians were resurrected by God’s love and mercy to a new life free from sin.
Paul pointed out that salvation is through the grace of God and not by any works of the Law of Moses or works of merit that man can do. However, there are certain conditions or appointed works which must be met prior to qualifying to receive God’s grace. Man must possess an obedient faith in Christ as the Son of God—not merely a mental assent that he believes. God appointed these good works from the beginning.
One may receive a coupon in the mail for a free loaf of bread. No works had been done to earn that coupon. The recipient must have the faith to redeem (obedient faith) that coupon before the free loaf of bread becomes a reality.
Paul reminded the Ephesians that previously, they as Gentiles had been cut off from God and as aliens, they had no hope of salvation. The Law of Moses had placed a barrier of enmity between Jews and Gentiles, but they had been brought together in the church with the Jews by the blood of Christ. This barrier of enmity had been removed as the Jewish law was abolished on the cross and Jews and Gentiles had become at peace with each other and with God. All peoples and nations had become one in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings all to God the Father by revealing the same word of salvation (the Bible) to all.
Paul described the church as the household of God with the Gentiles not being excluded, but being equal partakers with the Jews in God’s family. They were all children sharing in the love of the Father.
The church was also referred to as a building or temple of God built upon the teachings of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. As God once dwelt in the temple under Jewish law, He now dwells in His new temple, the church (Christians).