Ephesians 3:6 6The Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Paul uses three words in this verse that show fellowship and connection. These are nouns marked in the Greek with the same prefix (syn) and connected to the same article. The first word is fellow heirs. Paul uses this word also in Romans 8:17. It shows a close relationship found only in families. Because Gentiles have been adopted into God’s family through faith (Ephesians 1:5), they get the same inheritance as those Jews who believe. Adoption into God’s family is available to all people. 

The second word is difficult to translate into English but means belonging to the same body (syssōma). Paul uses the body metaphor in reference to the church numerous times in his letters (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 1:22; 4:4; 5:23; Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:19). The body has many parts to it but they all are a unit. If any part is separated from the others, it will cease to live. If one part hurts, the whole body reacts. The whole body takes care of each individual part. These and other ideas should have given Gentile Christians a tremendous amount of assurance that they were a vital part of the church and God’s plan. 

The third word means to share in the same things (symmetocha). In this case, the common possession the Gentiles have are the promises that are found in Christ Jesus and that come through the gospel. Paul has already described one of these promises in 2:12, which is salvation. Another promise is the gift of the Holy Spirit in 1:13. The gospel promises these to those who believe. These promises are only available to those who are “in Christ,” which requires accepting in faith God’s offer of grace and mercy (2:8-9). This type of faith is not simply intellectual but requires the entire sanctification of a person’s being represented in baptism and the commitment to take off the old self and put on a new self (4:22-24) in consecration. This promise focuses upon God’s love for us which we experience through Jesus Christ (3:14-21). All of these ideas in Ephesians are inter-linked and describe in different terms and ways the core concept of the profound and awesome reason God has created us: that we might know his love in Christ.

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