Alienation: Who We Once Were (Eph. 2:11-12)
Verses 11-12 follow the pattern of verses 1-3. They paint for us the dark picture of what life apart from Christ involves. Praise God that our Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to redeem us.
Paul wants his readers and us to remember how separated they were from God’s people and His blessings and what it took to bring them back into a right relationship with Him.
“You were Gentiles in in the flesh.” Paul is highlighting the physical difference between a Jew and a Gentile. In verse 12 Paul goes on to elaborate on the pre-Christian past of the Gentiles. Paul gives us 5 ways that the Gentiles were separated.
Guy Orbison, Jr., writes these words, “ separate-no national hope of a Messiah and what the ‘anointed One’ would accomplish;  excluded from the commonwealth-Israel was the covenant name and the Gentiles were not included;  strangers, i.e. is foreigners to the covenants-they had no access to the arrangements and promises God made through the chosen people;  having no hope-no expectations of future glory or exaltation by God;  and without God in the world– no meaningful relationship with the living God.”
Before we became Christians we were in the same tragic position as these Ephesian Gentiles. We need to reflect and remember how things were outside of Christ. By remembering where we came from, we will live with constant gratitude toward God and love towards His people. Praise God for the word “but” in verse 13.
-Larry Miles, May 2, 2015 in Mangum, OK