Here are the key reflections on the topic of Who are “the saints” in Ephesians in my series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians
A direct answer to the question:
My direct answer is in at the end of the following blog post (follow the link then scroll to the bottom): No second-class Christians (Ephesians 2:19).
Here’s a quote from the blog post, which summarises my answer in a nutshell:
Who are “the saints”? There are two common answers. Some people say “the saints” refers only to Jewish believers in Christ. Other people say that “the saints” refers to all believers in Christ…
My answer is: it’s actually the wrong question! If we ask this question while assuming that the answer is simply going to be one or the other, we’re not thinking the way Paul is thinking.
Through Christ, the holy status of the original “holy ones” has been shared with gentiles, who can now also become “holy ones”. … It’s not a matter of one or the other. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the original “holy ones” (the early Jewish apostolic community) have now been joined by other “holy ones” (all those who believe in Christ).Lionel Windsor, No second-class Christians (Ephesians 2:19)
Other important material relevant to the question
- Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)
- Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)
- We too: the offenders (Ephesians 2:3)
- The blood that brings us close (Ephesians 2:11–13)
- Christ the wall breaker (Ephesians 2:14–16)
- Built together (Ephesians 2:20–22)
- The open secret (Ephesians 3:4–6)
- Christ’s body: A brief history (Ephesians 4:11–13)
- Holy talk (Ephesians 5:3–4)
The academic details behind these reflections
In this series, I don’t go into detail justifying every statement I make about the background and meaning of Ephesians. I’ve done that elsewhere. If you’re interested in the reasons I say what I say here, and want to chase it up further with lots of ancient Greek, technical stuff, and footnotes, check out my book Reading Ephesians and Colossians After Supersessionism: Christ’s Mission through Israel to the Nations.