Ye are no more strangers - In this chapter the Church of God is compared to a city, which, has a variety of privileges, rights, etc., founded on regular charters and grants. The Gentiles, having believed in Christ, are all incorporated with the believing Jews in this holy city. Formerly, when any of them came to Jerusalem, being ξενοι, strangers, they had no kind of rights whatever; nor could they, as mere heathens, settle among them. Again, if any of them, convinced of the errors of the Gentiles, acknowledged the God of Israel, but did not receive circumcision, he might dwell in the land, but he had no right to the blessings of the covenant; such might be called παροικοι, sojourners - persons who have no property in the land, and may only rent a house for the time being.
Fellow citizens with the saints - Called to the enjoyment of equal privileges with the Jews themselves, who, by profession, were a holy people; who were bound to be holy, and therefore are often called saints, or holy persons, when both their hearts and conduct were far from being right in the sight of God. But the saints spoken of here are the converted or Christianized Jews.
Of the household of God - The house of God is the temple; the temple was a type of the Christian Church; this is now become God's house; all genuine believers are considered as being οικειοι, domestics, of this house, the children and servants of God Almighty, having all equal rights, privileges, and advantages; as all, through one Spirit, by the sacred head of the family, had equal access to God, and each might receive as much grace and as much glory as his soul could possibly contain.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners - You are reckoned with the people of God. You are entitled to their privileges, and are not to be regarded as outcasts and aliens. The meaning is, that they belonged to the same community - the same family - as the people of God. The word rendered “strangers” - ξένοι xenoi- means “foreigners in state,” as opposed to citizens. The word rendered “foreigners” - πάροικοι paroikoi- means “guests in a private family,” as opposed to the members of the family. “Rosenmuller.” Strangers and such as proposed to reside for a short time in Athens, were permitted to reside in the city, and to pursue their business undisturbed, but they could perform no public duty; they had no voice in the public deliberations, and they had no part in the management of the state. They could only look on as spectators, without mingling in the scenes of state, or interfering in any way in the affairs of the government.
They were bound humbly to submit to all the enactments of the citizens, and observe all the laws and usages of the republic. It was not even allowed them to transact any business in their own name, but they were bound to choose from among the citizens one to whose care they committed themselves as a patron, and whose duty it was to guard them against all injustice and wrong Potter‘s Greek Ant. i. 55. Proselytes, who united themselves to the Jews, were also called in the Jewish writings, “strangers.” All foreigners were regarded as “strangers,” and Jews only were supposed to have near access to God. But now, says the apostle, this distinction is taken away, and the believing pagan, as well as the Jew, has the right of citizenship in the New Jerusalem, and one, as well as another, is a member of the family of God. “Burder,” Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgertland, in loc. The meaning here is, that they had not come to sojourn merely as guests or foreigners, but were a part of the family itself, and entitled to all the privileges and hopes which others had.
But fellow-citizens with the saints - Belonging to the same community with the people of God.
And of the household of God - Of the same family. Entitled to the same privileges, and regarded by him as his children; see Ephesians 3:15.
We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow Him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? ... TMK 361.3Read in context »