Wednesday, September 28, 2011

EMMDEV 2011-09-28 [Ephesians] Horizontal Beam 1: Far, now near

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians2:11-13

According to traditional Jewish belief and practice, there was no way for a Gentile to be acceptable to God unless he became Jewish. By this I mean that he had to adopt Jewish faith, culture and lifestyle. A convert to Jewish faith would have to be "proselytised." This would involve circumcision for the men and then proselyte baptism (symbolising that the person was being "born into" Judaism.) They would be given a new name, a new set of clothes and be considered a Jew one day old.

But even then they were still considered Proselytes. Not the real deal...

Paul describes the fate of Non-Jews as follows:
- Separate from Christ (He was not in their genealogy)
- Excluded from citizenship (It wasn't in their genes!)
- Excluded from the covenants (They weren't descendants of Abraham)
- Without hope and without God (They weren't the "chosen" race)

The Jews misunderstood - they were not meant to be "chosen" while everyone else was "not chosen" - they were "chosen to be a light to the Gentiles," (Isa42:6) but they failed.

It was an issue of blood - They believed that if you did not have Jewish blood, you were really a second-class citizen.

Jesus changed all of that.
In a sense we could say that by laying down His life for us, Jesus has made us all His blood brothers.

We who were far have been brought near. It is still a blood issue, but not our blood. We are all saved by the blood of Jesus and not our own, and so we are all equal in the eyes of Christ.

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Theo Groeneveld theo@emmanuel.org.za
You can see past EmmDevs at http://emmdev.blogspot.com/

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