Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Those Who Are Near and Those Who Are Far

Ephesians 2.

It's pretty good being a Gentile who has become a Christian. Having once been dead in my trespasses and in the sins that I once walked in, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What is true of Jesus is also true of me.

This is by grace, and not by my works, because I am after all God's workmanship.

And now? Jesus has ended the enmity that existed between Jews and Gentiles, having killed that enmity on the cross and made peace between those who were far off and those who were near. So that now, Israel's story is now my story. Israel's hope and polis (commonwealth) are also now my hope and polis. The covenant for Israel is also for me in Christ Jesus. No longer a sojourner or a house guest, I'm know a fellow citizen and part of the household itself. And where as 2000 years ago I would have been excluded from the temple in Jerusalem, stuck in the Court of the Gentiles, I am now apart of the temple, and a dwelling place for the Spirit of God.

And it's pretty good for Jewish Christians too. The purpose and story of Israel has found it's climax in Jesus Christ, and they too can find their identity not in the works of the law but in Christ Jesus.

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

No longer Jew or Gentile, we are the new humanity, and the great family promised to Abraham long ago. How great is God's grace and the richness of his mercy!

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