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   A COVENANT FOR ALL PEOPLES

 
 

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PART 9

GOD'S INCLUSIVE COVENANT

OUR PREVIOUS EXCLUSION

"Wherefore remember, that once you Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands. That you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenants of promise; having no hope and without God in the world."

aaron—Here we are told what we Gentiles did not have:

(1) We did not have access to Christ.

(2) We did not have a share in the commonwealth of Israel.

(3) We did not have the Covenants of Promise.

As an additional comment here, I believe this reference to "covenants of promise" is referring to the Abrahamic Covenant with both its visible characteristic that is evident in the Circumcision of the Flesh Covenant /or The Covenant of Bondage, and its invisible characteristic that is evident in The Covenant of Promise. We must understand that both of these covenants are in fact the component parts of the one Abrahamic Covenant of Grace and are based solely on God's faithful promises to father Abraham. (Gen.17:1—27, Gal.4:21—31)

(4) We were without hope. and

(5) We were without God in the world.

OUR PRESENT INCLUSION

"But now in Christ Jesus, you (Gentiles) that once were far off are made (to be) near in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and broke down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the (antagonism), even the law of commandments contained in ordinances: That He might create in Himself of the two (Circumcision and Uncircumcision), one new man, so making peace, and reconciling them both (Jews and Gentiles) in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the (antagonism) thereby. And He came and preached peace to you (Gentiles) that were far off, and peace to them (Jews) that were near. For through Him, we both (Jews and non—Jews alike) have our access in one Spirit unto the Father. So then, you (Gentiles) are no longer strangers and sojourners; but you (Gentiles) are fellow—citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Chief Corner—stone. In whom each several building, fitly framed together, grows into a Holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you (Gentiles) also are built together (with the Jews) for a habitation of God in the Spirit." (Eph.2:11—22 paraphrase.)

"For this cause, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles,— if you have heard of this dispensation of that grace of God which was given me to you—ward: How that by revelation, this mystery was made known unto me, as I wrote before in few words; whereby, when you read, you can perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it has now been revealed unto his Holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit: To know, that the Gentiles are: Fellow—heirs, fellow—members of the body, and fellow—partakers of the promise, in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (Eph.3:1—6 paraphrase.)

aaron—It is difficult to understand how some within today's Church, in the face of such clear revelation, continue trying to divide Israel from the Church when considering God’s peoples. The Church has been made a permanent institutional part of God's family. The Church is a part of the preexisting institutional corporate peoples of God, as well as a part of the preexisting hidden "Israel of God". The members of the Christian Church are joint—heirs of God's promises: Participating members in both the visible realm and the invisible realm of God's reconciliation.

aaron—The continuing difficulty here involves our inability to define the complex identification of God's peoples, and then our inability to correctly discriminate between the two: between the visible and the invisible. To begin, to be "Fellow—heirs, fellow—members of the body, and fellow—partakers of the promise", would surly position the Gentile Christian Church into a full participatory role. First, they are being incorporated into something that was already in existence—the Old Testament institutional peoples of God with their visible characteristics—Israel, Jew, and the Circumcision as well as their invisible characteristics—Israel, Jew, and the Circumcision. Though the visible and the invisible Old Testament entities have identical names, they are distinctly different in essence and function.

"God, making known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself unto a dispensation of the fullness of times. To sum up all things in Christ: The things upon the earth, and the things in the heavens." (Eph.1:9 and 10)

aaron—The word fullness has the implication of complete, end, expire, completion. [Greek—pleroma])

(Sum up — Bring together into one.)

Amen.

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