Thursday, January 31, 2008

Salvation to Gentiles?!?!?!

How about a short little post before dinner eh?

"11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
-Ephesians 2:11-13

Alright, to use the words of my good friend Todd Blackhurst, "When you see a Therefore, we need to ask ourselves 'what's it there for' " haha
Remember what Paul has just told us; He has just made written one of the most clear, all-encompassing statements about salvation in the entire scriptures in Ephesians 2:8-10. Paul conveys to us our depravity, the richness of God's Grace, and closes the passage by giving all Glory of Salvation to God.

It's important when you read a passage, to consider bother the time period and to whom the author is writing. In this case, we must consider that the idea of Salvation to a Gentile is new. Could you imajine being in the church at Ephesus and reading the scriptures all about God's chosen people, "Israel" and thinking....woah, thats...not me! Paul is making the distinction here, about the new Covenant. The Covenant of Christ.
Look at Verse 13

-"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."

Things are different! God hasn't changed, the means of salvation hasn't changed (by Grace, through Faith), but now, the Ephesians (who were at one time excluded from the saving Grace of God) may be drawn by God into Salvation. The Old Testiment reverence and importance of Circumsision has been chinged to one of the heart! Lets look at Romans 2:28-29

"28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God."

and at Colossians 2:11

"11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,"

Christ, through his blood has drawn the nations to himself! Isn't redemptive history cool?
Calvin sums up verse 13 better than I could:

"But now in Christ Jesus. We must either supply the verb, now that ye have been received in Christ Jesus, or connect the word now with the conclusion of the verse, now through the blood of Christ, — which will be a still clearer exposition. In either case, the meaning is, that the Ephesians, who were far off from God and from salvation, had been reconciled to God through Christ, and made nigh by his blood; for the blood of Christ has taken away the enmity which existed between them and God, and from being enemies hath made them sons."

God has done an amazing thing by sending his son for us! He starts the chapeter by describing God's amazing Grace in our salvation, then demonstrates the power of Christs blood his calling of Gentiles! Praise be to him for his grace to the nations!



Anthony Plopper said...

Yay! Go Jesus. We like him. I've always thought that we miss the effect of these passages about salvation being extended to the Gentiles, because we have always had access to it, and simply assumed. But it was not always that way. God has made a new circumcision with his people. Good post.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is difficult to understand the gravity of what Paul is saying here since the idea of salvation for the Gentiles is so common to us. The best way I can understand it is to imagine if some guy claiming to be God showed up and said that now salvation is only for the Jews again. Whoa! That would be quite a stumbling block. (1 Peter 2:6-10)