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Doctrine of the New Covenant, part 18.

DOCTRINE OF THE NEW COVENAT-18-170928
length: 64:14 - taught on Sep, 28 2017
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Title: Doctrine of the New Covenant, part 18.  

 

Paul then lists 5 things about the uncircumcised Gentiles.

 

EPH 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 

 

EPH 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 

Uncircumcised Gentiles:

Without Christ (Messiah)

Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel

Strangers from the covenants of "the" promise

No hope

Without God in this world

 

In essence, Paul is revealing that the Gentile nations were not near as blessed as Israel.

 

Verse twelve quickly lists the things that made Israel the most blessed nation ever to exist by far. The Gentile nations had none of these things. The fact that Israel still rejected the Law of Moses and eventually their Messiah is the greatest testimony so far to the inadequacy of man. It may be that the rejection of the Messiah at the end of the Millennium will be the only thing to top it. And, by the way, the struggles in our own lives under the weight of sin, are a testimony to each of us that without God's fellowship, we are fully inadequate.

 

The Ephesians, as well as most everyone in that region, were Gentiles, who prior to salvation, enjoyed none of these blessings.

 

PSA 147:19 He declares His words to Jacob,

His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.

 

PSA 147:20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;

And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.

Praise the Lord!

 

The religious privileges inherited by the Jews were substantial.

 

ROM 3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?

 

ROM 3:2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.

 

ROM 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,

 

ROM 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.

 

ROM 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

 

ROM 9:4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

 

ROM 9:5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

 

EPH 2:11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 

 

EPH 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

 

So then, all of these have to be viewed from the Jewish perspective that Paul is using. The Gentiles were without a promised Messiah or a covenant connection to Him, while the Jews, even the legalistic dummies who persecuted Jesus, always believed was to come.

 

Second, as aliens they were not citizens of Israel, who enjoyed the greatest blessings of a theocracy with laws given directly by God.

 

Third, they were strangers of the covenants of "the" promise. Unfortunately, the NASB does not translate the definite article before "promise," since it is emphasizing a certain promise. Paul is referring to the unconditional covenants, Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and New. Israel had these covenants and were familiar with them, not that they really cared for them. They were familiar in the way that you are familiar with the streets in your neighborhood, while the Gentiles were strangers to it.

 

Fourth, they had no hope. They had no Messianic hope, which again, the Jews had although they failed to see the Messiah in the truth of His mission. The Gentiles also had no hope in general. Under paganism, no one hopes in a future kingdom the way that the Jews did, even when the Jews saw that kingdom completely wrong and coming to them in the completely wrong manner.

 

Fifth, the Gentiles were without God in this world. These pagans were mostly polytheistic and had not God in this world. There gods were glorified humanistic types, which of course are not gods at all.

 

"But now" - one of the sweetest small statements in the Scripture.  

 

"But now" is in contrast to their time as unbelieving Gentiles.

 

EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

What brought us near is the blood of Christ, His sacrificial death. He is our redemption and our reconciliation to God. There is a parallel passage to this in Heb 10.

 

HEB 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

 

HEB 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

 

HEB 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

 

HEB 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

Heb 10 was written to Jews, while the Ephesians' passage was written to Gentiles: both are called to draw near by the blood of Christ.

 

EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

 

EPH 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

 

Through Jesus, the believer is reconciled to God and believers are reconciled to one another.

 

"He Himself" - Christ Jesus is emphasized as the only One capable, and He made both (Jew and Gentile) into one.

 

The verb "is" is in the third person singular and so no pronoun is needed, but Paul begins the sentence with the personal pronoun autos - He, and so it is properly translated, "He Himself." It emphasizes Him as the only One capable of breaking down the barrier wall between Jew and Gentile.

 

The fact of our separation by the five things listed in verse 12 is emphasized by the word "barrier" and the instrument of separation being the "dividing wall," which was the Mosaic Law.

 

One would think of the wall around the temple which kept the court of the Gentiles or outer court separate from the inner courts which only Jews were allowed to enter. Along this wall, at various intervals were notices in Greek and Latin warning Gentiles not to proceed farther on pain of death. It was this wall that led to Paul becoming a prisoner for the sake of the Gentiles.

 

Why was there a barrier between Jew and Gentile for almost 2,000 years? God erected it when He called Abraham and then God tore it down when in Christ He died on the cross.

 

DEU 7:6 "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

 

DEU 7:7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

 

It might be a stretch to conclude that by "fewest" the Lord is referring to the one man Abraham, rather it is more likely that He is referring to the establishment of the Jewish nation at Sinai, which estimates have them at around 2 million people, which would have been more than a tribe, but much less than other nations like Egypt, Canaan, Moab, Edom, Assyria, Hittite, etc.

 

DEU 7:8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

 

DEU 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

 

DEU 7:10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.

 

DEU 7:11 Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.

 

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