Sunday June 16, 2019
Some closing remarks about 2:11-13.
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.
EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
The Son of God reconciled the world unto Himself, not just a nation.
2CO 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them,
When Greeks attending Passover desired to see Jesus in the week just before His death, He said to them:
JOH 12:31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.
JOH 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
The cross of Jesus was to draw humanity around it, by its infinite love and sorrow, by the perfect apprehension there was in it of the world’s guilt and need, and the perfect submission to the sentence of God’s law against man’s sin. Paul’s gospel continued to find men who would believe this and together, Jew and Gentile would weep at the foot of the cross, now knowing they were once partners in sin and death, but now they are partners in life.
The union of Caiaphas and Pilate in the condemnation of Jesus and the mingling of the Jewish crowd with the Roman soldiers at His execution were a tragic symbol of the new age that was coming - an age that Paul now saw completely. Israel and Rome were partners in slaying Jesus, the former being more guilty due to their possession of the covenants and promises. The Jews had killed their Messiah. The Gentiles had killed their only hope. Blood was on both their hands, but that same blood would deliver any one of them who came to faith. Judea and Rome were destined to collapse, but every individual among them, from Pilate to Caiaphas to the soldier who drove the spikes through Jesus’ precious flesh could be saved through faith.
Fifty days after His Passover, the offer was made at Pentecost - reconciliation of individuals who claimed Jesus’ power was from Satan, yelled “Crucify Him,” and “We have no other king but Caesar.”
The nation was doomed, no matter what they did or how many believed because the sin of attesting Jesus’ power to Satan was unpardonable, but that didn’t mean that the individuals were doomed. For any man alive, there is always hope.
ACT 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you [Jew] nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men [Gentile] and put Him to death.
ACT 2:24 "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
ACT 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
ACT 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
ACT 2:39 "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."
Repent: they had concluded that Jesus did His miracles by the power of the devil. Faith in Him as Messiah would be repentance.
Baptized: they were to publicly reveal their faith to the rest of the Jews, and so baptism became another vehicle of evangelism.
ACT 2:40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"
In roughly forty years, more than a million of that generation would die in Jerusalem. Thousands more would die at the hands of the Romans in Galilee, Samaria, and Perea as they moved southward towards the city. Peter likely speaks of being saved from the physical death that is to come upon that generation. It would seem odd for him to describe salvation being from a people rather than from sin and death.
Also, when Peter says “and for all who are far off” (vs. 39) he probably means Jews who are in distant lands, as Act 10 reveals that he still doesn’t understand that the same calling is on the Gentiles. But it is intriguing to speculate that God somehow put these words in his mouth as referring to Gentiles.
And … enter the Gentiles, who along with many Jews, would enter into the house of God, making many other Jews jealous.
ROM 11:11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
ROM 11:12 Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
ROM 11:28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
ROM 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
ROM 11:30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
ROM 11:31 so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
ROM 11:32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
This jealousy seems odd to us now because so many Jews have lost fervency for their faith. They haven’t had a Temple or the city of Jerusalem to call their own in almost 2,000 years. But, at the writing of this letter, the Temple still stood, and Jerusalem was still theirs. They had fervor for their religion, but many Gentiles were claiming a Jew as their Christ (Messiah) and many of their fellow Jews were doing the same. Jealousy is an inordinate desire for something, and in this case, it wasn’t for Christianity, but for their religion to return to the way it used to be, exclusively theirs.
But that has all changed, and permanently. Paul recognizes what God has done. God had brought unity and perfect brotherhood in divine peace to the world, and not just among the Jews, but Jews and Gentiles alike. God had done, in a mystery age, what He promised He would, and unlike anyone ever expected. This causes Paul to close his thought with: