Thursday June 27, 2019
EPH 2:14-18 - The Double Reconciliation.
The reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in the church represents the reconciliation of all mankind to one another. Only the new men are reconciled in this age. In eternity, only new men will live and so all will be reconciled. Our age is the first instance of it and a picture of the world to come.
The reconciliation of Jew and Gentile mirrors the change from the old man to the new man as well as the change from the old covenant (Mosaic) to the New Covenant.
We must lay aside our study of the historical conditions of the early church and the divisions that arose and return to it after we have familiarized ourselves with the principle of old man and new man along with old covenant and new covenant.
EPH 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
EPH 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
The enmity was the Law and the enmity was abolished by Christ fulfilling the Law.
The gospel superseded the Law. The gospel was the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, which antedated the Law by centuries. Abraham, whose faith in God was counted to him for righteousness, was the prototype of all who were justified by faith. The law was a parenthetical dispensation, introduced to serve a temporary purpose, but now rendered obsolete by the coming of Christ, the true offspring of Abraham, in Whom the promises and their fulfilment were embodied.
GAL 3:6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
GAL 3:7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
GAL 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you."
GAL 3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
The new man vs. the old man.
EPH 4:17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
“gentiles” - ethnos = heathen, a multitude or company. Used of the Jewish nation and Gentile nations. “walk no longer just as the nations also walk,”
Nations can be used as the world of unbelievers since all believers are citizens of heaven in this age; in the world but not of the world.
EPH 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
EPH 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
EPH 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
EPH 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,
EPH 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
EPH 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
EPH 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
The Greek that Paul uses leaves us with a conundrum in vs. 22. It can be translated “you have put off,” or, “you should put off”. The reason that either translation is possible is that he uses the infinitive mood, which in this case can mean either a command or a statement of fact.
When we compare this to its sister passage, we can conclude that Paul most likely means both - you have put off and you should put off.
Note that the old self is always being corrupted by lust. It cannot be rehabilitated.
He has been put off. He must be consciously put off by faith and the power of God the Holy Spirit.
COL 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
COL 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
COL 3:11 — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
“Have put off,” and “have put on” are both aorist participles, meaning a point in time - the moment of our salvation.
The new man means that the distinctions of vs. 11 are erased.
So, we are new creatures with a New Covenant. This is a heavenly election. It is purely divine and its truth has been marred by false doctrines built upon the precepts and theories of men. We must not taint it. We must keep it in its heavenly purity (elected that we should be holy and blameless), even if our own behavior looks nothing like heavenly.
Christ fulfilled the Law through His death and gave us His law, which is His life, a life of heavenly holiness which absorbed the 613 commands of the Mosaic Law, elevating even them to the holiness of heaven. Jesus rejected the added rituals and rules that rabbis hoped would put a wall around the Torah, and simultaneously He sharpened the ethical standards of the Law, carrying them back beyond overt speech and action to the hidden motives and emotions of the heart, and insisting on “the weightier matters of the Law, justice, and mercy, and faith” (MAT 23:23). Righteousness was to surpass “that of the scribes and Pharisees” (MAT 5:20).
Jesus took the law of Moses and made it extraordinary. He took men and made them extraordinary and then bid them to follow Him.
Still, in the beginning of the church, we find certain conservative Jewish Christians demanding that Gentile Christians conform as they would have to Judaism under the old economy.
But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.