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Sun, Mar 03, 2019

Divine Elevation of Gentiles

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The word Gentile is an English translation of the Hebrew word goyim (“people, nations”) and the Greek word ethne (“nations, people groups, people”). The Latin Vulgate translated these words as gentilis, and this word was then carried over into English as “Gentile.” The term refers to a person who is not a Jew. Gentiles were long seen as enemies of the Jewish people, yet Christ provided good news for both Jews and non-Jews. Paul praised the Lord’s goodness in his letter to the church in Ephesus. It is, therefore, from this letter that we want to learn how God elevated the Gentiles. In the first place, Paul speaks of the condition of the Gentiles before Christ came (Eph. 2:11-12). One, the Gentiles were called the uncircumcision by those who laid claim to that circumcision which is a physical and man-made thing. Two, the Gentiles had no hope of a Messiah. Three, the Gentiles were aliens from the society of Israel. Four, the Gentiles were strangers from the covenants on which the promises were based. Five, the Gentiles were without hope and without God. Second, Paul deals with how God dealt with the hatred and united the Jew and the Gentile (Eph. 2:13-18).
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The word Gentile is an English translation of the Hebrew word goyim (“people, nations”) and the Greek word ethne (“nations, people groups, people”). The Latin Vulgate translated these words as gentilis, and this word was then carried over into English as “Gentile.” The term refers to a person who is not a Jew. Gentiles were long seen as enemies of the Jewish people, yet Christ provided good news for both Jews and non-Jews.

Paul praised the Lord’s goodness in his letter to the church in Ephesus. It is, therefore, from this letter that we want to learn how God elevated the Gentiles.

In the first place, Paul speaks of the condition of the Gentiles before Christ came (Eph. 2:11-12).One, the Gentiles were called the uncircumcision by those who laid claim to that circumcision which is a physical and man-made thing.Two, the Gentiles had no hope of a Messiah.Three, the Gentiles were aliens from the society of Israel.Four, the Gentiles were strangers from the covenants on which the promises were based. Five, the Gentiles were without hope and without God.

Second, Paul deals with how God dealt with the hatred and united the Jew and the Gentile (Eph. 2:13-18). In order to do this, he uses two pictures. Firstly, he says that those who were far off have been brought near.

Secondly, Paul uses an even more vivid picture. He says that the middle wall of the barrier between has been torn down. This is a picture from the Temple. The intervening wall with its barrier shut the Gentile out from the presence of God. Paul goes on to say that in Christ, these barriers are down, but how did Christ destroy them? Paul explains this. First, Paul says of Jesus, “He is our peace.” It is in a common love of him that people come to love each other.

That peace is won at the price of his blood, for our great awakener of love is the Cross. The sight of that Cross awakens in the hearts of men of all nations love for Christ, and only when they all love Christ will they love each other. It is not in treaties and leagues to produce peace. There can be peace only in Jesus. Second, Paul says that Jesus wiped out the law of the commandments with all its decrees. Jesus ended legalism as a principle of religion. In its place, he put love to God and love to men.

Jesus came to tell men that they cannot earn God’s approbation by a keeping of the ceremonial law but must accept the forgiveness and fellowship which God in mercy freely offers them. In the third place, Paul goes on to reveal the priceless gifts that come with the new unity in Christ. First, Jesus made both Jew and Gentile into one new man. Second, Jesus reconciled both to God. Third, through Jesus both Jew and Gentile have the right of access to God.

Finally, Paul reveals the new position to which Gentiles have been elevated by God (Eph. 2:19-22).In order to do this, he uses two illuminating pictures. He says that the Gentiles are no longer foreigners but full members of the family of God. The second picture Paul uses is that of a building. He thinks of every church as the part of a great building and of every Christian as a stone built into the Church. Of the whole Church, the corner stone is Christ; and the corner stone is what holds everything together. Where Christ is, there is the Church.

The Church will realize her unity only when she realizes that she does not exist to propagate the point of view of any body of men, but to provide a home where the Spirit of Christ can dwell and where all men who love Christ can meet in that Spirit.

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