One New Man

Paul is unequivocal. Considering what Jesus accomplished in his Death and Resurrection, no longer can there be divisions between Jews and Gentiles in the One People of God. By his sacrificial death, he “dismantled the middle wall of partition” that separated Jews and Gentiles so “he might reconcile them both in one body for God through the Cross.” God is building Jewish and Gentile disciples into one habitation of God “in the Spirit.”

Having voided the “law of the commands in ordinances” that divided them, God is “creating in himself One New Man.” Formerly, Gentiles were alienated from the citizenship of Israel, “strangers from the covenants of promise,” and without hope in the world.

Church small Iceland - Photo by Ruslan Valeev on Unsplash
[Photo by Ruslan Valeev on Unsplash]

Nevertheless, those “
afar off” before Calvary are being “brought near…by the blood of the Messiah” and made members of his ONE covenant community. Jewish and Gentile believers access the same Father through the “one Spirit” they all received. Having believed the “word of the truth,” they have been “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” - (Ephesians 1:13, 2:18-22).

The implications are profound. They demonstrate that Gentile followers of Jesus participate fully in the Abrahamic Covenant. Circumcised or not, his disciples are heirs of the same promises regardless of ethnicity.

Jewish and Gentile believers become “fellow citizens and members of the household of God…having been built together into the habitation of God in Spirit.” Similarly, to the congregations in Galatia, Paul wrote:

  • But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian, for you are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There can be neither Jew nor Greek. There can be neither bond nor free. There can be no male and female; for all are one in Christ Jesus. And if you are of Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise - (Galatians 3:25-29).

No longer are his disciples under the custodianship of the Mosaic Legislation, including its ordinance of circumcision. Whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free, all members now constitute One People through one baptism and the “faith of Christ Jesus.”

Justification before God and membership in His people are not dependent on gender, nationality, or biological descent. Repentance, faith in Jesus, baptism, and the Gift of the Spirit determine membership in the covenant.

CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM


Gentile believers are “grafted into the root,” and that “root” is Abraham. The “wild branches” are grafted in by God’s Spirit and based on faith, not the deeds and rites required by the Law. However, unbelieving Jews, though they are the “natural branches” and possess the Torah, are cut off if they continue in “unbelief” - (Romans 11:11-24).

When God confirmed His Covenant with Abraham, He promised to make him the “father of a multitude of nations.” The “nations” or Gentiles were always included in the promises. Yahweh promised to “establish my covenant between me and you, and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant.” This raises the question - Who is the Seed of Abraham?

Paul provides the definitive answer. The “Seed of Abraham” Jesus, therefore, the group known as the “children of Abraham” includes all men and women who have exercised faith in him regardless of their nationality or place of origin - (Galatians 3:7-9).

The Abrahamic Covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles, and the formation of Israel from the loins of Abraham was an initial stage in God’s larger plan of redemption for humanity.

From Mount Sinai, Yahweh summoned Israel to become his peculiar possession, a priestly kingdom tasked with mediating His light to the nations. “All the earth” was His, not just the nation of Israel or the tiny territory of Canaan. Israel was called to bring the “nations” to Yahweh, not alienate them from Him – (Exodus 19:5).

In his first epistle, the Apostle Peter applied this very passage to the largely Gentile congregations of “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia”:

  • But you yourselves are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, who were no-people, but now are the people of God; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” – (1 Peter 2:5-10).

Lantern - Photo by nathan kosmak on Unsplash
[Photo by nathan kosmak on Unsplash]

The calling given to Israel has fallen to the “
Body of Christ” composed of those who have been “sealed by the Holy Spirit.” Inclusion in this community is based on the “faith of Jesus” and faith in him. In contrast, exclusion is the result of unbelief and disobedience.

God did not abandon His promises to Abraham. He is fulfilling them in His Son and through His Spirit. He is making salvation available to all men for the asking, and on the same basis for all, the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, there is only one covenant community and one People of God.



RELATED POSTS:
  • His New Covenant - (In his sacrificial death, Jesus inaugurated the superior New Covenant promised in Jeremiah, thus rendering the old one obsolete – Hebrews 8:6-13)
  • Salvation, Gentiles and Jews - (The equality of Jews and Gentiles before God is pivotal to Romans. Members of either group stand or fall before Him on the same basis)
  • To the Ends of the Earth - (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God announced by Jesus is a message of life for men and women of every nation and people)

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