Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Mystery

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul often speaks about the “mystery” that has been kept hidden in past ages.

Paul explains the mystery in Ephesians 3:6. Jews and the Gentiles will be heirs together and members of one body to share the promises of Jesus. Paul had already explained that the Gentiles had been aliens, shut out of God’s people and God’s household (Eph 2:19), but Jesus broke down the barrier and the dividing wall (Eph 2:14,16). His purpose was to create peace and make one new man of the two (Eph 2:15). The two are being built together to become a building in which God can live by the Spirit (Eph 2:22).

This is the mystery. God’s plan for the future is to join Jews and Gentiles into one body in which all the fullness of the Spirit can dwell. It has two important implications.

  1. Christian infatuation with the state of Israel is misguided. The mystery is not Israel living in a separate nation ruled by a secular government (or and ultra-orthodox government) shut off from the church and the gospel.

  2. The body of Christ cannot be complete until the children of Israel are fully part of it. A Gentile church is a truncated church that cannot be a dwelling place for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The next big even in human history is the fullness of Israel, when huge numbers of Jews come to faith in Jesus and are grafted into his body. That is the mystery of God that got Paul excited. It is what Christians should be praying and working for. My book called Times and Seasons explains how this will happen.

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