The Israel of God - Part 1, #5
by Missionary-pastor Martyn McGeown (Limerick Reformed Fellowship)
God’s promises were to Abraham's seed. Galatians 3:16 identifies Abraham's seed: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Furthermore, Paul identifies the seed of Abraham as Jews and Gentiles (there is no difference, v. 28) who believe in Jesus Christ: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).
Paul explains it in Ephesians 2-3. The Gentiles in Ephesus had, before their conversion, been "without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." But now, because of what Christ had done in His life and death, "ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (vv. 12-13). Paul's conclusion: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone" (vv. 19-20).
It is not, however, something new that Gentiles are brought into the people of God. This happened frequently in the OT, but to become a Jew in the Old Testament required circumcision (for males). The "new" aspect is that Gentiles are equal with the Jews through faith in Christ. Paul explains this "mystery" in chapter 3: "the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (vv. 4-6). Paul does not say that the concept "church" was unknown in the OT, or that the idea of the conversion of the Gentiles was hidden. He teaches that it was not known in the same way as it is today. Gentiles are partakers in God's promise in Christ through faith!
To be continued …
From Pastor’s blog on http://www.limerickreformed.com/blog/item/588-the-israel-of-god-part-2
Rev. Martyn McGeown (Larisa)
Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010; Providence PRC (Hudsonville, MI), Sept. 2021Website: www.prca.org/current/news/churches/usa-canada/providence-prc-hudsonville-mi
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