Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ephesians 1:3

The saints and faithful, who have become members of the church which is the body of Christ, are blest. They are blest with all spiritual blessings, or every blessing that is spiritual. They are blest in heavenly places, not on the earth. And they are blest with or in Christ, not with Abraham.

When we go back to Genesis 12 and see the promise made to Abraham and the blessings attached, we see nothing of these blessings here in Ephesians. The blessings of Abraham are confined to the earth and the nations thereof, not the heavens. It is in connection with a promised land, not the heavenly places. And the blessings are not all spiritual; some are earthly or carnal blessings. Riches and honor were the accompaniment of faith in Jehovah. Even the Lord, when speaking of the promises in connection with Abraham and the kingdom, said that one should first of all seek the kingdom of heaven and all these things would be added. We have no such promise today. Today you cannot measure a man's spiritual condition by his wealth and honor among men.

There was the promise made to Abraham that all the nations of the earth were to be blest through him. This has its fullest fulfillment yet to come in the millennium, when the 12 apostles leading the 12 tribes of Israel will evangelize the nations as commissioned in Matthew 28. Then Israel will be fulfilling the purpose for which they were chosen and led out of Egypt.

But during Acts, there was a foreshadowing of this great time to come: Israel did not repent and bring forth fruit as was expected of them. So the Lord added some of the blessings of Israel to the Gentiles so that it would bring Israel to jealousy and bear fruit, the fruit of repentance and faith.

About 8 years after Pentecost (where Peter spoke to Jews and proselytes only), Peter went up by revelation to Caesarea to the house of Cornelius and gave the Gentiles the invitation to sit at Israel's table and partake of their blessings. Before this a Gentile could only eat crumbs that fell from the children's table. At Acts 13 Paul began outside the land what Peter had begun, and he too invited the Gentile believers to partake of the blessings of Israel.

But we must keep in mind that in all this, the promise made to Abraham was still in force. These Gentile believers received no more than Israel did. There was nothing above and beyond the promise made to Abraham. And so by faith these Gentile believers became the children of Abraham.

One of the seldom mentioned passages along this line is found in the parenthesis of Romans 9 to 11. The Gentile believer is properly put in his place. He is made to understand that he had a position like that of a wild olive branch grafted into a good olive tree. He partakes of its fatness (blessings). He has the root of the olive tree sustaining him, and he is not the root. He is not to boast in any way against the tree (Israel) for just as he had been grafted in, so could he be cut out. He is there for Israel's sake.

What a glorious gospel the Gentile received after Israel was set aside! No longer partaking of the promises, but blest in Christ Jesus.

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Verse of the Day

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
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