Saturday, August 23, 2014

Only one spiritual body

Does God have two separate spiritual bodies in the nation of Israel and the Body of Christ? 

1) In Romans 9 Paul makes the point that God’s word did not fail because all that are descended from Israel belong to Israel.  He goes on to say it is NOT the children of the flesh that are the children of God, but it is the children of the promise.  Paul is clearly separating the ethnic nation of Israel into two groups.  The larger group is Israel by birth but they are not saved and do not inherit the spiritual promises made to Abraham.  This group does not belong to Israel according to Paul and are not the children of promise.  Paul even uses the examples of the twin brothers of Jacob and Esau, Abraham’s grandchildren, to make this point of distinction.  The children of the promise that inherit spiritual salvation are spiritual Israel.  Therefore, according to Paul God’s spiritual promises were for them only and his word did not fail.  The distinction between spiritually saved Israel and unsaved Israel is clearly established in this passage. 

2)  It is also clearly established in Rom 2:28-29 where a Jew is described as being regenerated by circumcision of the heart and not just by being physically born a Jew.  Here again Paul makes a distinction between spiritually saved Jews and unsaved Jews.

3)  Does this category of spiritual Israel include Gentiles?  Does it include the church aka the body of Christ made up of Gentile believers?  Paul clearly says Gentiles are included in this category in Ephesians 3:6 where he says Gentiles are members of the same body: 
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

4)  Galatians 3:28-29 confirms that Gentiles are included in spiritual Israel when Paul says:  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
Everyone that is spiritually saved is described many times in the NT as being in Christ.  Therefore, this verse is referring to both Jews and Gentiles.  Since Gentiles are called Abraham’s offspring and they are not offspring by the flesh, he has to be referring to being spiritual offspring.

5)  In Galatians 6:16 Paul calls this body of believers the Israel of God…..  It has to be a spiritual Israel he is referring to because it cannot possibly be unsaved ethnic Jews.

When we let the divinely inspired writers of the New Testament interpret the Old Testament and it's fulfillment in Jesus Christ, it is clear that there is only one spiritual people of God.  They are in Christ through faith and is doesn't matter if they are Jew or Gentile.  They all have the same destiny and that is a new heaven and a new earth..... quite a magnificent land promise!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Differences in the Old [Mosaic] Covenant and New Covenant

What are the differences between the Mosaic national covenant God made with ethnic Israel and the New Covenant that God made with spiritual Israel, which include Jews and Gentiles?

The following passage shows the Mosaic covenant blessings were based on keeping the covenant conditions of the Law of Moses….. 
(Exodus 19:5-6 ESV) Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

The following similarly worded passage shows that New Covenant blessings are based on God’s sovereign grace and the only covenant condition is faith…..
(1 Peter 2:9 ESV) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

For ethnic Israel it was IF YOU OBEY……  For spiritual Israel it is YOU ARE A CHOSEN RACE…..  Old Covenant blessings were based on obedience to the Law of Moses, while New Covenant blessings are based on God’s grace through faith alone.  Membership into the Mosaic Covenant was through physical birth and Jews remained in the Mosaic Covenant whether or not they became believers.  New Covenant membership is through spiritual birth [regeneration] and all that are included are born again believers.  There was then and is now a small portion or remnant of ethnic Israel who became believers and are part of spiritual Israel. 

Whether one is Jew or Gentile, spiritual salvation does not come through groups.  It comes on an individual basis and is based on individual saving faith.  The only people in Israel today or in the future that will receive any spiritual blessings are those who are spiritually redeemed through personal faith.  Gentiles with saving faith receive the same blessings as Jewish believers.  Paul states this fact clearly in Ephesians 3:6: “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

The Mosaic [Old] Covenant was temporary and has ended.  The New Covenant is everlasting and is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham.  Abraham looked forward to a heavenly City of God and not a strip of land in Canaan as Heb. 11:10 points out: For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.  Although most of the Israelites delivered from Egypt died in unbelief without seeing it, the physical land God promised Abraham was fulfilled when the Israelites under Joshua conquered Canaan.  The spiritual Promised Land, a new heavens and new earth, will be realized by Abraham’s spiritual seed in the eternal state after history has ended.

The redeemed spiritual people of God include both Jew and Gentile believers but not the entire ethnic nation of Israel.