“When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of the Messiah...This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Messiah Jesus through the Gospel.” - Ephesians 3:4, 6
Here we have it: God’s plan throughout the ages was to set aside out of the entire human race one Holy People for Himself. He chose Abraham, the man of faith. He created for Himself a nation from his descendants. It didn’t include all of Abraham’s descendants; just the ones who had a faith like Abraham’s. These would become the nation of Israel.
But not all those who were born of Israel were part of the Holy People; God repeatedly distinguishes between the unbelieving and unfaithful descendants of Israel and the “remnant,” the chosen ones, His own People, who continue to believe His Word and especially the promise of forgiveness through the Messiah Who was to come.
We skipped a verse at the beginning of this devotional. In that verse, the Apostle adds this: “[This mystery] was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:5)
This is the essence of the New Covenant, which God was planning all along to establish when the Messiah finally came. He hinted at it all through the Old Testament; now He was saying it clearly.
This plan was to include Gentiles - those who weren’t ethnically descendants of Israel - as a part of His Chosen People, if they came with the same faith in His promised Savior that Abraham and His faithful descendants had.
So God has created for Himself one Chosen People: those who believe His promise of forgiveness through the promised Savior, Jesus the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who came and gave Himself as an atonement for our sins, rose from the dead and now lives and reigns through all eternity.
This Holy Week we remember how it happened and we worship and praise God, whose mercy extends to us through His promised Savior.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, I worship You today. You have ‘extended the hem of Your garment’ of salvation to include even me. Even though by rights I am not only an unworthy sinner but an outsider, a foreigner, You have made me Your own beloved child through Christ Jesus. Keep me close, Lord. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles