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What we believe and teach: The mystery of Christ

29 January 2016

What we believe and teach: The mystery of Christ

holy-bibleWe who are Gentiles by birth, and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (that done in the body by the hands of men), were formerly without Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope, far from God and without God in the world. But it pleased God to bring us near to Him through the death of Jesus Christ. For through the death of Jesus Christ the middle wall which separated us from God and the Jews by birth was destroyed, because Jesus abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances. Therefore, by His death on the cross, Jesus reconciled us both (Gentiles and Jews) to God in one body. We were reconciled to God by the grace of God through faith in Christ. Now, therefore, we who are Gentiles in Christ are fellow heirs with those Jews who are in Christ, we are members together of one body, that is, the Church, and partakers of His promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel, that is, the promise of eternal life. We are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone of this spiritual building which is a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. This mystery was kept hidden in God for ages past, but in the fullness of the time it was revealed to the saints of God, to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

Let us bear in mind this: it was necessary that most of the Jews should disobey God, so that we who are Gentiles might be forgiven by God (that is to say, so that God might have mercy on us) and we might become His people; so we received mercy through the disobedience of the Jews. As we know, in the days of Jesus and in the days of the apostles, most of the Jews refused to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah and thus they disobeyed God (most of the Jews all over the world still refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah). Then God, disgusted for their disobedience, had the Gospel of grace preached to the Gentiles as well, so that they might believe and obey Him; so that, through the believing Gentiles, He might provoke the disobedient Jews to jealousy. The disobedience of the Jews was predicted by God through His prophets of old, for God said in various ways that He would harden the Jews to cause them to stumble. Therefore they were predestined to stumble; on the contrary, we were predestined to accept the Word of God. Therefore the hardening in part which Israel has experienced is God’s work. However this hardening is temporary because one day, that is, when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, God will have mercy on all the Jews, for He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob and will take away their sins. (Giacinto Butindaro, from http://www.the-new-way.org/wwbat/index.html)

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