Posted by: dhkrause | October 23, 2012

Partakers of God’s Promise

Paul declares in Ephesians 3 that with the coming of the Messiah, Christ Jesus, Gentiles are now to be fellow heirs with Israel, “of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel”:

Ephesians 3 (NKJV)
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

Paul then explains that he has been given the grace to preach this gospel among the Gentiles, a mystery hidden in God through the ages until the coming of Jesus Christ through whom all things were created:

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 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, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

The Hebrew scriptures gave hints of this wondrous news of the Gentiles becoming fellow heirs with Israel, partaking of the God’s promise through the Messiah. For example, Isaiah 60 speaks about Gentiles coming to the light shining forth from Israel:

Isaiah 60 (NKJV)
1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

Isaiah 64 goes on to speak of God meeting those who rejoice in Him and do righteously, whether Jew or Gentile:

Isaiah 64 (NKJV)
4 For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
5a You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.

Psalm 33 calls those walking in righteousness with the Lord (YHVH) to rejoice in Him and praise Him for all His wondrous works in Creation and history. The nation whose God is YHVH is blessed; they are the people He has chosen as His own inheritance:

Psalm 33 (NKJV)
1 Rejoice in the Lord (YHVH), O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.

4 For the word of YHVH is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of YHVH.
6 By the word of YHVH the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear YHVH;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

In Ephesians 2 Paul teaches that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, has broken down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile, to create in Himself “one new man from the two”:

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Ephesians 3 concludes with Paul’s powerful prayer that those who partake of God’s promise would be deeply strengthened by God’s Spirit, that they would comprehend and know the love of Christ, and be filled “with all the fullness of God”, giving glory to Him through all generations:

Ephesians 3 (NKJV)
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

David Krause,, 10/14/12

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