WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 9, 2012
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JEWS AND GENTILES ARE ONE IN JESUS CHRIST
(Oneness and peace in CHRIST)
In Ephesians 2, taking up at verse 12, the Apostle Paul talks about the state of the Gentile before CHRIST. Here Paul states five disadvantages of the pre-CHRIST Gentile and he doesn’t include “circumcision” in his list. Paul never considered circumcision to be a necessary act (Acts 15) for Gentiles to partake in, in order to become a follower of CHRIST JESUS. At least one of the items on this list are also shared by the Jewish believers. On Paul’s list of reminders to the Gentiles we find that before CHRIST:
· * Gentiles, like Jews were living apart from HIM.
· * Gentiles were excluded from GOD’s people, Israel.
· * Gentiles did not share in the promises of GOD.
· * Gentiles lived without knowledge of GOD’s Will.
· * Gentiles were without hope.
GOD, through HIS wisdom, determined that HE would form HIS new Church out of flawed material (mankind), because HE loved us even as we were still sinners, deeply embedded in our own transgressions. HE began this process by recreating us, in and through, HIS SON, JESUS, and as a result, HE effectively closed the spiritual gap between the Jews and the Gentiles.
Before JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross redeemed all mankind in general and all Christians in particular, the Jews had enjoyed a special covenant relationship with GOD that the Gentiles were not privy to. JESUS came to usher in a “New Covenant” from GOD. It is a covenant that is far superior to any, before, or since that time. It is the duty of the Christian (Jews and Gentiles) to build his or her foundation on that “Most High Faith” (Christianity), learning to pray in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, and never again forgetting the conditions of that covenant, under which the love of GOD has called us. And then, finally, we must all still wait on mercy from JESUS CHRIST unto eternal life.
By bringing Jews and Gentiles together through the cross, JESUS effectively settled the longstanding feud between the only two races that ever mattered. Now, both Jews and Gentiles are fellow citizens and members of GOD’s divine household and holy temple (the Christian Church). JESUS HIMSELF has made us all one people under GOD (V.14).
In verses 15-18 we see that CHRIST, the PEACEMAKER and Jew, died for the Gentile, and by doing so, HE removed the barrier that is Jewish Law, a barrier to both races of people that was mistakenly viewed as the way to GOD, by the Jews. HE opened up the way for both to be joined together as “one new man” in the body of CHRIST. Christianity serves as peace to anyone who wishes to become a living part of it. In it we can find peace with GOD, and, peace among each other.
The thought of being “built together for GOD’s dwelling” (v.22) is a wonderful one, and even though every believer is “saved” individually, each person also immediately becomes a part of a greater body in CHRIST JESUS, WHO is the Church. Together, Christians (Jews and Gentiles) are the people whom GOD indwells with HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Through us, HE is able to display HIS glory, and thereby, we possess the divine opportunity to show the whole world that Christianity really does produce the best men and women.
In the Christian Church, JESUS makes a place for all mankind to enter into the family of GOD. And the Church can only realize its unity when it understands fully that it cannot exist apart from CHRIST JESUS. It has to provide a home for the SPIRIT of CHRIST to dwell in, and an opportunity for every man, woman, and child to meet, in that SPIRIT.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website