Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ephesians 3:5-7 comments: the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul

5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

The church as God’s body on earth consisting of believing Gentiles and Jews was a mystery unknown to the people on earth who lived before Christ. The Jews could not imagine Gentiles becoming one with them apart from becoming Jews. Now, both Jew and Gentile must become something different than either, a Christian.

There are three types of people in the world right now; the unbelieving Jew, the unbelieving Gentile, and the Church.

1Corinthians 10:32  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

Paul was made a minister to the Gentiles to build God’s church. Jesus Christ came to minister to the Jews as almost all of His direct teaching is before the resurrection and salvation by faith in His finished work on the Cross was possible.

Romans 15:8  Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

Peter carried on Christ’s ministry to the Jews and Paul was called to the Gentiles.

Galatians 2:8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Romans 15:16  That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Peter initially did work among the Gentiles.

Acts 15:7  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

But, Peter eventually went to teach at Babylon where a large contingent of Jews lived in the first and in the second century AD, a place where Jewish Christians would also live. As Jacob Neusner pointed out in his work, A History of the Jews in Babylonia, in 1966 many Jews did live in that region. Another author, T. Boiy, in his 2004 book, Late Achaemenid and Hellenistic Babylon, wrote on page 189 referring to the Jewish writer, Philo, and the Babylonian Talmud that there were many Jews living in Babylon in the first and second century.

Some writers have insisted that Peter went to Rome and called it Babylon but many other writers, even Roman Catholic writers like Erasmus, acknowledged that what the Bible said literally was probably true. See Mason Gallagher’s 1894 Was the Apostle Peter Ever at Rome?

1 Peter 5:13  The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

In any event, Paul is telling us here that he was made a minister to the Gentiles, “according to the gift of the grace of God,” building the church of God.

1Corinthians 3:10  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

And through Christ the Gentile is made a fellow-heir with the Jew in the inheritance of God’s kingdom and eternal life.

No comments: