A. Paul the apostle says that the gospel “according to the mystery now revealed” in Christ is God’s ordained means of establishing the saints in maturity, perseverance, righteousness, and obedience.
Romans 16:25-27 (NIV)
25 Now to him who is able to establish you (in faith and obedience, cf. vs. 26, Rom. 1:5) by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
B. In order for us to understand what Paul and the other apostles meant by the gospel according to the “mystery of Christ,” we must have clear understanding of God’s promises to Abraham. In the last two ERGs, we explored the content of the Abrahamic covenant. What were the promises God made to Abraham, and how did Abraham himself and the nation of Israel understand those promises? If we have clarity on the content of the promises, in order to rightly understand God’s plan to fulfill them.
C. A covenant by definition requires two parties (e.g. marriage). In order for the benefits of a covenantal agreement to be realized, both parties must faithfully adhere to their part of the covenant.
D. Abraham’s part – the “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5). From conviction in the resurrection, the coming judgment, the coming kingdom of God, and the restoration of all things, Abraham was called to:
1. Leave Babylon and the idols of his father’s household behind (Gen. 12:1-3; Josh. 24:2).
2. Obey God’s voice (Gen. 26:5).
3. Walk blamelessly (Gen. 17:1-2).
4. Instruct his household in the way of the Lord (Gen. 18:19).
5. Keep God’s commands from the heart (Gen. 26:5).
6. Humbly submit to God’s fashioning and shaping (e.g. sharing the land with lot, Gen. 13; defeat of the kings in Gen. 14; the delay in Isaac’s birth; the testing of his faith in Gen. 22, etc.).
7. Call on the name of the LORD in prayer (e.g. Gen. 12:8, 13:4, 21:33). Name=character. Calling on the longsuffering, merciful one (EX. 34:6). Leaning on the strength of who God is; no boasting before God. Forgiveness and mercy received upon repentance. Grace for obedience accessed through calling on God’s name in prayer.
E. God’s Part (This Age) – Provisions for the Journey
1. Assurances – Recurring confirmations/assurances of the certainty of the promise along the journey. Genesis 15 one of the most important. Confirmation of the promises by fire (cf. Heb. 6:13-20). Two things in which it is impossible for God to lie – the word, and the oath confirming the word (Is. 41:8)
2. Living Relationship – Commands not in a vacuum, but flowing out of regular encounter with God in context to friendship, hearing His voice, etc. Abraham the “friend of God” (Is. 41:8).
3. Grace, Peace, and Mercy – Promise of forgiveness and mercy upon repentance when he falls short, in accordance with God’s character/name as longsuffering, slow to anger, etc. (Ex. 34:6). Grace and strength to obey God from the heart. Grace and strength to persevere faithfully through trials and tests
F. God’s Part – The Promises (This Age) – Abraham and his seed crafted and made worthy of the inheritance; the “work of God’s hands” in sanctification and preparation.
1. Bless and preserve Abraham and his seed (quantitatively and qualitatively) unto the formation of a holy, righteous nation worthy of the age to come (Gen. 12:1-3, 13:16, 15:5, 12-16, 17:6, 22:17, 26:24, 28:14, 32:12, 35:11; 46:2-4; Is. 1:21-26, 4:2-4, 5:1-7, 29:15-24, 45:9, 51:1-2, 60:21-22, 64:8; Jer. 31:35-37, Rom. 9:21, 11:28-29).
2. Administer God’s blessing (the Spirit unto life in the resurrection) to the nations in/through Abraham and his seed (Gen. 12:1-3, 18:16-17, 22:15-18, 28:14; cf. Is. 44:1-5; Rom. 8:10-11; Gal. 3:14)
3. Bless Abraham and his seed unto the formation of a holy, righteous community/assembly of nations worthy of the age to come (Gen. 28:1-5; Gen. 35:9-15)
G. God’s Part – The Promises (The Age to Come) – Abraham and his seed receive the inheritance; the “work of God’s hands” in glorification and restoration.
1. Blessing of the Spirit poured out in Day of Lord unto resurrection of Abraham and his righteous seed from the dead (Gen. 15; cf. Is. 44:1-5; Rom. 8:10-11; Gal. 3:14)
2. Give Abraham and his righteous seed the land of Israel/earth as an eternal inheritance (Gen. 12:6-7, 13:14-18; 24:7-8; 28:10-17).
3. Appoint and exalt Abraham and his righteous seed governmentally over this holy nation and holy community of nations (Gen. 17; cf. Rom. 4)
4. Administer God’s blessings to the nations forever in/through Abraham and his righteous seed forever (Gen. 12:1-3, 18:16-17, 22:15-18, 28:14; cf. Is. 40-66).
A. In a marriage, what does it mean to be a righteous husband? To be a righteous wife?
B. In the context of a covenant, righteousness and faithfulness are interwoven concepts.
Genesis 20:13 (NIV)
And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me (LXX – “dikaiosune” – “righteousness,”): Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ’ ”
Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV)
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love (Heb. – “chasad”-loyal love, covenantal love; LXX – “dikaiosune” – “righteousness,” observing righteousness): “to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
Isaiah 11:5 (NIV)
Righteousness (LXX – “dikaiosune”) will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
Isaiah 42:4-7 (ESV)
5Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness (LXX – “dikaiosune”); I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah 46:12-13 (NIV)
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. 13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
Isaiah 59:15-17 (NIV)
15Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 63:1 (NIV)
Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.”
C. God’s Righteousness And Covenant Faithfulness Revealed In The Gospel
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God (covenant faithfulness to Abraham) is revealed…
A. Israel – Multiplied And Trained In Egypt
Gen 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you (NKJV – “I will make you”; NIV – “I will make you into”) a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
Genesis 18:18 (NIV)
Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.
Genesis 46:2-4 (ESV)
2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here am I.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
Exodus 23:9 (NIV)
“Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.
B. The Exodus
Exodus 2:23-25 (NIV)
23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
C. Entrance Into Canaan
Deuteronomy 9:4-5 (ESV)
4 “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
D. Call To Be Light To The Nations
Deuteronomy 4:5-8 (NIV)
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
E. Mosaic Covenant – the eternal promises – the eternal land inheritance, eternal life/prolonged days, the fulfillment of Israel’s call to mediate the blessing of God to the nations – in the Mosaic covenant these promises become bound to Israel’s obedience and righteousness
Luke 10:25-28 (NIV)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 (ESV)
32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring (seed) after them (Hebrew his offspring after him) and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
Deuteronomy 5:28-33 (ESV)
28 “And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29 Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants(ESV note “or sons”) forever! 30 Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31 But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you the whole commandment and the statutes and the rules that you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’ 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth (i.e. forever; cf. Jer. 33:19-26).
Leviticus 20:22-24 (NIV)
22 “ ‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (ESV)
9 The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.
F. Israel’s Failure
2 Kings 21:7-9 (NIV)
7 He (Manasseh) took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave their forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them.” 9 But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
2 Chronicles 36:15-17 (NIV)
15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar.
Isaiah 26:17-18 (NIV)
17As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O Lord. 18 We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world.
G. Israel while slaves, had called out for justice. They received the Law at Mount Sinai, God’s perfect standard of righteousness. They fell short, therefore they could not receive the promises.
A. The Problem – Inward Slavery To Sin
John 8:31-39 (NIV)
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching (New Covenant, cf. Mt. 5-7- focus on inward cleansing through work of the Spirit), you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (from sin, and ultimately death and bondage to decay).” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants (Gk. “seed”) and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin (and therefore in need of mercy, even if they belong to Abraham’s biological seed) . 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family (eternal land inheritance, eternal life, etc), but a son (set free from sin) belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free (from sin – through the Spirit, cf. 2 Cor. 3:17), you will be free indeed (from sin, bondage to decay, . 37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word (because of inward corruption of sin). 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father (the devil, cf. vv. 44).” 39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did.
Romans 8:18-23 (NIV)
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (those counted worthy of the permanent inheritance). 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (set free indeed!, cf. John 8). 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
B. Christ Born Under Law
Galatians 3-4:7 (ESV)
1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified (Paul’s sufferings for them as an ambassador of the crucified Messiah and minister of New Covenant, cf. Ac. 14). 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit (unto inward sanctification now, and life in the resurrection in Day of Lord, cf. Rom. 8) by works of the law (Mosaic Law, e.g. circumcision) or by hearing (the gospel) with faith (like Abraham)? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham (counted worthy of being permanent members of the family and the eternal inheritance). 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you (“and your seed,” cf. Gen. 22:18, 28:14) shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law (Jews) are under a curse (the curses of the Mosaic Law, ultimately death); for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us (Jews) from the curse of the law (death, kicked out of land, no fruitfulness among the Gentiles, etc.) by becoming a curse for us (Jews)—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham (the promised Spirit) might come to the Gentiles (Israel fulfilling her calling in Christ- “the fullness of the Gentiles”), so that we (Jews) might receive the promised Spirit through faith (the salvation of “all Israel”, cf. Rom. 11:25-26). 15 To give a human example, brothers:6 even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises (of the Abrahamic covenant – inheritance of the land, resurrection, kingdom of God, etc.) were made to Abraham and to his offspring (seed). It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many (i.e. does not explicitly say “descendants” in the plural; “seed” is a collective singular), but referring to one, “And to your offspring (seed),” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law (Mosaic Covenant), which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God (the Abrahamic Covenant), so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law (which it didn’t! Israel was kicked out of the land), it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise (and yet, God made a promise to Abraham; the question: how was God going to pull this one off?). 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions (to increase consciousness of sin, cf. Rom. 5:13, 20 – that the “trespass might increase,” and sin might be “taken into account,” unto producing the cry for mercy; cf. 1 Tim. 1:8-11 – the law for rebels and lawbreakers; cf. Matt. 5:17 – Law as witness), until the offspring (the seed) should come to whom the promise had been made (the promise had been to Abraham and the Messiah all along!), and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life (the main issue – what would lead to human beings coming up from the grave), then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin (Lord, we can’t do this on our own!), so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came (NIV – “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ”), in order that we might be justified (counted as faithful to the covenants) by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus (in the Seed) you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring (seed), heirs according to promise.
4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principlesof the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman (cf. Gen. 3:15), born under the law (as a Jew, bound to the Mosaic covenant), 5 to redeem those who were under the law (Jews), so that we (Jews) might receive adoption as sons (as permanent members of the family). 6 And because you (Gentiles) are sons (also members of the family through faith), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave (to sin, death), but a son (inheritor of the promises), and if a son, then an heir through God (a co-heir with Christ, Rom. 8:17).
6Or brothers and sisters
[learn_more caption=”THE BRIDAL MYSTERY REVEALED”]
A. All Nations Blessed In Abraham And His Seed
Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV)
and in you (“and your seed,” cf. Gen. 22:18, 28:14) all the families (NIV – “nations”) of the earth shall be blessed” (unto the formation of a righteous community/assembly of nations, cf. Gen 28:3, 35:11).
Genesis 28:14 (ESV)
Your (Jacob)offspring (seed) shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring (seed) shall all the families of the earth be blessed (unto the formation of a righteous community/assembly of nations, cf. Gen 28:3, 35:11).
B. Mystery Revealed In Christ: “blessed in your seed”= “in covenant with the Messiah as a Bride through the Spirit.” Christ obeyed the Law perfectly, therefore inherited the promises. We are “in him” or “one with” him, therefore if he gets the inheritance, he is bringing us with him.
C. Christ In Us, The Hope Of Glory
Colossians 1:24-29 (NIV)
24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
D. Gentiles Included In The Inheritance In Christ
Ephesians 3:1-13 (NIV)
1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (rebellious powers and principalities keeping the nations in blindness and delusion), 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
E. One With Christ As A Wife
Ephesians 5:28-32 (NIV)
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
F. The Lord’s Dead Will Live
Isaiah 26:16-19 (NIV)
16Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. 17As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O Lord. 18 We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world. 19 But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
A. Panoramic View Of God’s Dealings With Abraham And His “Seed”
2 And I will make of you (NKJV – “I will make you”; NIV – “I will make you into”) a great nation (a righteous, holy nation), and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you (“and your seed,” cf. Gen. 22:18, 28:14) all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (unto the formation of a righteous community/assembly of nations, cf. Gen 28:3, 35:11).
1. Promises given to Abraham
2. Isaac born miraculously
3. Abraham’s seed (corporate biological) multiplied in Egypt – formation of the nation of Israel
4. Abraham’s seed (corporate biological) oppressed in Egypt – cry for justice; God’s punishes Israel’s enemies in the Exodus
5. Abraham’s seed (corporate biological) enter into Mosaic Covenant – promises now contingent on perfect obedience to God’s revealed standard of justice
6. Abraham’s seed (corporate biological) fall short of God’s standard, unto punishment, expulsion from the land – cry for mercy – how will the promises be fulfilled?
7. Abraham’s seed (singular, biological – Messiah) sent into the world
8. Abraham’s seed (singular, biological – Messiah) obeys the Mosaic Law perfectly
9. Abraham’s seed (singular, biological – Messiah) receives the eternal promises – eternal life, the land, and the kingdom
10. Abraham’s seed (singular, biological – Messiah) pours out the Spirit on Abraham’s seed (corporate, biological, spiritual – believing Jews)
11. Abraham’s seed (corporate, biological, spiritual – believing Jews) are now “one with” Abraham’s seed (singular, biological – the Messiah) through the Spirit as His Bride; in him they are made worthy of the eternal inheritance
12. Abraham’s seed (believing Jews corporately “in” the singular seed Messiah) go to the nations; Israel in Christ can now fulfill her calling as a light to the nations
13. Abraham’s seed (believing Jews corporately “in” the singular seed, the Messiah) preach the gospel, and the Spirit comes on the Gentiles
14. Abraham’s seed (singular – the Messiah) is now “one with” Spirit-filled Gentiles; therefore, they too as believing Gentiles are now Abraham’s seed (non-biologically, but covenantally/through the Spirit in union with/one with a resurrected biological Jew)
15. Abraham’s seed (believing Jews) along with Abraham’s seed (believing Gentiles) are in Abraham’s seed (Messiah); the Bridegroom with a Bride from all nations
16. Abraham’s seed (Jew and Gentile) perseveres through testing at end of the age; cry for mercy on her oppressors
17. Abraham’s seed (singular – the Messiah) returns, and resurrects Abraham’s seed from Israel and Abraham’s seed from the nations – they inherit the earth forever
18. In the resurrection, Abraham and his “seed” inherit the earth forever. Christ inherits the promises, and we inherit them with him as co-heirs.
B. God’s Righteousness And Covenant Faithfulness Revealed In The Gospel
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God (covenant faithfulness to Abraham) is revealed…