I got off to an early start this morning with a breakfast meeting. I then had a series of errands and some office work related to my new job. This afternoon, I had my periodic massage. I found myself fairly fatigued and then Debbie got home and notice I hadn’t been drinking my daily water allotment and I forgot to take my noon meds. I guess I found those are still an important part of my daily routine.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Christ came and preached peace to you who were far away from God, and to those who were near to God. Yes, it is through Christ we all have the right to come to the Father in one Spirit.” Ephesians 2:17,18 NCV
When God promised Abraham, ” through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed…” (Gen. 22:18) It was difficult to comprehend what that would mean now thousands of years later. The Jews were “God’s people” because of their birth and family heritage. The promises of God belonged to them. But we see that Abraham became chosen by God because of faith, so Paul says of those who place their faith in Christ, “….you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Gal. 3:29 NLT)
Much of the Book of Acts, is about the message of Christ being preached and received by “gentiles.” This group that was to be avoided by Jews, were now placing their faith in Christ and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit just as the Jewish disciples had received.
Paul declared that this all was in God’s plan from the beginning. “It was also Christ’s purpose to end the hatred between the two groups, to make them into one body, and to bring them back to God. Christ did all this with his death on the cross.” (Eph. 2:16)
Christ’s purpose is for all people to come to God through Him and to be joined into the same spiritual family. “Now you who are not Jewish are not foreigners or strangers any longer, but are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family.” (Eph. 2:19)
Christ’s desire is to bring unity to those who are “at odds” with each or “strangers” to each other today. That may be those separated by income levels, occupations, ethnic groups, those who have a history with God (just like the Jews) and those who “far away” or those who are discovering who God is and what He is about.
During the revival that took place in the early 1900’s, one of the hallmarks was the evidence of unity among those from various walks in society and minority and ethnic groups. That all joined together in prayer, worship and common purpose. Paul pictured this in the words, “And in Christ you, too, are being built together…into a place where God lives through the Spirit.“ (Eph. 2:22)
It is unfortunate that degree of “integration” did not remain over the following generations. Christ’s purpose is to unite and not divide those who come to Him in faith. So, we must make it our aim to reach out and embrace in Christ’s love all those with sincere hearts are seeking Christ in faith and desiring to serve and learn of Him. Remember, you don’t choose the members of your natural family and you don’t decide who will be in God’s family of faith. Let’s allow Jesus prayer for all His disciples of all time to come true in our day, “Holy Father….The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one…” (John 17:22 ESV)