Making Two Into One
Series: An Eschatological Mix
MAKING TWO INTO ONE
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul referred to something he called the mystery of Christ. Paul affirmed that this mystery, which was previously unknown to sons of men, had been given to to him by revelation and to the apostles and first-century prophets by the Holy Spirit (Eph.3:3-5). As to the mystery itself, Paul says: to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph.3:6). What an astonishing revelation this proved to be: that Jews and Gentiles were destined to become ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. Earlier in the text Paul alluded to the previous status of the Gentiles. They constituted the uncircumcision and as a result were separated from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Eph.2:11-12).
The proclamation of the gospel came to be the greatest change agent the world has ever known. Those who were formerly far off were brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph.2:13). As the Prince of peace, Christ inaugurated a unity of the Spirit (Eph.4:3-4) - - (MAKING) THE TWO INTO ONE NEW MAN; (reconciling) them both in one body to God through the cross (Eph.2:15-16). These words of Paul serve to illuminate a couple of somewhat cryptic assertions made earlier by the Lord. First, to the woman of Samaria Jesus had declared, “salvation is from the Jews” (Jn.4:22). The Messiah would indeed come through a Jewish lineage, however, the redemption wrought by Christ would prove to bless more than just the national seed of Abraham. Secondly, Jesus had also mysteriously announced: I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become ONE FLOCK WITH ONE SHEPHERD (Jn.10:16).
After the Lord's ascension, He sent forth His apostles to preach the gospel to all the world (Mt.28:19-20). This undertaking had serious eschatological overtones: this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. The “end” of which Jesus spoke was not the cessation of this orb we call earth, it was the perfection, maturation and ripening (telos) of God's plan of salvation. In his letter to the church at Colosse, Paul affirms that the preaching of the gospel had indeed gone out into all the world (Col.1:6) and had been proclaimed in all creation (Col.1:23). In preaching the mystery of the gospel (reconciling Jews and Gentiles into one body) the apostle Paul was admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom so as to present every man complete in Christ (Col.1:25-28). The unveiling of this wonderful mystery was that which drove Paul. Even though imprisoned and made to suffer on behalf of the gospel of Christ, Paul continued to petition the saints to pray for him, that God may open to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ (Col.4:3).
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ