May 23, 2015

Today you should read: Ezekiel 44

It can be difficult to read today’s passage and be able to relate your own life narrative to it. I doubt anyone reading this is from Israel, is a Levite priest or is the prince that this passage talks about. However, our story is very much a part of what Ezekiel is talking about. We can find ourselves in verses 7-9. We are the foreigners in God’s kingdom. Paul states that foreigners (gentiles) have been brought into the fold of God’s family through the blood of Jesus Christ.

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.” ~ Ephesians 3:6

The Old Testament often gets a bad rap when it comes to the inclusion of foreigners into God’s redemptive plan. Often we focus on the stories of Israel at war with other nations and God’s wrath being poured out. It is true that God harshly (rightly) judged the wickedness of people groups that worshiped other gods. God did choose Israel as his chosen people and he did show favor in that sense. However, the God of the Old Testament is the exact same God of the New Testament and Jesus was as much in the Old Testament days as he was in the New Testament days.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” ~John 1:1-3

Jesus, who is part of the trinity, was present all throughout the Old Testament and God’s grace was as well. Foreigners were accepted into the family of God by one criteria “Be circumcised in the heart and flesh.” What does the circumcision of the heart mean? It means a complete change of heart. It meant to switch their trust from their own gods and placing their trust in the one true God, “Yahweh.” Some examples that we know of from the Old Testament is Rahab (Joshua 2 & Joshua 6) & Ruth (The book of Ruth).
The guideline for anyone to be saved is really no different after Christ’s death. Paul explains this principal well in Romans 4: 6-11:
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?

We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.
We are saved by faith alone in Christ regardless of our works. So my question for today is “Do you have the same amount of faith in Christ now as you did on the day of your salvation? Why or why not?”

Posted by: Chad Wiles

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

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