“Wherefore remember, that you in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcised by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands: that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
The Spirit of the Most High God inspired His chosen vessel to instruct the gathered assembly at Ephesus after this manner because of the nature of man which is in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This called out assembly, which was about 800 miles away from Jerusalem, was experiencing a basic problem in Adam which is the need of identification and instruction. This problem in the flesh was and still is a never ending nemesis of the arrogant pride of man and his inherent need to attempt to be in control of his environment and his life. It is a deception given of God to the carnal mind to dismiss the all-inclusive sovereign rule of God and to conclude himself worthy and capable of directing his steps. There is also an accompanying opiate, called ego, which anesthetizes the conscience of man to futility of his ways and the final conclusion of his course. The natural man not only craves this poison, for it gives him the euphoric conclusion that his way is righteous, but he is completely addicted to the sensual benefits of a constant indulgence as he is drawn away after the desires of the flesh. Thus it is completely unnatural for a child of Adam to come to the conclusion that he is insufficient in his endeavours as he continuously misses the mark of perfection which God demands.
This of course is common to all men and nothing of this world shall ever change this inherent nature. The outward man of every prisoner of hope is consumed with the proclivity of these characteristics which are manifested in their daily lives and for which the creature within groans in earnest expectation to be delivered from the body of this death. Such was the case in the first century when the church was being manifested in every nation of the world. The religionists of the time were insistent that their way was the truth, for after all they had the ancient ones with them. The promises and the covenant, which the carpenter from Nazareth said He came to fulfill, first belonged to the fathers of Israel, therefore any who would follow after this teaching must adhere to the basic principles of the handwriting of ordinances and the identification with the chosen people. Thus there were extensive endeavours made to find these new believers of the way and make sure that they also kept the feasts, rituals and lifestyle of the sons of Israel.
The apostle Paul did not preach this perversion for the Spirit had taught him that by the deeds of the law no flesh should be justified in the presence of God. He gave him to know that salvation was by grace alone and nothing that was done or possessed by the natural man could carry favour or ingratiate himself before the perfect justice of Yehovah God. Therefore this chosen vessel of the Lord set forth to this assembly of children in hope of glory a record of what great things Yehovah God had done for them; “having made known unto us the mystery of His will according to his good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and on the earth, in Him” (1:9).
Paul did not begin with the creation and move through the history of the father’s so as to familiarize these saints with what was expected of them; he spoke to them of the eternal purpose and power of God and His anointing. He did not instruct these people to become sons of the oath with daily sacrifices, moral traditions, dietary restrictions or governmental procedures. He did not attempt to proselytize them into becoming Jews, as was prescribed in the Law under the heading of ‘the strangers among you’, so as to make them worthy of the blessings of the covenant. Rather he sets forth the fact that neither Jew nor Gentile has any right to the blessings of God because of who they are or unto whom they were born of the will and power of man. The gospel of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah God is established fast and sure “according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (1:40).
He does not mention having any right or portion or memorial in any son of Adam for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So it is irrelevant as to whose lineage a person sprang from or what good works they had done or what sincere intentions they may have had for by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin. The righteous demand of God as payment for the inability of His creatures to measure up to the standards of His Holiness is a spotless perfect life blood. This life blood must be shed to cleanse from all unrighteousness and to cover the subject for whom it is intended from the judgment of God. This blood was shed by the Lamb of God before Adam was created, before Jacob was born, ere Israel was even a nation, therefore when the wage of sin was paid there was neither Jew nor Gentile. Hence when the wonder of the eternal love of God is manifested in the hearts and minds of His chosen vessel, in the time when it pleases the Father to reveal Himself dwelling in His people, there can be no designation or identification in Adam for though these children are in the world yet are they not of the world.
Paul was given to instruct the saints at Ephesus after this manner because of the ignorance of man to this precious truth. The nation of Israel was convinced, as they still are today, that they are the chosen people of God. They are given to conclude that the doctrines and the covenants were given to them, not in type and foreshadow of the heavenly reality of the finished work, but as a demonstration of their worth to God. Many a child of grace is confronted with this confusion and their natural minds find it logical that they should begin to emulate the children of Israel. Yet the nation of Israel was presented, also in type, as the demonstration of the nature of Adam which is not altered even when confronted with the visual testimony of the power, patience and provisions of the hand of God. Thus the church at Ephesus was not instructed to be like unto them but rather to learn from them that there is none righteous, no not one.
“And you who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (2:1)
This was not an indictment against these people in contrast to the stellar life and model of perfection that the nation of Israel set forth; it was a testimony to the conduct, mindset and attitude of man as he walks through this world. The earthen vessels afore prepared of God have all been formed from the dust of the earth. They all have the same limitations and attributes which are necessary unto the purpose of God and there is not one who is capable of hitting the mark. In the time appointed of the Father these earthen vessels are manifested by the union of the seed of man and into each of these clay pots is planted a seed commensurate to the intent of God. These vessels follow after the nature that is inherent in them as they exist in time in which are needed natural elements for survival. The vessel needs sustenance and protection from the natural conditions and these endeavours occupy the mind of the sons of man as they are drawn away after the desires of the flesh.
Not only are the passions of man after personal subsistence but the mind of man is filled with the pursuit of the understanding of the mysteries of existence. His mind is busied with the things of this world which he is incapable of understanding; therefore his attempts to explain the wonders about him are filled with conjectures and speculations. Since faith and belief are not inherent traits of man (but rather the evidence of the indwelling Spirit of God) the god of this world has blinded the mind of man from the truth. Adam trusted in the words of Satan in the garden when he took the fruit from Eve and ate and so every one of his seed comes forth into time following after the god of this world. They seek that which is “good for meat and that is pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make wise” (Gen. 3:6) for this is the ‘course of this world’.
The people of the land are humbled and brought low as they toil and labour in the tasks assigned unto them by the will of God. They seek that which cannot satisfy and strive for that which is temporal in complete ignorance of the vanity of their labours. God has made all men subject to this worthlessness and the children of the dust thrive in it being deceived to think it prosperous, beneficial and enduring. The doctrines and philosophies of man expound upon this attitude as rules and regulations are developed for the proper indulgences of “touch not, taste not, handle not, which all perish with the using” (Col. 2:22). These things, being seen and handles of the flesh, are temporal and indeed “have a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh”. Thus all men come forth into the natural environment of this existence with their labours set before them and in fulfilling the lusts thereof, they walk, by nature, as children of wrath, even as others.
“But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ”
The eternal love of God is upon all whom He foreknew. These He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son and so unto them was His mercy poured out. These works were all finished before the activation of time for God is not a respecter of persons nor of their actions. He is the originator and activator of the beginning of all things and there is nothing which comes to pass but by the power of His will. This will is centered upon the love of His Beloved for whom He shed His life’s blood before she became partaker of flesh and blood. The mercy of God, being eternal in Him, was demonstrated in the shedding of the blood and manifested in the same so that the inability of man could never tarnish the perfection of the holiness of the righteousness of the saints, before the foundation of the world. God did not react to the sin of Adam in the garden nor did He devise the function and operation of His creation as it came to pass. He ordered all things fast and sure from the beginning and in the fullness of time, each event comes to pass; “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will” (1:11).
The mercy of God was enacted by the shed blood whereby the vessels were afore prepared unto the glory of being the habitation of the incorruptible seed. This seed is one in the Godhead and being born from above cannot sin against God nor fall short of His glory. The children then become partakers of flesh and blood in the appointed time that they should learn obedience by that which they suffer. They are made subjects unto the vanity of this world by reason of the hope of glory within, which is the Anointing. This anointing is personified in Jesus; “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6).
The seed then is planted by the Master of the field, in the corruption of the dust of the earth yet it is hidden. Then in the time appointed of the Father, the seed is awakened and the manifestation of the testimony is revealed; no longer in types and foreshadows, but in reality and wonder. This manifestation is not by the will of the flesh or according to any works of righteousness one who is separated by trespasses and sin may perform, “lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (2:9f). And so, that which is eternally loved of the Father, is manifested in the time appointed of the Father, revealing that it has been made subject to the vanity of this existence while being raised up in the Anointing and made to sit together in Him in the heavenly places. The Spirit within has complete understanding in all wisdom and spiritual understanding of the limitations and frailties of the flesh as it cries out to the Father for the deliverance from the tabernacle of this dwelling.
This was first demonstrated unto a remnant of a people called Israel and was set forth in the types and foreshadows of the handwriting of ordinances. This developed, through the corruption of the natural mind and wicked heart of man, into a nation of people who called themselves by the name of Yehovah but their hearts were far from Him. They boasted themselves in their understanding of the truth in a perfect demonstration of that which was right in their own eyes as they made merchandise of the pattern and found great security in holding the truth in a lie. These drew nigh, as man does, unto this truth in words and conduct but they had not the Spirit of God. These, having much given unto them “because unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rms. 3:2) also have much required of them. But they, being of the common wealth of Israel and participants in the promises and covenants, have not the mercy of God upon them. They have not the eternal love, nor the mercy nor the shed blood; therefore they have no right, no portion and no memorial in the blessing for they are of the earth, earthly.
“But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ, for He is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition” (2:13f).
The cultures of the peoples of the nations of this world each have their own pre-occupation with the quest for knowledge and truth. Everyone is trying to discover what they perceive as truth and tranquility yet the natural man can neither see nor receive the truth. Only those who have been born from above have the Spirit of the Most High dwelling in them. These know the truth because the God who dwells in His people is truth. No amount of learning, teaching or searching of the natural abilities of man can identify, discover or understand the truth though man has seen it with his eyes and even handled the truth in his hands every day. The creation of God is the testimony to the power of His Godhead as His work declares the glory of the Lord. His people, being His workmanship created in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, do likewise declare His glory. And as nothing of His creation has ever failed to perform exactly as he has decreed and enabled, so His children shall forever perform every good work they have been created unto.
God has scattered His seed throughout every kindred, nation, tribe and tongue and He knows them that are His. Though the natural man makes a diligent attempt at piety and morality, he does not seek after righteousness for his nature is sinful and unclean. Though he is common to both the wheat and the tare as they grow together in the same field, the Master of the harvest knows His wheat for “the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His.” (II Tim. 2:19).
This called out assembly in Ephesus was viewed as tare by the religious mind of the Jews. They were of polluted blood and of pagan upbringing in the eyes of the natural born citizens of Israel. Paul, however, declares that God did not make these foreigners and strangers part of the types and foreshadows, which the people of the ‘holy land’ were so diligent to follow after, even in their convoluted manner, but rather that the grace of God had taken the election according to grace had taken of all peoples and made a new man. He is no longer Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free for all are one in Him. He has broken down the wall of separation that the ‘Arian’ arrogance of race, creed and Zionistic presumption of religion had developed according to the inherent nature of man.
God had indeed separated man at the tower and given language as the barrier but these things are of the flesh. The Anointed Salvation of Yehovah has abolished the Law and fulfilled it in all righteousness in His flesh, being without sin. He manifested, in the end of the world, a sinless life whereby He is declared the perfect sacrifice for sin. He became obedient to the death of the cross for the justification of His people. He who knew no sin became the sin of His people as “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace upon Him and with His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:5).
“Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Master, Jesus Christ” (Rms. 5:1).
Peace with God could not be made by man nor could the rhetoric and rituals of a religious ceremony appease the righteous demands of His law. Only He who knew no sin could be presented as the perfect sacrifice for the sin of His people and that in the end of the world. Here He manifested the finished work of God in the deliverance of His people as the mystery of the gospel was revealed. This was the Lamb of God who did not come to put the nation of Israel back on track for the long-suffering of God was full. He did not come to offer deliverance to the nations of the world because the Israel project had failed; He came to shew forth His salvation before all nations and all flesh saw it together.
He abolished the hand-writing of ordinances, nailing them to the cross, for He had fulfilled the Law in all righteousness. He delivered the remnant according to grace, who all their life had been subject to the ministration of condemnation from the types and foreshadows of the law and He delivered them that were sometimes afar off; “having abolished in His flesh the enmity, the law of commandments; for to make in himself of twain one new man, making peace; and that He might reconcile both (he which was close and he that was far off) unto God in one body by the cross having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were far off and to them which were nigh” (3:15ff).
He told the Pharisees that after they had torn down the Temple, that he would build it again in three days, “but He spoke of the Temple of His body” (John 2:21). This body is one yet of many members in particular which are not subject to the limitations of time. They are one in Him as He is one in the Father yet they are manifested in the time appointed of the Father, being built “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner in whom all the building, fitly framed together, grows unto an Holy Temple of the Lord: in whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (20f). There was no distinction in the body in the beginning and there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the body now. The body is the singular unity of all members together just as the Godhead is the singular unity of all things and this all because of the love of God for His Beloved.
“I will mention the loving kindness of Yehovah, the praises of Yehovah according to all that Yehovah has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies and according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses” (Is. 63:7).
His love is eternal upon the Israel of our God and His mercy is from generation to generation. This is the testimony of the Spirit which is called to remembrance by the strangers and sojourners in the wilderness of this world.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 10, 2016