In Context: Living as a Gentile “In Christ”


I am truly frustrated! Fortunately, it drives me to learn more. Perhaps it comes from my background, my family history, and the supreme stubborn streak that my husband, family and friends know about me. The thing I am frustrated about is what I hear in the Christian community as I seek to understand what both Jews and Gentiles think of the term “in Christ”.  Having recently developed an “ear” that now hears the various made up doctrines of those who believe they are “in Christ,” I am at a loss as to where to start to help people understand that they are lost, as a friend of mine says, “as a ball in high weeds!” Unfortunately, those who are lost are seeking to “save” those who really know what is going on.  How do you talk to a person who has no clue but thinks they do?

I was at a Bible study last night, and not to denigrate the people in the study, the things they were talking about were nice, but completely not connected to Messiah. They thought they were talking about Jesus, but frankly, He would shudder at the conversation. Why? It was totally devoid of His people, His culture, and His worldview. In fact, it was espousing His Word through a worldview that His people despised and vehemently fought. However, the people in this study were clueless that their view of Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible.

So again, frustration! I kept silent for the most part. Where could I begin? How do you talk to people who, while using the same words, have no understanding of the meaning. I have turned to my Jewish friends for answers. It is ironic that although my Jewish friends do not accept the version of Jesus that has come as a result of Christian Anti-Semitism over the last 2,000 years, they do relate to what I am saying when I talk to them about Messiah! Funny! Isn’t that what Jesus said He was?

My calling, as I see it currently, is to try to translate to the lost (who don’t think they are lost) what it means to be a Jesus follower; not the pagan Jesus, the Jewish one.

I see a need for shalom between Jew and Gentile.  As the Apostle Paul vehemently espoused, God has not put Israel aside (Romans 11).  God is actively working in His Messianic Community (Church is a word coined many years after the death of the Apostles and not at all related to the Greek word ecclessia) to join Jew and Gentile in ONE community that works together.  Christians need to heed the warning of Romans 11, as for 2,000 years we have slowly detached ourselves from the root.

Scholarship for the last 50 years or more, my entire lifetime, has shown this. However, the church, in general has paid lip service to acknowledging their connection to Israel; or worse, has tried to reconstruct the idea of Israel making Israel the “nations” and the Church Israel. This is done through doctrine that frankly most Christians don’t understand. Couple that with the anti-intellectualism generated in the American church and there is left a really lost group of people.

Pray for me please…I need strength to learn, to talk, and to reach those who do not understand.  As God leads, I will follow, and as Esther said, “if I perish, I perish”. What drives me is Mordecai’s words in Esther 4:14; “who knows, it may just be that you were born for such a time as this”….hmmm maybe that’s why I love Hammentaschen….

See Ya Next Time

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2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Discipleship, relationships

2 responses to “In Context: Living as a Gentile “In Christ”

  1. Hello Cheryl,
    I am from Russia, and English is not my first language, but I think I can express my thoughts a little. Well, I accidentally came across your blog, and have read your words of frustration.
    You see, I was a Christian Zionist since 1994 when the doctrine about the exclusivity of the nation of Israel and the Jews had been brought along with the doctrine of faith by the Charismatic evangelists and teachers like John Hagee, Ulf Ekman (Sweden), into the countries of the former USSR. We did a lot of great things for Jews, and I believe, it can be categorized as the expression of the love of God. These days we see a lot of problems arise in people’s lives, in many churches here, as a result of immature exaggeration or, too much emphasis on Jews without having any clear and deep understanding of this issue. Many Christians express frustration now because they don`t understand their identity in God. All they know is that Jews are people of a higher class, and they as believers from Gentiles are sort of appendix saved by grace. So, in our region this doctrine has led to division, separation of believers into two groups, which had never been before when everybody were brothers and sisters in Christ.
    So, some of us came to conclusion that we need to revisit this issue to find biblical clarity and a solid fundation in this matter. As for me, I still consider myself a friend of Israel and admit the uniqueness of the Jewish people in the history of God on earth, (and God definitely didn’t finish with these people yet). I am against the Replacement theory and antisemitism. So, currently I think many Christians divided themselves mostly into two groups: those who stand for Israel and the Jewish nation, and those who believe in Replacement theory. But I believe, there can and must be another, let`s say, “third option”. And, I think, this option requires more than just knowing and understanding of our Jewish “roots”. Otherwise, we will keep on stumbling on some even more critical and provocative questions that will surely arise, and they do. I have nothing against Jewish perspective or, paradigm, in terms of understanding the Scriptures more accurately. For instance, I gain a lot of help, wisdom and insight from brilliant Dr. Skip Moen. But even that can turn into an obstacle on our way of investigating our true spiritual identity in God (which is locked up in Christ) and the depths of God, Who has no nationality. One of the critical issue is inability to consider Christ as pre-existent (not limited with the Old Testament) Personality of Deity first revealed in a selective religious and cultural environment called Israel in the face of Jesus, and Who didn’t remain limited by one nation only….
    I tell you, it breaks my heart when I see that the people of God know more about their Jewish roots than about the Kingdom of God that Jesus the Messiah preached. They know more about Jewish culture (which is not bad, and even can be necessary), but the culture of the Kingdom of God is still a mystery (as if the Kingdom of God and the nation of Israel are synonyms). I recently have read a book on this matter, which I found a genuine rarity and precious pearl in the Body of Christ. You can download it for free here: http://www.thekingdomplatform.com/author1_book8.html
    Many blessings!
    Much respect,
    Vyacheslav

    • I agree that many are confused. It is not easy to understand a worldview that conflicts with how we understand reality. Dr Moen’s book God, Time and Limits of Omniscience can help. I have just written a workbook for Guardian Angel that will be on Dr. Moen’s site soon. It was fun to write and continues to ‘shake the tree’. After all, is not this the way we learn? Thanks for your comment.
      Shalom,
      c

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