There are a few topics that hit the American Christian mail forwarding list that I often find funny but sad. One of those topics is the idea of immigrants (those who have taken the oath of citizenship) and those who are let’s say resident aliens.
Some Christians believe that when a person makes a legal commitment to be a citizen of the U.S., they need to put that loyalty ahead of whatever other loyalties that they hold, a belief called the “social contract.” It is a western concept that enables the United States to sustain its freedom despite its multicultural diversity. In becoming a nation, all subjugate their other loyalties in order to protect that freedom. These same people have another notion that anyone who is living or staying in this country, citizen or not, has a duty to respect the laws, culture and customs of this country. While I agree, I find it interesting that those who attach their loyalties to the U.S., claiming it a “Christian Country” have lost sight of the fact that they too are alien residents; not as Americans, but as citizens of Israel.
It seems odd that there is an expectation of immigrants into the U.S. should not alter the customs of the U.S.; however, Christians have no qualms about altering the aspects of Judaism into some new religion. They claim to have “replaced” Israel and now the covenants and promises are theirs. They claim that the Law was done away with and so they are free to make up their own worship, their own communities and their own holidays, such as “Christian music,” Christian Churches, and Christmas and Easter.
For some reason, no one finds this strange. It is accepted as if Jesus and the Apostles started these things. The truth is, they didn’t, and furthermore, they did not envision Christianity as it is today; as my Grandmother would say, “OY Vey!” what a mess.
If you get a chance, read through Ephesians 2, and try not to carry bags into the text. Try to see that text as if it was written by a first century Rabbi, who was trying to tell some new citizens about the new country (Israel) that someone paid their entrance into. See if you can find any differences from what you believed yesterday.
Here is the chapter in the “Complete Jewish Bible,” a version that helps remove the confusing language, replacing it with more accurate and descriptive language. When you find a term you are not familiar with, Google it. You might be surprised about a few things. Email me at Newsletters@livingtruth.us and we will publish your findings..
1 You used to be dead because of your sins and acts of disobedience. 2 You walked in the ways of the ‘olam hazeh and obeyed the Ruler of the Powers of the Air, who is still at work among the disobedient. 3 Indeed, we all once lived this way – we followed the passions of our old nature and obeyed the wishes of our old nature and our own thoughts. In our natural condition we were headed for God’s wrath, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love 5 that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, he brought us to life along with the Messiah – it is by grace that you have been delivered. 6 That is, God raised us up with the Messiah Yeshua and seated us with him in heaven, 7 in order to exhibit in the ages to come how infinitely rich is his grace, how great is his kindness toward us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. 8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.
11 Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth – called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised – 12 at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, you who were once far off have been brought near
through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.
14 For he himself is our shalom – he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah
which divided us
15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances. He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, 16 and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity. 17 Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, b 18 news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family. 20 You have been built on the foundation
of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself. 21 In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord.
22 Yes, in union with him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!
What do you think Paul is saying that the meaning of being “IN CHRIST” means? It’s not about how you feel, it’s not about your behavior, but rather it’s about two different people groups subjugating their OTHER allegiances to the community IN HIM.
So what does Jesus’ community look like? HINT: It’s NOT Christian…it’s NOT Church, it’s NOT Christmas, and it’s NOT Easter (the Babylonian Fertility Goddess whose symbols are rabbits and eggs).