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Ephesians 3: 6      NLT

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

The third chapter of Ephesians is one of the hardest chapters in the Bible to read. Why? Because it is so rich that first, you can’t read a full sentence before you are stopped by the awe of what you just read so you keep re-reading the same sentence. Second, because there is so much to highlight or scribble notes about, you cannot read it easily from the comfort of a chair or couch. Truthfully, you need to go back and read it again in a new Bible or a different translation because your everyday Bible probably has so many notations and highlights that it is almost difficult to read it with fresh eyes. That is what I am doing. I am reading from a Bible a friend of mine loaned me and I am very much enjoying the new and fresh revelation I am receiving. Today’s verse is taken from that Bible, the New Living Translation. Reading Ephesians 3 today from a version other than my normal New American Standard jogged a few cobwebs loose. I am only going to pick up on one little idea from the passage. It is almost an afterthought rather than the main topic of the verse, but intriguing none the less.

I was taken by the words “the promise of blessings.” This passage was written by Paul who was a Jew among Jews. He had the very best rabbinical teaching available and was steeped in the law. For him to write that God revealed to him His hidden plan is not so much a surprise, but that the plan was to incorporate Gentiles into the family of God was a radical idea. So, it is funny to me that God’s secret plan was the inclusion of non-Jews and that a well-trained Jew was given this revelation. Still, that is not what grabbed my attention today. What struck me is the Jewishness with which Paul wrote this verse.

Modern Christians think of the inclusion of Gentiles in terms of salvation. Yea salvation! That’s great news. It is, however, only part of the good news and Paul knew it. If you notice, he did not write that both Jews and Gentiles enjoy salvation together. He said we all join in the blessings of the Christ. See, Paul understood Deuteronomy. Many Christians don’t even read it, but it is a GREAT book full of the promise and the blessing. That is exactly what Paul was thinking about when he wrote this passage. He didn’t think of the “Great Plan” as merely a golden ticket for the heaven train. He understood that we now stand in the same blessing as the Jews. That means day in and day out here on earth we can, and should, see the blessing of God working for our benefit. We should be living in the blessing every day and in everything we do. We are inheritors of the promise of blessings. Let that one sink in. While Christians mostly think about being the beneficiaries of salvation, Jews know that God is a here and now advocate and friend. They understand that the blessing is supposed to touch all of life.

Some people are going to wait until their physical bodies die to begin to live in the grace and blessing of God because they don’t know any better. I’ve got news, you are now Jewish, and you have inherited all of the promises of the Old Testament. You are entitled to that land flowing with milk and honey and that was not a after-life dream. The Israelites crossed the river and walked in the land and now you can too.

What do you want? Maybe you want salvation for a wayward child. Maybe you want a new goal and new mission for your life. Dig deep and ask yourself what you truly want. Maybe you want to know Jesus better and better each day so that he becomes as real to you as any living person. You can have all this and more. You have the promise of God’s blessings. Now, what will you do with that promise?

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