Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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Chapter 15 - The mystery of the church

What we call the church today is mostly gentile believers in Christ. This is because the offer of the kingdom to the nation of Israel has been withdrawn (for now). Paul refers to this infusion of gentiles as a mystery.

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: - Ephesians 3:1-6

The word ‘mystery’ is used several times in the bible. It often refers to something that was hidden or previously unknown. The disciples were told that parables were used so that they were allowed to know the mystery of the kingdom while it was not explained to others. There is even a mystery of iniquity associated with the antichrist.

We do not know everything. We most likely lack the capability to know everything. Some things we as individuals learn incrementally as understanding is built by layers. As a race, there are things that God reveals sequentially as it is his purpose.

It was common for Jews to balk at the idea of associating with gentiles. There were attempts by some (called Judaizers) to require gentile believers to convert to Judaism. It was decided by the Apostles in Jerusalem that the only requirements to be made of gentile believers were the requirements from Leviticus for gentile sojourners in Israel.

The idea that gentiles would be joint-heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the same promise was difficult to accept for three reasons. The first was the natural tendency of Jews to be dismissive of gentiles. The second was that even the disciples were unfamiliar of what the implications were of life in Christ that constituted his ‘body’. The third difficulty was that the apparent abandonment of the law that grace seemed to allow was difficult to imagine. Nothing so much as defined the national character of Israel as the law they were given.


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