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Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through this one forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you. Watch out, then, that what is spoken about by the prophets does not happen to you: ‘Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish! For I am doing a work in your days, a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you.’”
Paul is at Antioch, and this is an excerpt from his preaching concerning how God has orchestrated redemptive history to hinge upon Jesus Christ. God has done the unbelievable in our midst in Christ Jesus: He has provided the necessary sacrifice for sin, so that we may again be His family. In Genesis, we saw this scenario play out with Abraham and Isaac. God asked Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him. This is where we see Abraham’s faith, because he does this. Along the way, Isaac questions and asks where the sacrifice is for the offering – and Abraham tells Isaac, “God will provide the sacrifice.” Jesus is the One provided as a sacrifice for all sin. Salvation, however impossible it may seem, is found in Christ Jesus…and is available to all. That is the good news – believe it!
The Lord says, “Watch out! The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. Moreover, none of the people of Israel are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.”
It is circumcision of the heart that our Lord God desires. In Romans 2:28-29 Paul says, “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” In Galatians, Paul says, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.” It is by grace through faith in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are shaped into the “Israel of God”. We are His chosen, and that is by faith.
So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world. But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.
Luke 15:21-23 describes the return of the lost son in Jesus’ parable: “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.’” The robe and the ring signify a restoration to sonship. Likewise, we are called heavenward as sons and daughters of the Most High, and the gift of the Holy Spirit is our seal of that truth in Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever? And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you,
Words like fellowship and communion are used to describe our relationship with God and with one another in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the foundation of those experiences. This verse is not a call to cut off relationship with anyone who does not believe in Jesus. It is a caution though, because it is clear that those who believe are to live differently – be separate – from those who do not believe. It is a separation in how we live. The choice a Christian makes to live differently because of Jesus can often cause tension and loss in certain relationships, however it will also cause conviction and work to lead others to repentance and salvation in Christ Jesus. Today is a challenge to live transformed - that all may come to know Jesus, the author of our salvation, and that we may bring honor and glory to His name.
So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation,
These words stand true because we have been given new birth into a living hope through Jesus Christ (see 1 Peter 1). We live under God’s mercy and are covered by His grace, yet at the same time we are ambassadors and witnesses to His unfailing love for us. Crave the milk that transforms hearts for God and leave the rest behind you. What do you need to lay down for Christ today?