The Mystery of Messiah
by Ariel Blumenthal, , Revive Israel
Paul concludes his teaching of the One New Man in the first 6 verses of Ephesians chapter 3. He calls it a "mystery", and then "the mystery of Christ", which was uniquely committed to him by God's grace. He even declares that this mystery is something that was not revealed (or at least not in the same way) to the OT prophets; but is now being revealed to/by the NT apostles and prophets. He concludes: that the Gentiles believers in Yeshua are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel ... (Ephesians 3:4-6)
Here, the Apostle uses three compound words in the Greek to describe the mystery: synkleroma, sysoma, synmetoka - all starting with the prefix "syn", from which we get English words like synchronize, synthesize, and synergy. NT Greek scholars tell us that it is hard to capture the clout of these three words in other languages.
First is synkleroma - "co-heirs". This legal term suggests not just an equality of shared privilege, as in two business partners or family members sharing profits or an inheritance; not simply "joint heirs" like the two brothers in the story of the Prodigal Son - ie, "we have a common father, I get my portion and you get yours"; but instead it is more like two "blood-brothers" who have utterly bound themselves together, totally dependent on each other for whatever inheritance, hope, and success they can expect to receive from their common father. In Messiah, we Jews won't get our ultimate inheritance from the Father until the nations get theirs - and vice-versa!
Our Living Organism
Second is sysoma "co-body" people, "of one body". As in Romans 12:5 or I Corinthians 12:27, the Apostle describes the ecclesia with an organic, biological term - we are a living body, and Christ is the head. Now, in the Gospel of Messiah, Jew and Gentile have become one living organism, with the same spiritual blood of Christ joining us together; we are of the same family/household (John 1:13). Whatever happens to one part of the body affects the whole.
Partakers of the Same Promise
Last is synmetoka - "partakers of the same promise" in Christ Jesus. "Promise" is in the singular, not "promises". In keeping with the rest of Paul's writings, we can understand him to be specifically referring to the pre-figured, Gospel promise made to Abraham, as taught in Romans 4, 8:17, and Galatians 3:26-29. Romans 4:11-17 brings together these ideas from Ephesians 3:6 and other chapters in this book.
Abraham was made a promise (singular), described in two ways: that he would be the "heir of the world" and that he would be "a father of many nations." The incredible mystery of the Gospel is that together in Christ Jesus (the greatest son of Abraham!) Jew and Gentile are co-heirs of the same Abrahamic promise; we are members of the same family; and all of this is based on the very same promise made to our now mutual father/ancestor - Abraham.
The Mystery of Messiah
by Asher Intrater, , Revive Israel
How we love the fruit of the spirit - love and joy and all that good stuff! It is the very personality of God within us.
However, there is one fruit of the spirit at the end of the list that seems to be less talked about: self-control. We could call it the Final Fruit.
"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control ..." (Galatians 5:22)
Perhaps people are less attracted to this fruit because it demands saying "no" a little bit. It means saying "no" to our own desires, or at least restraining them to a certain degree. But this fruit is quite important.
Just Say No
Yeshua's receiving of the power of the Holy Spirit, was directly related to Him saying "no" three times to the devil (Luke 4:14). Self-control is about saying "no" to ourselves. It is similar to "denying ourselves" (Luke 9:33). It means guarding our minds so that dark thoughts don't come in at any time (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:4-8). It is keeping the door closed to anything that would give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-29).
We receive every blessing by grace because Yeshua was crucified for us. At the same time, God calls us to live as if we are crucified with Him.
"I am crucified with Messiah, and I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me. The life I live now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:22).
We call this the crucified life. It is our response to Yeshua being crucified for us. We are not actually crucified physically. We live daily "as if" we are crucified. Self-crucifixion is a spiritual parable. On a day-to-day basis I exercise self-restraint over natural desires. The fruit of self-control is the way we live out the idea of being crucified with Him.
When the Lord wants to bless us, there is first a period of self-control. Sometimes this period is one minute, sometimes one year. Often it seems like forever. Self-control is needed before the blessing, during the blessing and after the blessing.
Just because God blessed you with a nice meal doesn't mean you have to eat everything on the table. We exercise self-control in order to keep the blessings in their place, to keep the bad things out, and to keep God on the throne over us.
This example may be a bit graphic, but self-control reminds me of when you are forced to wait before going to the bathroom. You squeeze a muscle deep down inside and hold it shut tight. On a soul level, that is what self-control is like. We are not waiting to relieve ourselves. We are waiting on the Lord. We hold ourselves back from our own instincts in order to give the Lord time and opportunity to work in our lives. While we wait on the Lord, we exercise self-control.
"Patience is greater than power; and he who rules his own spirit is greater than one who captures a city" (Proverbs 16:32).
You can be greater than an army general, an athletic champion or a prime minister. They are heroes. The one who can control himself is a "super"-hero. Self-control is the greatest of victories.
I sense even as I write this that there is divine ability to increase self-control. I pray for you right now, as you read this, that the fruit of self-control will grow abundantly in your life.
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