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Daily Bread - February 16, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 16 February 2018 08:21
Ephesians 2:16 - And completely exchanged both to God in one body through
the cross, destroying the enmity in Himself.

The Greek word translated 'exchanged', 'apokatallaso' (apo-kat-allasso), is
a composite of two prepositions, 'apo' and 'kat', and a verb, 'allasso'.
The verb 'allaso' means 'to change' or 'to exchange', and 'apo' and 'kat'
may be translated as 'of' and 'according' respectively. It appears that the
double prefix serves to intensify the verb's meaning, and thus could be
properly translated as 'completely changed' or 'completely exchanged'. This
form of the verb is not found outside of Christian literature. Therefore,
we have to lean heavily on both the contextual meaning and the purely
secular definition. To keep with the context of the passage, the choice was
made to translate it as 'completely exchange', which enforces Jesus
Christ's representative, or substitute role, at the Cross for all mankind.

The Greek word used here is 'ecthar', which is derived from the word
'echthros', meaning 'enemy', and 'echtho', meaning 'to hate'. The curse of
sin that had cursed man was destroyed at the Cross when Jesus was made a
curse for us (Galatians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 15:22). The sin that once put
all men at enmity against God has now been removed because of the exchange
that took place when Christ Jesus died at Calvary. Although Paul began by
talking about the enmity between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:11-15), He is
now addressing the enmity that exists between sinful man and a Holy God!
That sin was dealt with when Christ Jesus exchanged His life for ours, and
the One Who knew no sin became the sin offering for us, so that we might be
made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:22-23).
This exchange is essential for all men -both Jew and Gentile. All men must
be recreated in Christ Jesus. Only in Christ Jesus can the power of sin and
death be destroyed, or a person be made acceptable to God.

The Gospel is for the Jew first; and if rejected, there is no other means
of salvation (Romans 1:16-17; Acts 4:10-12; Philippians 2:9-11). God deals
with both Jew and Gentile on the exact same basis, for all have sinned and
come short of the glory of God (Romans 1:16, 2:10, 3:9,23, 6:23; Ephesians
2:3). The Gentiles, who were enemies of God, have now been changed; but the
Jews, who were covenant children, also must be changed, because the nature
of sin is enmity against God (Romans 5:12-21; 8:7). Christ Jesus died so
that we might be made a new creation through the miracle work of grace,
which can only take place through Him (Galatians 6:15; John 3:3; 2
Corinthians 5:17,21). Christ Jesus came to change all things, whether they
be in Heaven or on Earth (Colossians 1:20-22). The idea that Christ Jesus
is only for the Gentiles, and the Jews are made a new creation by some
other means, is completely foreign to Scripture. The Law was given to bring
all men, both Jew and Gentile, to Christ (Romans 3:19,21, 4:16, 10:3-4;
John 1:17). The Law has been done away with -the Old Covenant has passed
away and is no longer in effect (2 Corinthians 3:13; Hebrews 10:9;
Colossians 2:14).

To believe that someone can be made right with God by trusting in the Law,
or relying on a covenant that has been done away with, is to reject the New
Covenant, and thus to reject Christ Jesus. Scripture makes very clear how
the Law could not save. It could only reveal the sinful state of men, and
offer a means to atone for sins through the sacrifices of animals, which
pointed to the coming Redeemer, Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:10,13,21; Hebrews
10:1-4; Romans 7:10-23). The Cross is an indispensable altar for the
removal of sin and death. Paul included himself when He wrote, "When we
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son..." (Romans
5:10).

Praise God for His amazing love, His abundant mercy, His unending
faithfulness, and His unspeakable gift! (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10;
Lamentations 3:22-24; Psalms 36:5-10; 2 Corinthians 9:15)
 
Daily Bread - February 15, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 15 February 2018 12:05
Ephesians 2:15 - Abolishing the Law of commandments in ordinances, so that
in Himself He created of the two one new man, making peace.

God has created one new humanity in Christ Jesus! He has provided a New
Covenant in Christ Jesus so that both the uncircumcised and circumcised are
given the same opportunity. He has provided a level playing field where
there is neither Jew nor Greek, circumcision nor uncircumcision, but a 'new
creation' (Galatians 3:28, 6:15, 5:6; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Colossians
3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul, speaking of 'one new man,' certainly
refers to believers becoming partakers with Christ so that we become those
who are 'in Him,' thus establishing in Himself perfect fellowship and union
with us. The "one new man" may be understood as a 'single new man' made
from both Jew and Gentile. Both are referred to as 'one new man' because
all must be in Christ Jesus in order to be saved and established in the New
Covenant.

The 'one new man' may also be understood as the Church, which is His Body.
The Church has already been mentioned in Ephesians 1:22-23, and is being
alluded to in view of the fact that Jesus is described as the Cornerstone
of the House God has built. Therefore, Jesus is both the Head from which
the whole Body (His Church) functions, and the Cornerstone that holds the
whole building (His Church) in place. What Jesus created in His Person from
both Jew and Gentile may be understood as the New Covenant (2 Corinthians
3:6), the 'new creation' of 2 Corinthians 5:17, and the 'new man' of
Ephesians 4:24 -all of which are the glorious newness given in Christ Jesus.

What Paul calls the 'law of commandments' in this verse, he also calls the
'certificate of indebtedness' in Colossians 2:14. These ordinances were
abolished and blotted out when Jesus spoiled principalities and powers
(Colossians 2:9-15). The Law of Commandments, which is another name for the
Law of Moses, was given to reveal the domination of sin and its evil
effects on man. Now, through the power of the blood and death of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ, the power of sin and death has been destroyed
(Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). The testimony of condemnation contained within
the Law has also been destroyed for whoever would call upon the Name of the
Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:7-9; Romans 8:1).

When we understand that the Law of Moses was revealed to Paul to be both
the Law of Condemnation and the Law of Death, we are enabled to understand
how it was, indeed, the witness against man's sinful state. Therefore, when
the power of sin which dominated man was destroyed, the witness of
condemnation against that sin was also destroyed. God no longer deals with
His covenant people as the sons of Adam, but as His own sons (John 1:12;
Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1-2). We are no longer held under
the Law of Condemnation, but have been brought into the glorious liberty of
the sons of God and into the ministry of righteousness (Romans 8:21; 2
Corinthians 3:9, 5:17-21). The relationship is not based upon man, who
rebelled, sinned, and must be condemned; but based, rather, on the One Who
was obedient and righteous. Through Christ Jesus, His righteousness has
been extended to us so we are made righteous, holy, and pure. God interacts
with us as heirs and co-inheritors with His Son, Christ Jesus. We have been
born of the Spirit and have been joined unto the Lord as part of His family
(John 3:6; 1 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 3:14-15). There is no condemnation
against the 'new creation' having been recreated in Christ Jesus (Romans
8:1; Ephesians 3:16-21).

Rejoice to be a part of God's 'new creation' in Christ Jesus!
 
Daily Bread - February 14, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 12:13
Ephesians 2:14 - For He is our Peace, Who has made both of us one, and has
dissolved the enmity, the middle wall of partition, in His flesh.

What is translated as "the middle wall of partition" is literally "the
dividing wall of the fence." The Greek word 'phragmos,' which is translated
as "wall," may be properly translated as "partition." Although we may
understand this division as pertaining only to Jew and Gentile, we may also
expand it to include the division that existed between God and man. The
first time a partition, or fence, was made as a boundary between God and
man was at Mount Sinai -here, God made a distinction between Himself and
the rest of Israel (Exodus 19). A wall, or boundary, is also observed in
the curtain, or veil, that stood between the Holy Place and the Holy of
Holies (Exodus 26; Hebrews 9).

Another wall, or partition, was in the temple precincts between the Court
of the Gentiles and the Court of the Women. Josephus describes this wall as
being five feet high, but positioned in such a way that the Court of the
Women could not be seen. To reach the temple, one would have to pass
through the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of Women, the Court of the
Sons of Israel, and finally the Court of the Priests. Gentiles who brought
offerings could not go past the wall separating the Court of the Gentiles
and the Court of the Women. This partition was so important to the Jews
that an inscription in Greek and Latin warned that any trespasser beyond
the court of the Gentiles would be punished by death. This austerity is
observed in Acts 21:28 & 31 when Paul was dragged from the temple to be
killed because he was accused of bringing Gentiles in and defiling the
sanctuary.

However, the most important clue to understanding what partition was
removed is revealed in the fact that Jesus destroyed it in his own flesh.
We know Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24),
which is the barrier the prophet Isaiah revealed was responsible for
separating God from His people (Isaiah 59:2). We also know we enter into
the Holy of Holies through the veil of the flesh of Jesus, as though His
own body has taken the place of the curtain which divided the Holy Place
from the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 10:19-20). This is further emphasized in
the veil of the temple that was torn open when Jesus was crucified (Matthew
27:51). The middle wall of partition was effectually more than a law that
divided Jew from Gentile, and both from God; but it was the strength of
sin, which was the Law (1 Corinthians 15:56). When Jesus did away with sin
through the sacrifice of His own self, He destroyed every barrier and wall
of division (1 Corinthians 15:57; Ephesians 2:14; Hebrews 9:11-14,24-28,
10:19-23).

The most important point is God has provided a New Covenant in Christ
Jesus, so both the uncircumcised and circumcised are given the same
opportunity. The New Covenant allows all to come boldly into the Holy of
Holies, which before was forbidden to everyone except the High Priest -and
even that was allowed only once per year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 10:3,
19-20). Both the Jew and the Gentile come to God the same way, and there is
no difference between them now or in the future! If they are going to walk
with God, then they must be born from above and made into a new creature
(John 3:3-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Ephesians 2:15-22, 4:24). When Adam
sinned and was separated from God, it was not the Law God desired to
restore to man, but rather, fellowship. The fellowship God wants to have
with man could not come by the Law because the Law could not impart the
Life of God into man (Galatians 3:21). The Law was just, good, and holy;
but it could only point out man's sinful nature. In Ephesians 4:24, Paul
exhorts us to put on the "new man," which is created in true righteousness
and holiness. Jesus has created, from both Jew and Gentile, one new man
(Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 3:10-11); and everyone has been offered the
opportunity to enter into this intimate fellowship through the Door, Christ
Jesus!

Let us fully enter in boldly! (Hebrews 10:19)
 
Daily Bread - February 13, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 08:22
Colossians 2:13 - And you being dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision
of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having pardoned all
your trespasses.

A synonym for forgiveness is used in this verse, adding yet more meaning to
the gift of God's grace given to us through the salvation that is in Christ
Jesus. The best way to translate this specific word here in this passage is
either 'pardoned' or 'forgiven' (charizomai). The Greek word is derived
from a word which means 'gift of grace' (charisma). The Lord has given to
us generously of His forgiveness, having cancelled (charizomai) all of our
debt through the death of Jesus Christ (Luke 7:36-50). Our debts from the
past were canceled along with our former life. The old life -ladened with
sin and guilty of death- was crucified with Christ; and now, new Life has
been given in Christ Jesus (Galatians 2:20; John 10:10, 14:6, 17:3; 1 John
5:11-12, 20).

God has bestowed this new Life on us just as Jesus bestowed (charizomai)
sight to many who were blind and as God bestowed (charizomai) a Name to
Jesus that is above every name (Luke 7:21; Philippians 2:9). All of our
former deeds have been cut off, and nothing of the past can be associated
with the Life we now have in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Faith in
Christ Jesus demands we, too, let go of the past! Those memories and the
things the enemy of our soul would used to condemn us with must be rejected
as a false testimony of a life that no longer exists. Our standing with God
now in Christ Jesus is such that He will graciously (charizomai) give us
all things (Romans 8:32).

Praise God for His unspeakable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
 
Daily Bread - February 12, 2018
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 12 February 2018 13:04
Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have
been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Israel was allowed limited access to God through the covenant of the Law;
but now, the Gentiles, who did not know God, are invited along with Israel
into an unlimited relationship with Him. Now, both Jew and Gentile, bond or
free, can come by the blood of Jesus into a place where no one had access
to before. Understanding the consecration of Aaron and his sons helps us to
more fully comprehend the meaning of this verse. Aaron and his sons were
consecrated to the Lord by the blood of the covenant so they could draw
near to Him, and engage in the awesome splendor and ecstasy of ministering
in His Presence (Leviticus 8-9). Other than Moses, this access had not been
allowed since the rebellion of Adam (Genesis 3:24). Through the mercy of
God, access would be once again granted through the blood of the covenant
-but only for the few the Lord would sanctify. Previous to this event, the
Lord had come to make Himself known to all of Israel; but even in this act
of mercy, He demanded they keep their distance. Only Moses was allowed to
draw near to the Lord; though even in the first encounter Moses had with
the Lord, he heard, "Do not draw near!" (Exodus 3:5, 19:12, 12:20-21).

In the New Covenant, the removal of sin is so complete in Christ Jesus that
now whosoever is willing can come with all boldness into the Presence of
God (Hebrews 10:19). Our faith in Who Jesus is and what He has done for us
should so radically change us that we no longer have a conscience
condemning us of sin (Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 3:21; Romans 8:1). The powers
of darkness continually condemn us; and through that condemnation, they
attempt to hold us back from drawing near to Him (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians
6:16; Zechariah 3:2). However, with our faith in Christ Jesus alone, we
take the blood of the covenant and find the power of complete confidence
and the full assurance of His acceptance (Ephesians 1:6-7; Colossians
1:12-14, 21-22, 27; Hebrews 9:14)! The way into the Holiest place of all
has been revealed through the blood of Jesus, and everyone is invited!

Our righteousness is not our own, but was given to us as a gift (1
Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18,21; Philippians 3:8-9). We now have
a life that is different from the one we were born with. It is the life of
Christ, given to us through His blood (Galatians 2:20). Behold, the stain
of sin has been removed -let there be no more consciousness of it! Let the
life of God, and His promises of oneness with Him, now occupy your minds
(Ephesians 4:23-24; Romans 12:1- 2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Peter 4:1; John
17:21-22; Galatians 3:27; Philippians 4:8). Today, anyone can stand beyond
the place where only the High Priest could go in the former covenant with
Israel. For an entrance has been made into the Heavenlies of God -the place
that is the Most Holy of all (Hebrews 9:8, 10:19-21, 12:22; Ephesians 1:3;
2:6).

Find complete confidence and full assurance in Jesus alone!
 
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