You probably have heard this phrase a million times over your life in various ways.
If you are married, you probably heard it in your ceremony of nuptials. This is the allegoric phrase that is used to say that two married will come together as one in union to live as one. It is, as always a phrase that is used to point out a union, a mixing of things to become one in whatever instance it is used.
This “Two shall become one” is again used in the story of God and His people. But two people would you be talking about? For those people that are familiar with the story of God and Gospel of the New Testament, their is a distinction of two people that defined as God’s people and ‘Gentiles'( those that weren’t God’s people), it was that simple. The story of ‘God’s people tho is a long and drug out story of the ups and downs of a people that were supposed to committed to a covenant with their God. It is this story that I would like to tell a side that has not been really told or understood in our storyline of the Gospel.
The storyline that has been really emphasized is the one of the gentiles and their struggle to leave their idols and gods behind them and to know the God of Abraham. This story has been told and retold and summarized, pulpit beating, Hell threatened, God is coming, Satan is after us to who all else knows! But I think that we may have missed something that might be key to our understanding to our side of the equation of the two becoming the one. It is what the other side is told to give up, for they were given a “new and better way of doing the thing of worship”.
I would like to point out here that this is probably true coming from the other side from the Jewish to the ‘gentile’ issues. But I think maybe on both sides we have a bigger issue that also needs to be addressed, and that is lack of digging deeper into what Paul was saying in the scriptures, about the reason that God sent his son and what that meant to ‘God’s people’ and also to the gentiles. But we will dig deep into just the one side of it. The Jewish side of it.
For the Israelite’s it was a stay the same for them scenario, Jesus’ arrival onto the scene, didn’t change anything for them(Religious authorities),they were looking for the proverbial ‘Knight on the white horse’ to save them from the bondage that they were facing in the Roman world. But whether they believed it or not, it was so. It was a different story with the ranks below them that some believed the God of Abraham had sent his Son to dwell with them to bring them out of slavery.
It was the ones that believed within the Israelite’s(also the gentiles,but just talking about the Israelite’s) that were told that their ‘ way’ of being marked as a God image was changed. It would not be the sacraments that they were used to. No longer would they be ‘officially’ God’s people by the circumcision of the men, the mandatory food laws to be strictly enforced, the Temple would not be the building that they where used to by their Kings of their forefathers, no, it was to be ‘Christ in Us’, and as a bonus togetherness, we would be ‘in Christ’! This would be so wonderful for God’s people(also for the Gentiles). But the problem for the people of God this was so irrational, and goes against what God has told them over and over again thru their forefathers. This was also a very humanistic solution for man’s problem. It was a solution for whole world, that would say that it would only take the right man to put in power to solve the problem.
God’s solution was better, It was Him.
Let’s go back to the solution for the Israelite’s and what the Gentiles and I mean mainly the christians that have heard the gospel, that it seems that we have took up the ways of old, and are working withing the system of the Israelite’s, we have gone back into slavery, which Paul was telling the believers of Jewish background that they kept going back into, but why?
It is this problematic scenario of the christian believers now that have fallen back into the ways of old, that we can’t go back into the old covenant. We are in the ‘New Covenant’! Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought us into the New Covenant!! It is New!
Let’s look at the three thing that I believe that ‘We’ as christians have been ‘working within the parameters of the old covenant and trying to work as tho we were in the New Covenant! You can’t. It’s stupid to think that we could. I believe we either didn’t realize we were doing this or we ‘really didn’t know we were doing it’.
Circumcision, let’s face it this is an outside ‘marker’ of God’s people, but it was ‘hidden’ within the world. This is in itself not a ‘saving gesture’ of God.
Food laws, is in reality a very life changing thing for anyone, let alone for the Jewish sect of God’s people. This commandment was a ‘gesture’ of putting them in the world as ‘different’, it was at first a good thing, to ‘see’ you God’s people were. But in itself was not going to be a ‘saving gesture’ of God’s plan. It was the plan of the Israelite’s eating with others, because now it would not be an issue of what was ‘clean’ of God. It was now considered ‘all clean’ for everyone.
Now we come to the issue that I think is our biggest stumbling block of all. It is the ‘Temple’. Do you ‘see’ from what I have very briefly said about what happened with Christ’s death and resurrection changed things for both sides. For which neither side has done a very good job of adhering too. But it is gentiles that we are working on now, that we need them to see that what the Israelite’s were giving up, they must also.(the physical temple of God, God changed this thru his Son) We are ‘in Christ, and ‘He is in Us’, this the same action as what the Temple and the High Priest were doing every time they went into the ‘Holy of Holies’ room.
This action is what is needed, along side the other two things that the Jewish people needed to believe that God was not only in them but in everyone in the world, after all everyone is God’s image and likeness!!