|Pastor Ryo Kasama, Tokyo Calvary Church Preacher, July 5, 2020
"Connected with the Lord" Ephesians to the followers, Chapter 2, verses 11-22
Qualification is what most people have in modern society. There are various things to call a qualification. A driver's license is the easiest to understand, but a diploma such as elementary school or junior high school is also a kind of qualification. What is easier to understand is the family register, or the proof of the people that they belong to a country. Thanks to this, you can receive preferential treatment such as medical treatment, and even if you live in a foreign country, you can receive various guarantees if you have a family register in your hometown. Basically, the people are qualified only by that.
It is because of the assumption that you are a Japanese citizen, so you can get a compulsory education diploma or you can get a driver's license, so being in a country is necessary for obtaining other qualifications. So it can be said to be the basis of qualification.
What if we consider qualifications as faith? Do we, as believers, have any qualifications? Think about it.
First of all, the person who is baptized confesses to God and qualifies me as belonging to God. It is not a right in the legal sense of the country, but believers belong to God. You will get the nationality of heaven there. Faith has the nationality and rights of the kingdom of God. And one more thing, as a member of this world, you qualify to be a church member.
Then what is required to obtain the qualification? Today's Bible passage is about it.
Today's Bible is a letter to the Ephesians. If you look at the map at the back of the Bible, you can see that it is the city of Asia, which is what is today Turkey. This is a place where the influence of Greek culture is very strong, and it is a place where almost Greek people live. Paul used to visit for evangelism and here he told God. At first, Jews living in the town came to listen to Paul's words, but after the church was built, the center was not Jews but local people living in Ephesus, Greeks. There are features.
There was a problem in the way of faith. Originally Christianity was built on the foundations of Judaism, so the original members of the church were all Jewish. Therefore, in the beginning, the Jewish Christians seemed to be above, and the Gentile Christians were considered to be below. So at first it seems that few Jewish Christians were supposed to lead other believers, but eventually such restrictions disappeared and all believers were considered equal. I went.
Therefore, this church seems to have had a conflict between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians at the beginning, and it seemed to be a conflict. This letter is written on that assumption.
It is shown in the first eleventh verse, "So keep in mind. You are formerly Gentiles according to the flesh, and are so-called hand-circumcised. People called him uncircumcised." The Jewish Christians are circumcised, and there seems to be a tendency to be circumcised.
In verses thirteenth and fourteenth, "But you were far away, but now in Christ Jesus you have become closer to you by the blood of Christ. In the flesh of the nation, the dividing wall of hostility was demolished, and the rules and laws of commandment were abolished." What Paul is saying here is that you have been God's people since you Gentiles knew God. At this point, there are no relations with ethnic walls, laws, or circumcision. He says that in front of God, regardless of Jews or Gentiles, they can enter salvation without discrimination.
In the original Judaism, salvation was considered to be given only to Jews. I thought that the people of God, Judas, who were chosen by God, were qualified to be loved by God. Other nations think that they should be ruled by Jews and are not loved by God. Furthermore, they thought that there is true salvation only when such a nation chosen by God properly observes the law given by God. Both the birth and the act were conditions for salvation.
Christianity, on the other hand, denies the idea. What is needed for salvation is neither born nor done. Furthermore, social status such as status does not matter. I argue that everything is equally entitled to salvation.
First of all, the qualification that I said was basically no qualification for salvation. Anyone can be saved. However, the only qualification is to confess that "I believe in Jesus." It's an oath rather than a qualification. You get salvation by connecting your heart with God. The only thing that matters is what your heart is.
However, that is the problem. Because I need to be prepared to believe in Jesus for my entire life. It can be said that this oath is prepared to fulfill faith as long as we live.
If the person swears from the heart and is tied to God, give salvation to everyone equally. It was Jesus who made that possible. It is written in verse sixteen. It was the words, "Through the cross, we made them both reconcile as one body with God and destroyed the hostility by the cross." The cross of Jesus was the key to saving everything.
When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sacrificed his life, all humankind were given equal opportunity to be saved.
According to verse eighteen, "Thus, by this Christ, both of us can be united in one spirit and approach the Father." Not only Jews but all people can be connected to the spirit of God. And those who are tied to that spirit will be given to salvation equally. I believe in Jesus who gave up his life for me.
As I said at the beginning, there is no qualification in faith, and there is no upper or lower rank. Those who are tied to God are equally salvation workers.
All are equal in front of God. Salvation is given to those who believe in God. I want to believe that.
|This page is translated from Japanese by google translation.