The Established Church as the People of God of the New Covenant, isn’t a correct statement as it is only individuals who qualify according to their faith and righteousness.
In the New Testament no emphasis is given to any select group, but only to the whole company of what the NT calls ‘the elect,’ ‘the saints,’ ‘the disciples,’ ‘the brothers and sisters.’ If we recognise that all born again, baptised believers make up the Body of Christ and the People of God, we won’t make the mistake of identifying the true church with the Established Church. The real church is always the whole People of God, the whole ekklesia, the whole Body of Christ, the whole communion (fellowship, koinonia) of the disciples of Jesus. It includes lay persons, clergy and non-church people. All faithful Christian believers make up and belong together to the chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation.
This implies a second conclusion: that as Christians, all members of the Church are fundamentally equal. All equally have been called by God to belong, all equally have been justified by Christ, all equally have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit. All equally have been called to respond to the message, the person and the work of Christ, by their faith, their commitment, their cooperation, their trust and their love. In principle also, all are equally responsible for the Church’s work in the world, its mission to spread to Gospel.
The gifts of the Spirit result in different services, tasks, functions and offices, but they are secondary to the fundamental membership in the Church which is based on true belief, and to the life of discipleship which stems from keeping the Commandments and doing the works according each individual’s situation. What counts more than any ministry or office, however exalted, is whether we live authentically as members of the chosen People of God.
Do we live in faith, hope and love in covenant relationship with God and with our fellow disciples of Jesus?
For, more than anything, the Church is the community of the disciples of Jesus. Everything else is secondary and subordinate to that. The shared call to baptism and discipleship has meant that from the beginning all kinds of people, sometimes persons naturally opposed, have joined the church and belonged to the congregation.
Jews and Gentiles, free citizens and slaves, rich and poor, men and women, have shared with one another in the life of the Church as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, their Lord. An important point is that only through Jesus, has every Christian become the People of God in the New Covenant.
This has happened ‘in Christ,’ as Paul says. This truth raises two questions, vital questions in Christian-Jewish dialogue and reconciliation today:
1. Has God rejected His ethnic people and been unfaithful to his promises?
2. Have the Jews ceased to be a People of God?
These are difficult questions, which have been debated by Bible scholars and theologians for many years. To both of these questions the Apostle Paul has given a decisive ‘No!’ But as we see today sadly: most Jews continue to reject Jesus.
So; who exactly is the Israel of God now?
We know from Romans 9:27, that Israel is as numerous as the sands of the sea and 1 Peter 1:1 and James 1:1 both send greetings to the Twelve Tribes, scattered abroad.
The Jews alone do not fit either of these criteria.
The truth, that God has kept hidden from general knowledge, is that the ten Northern tribes, taken to the Caucasus region by Assyria did not remain there and they migrated across Europe, Jeremiah 31:21, they now comprise most of the Western peoples and have become the Christian nations.
That God’s Plan to have a people that bear the proper fruit; as the Jews rejected Him, Matthew 21:43, HAS been successful and that Western Christians are mostly Israelites: actual descendants of Jacob, is nothing short of miraculous and shows God’s amazing Plan of sending Jesus to be our Redeemer and Saviour, to be God’s fulfilment of Deuteronomy 18:18-19, Acts 7:37
Note: that Jesus came to be our Redeemer. To redeem someone means to reinstate them, to buy them back again from a fallen state.
Our destiny as born again Christians, is to be the people God has never had, His witnesses, Isaiah 43:10, Acts 1:8 and displaying His Light to the nations. Isaiah 49:8, Matthew 5:14 It will be our privilege and our honour, as He showers His Spirit and His Blessings upon His righteous people, as they live in peace and prosperity in all of the holy Land. Amos 9:13-15, Isaiah 35:1-10, Ezekiel 39:25-29, Revelation 7:9
The acceptance of the Gospel by some Jews like Paul means that their apostasy is not total. But the bulk of the ethnic Christian Israel of God are His people who have forgotten their ancestry. In the end times, their eyes will be opened and their ears unstopped; Isaiah 32:3-4 All the true righteous and faithful Christian people from every tribe, race, nation and language, Revelation 5:9-10, will be citizens of the new nation of Beulah, Isaiah 62:1-5, in all of the holy Land, but in order to fulfil God’s promises to the Patriarchs, the majority will be the actual descendants of Jacob. Amos 9:9, Jeremiah 50:4-7
As Paul asserts: in the end “all Israel will be saved.” That is: every ethnic Israelite faithful to God, will enter the holy Land, accompanied by every true Christian Gentile, all members of the Israel of God, Isaiah 56:1-8, Ephesians 2:1-18, but ALL who reject Him will not. Ezekiel 20:34-38, Hebrews 10:26-27 t