Insiders and outsiders

I’ve finished reading The Mission of God and am now reflecting on the book as a whole.  I would say that I’m reflecting on God’s plan as a whole, but that sounds entirely to audacious to be true or near true.

I am in awe of the brilliance, creativity, and persistent faithfulness of a God Who set out a plan to be known and loved by a planet full of people before time began, Who watched as they made a mess of His creative work, and Who will eventually be known and loved by men and women from every tribe, nation, and tongue.  Each chapter held a new facet of God’s work, and I often stopped reading to think and thank Him afresh.

It wasn’t until the last chapter, though, that I identified an assumption I had been making for most of the book.  You see, I am so accustomed to identifying myself as one of God’s people that my own status as a natural-born Gentile was ignored.  I see myself in many ways as an “insider,” not the “outsider” that I would have been considered in the New Testament.  The paradigm shift of insiders-becoming-outsiders is a large part of the mission of God, and I take it for granted.

When Paul wrote his letter to Ephesus, it was ground-breaking:

Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through His holy apostles and prophets of this new order.  The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of Him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God.  They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus.  (ch.4:4-6, from the Message)

The recognition of my own place in God’s plan- as one from “the nations”- leaves me both grateful for His plan in a deeper way and more faith-filled when I consider my own future.  If He arranged for my salvation, He can certainly arrange for the rest.

Related post: A Whole New Perspective on God’s Will

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One thought on “Insiders and outsiders

  1. A great book which I knew you would both enjoy and by which you would be challenged. The insider/outsider paradigm is facinating. It also has application in the concept of “otherness” when dealing with the topic of forgiveness. This was explored in some depth by Miraslov Volf in a now famous volume called “Exclusion & Embrace”. In order to forgive we must first understand that the “other” which either hurt us (or whom we hurt)has in Christ become “one of us” and therefore forgivable because of what He did rather than what they/or us have done or do. Don’t get too attached to that book…alas master it was borrowed:)

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