The Coming Salvation From The Works Of Collective
Commissioning of the New Covenant People
The founding fathers1 of the early Church received the message of salvation from dead works in its three-fold totality. In the wisdom of God, it was Jesus' death at the hands of the Jews that paid all the prices for sin necessary to procure the new inward Life that would activate this salvation process in His followers.2 After Jesus ascended, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit watered the seed of the Gospel they had received causing it to germinate in new power for them.
Having been with Jesus and emulating His lifestyle through the Spirit's power, the apostles were well-versed in not only salvation from the works of the devil and of the flesh, but also from the works of the world. This salvation was intrinsic to the Gospel from the start and it is this message in its three-fold entirety that was and still is the Kingdom Gospel.
The blood-bought Church of the new covenant was ordained to become the first society since the spiritual fall of old Israel to stand in opposition to babylonianism. They would walk after the complete tradition of Abraham, find salvation from the power of human society, and carry on the war against the collectivization of man, seeing it through to its consummation in Christ's return.3 The Church inherited the mantle that old Israel forfeited by her abdication to babylonianism. The Church became the New Israel of God.4
The ultimate victory of the Church over babylonianism was first foretold in Daniel's interpretation of the dream of the babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.5 In this dream, the king saw an image representing the drive for collectivization through four successive empires. He then saw a stone cut without hands destroy the image at its feet (i.e., the last empire). The stone represented the Church (in union with Christ), God's city made without hands.6 This anticipated Jesus' commissioning of His Church with Peter ("the Rock") and His prophecy that not even hell could stop the Church's expansion.7 In the dream, that expansion was pictured by the stone growing into a mountain filling the whole earth, paralleling Jesus' parable that likened His kingdom to a seed that would grow into a huge tree.8
The Great Commission
One of the landmark features of the newly commissioned Church was to be Her ability through separated mobility to take the envived Gospel of the Kingdom to the remotest parts of the earth—what we today call the Great Commission:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age." Mt. 28:19-20
This was not a mere command. It was a commission that could be carried out only as the Church Herself walked in the fullness of its message. The message of salvation She was to carry to the ends of the earth was not just salvation from the works of the devil and of the flesh, but also the works of babylonian society with its fixed centres of population. Yet the only way She could carry this total message of salvation over the earth was if She Herself was walking in it, freed from the power of babylonianism, free to walk outside the dead works of fixed economy and social community.
The commission was not only a command therefore. It was a barometer whose fulfilment would itself indicate its effectiveness in the lives of those who claimed to be saved by its message. Such was the design of salvation in all three of its dimensions that it could only be proclaimed by those who had spiritually experienced the salvation and could thereby bear witness to it. Only those who experienced the new birth could testify to it. Only those who entered salvation from sin's power through the Spirit's baptism could reach others in that power. And only those who gained salvation from babylonianism could reach the ends of the earth against the power of Babylon to proclaim the Good News. Should the news fail to reach the ends of the earth, that in itself would prove the Church Herself had not been saved by Her own message—at least not in that degree!
In keeping with His will for the mobility of His New People, Jesus made no provision for them to erect permanent structures of worship. This was in sharp contrast to the Jewish landscape dotted with its synagogues and its massive stone temple in Jerusalem. (By the time of Jesus, these places were nothing but "whited sepulchres" for dead religion.)9 The only temple Jesus recognized was the temple of His own body.10 His first followers amplified this to include the Church11 wherein His People are the "living stones"12 and their mortar is the Life of Jesus binding them together. Jesus called His New People "ekklesia,”13 meaning "called-out ones.” They were the Church. In fulfilment of their out-calling, they met in transitory places—homes,14 borrowed places,15 public places,16 places of nature,17 "caves and dens of the earth.”18 The thought that this new name for His People (i.e., "Church") could ever become associated with permanent buildings was nothing short of abomination in the mind of Christ.
1 (Eph 2:20)
2 Acts 2:22-24,36 I Cor 1:23-24
3 Jn 15:16-27; 17:1-26
4 Gal 6:16
5 Dan 2:34-35,44-45
6 Heb9:11>11:10; 12:22 > Eph 2:20-22 I Pt 2:5
7 Mt 16:18
8 Mt 13:31-32
9 Mt 23:16-22
1O Jn2:19-22 (Ezk 11:16 Rev21:22)
11 Eph 2:20-22> Heb 3:6
12 I Pt 2:5
13 Mt 16:18 ([Gk] "ekklesia"="church")
14 Rom 16:15
15 Acts 19:9-10
16 Acts 5:20-21,25,42
17 Acts 16:13
18 Heb 11:38
[6. SUBVERSION OF THE NEW COVENANT PEOPLE ]
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