My present view which only grows stronger is that the Church today is in possession of a schism of the heart. Were it only a brokenness of heart, as we cry out to our Father in Sunday services and offer to Him in devotional times, then there might evidently be a grace which would flow though our brokenness with the Divine presence. But as it stands it is a schism which has been labelled as a ‘holy’ and ‘contrite’ brokenness.
What am I talking about? It presents itself in lives which are confounded: broken homes, broken marriages, broken bank accounts, broken bodies and (most tragic of all) broken churches. Were it a brokenness of heart of which the Psalmist spoke, which is a yieldedness of being to Divine will, then what Paul spoke of himself would also be true of us today.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
The truth is that most of the weakness and brokenness that the Church is enduring today is weak and only weak; broken and only broken. The Divine presence is not active in divorce, bankruptcy or cancer any more than it is in hell itself. We cry, ‘All things work together for good!’ and tuck ourselves into our cosy religious beds without any requirement for an earnest searching of our hearts for necessary change.
I would like to suggest to you that the cause of all the brokenness in the Church today goes to a schism at our roots. This issue has been touched upon by much of the teaching about our identity as sons and daughters of God in Christ. The miracle of salvation is supposed to uproot us and replant us.
[The Father] has DELIVERED and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has TRANSFERRED us into the KINGDOM of the Son of His love, (Colossians 1:13 AMP, emphasis added)
The essence of our redemption is found in an understanding of the kingdom into which we have been translated. In this kingdom, we have rights and privileges that include freedom from all of those dynamics of brokenness that were described above. It includes sonship. We are no longer orphans in this new kingdom. But we have neglected a full understanding of this kingdom, which was defined throughout the Old Testament in God’s first covenant people, Israel.
Paul again describes the process of salvation in Romans.
…you were CUT OUT of the olive tree which is WILD by nature, and were GRAFTED contrary to nature into a CULTIVATED olive tree… (Romans 11:24 NKJV, emphasis added)
God spent over 1,500 years cultivating Israel, the olive tree referred to here, in His ways and His character. He gave them the privilege of His presence, the privilege of sonship, the privileges of health and provision; all included under the blessing of a covenant of union with Himself. A summary of the blessing God gave to Israel is found in Deuteronomy 28. These privileges, in spite of Israel’s frequent rebellion, were guaranteed in the blood of Jesus to all who will accept Him (Galatians 3:13-14).
Yet most Christians, if they do not reject outright their covenant association with Israel in Jesus, are at least made very uncomfortable by it and try to minimise the significance of this association. Truth be told, this is philosophical insanity. You have been implanted into a new identity in which are held all your life and benefits, you even accept and affirm that your life is found in this new identity, and yet you reject this core identity!?
Every Christian, whether they like it or not has, in Jesus, become part of the ‘commonwealth of Israel’ (Ephesians 2). This can be defined as the wealth held common as a gift from God to the nation of Israel. I don’t for one minute suggest that gentile believers should pretend to be Jewish, but we need to embrace a unity of spiritual destiny and inheritance which we now possess with the nation of Israel. Paul adjures all believers specifically in the book of Ephesians to remember this truth.
Therefore REMEMBER that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being ALIENS from the COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL and strangers from the COVENANTS OF PROMISE, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been BROUGHT NEAR by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13 NKJV, emphasis added)
In Jesus we have a new home, a new nation, a new family and a new inheritance. This truth has often been expressed in preaching and teaching, but rarely has the further step been made to specify that this new home, nation, family and inheritance is Israel.
Whatever be the cause of our reluctance to embrace our association with ancient Israel, God’s plan is moving ahead and they are once more in the land to which God promised through His prophets that they would return. We are nearing the time when, as Paul said, the natural branches will be ‘grafted into their own olive tree’ (Romans 11). They will look on Him Whom they pierced and mourn for Him, as it says in the prophet, Hosea. It will be ‘life from the dead’ and ‘riches for the world’ as it says in Romans 11.
I can’t help but think that much of the Church’s reluctance to accept her identity is simply to do with latent generational antisemitism. Surely the popularity of ‘Israel-bashing’ in the modern media also has much to do with it. But we have to overcome this problem in prayer if we mean to enter into our identity as God’s bride in the fullest expression, as it says in Ephesians 5, ‘not having spot or wrinkle’. I am convinced that our ‘schism of the heart’; our corporate ‘identity crisis’; will be used as a channel for hell’s legions until the breach is healed.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near. For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has MADE US BOTH [Jew and Gentile] ONE [body], and has BROKEN DOWN (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us, by ABOLISHING in His [own crucified] flesh the ENMITY [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He FROM THE TWO MIGHT CREATE ONE NEW MAN [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace. (Ephesians 2:13-15 AMP, emphasis added)
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (Mark 3:24-25 NKJV)
It’s time to get our house in order and get our kingdom in order, or we will not be able to stand. I would invite you to read the following extract from the Victorian novel Daniel Deronda, in which Deronda (a Jew who is unaware of his identity as a Jew) interacts with Mordechai who is inviting him to share in the plight and destiny of the Jewish people. The Church must find herself in these words and others like them. It is not enough that we feel compassion for the Jews, or even help the Jews; we must find our identity in union with the Jewish people and the Jewish Man, Jesus, Who has purchased our souls.
“I feel with you—I feel strongly with you,” said Deronda…”That is not enough,” said Mordecai, quickly, looking up again with the flash of recovered memory and confidence. “That is not all my trust in you. You must be not only a hand to me, but a soul—believing my belief—being moved by my reasons—hoping my hope-seeing the vision I point to—beholding a glory where I behold it!”—Mordecai had taken a step nearer as he spoke, and now laid his hand on Deronda’s arm with a tight grasp; his face little more than a foot off had something like a pale flame in it—an intensity of reliance that acted as a peremptory claim, while he went on—”You will be my life: it will be planted afresh; it will grow. You shall take the inheritance; it has been gathering for ages. The generations are crowding on my narrow life as a bridge: what has been and what is to be are meeting there; and the bridge is breaking. But I have found you. You have come in time, You will take the inheritance which the base son refuses because of the tombs which the plow and harrow may not pass over or the gold-seeker disturb: you will take the sacred inheritance of the Jew.” (George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, Chapter 40)