Welcome back fellow sojourners! We’re on a journey together to better understand why Israel matters, and how we (Christians) rightly relate to our Jewish roots. I’m gleaning from a new Bible study and today’s comments are a continuation from yesterday. I encourage you to read yesterday’s post: Israel: God’s Love Story for the World.
Yes, God has given us great and mighty promises, and the foundation of those promises is found in the Abrahamic Covenant! Let me make one thing clear, however: God has not given up on the Jewish people and is not, therefore, favoring Christians. That is a form of Replacement Theology, and is just downright false theology! (Hang around…we’re going to take a closer look at all that!) God’s promises to Israel (and there are many) are eternal and will be fulfilled. Thankfully, though, God has also blessed us, as Ephesians 1 illustrates, but those blessings do not nullify God’s blessings and promises to Israel.
You might be surprised to discover the pathway through which God has blessed us!
Harken back to the Ephesians 1:3-14 passage we studied yesterday, and let’s focus on two key points in that passage:
- Verses 5 and 11 indicate that God predestined us. There have been centuries of discussion by theologians much more brilliant than me regarding what that means. Though I don’t have the “magic wand” that makes that idea crystal clear, I do want to share something very interesting.
- Verse 9 references a mystery, which I believe is at least partially defined in verse 13 as the hearing of the word of truth and the gospel of our salvation.
Now, hold your place there, make a mental note of those two points and turn to Galatians 3:6-9. Read it slowly and carefully! Did you catch it? Follow closely…
- The apostle Paul (author of Galatians) announces that “…those of faith are the sons of Abraham!” Christians, that is you and me! Just as God promised many descendants to Abraham (Genesis 15:5, Genesis 22:17, Genesis 26:4), through Paul He made it known that we are among them! That does not make us Jews, but partakers of something. Read on…
- Now the “biggie”: God “…preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham…!”
Dear friends, let’s close that loop! Ephesians 1:9, 13 reveals a mystery. Namely, the word of truth (God’s Word) and the gospel of salvation were made known to us. Wow! But, how were they made known?
Back to the “predestination” thoughts Paul expressed in Ephesians 1:5 and 11. Think of “predestination” as God’s foreknowledge. He knew what He was going to do…He predestined (chose) us before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4), then He preached the gospel to Abraham. Part of God’s predestination plan was to provide a way of salvation through Abraham to Gentiles! After choosing us before the foundations of the world, God Himself preached the gospel to Abraham as part of the means to fulfill that predestination plan!
The Jews are God’s chosen people, but God definitely had a plan for us (Gentiles) as well…and He chose to preach the gospel to Abraham, then call us Abraham’s offspring! What a gloriously gracious God!
The final portion of Galatians 3:8 puts the cherry on top: “In you [Abraham] shall all the nations be blessed.” That is quoted directly from Genesis 12:3 (among other places) where God promises to bless all the families of the earth through the Abrahamic Covenant! What is that blessing? The Word of God and the gospel of salvation!
Oh, dear friends, we need to understand Israel’s place in God’s plan…and our debt of gratitude for the gift of salvation, given through Abraham!
Thanks for stopping by today, and check back again. There is much more to our journey together! Shabbat shalom!