Friends, did you know the Bible gives us a clear blueprint of what Jewish-Christian relations should look like? It’s all there…we just need to know where to find it: Romans 9-11!
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, he spent the first 8 chapters telling us how to live as Christians. We learn that salvation is by grace through faith alone, and how to live it out. But after focusing on Jesus-followers, Paul turns his attention to the Jews, but addresses us all. Romans 9 focuses on the Jews election as God’s chosen people. Chapter 10 teaches that Jesus Christ is the end of the law for everyone, and Romans 11 gets down to the nitty-gritty in God’s design of Christian interaction with Jews. We’ll take it one chapter at a time.
Early in Romans 9 we are told:
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Paul wastes little time telling us (Christians) that much of what we hold dear belongs to the Israelites! Don’t worry though…stick with us to uncover a nugget of truth that will bring joy to any Christian’s heart!
So, indeed, to the Israelites belong great and wonderful things we have “made ours” in Christendom. Paul follows that thought by telling us exactly who the children of promise are…those descended from Isaac. Verse 11 specifically states that doing good or bad does not qualify (or disqualify) one from becoming the children of promise. Only the call of God does that.
That was bound to lead to the question: “So then, does God act unjustly?” Verses 14-18 clearly state, “By no means!” He is merciful (verse 16), but He does according to His will. Why? Because He has foreknowledge. He knows beforehand, the thoughts and intentions of man, and He plans accordingly. (If that is a difficult thing to grasp, please click here.) God does what it takes to draw all people (Jews and Gentiles) to Himself! He is the potter, making all things according to His plan! (Verses 19-26)
Then, Paul makes a very important statement regarding Gentiles in verses 24-26. Quoting from the book of Hosea (2:23 and 1:10), Paul tells us that God calls those who are not His people, “My people” and “sons of the Living God!” Wow! He calls the unloved and makes them beloved!
Yet, verse 30 says that we Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, but have attained it by faith. In contrast (verse 31), Israel pursued righteousness through the law, but did not succeed. (None of us could!) So, they (Jews) stumbled over a stumbling stone (the law) and missed the grace of Yeshua their Messiah, who freely gives, without pursuing the law!
It gets better and better as we move along in Romans 9-11, so I hope you’ll stick with us. We’re going to have incredible fellowship over the next few days as the Lord reveals how we (Christians) are to relate to our Jewish roots! Thanks for stopping by!