Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Part 4: Israel, Gentiles, the covenants, and the gospel

In Galatians 3 Paul gives a concise overview on how the Jews, Gentiles, and covenants interact in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The final paragraph of Galatians 3 reveals a wealth of information and clarification on the gospel.    

(Galatians 3:23-29 ESV)
 [23] Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. [24] So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. [25] But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, [26] for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. [27] For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.     
Part 4:  Verse 27-28 – Only one people of God.
The sons or people of God are all people that have been baptized into Christ Jesus through saving faith.  There are not different categories in the people of God.  In verse 28 Paul lists the physical differences that do not matter.  There is only one category of New Covenant member and that is all who are in Christ Jesus.  There was never a spiritual covenant relationship for each and every physical child of Abraham as God said the following about Abraham’s own grandson: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” [Rom. 9:13]  There is also no spiritual or physical covenant relationship for all of the children of believers.  There are many children of believers who are non-elect and will never become a new covenant member and there are many children of unbelievers who will become a new covenant member.  The promise is for all near and far who come to saving faith in Christ Jesus and not just for physical descendents whether they are Jews or children of believers [Acts 2:39].  As Paul states in Rom. 9:8, “it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God.” 

While God made the Mosaic Covenant with all of the physical nation of Israel that was delivered out of Egypt whether they became believers or not, the New Covenant is made with only those who are in Christ through faith.  That is why Paul says all of the physical distinctions no longer matter and both Jew and Gentile alike have one and the same path to eternal salvation.  Today, the physical nation of Israel as a nation is not in either a physical or spiritual covenant relationship with God.  Individual Jews who are in Christ Jesus through faith are in a spiritual covenant in the same manner as Gentile believers.  There is neither Jew nor Greek according to Paul. 
There is much confusion about the current nation of Israel in America that could be cleared up if we would just let Paul and the New Testament clarify the Old Testament and distinguish the difference between physical Israel and spiritual Israel [Rom. 2:28-29].      

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