Posted by: Heather | April 8, 2010

To the Jew First

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Don’t you just love how the Bible is such a living book?  Although God and His Word never change, we can read a passage of scripture once and it means one thing to us.  Then, by some miracle, we come back later, read the same passage, and suddenly a new ‘nugget’ of wisdom shows up that we never saw before.  It’s one of the things I love the most about the Word of God.  We can never know all there is to know, because in our eyes, it’s constantly changing.

This is exactly what happened to me regarding this subject.  Maybe I’m the only one that will be excited about it, but what I’m about to share here was one of those things that just ‘jumped off the page’ at me, and made me even happier to know my God, and see His plan.

In the book of Acts (Chapter 2), we see that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jews in the Upper Room.  The same experience didn’t happen to the Gentiles until Acts Chapter 10, after Peter had the vision of the sheet full of unclean animals.  God was trying to show him that He had called the Gentiles, and that Peter was not to stand in the way and reject them.   In fact, Peter was the vessel who would be called to preach to the Gentiles and see them receive the same gift given to the Jews in the Upper Room.

It’s as though in churches, we teach the salvation of the Gentiles as an ‘afterthought’ to God…like the Jews rejected Him, so He decided to turn to the Gentiles on a whim, and ‘boy, are we lucky that happened’.  🙂  Certainly, the Jews are God’s chosen people.  They always have been.  And, yes, the Jews did reject Jesus, and God did allow Gentiles to be saved.

However, this is the thing that was new and interesting to me.  God did not turn to the Gentiles as ‘Plan B’, because ‘Plan A’ didn’t go like He thought.  God knows all things from the beginning of time.  He knew the Jews would reject Him.  He also knew provision had to be made for the Gentiles from the beginning.  The Old Testament holds the key.  Everything that came forth in the New Testament is contained in the Old.   We tend to ‘throw away’ the Old Testament, because it seems irrelevant to life for some reason.  But, without it, we lose the richest content of the Bible…the plan of God to bring Jesus to earth to save us all.

Even from the time God made covenant with Abraham, a provision was made for those that were not Jews:

Genesis 17:12-14  For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring.

13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised.  My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

14  Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.

God repeated this to Moses as He was giving the commands regarding the Passover in Exodus.  The Passover was the Jews’ freedom from the bondage of the Egyptians, which parallels our spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin.  Of course it was meant for the Jews, but God also made provision for any Gentiles that wanted to participate with the congregation of Israel.

Exodus 12:47-49  The whole community of Israel must celebrate it

48  An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land.  No uncircumcised male may eat of it.

49  The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.

When a stranger (foreigner, Gentile) wanted to live and be dealt with by God in the same manner as the Jews, they were required to have the males in their household circumcised.   Today, the circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh.  Those that are not ‘circumcised’ are cut off from God, and those that are get to live like, and have the same benefits as native-born Jews!  So, when they chose to come near, live with the Jews, and be circumcised, they were to God just like one that had been born a native Israelite.

In Romans 11, Paul goes into great detail about how the Jews are the original olive tree, and we as Gentiles are the wild olive branch.  We can’t boast that we’ve become part of the natural olive tree, because they support us, not the other way around.   However, we can also rest assured that we were not an afterthought to God…He knew all along that Gentiles needed salvation, and He knew the Jews would reject Him at that point in time.  So He in His mercy made provision for us from the beginning.

It’s much better than being a whim, isn’t it?  God bless you today!

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Responses

  1. You certainly have some good articles! God Bless! Tony

    • Thank you Tony! That’s very encouraging to me. 🙂 God bless you too!


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