Tag: Jew and Gentile
Scripture reading for June 16th: Romans 2
The charge that God is unjust and has ‘favorites’ has been around for years. Different groups and churches have used this idea to proclaim that they are God’s ‘favorites’ and the only way into God’s favor is to become a part of their group. The Jews of Paul’s day had this idea and Paul addressed it in his letter to the Romans.
The Jews felt that they were God’s ‘favorites’ because of their history. God had chosen Abraham and built a nation of people around this man’s response of faith to obey and follow God. God had redeemed this people from Egyptian bondage and given them His holy Law. The Jews condemned the Gentiles because they broke God’s laws and passed judgment. Paul warned the Jews to be concerned about their own performance and be quick to repent!
“Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same thins, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:2-4)
God knows the truth about each person and He will judge justly. “For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11) We as men do not know the truth about others and are often blind to our own faults and sins. God has offered mercy to all men, Jew or Gentile through Jesus Christ. His kindness should lead us to repent–change our minds–about our own sinfulness and allow God to change us. God will judge men’s secrets on the day He chooses through His Son Jesus Christ! (Romans 2:16)
Scripture reading for June 15th: Romans 1
Paul wrote a letter to the church at Rome from Corinth during his third missionary journey to help them understand the Gospel and to clear up some issues between Jewish believers and Gentile believers. He longed to visit them but had not yet done so.
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God–the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Him and for His Name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”
Paul introduced himself to the church as a ‘servant of Christ Jesus’. God had called him and set him apart to preach the Gospel–the good news of Christ Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was a descendant of David–the Jewish king as foretold in the Scriptures through the prophets. However, Jesus was declared with power from God to be His Son by resurrection from the dead as Christ the Lord! Through God’s grace in Christ, Paul became an apostle and preacher to the Gentiles, as well as the Jews!
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew and then for the Gentile! For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16-17)
Scripture reading for December 3rd: Colossians 1-4
Jesus Christ is the most important person in the entire universe! He is the firstborn Son of God and is over all creation! (Colossians 1:15) He is the head of all authority in heaven and on earth! He created all things and holds it all together! He existed before everything that was made and is clearly supreme in every way!
Jesus Christ is the head of the church, His body on earth and in heaven. He birthed the church by dying sacrificially on the cross in order to redeem all mankind who would believe on Him. He was also the firstborn from the dead by resurrection! (Colossians 1:19-20) He reconciled us to God the Father, making peace through His own blood shed on the cross! He now lives in us by the Holy Spirit who marks us as belonging to the Father. This truth was a mystery hidden in God before Christ was revealed. Now this mystery has been revealed through the Gospel and is available to Jews and Gentiles alike!
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness–the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 2:26-27)
The greatest riches in the universe is Christ Jesus! Having Christ in us brings joy, peace with God, and an unbelievable inheritance! Paul calls this inheritance the “hope of glory”! Hope is a firm expectation of coming good! It is not some vaporous thought that maybe something will happen. Hope doesn’t disappoint us because we know this glory is coming! When we see Him, we shall be like Him in glory! (1st John 3:2-3) This hope causes us to purify our lives and live a righteous life of obedient faith.
Christmas is coming! The best gift anyone could ever receive is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”! Why not pray about sharing Christ with those you love who do not know Him? Pray like Paul in Colossians 4:3-6 that you may have an open door, proclaim the message clearly, and be wise!
Scripture reading for July 27th: Romans 10:13-11:12
God’s plan for reaching His people, the Jews, was the same as reaching the Gentiles. “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14) Both Jew and Gentile must believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and One who took their penalty for broken law. They must call on Jesus in faith and they will be saved.
It is a very simple Gospel message that must be heard by those who need it. The way God chose to send this message was through those who did believe. These would preach this message to the Jews and Gentiles who did not know about it. “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (1st Corinthians 1:21)
But hearing the message alone was not enough for salvation. Many Jews heard the message but did not accept it. Faith comes by hearing the message, but believing is a choice, not something forced upon people. God sent His messengers throughout the world to preach the message. Jews heard it, but they were stubborn and obstinate and refused to believe and act on it. (Romans 10:16-21) God opened the hearts of the Gentiles and many of them received.
Next, Paul addressed the concern that because of their stubbornness, God had rejected His people. Paul stated that God had not and that a remnant was saved by grace through receiving the message of Christ. Those that closed their hearts were made blind and dull. They could always repent and turn back. God’s plan was to save the Gentiles and through their blessing, provoke the Israelites to jealousy and a return to faith through Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:11-12)
The Church should always pray for the Jews and be ready to share Christ with them. God has not rejected Israel. They have a blindness that can be cured by faith in their Messiah, Jesus Christ. We have received the riches of God’s grace because of their stubbornness, but not to boast! May God bring peace to Jerusalem! (Psalm 122:6-9)
Scripture reading for July 14th: Romans 2:1-23
So all men are without excuse. All have been given a basic knowledge of God’s power and nature through the creation we live in. When we look at others and judge them, we must realize that we are no different ourselves. We have not responded to truth as we should either. It is only the kindness and goodness of God that has led us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 2:4)
In this section, Paul is making a case that God shows no partiality. Jew and Gentile alike must come to Him by faith for their righteousness. No one can work their way into God’s grace! God has given the Jew His law, and they will be judged by their failure to keep that law. God wrote the law on the hearts of the Gentiles and their consciences help them to know right and wrong behavior and attitudes. (Romans 2:12-15) Indeed, God will judge all men and their secrets through His Son Jesus Christ on a day He has chosen! (Romans 2:16) (Acts 17:31)
For those who would not repent, their own stubbornness and unrepentant hearts were storing up wrath for them on the day of God’s wrath. (Romans 2:6) God will judge evil deeds and those who reject the truth. Jews will be judged as well as Gentiles. Jews, in fact, were more responsible because of God’s law. They should have know clearly what God required in the way of actions. They knew the commandments. Yet, knowing and obeying are different! It is easy to judge others and still be disobedient yourself. Paul encouraged the Jew to learn first their own need of grace and repentance to avoid the wrath of God! (Romans 2:21-23)
As we look at this passage, we should examine our own hearts. Do we judge others while remaining in sin ourselves? Today is a good day to repent and ask God for mercy! Do we claim to be righteous because we are Christians, yet live in a state of breaking God’s laws? These laws are now written on our hearts and we have the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and godly sorrow enabling repentance! God will not and does not show favorites! There is a day of judgment when all secrets will come to light!
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 1-6
To educated people, Christ and the cross seems to be a foolish idea. It doesn’t make sense to the natural mind trained to trust senses, self, and science. It is not logical or even believable to many who have college degrees and have embraced modern secular humanism. To these people, religion is fine, but the cross is offensive! They are strong enough to handle life by themselves and want to live it up while they can. But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong! (1st Corinthians 1:27)
The message of the cross is a message of God’s wrath against sin. God has decreed that the soul that sins must die. (Romans 6:23) Jesus Christ took the wages of man’s sin upon Himself and was beaten, mocked, spit upon, ridiculed, and crucified as a common criminal. Isaiah says that we considered Him “stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) The punishment that we deserved fell upon Him and by His stripes we are healed! (Isaiah 53:5) God’s wrath was directed against His own Son, that we might be free from that wrath! (2nd Corinthians 5:21)
The message of the cross tells of God’s love for us who are made in His image. God Himself being willing to send His only Son to earth just to die in our place tells the greatest love story ever told! “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) He demonstrated His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners! (Romans 5:8) God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish, but have eternal life! (John 3:16)
The message of the cross demands repentance and faith. We must turn from our self-centered ways and look to Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sin. This message is the power of God for salvation to those who will believe! (Romans 1:16-17) “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1st Corinthians 1:30)
We must be humble to receive this message of the cross. It is foolishness to those who claim worldly wisdom. It is weakness to those who think themselves strong. It is an offense to our intellect and strength, but it is God’s wisdom for the humble! Oh how I love the cross and the One who gave His life for me! May this message of God’s wrath against sin and God’s amazing love flow from us who believe each and every day!