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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

IS GOD THE GOD OF THE JEWS ONLY?

 

Today's Reading:

Romans 3: 21-31

“Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes of the Gentiles also” (v. 29)

 


Who are the Jews? The Jews, who are also known as the Hebrews or Israelites are the direct descendants of Jacob the son of Isaac, whose name God changed to Israel after he wrestled with the angel sent to me from God. The grandfather of Israel was Abraham, whom God promised to make a great nation. As a result of his obedience to him. God subsequently made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, because he believed in him, and He accounted it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6-18). Later on in life, when Abraham passed the test God gave him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, then God swore by himself to Abraham that He would bless him, and multiply his descendants as the stars of the heaven (Gen 22:16-17), and that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed (v. 18). The Jews are the descendants of the twelve tribes of Jacob/Israel, grandchildren of Isaac.


Who are the Gentiles?

Biblically, a Gentile is anyone who is not of Jewish descent. It also describes broadly, anyone who does not believe in God, essentially a pagan or worshipper of idols or a heathen. Given the description above and the circumstances of the Jews, there is the tendency to assume that God belongs to the Jews only, as covenant children. It is important and pertinent to note that God chose the Jews. The logical question is why, given the large population, nationalities and races of mankind? One of the reasons is found in the display of God’s character as a faithful and promise-keeping God. The Israelites are God’s chosen people because they represent his faithfulness to Abraham and evidence that He keeps his promises and words in general (Gen 12:2-3, 13:14-15, 15:18).


Another reason for the choice was that God wanted the Israelites to be the people through whom the Saviour of mankind would come into the world, to accomplish his task of salvation to mankind (John 3:16). Moses in Deut. 7:6 delivered the message of God to the Israelites – “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth”. Essentially, the Israelites were selected by God to show forth his character and redemptive purpose for mankind, after Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden (Gen.3). Throughout the Bible, the Israelites are referred to as God’s chosen people. Writers such as the Psalmists (Ps 105:6, 43) and others noted it. Having established that God is the God of the Jews/Israelites, the question is, “Is He only for the Jews?” What about the Gentiles/other people of the world whom He also created in his image and likeness?


Today’s reading answers this question in the affirmative. In verse 29, it is recorded as – “Yes, of the Gentiles also. This answer portrays the divine character of God as a just and impartial God, who is no respecter of persons. It is also important to note Rom 11:33 – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgment and his ways past finding out”. Ps 115:3 says our God is in heaven, He does whatever He pleases. We cannot question his choice! To show God’s impartiality, whenever the Israelites sinned, they were duly punished like other people on earth, and even sometimes more severely. Rom 2: 2 says that the judgment of God is according to truth. Also, Rom 2:2 says there is tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek. So what God says in his word to Jews, He also says to Gentiles (Rom 3:1-30). It is interesting to know that God has made provision for the salvation of the Gentiles also. Rom 1:16 says that the Gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first for the Jews and also for the Greeks. Also, John 3:15-16 says that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. There are several Old Testament prophecies relating to the acceptance and salvation of the Gentiles (Is 60:3; 9:2; 42:1). In the New Testament, we observe that Jesus came to offer salvation to all people, Jews and Gentiles. He interacted with the Gentiles during his earthly ministry (Mk 7:26)). He even scolded the Jews for the Gentiles, because they would not believe in him, who was their kinsman, whereas the Gentiles believed more, as evident in the Book of Acts.


Apostle Paul was greatly disturbed about the unbeliever of his fellow Jews (Rom 10:1-5). He confirms in Rom 11:15 that he was an apostle to the Gentiles and in V.14 wished he could provoke to jealousy those who were his flesh, and save some of them. He spoke of the mystery of the Gentiles being grafted onto the Jews as branches concerning the Gospel, saying that blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom 11:13-25). God is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles, that is, of all mankind also. Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 speaking to believers, confirmed that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special people, that we may proclaim the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

CHRISTIE KUPOLUYI


 

To surrender your life to Christ, say this prayer aloud: Father, thank you for Jesus Christ. Forgive my sins, take control of my heart and lead me in your righteous path by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord. Congratulations! Prayerfully look for a living church and report to the resident pastor or priest.


Prayer:

  1. Father in heaven, we confess that mankind cannot understand or comprehend your divine wisdom and mystery of your creation and choices.

  2. Father, we thank you for the plan of redemption, such that in our time, we are beneficiaries of salvation brought by Jesus Christ.

  3. Precious Saviour, thank you for making us believers, so we can be part of your chosen generation.

  4. Lord Jesus, please help us to take the Gospel seriously enough to spread it to every nook and crane, so that all men would be reached and won into the kingdom.

  5. Father, please wake up the church to harvest the lost souls before the trumpet sounds.

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