Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wonderful Jesus

Two issues Paul dealt with:

1. Did Gentile believers in Jesus need to become Observant of the Law - that is, become Jews - in order to be fully accepted as the people of God?

And Paul's answer was: No - since they were justified, sanctified and perfected forever, by one offering - by grace, through faith - the Gentiles were therefore complete in Jesus and didn't need to become Jews. They were free to live-out their salvation in a new and living way.

2. If salvation is indeed offered on that basis, wouldn't that imply that God had somehow been unrighteous and unfaithful towards Israel, seeing many in Israel were missing out, because they still sought it by the Law?

And Paul's answer again was: No - it confirmed God's faithfulness! God had always planned and promised - before Israel was even born, before the Law was ever given - to offer salvation to all nations, on the basis of grace through faith. So it was God's sovereign prerogative to later choose the nation of Israel to be the custodians of that promise, and then to offer salvation on the basis He'd always planned, when the time came. God was in fact still reaching out to more Jews, through Gentile believers!

Paul wasn't directly dealing with the issue which Calvinists argued against Arminians over, centuries later.

Neither was he setting grace off against the importance of holy living. Of course Gentile believers in Jesus were to live holy, upright lives - they just didn't need to become Jews, that's all!

Paul mightn't even have been forecasting a major change of plans in favour of Israel in future - he was mainly explaining and defending his view that the salvation long-promised to Israel had indeed come, through Jesus Christ, in the scheme that was already working in the first century AD.

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