Archive | September, 2012

A personal perspective in regards to Israel and Salvation

16 Sep

A personal perspective in regards to Israel and Salvation

I believe God is helping me understand salvation through understanding the place of Israel. By no means am I trying to belittle Israel, rather I am attempting to gain a correct view of salvation and the centrality of Christ in His gospel. I am in a season of gaining a clearer perspective on salvation and although never complete, currently he is revealing this to me whereby Israel is a major part of understanding. Please do not think I am in anyway undermining ethnic Israel, I am simply trying to gain clear perspective.

After reading please let me know your thoughts.

Issues of promise

Biblically I don’t believe Israel have a right to the land i.e through promise, as the promise of land to Abraham pointed to a bigger picture (see Heirs of Promise) than a physical location. This has been and is being fulfilled in Christ, namely the gospel redeeming nations and all of creation.
I do believe however they possibly have a right to the land historically and legally.

I believe the promise is not relevant to ethnicity but relationship with Christ. It is not to ethnic Israel, it is to true descendants of Abraham, Christ’s seed, that is believers in Christ of which are composed of Jew and Gentile.

We are not heirs of the promise with Israel.
But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him  who was born  according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say?
“CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON,
FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.” So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. (Galatians 4:29-31 NASB)

Israel were in bondage and under a curse as Galatians 3:10 describes. However Paul goes on to say that it was for freedoms sake that Christ set us free. Therefore only in Christ are we made free.

Ethnic Israel are special in the sense of their fathers, their history and the fact that salvation is from the Jews.
They are not special in the sense that they are God’s chosen people to spread the gospel to the nations or are a superior chosen race. This I believe is anti-Christ and opposes the gospel. The gospel brings down the dividing wall of Jew and gentile. Only those in Christ are Abraham’s descendants and only the church or another way of putting it, the Israel of God (Gal 6:16) are sent by Jesus to proclaim the gospel to creation (Mark 16:15).

So Jews who oppose Christ are on an equal playing field as Gentiles who oppose Christ. They are no more special in terms of salvation.

Jewishness I.e. ethnicity is not a requirement for salvation however the gospel does not mean a loss of tradition I.e. Jewish customs, Passover etc., in fact they point to Christ, Christ fulfils many Jewish traditions.
In the same way when I became a Christian I did not stop my English traditions such as drinking tea, frequenting the local pub. I do not lose my tradition or history after salvation. Neither do Jews or any other ethnicity, God is in all things.
That being said, a new identity is formed within, a Christ identity. The Jewish identity of circumcision is rendered powerless under the gospel of Christ. Similarly with the gentile, uncircumcision is rendered powerless. There is no longer circumcision or uncircumcision but one new man, one new identity.

I do believe however that many Jews will be saved as proclaimed in Romans 11. The issue is how not when. To speculate as to when this will happen I believe is foolish. To think about how , provokes us to the thought of blessing the work of God in history, his wonderful salvation that he ushered in through the choosing of the Jews and leads us to bless and provoke Jews to jealousy, not because they are more important but because God was gracious to work in them for our salvation. Therefore we as gentiles must not be arrogant towards Jews, for salvation is from the Jews.

This issue is important in centralising the work of the cross and Christ. We are in danger of being misguided and moving towards witchcraft if we make Israel or any other race a focus. Christ fulfils all promises. He has not created a church to replace Israel, however believers aren’t added to an ethnicity but a commonwealth which has many people from many races and backgrounds all under one new identity, namely Christ.

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy  be  upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14-16 NASB)

So are Israel God’s chosen people?

Under new covenant in the gospel age:
I don’t believe Israel are chosen therefore they bypass salvation through Christ alone.
I don’t believe they are chosen collectively to be heirs of promise through ethnicity.
I don’t believe they are chosen to be a light to the nations.
All of the above takes place only in and through Christ, Jew or gentile.

I do believe they are chosen in regards to their fathers I.e the covenants, promises, law, and Christ came through them.

Romans 11:28

28 [j]From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but [k]from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 9:3-5

For I could [a]wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is [b]the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed [c]forever. Amen.

Let me know your thoughts.

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