Tag Archive: New Covenant


Jewish Salvation

Photo: Alex Bruda

Photo: Alex Bruda

Continued Conjecture and Confusion over the Jews

Conjecture over the timing and process of Jewish salvation has brought about much confusion and sadly false teaching in the church. This has happened to the point that, if some of us really knew what Paul was saying, he would probably be considered by them to be “anti-Semitic”.

In chapters 9-11 of his letter to the Romans, Paul addressed certain questions and speculation over the future of the Jewish people and their salvation in the light of what appeared to be a huge disconnect between Jews in general and their Messiah. He addressed questions like, why were Jews not embracing the gospel? And, had God rejected them?

Unfortunately, Paul’s attempts to do this have sadly also been misconstrued by those who wildly speculate over the process of Jewish salvation or who have been taught the theologies of such speculators. Perhaps Peter’s words are true of some of these people too, where he wrote, “Paul … wrote … some things … that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist … as they do the other Scriptures” (2Peter 3:15-16).

Separate Plan for Israel after the Gentiles is False

A twisting of Paul’s writing on this issue of the future of the Jews in God’s plans is the common misinterpretation that AFTER the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” THEN Israel will experience salvation. People read this idea into Romans 11:25-27 when it isn’t there, especially if they have been taught this idea. Yet, a simple reading of the passage will show this to be untrue.

Read it for yourself:-

A PARTIAL HARDENING has come upon Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”

Note:

A PARTIAL HARDENING” speaks of the NATURE of Israel.

UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” speaks of the duration of this partial hardening.

“And IN THIS WAY all Israel will be saved speaks of the MANNER of the salvation of “all Israel” and NOT THE TIMING of it.

“as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” speaks of salvation through the promised deliverer and the promised new covenant, i.e. through the gospel of Jesus and the new covenant.

Nothing here speaks of Gentiles coming in “BEFORE Israel will be saved”.  This idea gets accidently read into the passage by readers who expect the passage to be saying this, when it doesn’t.

Explaining the Passage

At this point in this passage, Paul, whose heart is to “somehow…save SOME of them (fellow Israelites),” is addressing the Gentiles in order to give them a sober and accurate understanding of what is happening to the Jews.

He is saying, something like, “Gentiles …In case you get the wrong idea of what is happening through your own evaluation of what you see, let me explain a mystery. A PARTIAL (not complete) hardening has come upon Israel as a people. And, this will be the case UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And, in this way, despite their condition of partial hardening, all Israel will be saved, as it is written, through a Savior who will remove their ungodliness with God’s new covenant!”

Drips and Drabs and Spurts

Essentially, as far as the Jews are concerned, while the Gentiles are coming in, and until the end of that time, they too will be coming in, however, because of a partial hardening, it will be in drips and drabs with occasional spurts.

At the time of Paul’s writing it was more like drips and drabs, while the Gentiles were coming into the kingdom in spurts. This was something that drew attention and caused possible speculation and pride among the Gentiles in the church in Rome, which Paul addressed here.

He addresses any idea that the Jews are LARGELY or COMPLETELY hardened as a people and as a result ABANDONED, by explaining that a PARTIAL hardening has come upon them, hence their lack of receiving of the gospel en masse.

So, just as the fullness of the Gentiles come in with drips and drabs and with occasional spurts, so too, will the fullness of the Jews. And, together they comprise Messiah’s “all Israel,” a Holy Nation and a Kingdom of priests.

A Duty to Tell the Jews about Jesus

Like Paul, we have a gospel to preach to a hard world, including to the Jews who have experienced ONLY a PARTIAL hardening.  And, although, at times, it may appear that the Jews are abandoned by God, this is not the case. They, too, must have their ungodliness banished through the Savior with His new covenant. Quite frankly, reaching Jews with the gospel is not harder than reaching atheists in the West or Japanese in Japan.

The time for Jewish salvation, like for everyone else, is NOW. And, it’s through their Messiah, Jesus, with God’s New Covenant.

Just as a missionary in Japan doesn’t stop sharing the gospel at the rejection of it by countless Japanese, we shouldn’t let the rejection of the gospel by many Jews keep us from sharing it with them.

Rob Morley

Photo by Alex Bruda

Having Everything

Go here for part 1.

Despite revivals and the like, the church, without the Spirit and the word, has a propensity to fall away from the simplicity of faith in Jesus. Whether through mixing things like cultural values or tradition with God’s word or simply through bad interpretation, we have inadvertently complicated what should be easy to attain. Whatever our reasons, extras like special places, buildings, special days, titles, clothing, status, gender roles and in cases even issues of preeminent race have been added back at different times. Despite the presumable good intentions, these add-ons serve only to weaken faith, because Jesus alone is the source of our faith and the accompanied life of faith.

Many churches, whether new or traditional, have these unnecessary and distracting add-ons. It seems inevitable that man will concoct something extra to try and make the unseen faith in Christ more tangible. He wants to support his faith with things, but unfortunately he may be substituting his faith with them. Now, some stuff may be harmless, but when it is “forced” onto people, alarm bells should ring in your head. Even courses, programs and meetings can be unnecessary.

Some have gravitated to equating the shadows of the Old Testament with the New Covenant in Christ. The earthly Jerusalem is revered, garments are worn, horns are blown, certain jargon is used, particular days are esteemed, and special feasts are kept. These have an appearance of being helpful and give the participants both a sense and an appearance of maturity. Yet, all the while they’re nothing more than shadows keeping them from Jesus. They are diversions from the source, and keep one in a state of infancy.

Although generally neutral in and of themselves, it’s the meaning and the weight that we so easily attach to them that causes problems. The necessity of any add-on is determined by asking whether it will really help you in your walk with God. Ask yourself if it is Biblically founded. Often, they simply create a religious atmosphere giving you the illusion of a richer relationship with Him. For example, walking into a church building can give one a sense of awe and reverence that is Biblically unfounded. Now, I don’t advocate getting rid of buildings, but rather correcting our view of them. They are no more or less religious than a school building. So, while in some cases things should be removed if they have no real usefulness, in others the status that they carry needs to be reconsidered.

Now, I certainly don’t wish to destabilize the faith of those who practice with any add-ons. Rather, each person should determine for themselves what is irrelevant and what is useful to their faith. However, I would like to warn that we avoid imposing things on others while being watchful that they aren’t imposed on us. Also, if you feel someone is trapped by add-ons, pray, and should the Lord wish to use you, teach them correctly and wean them from non-Biblical thinking that is robbing them from maturing in Christ.

While giving room for a wide range of expression, let’s avoid the pitfalls of add-ons. Let’s do all that we can to make it clear that God Himself has been made completely accessible through the blood of Jesus, and that by God’s Spirit, Jesus alone wishes to be our source of light and life.

Rob Morley

 

Who is in Control?

Letting go, letting God

All success and failure in life is related to who is in control. We are blessed in the New Covenant to be able to enjoy God’s very presence in our lives and a Spirit-led lifestyle. The Word says, “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Php. 2:13) and also, “…your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’…” (Isaiah 30:21).

His Word also says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25) and “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). So, while God is continually at work in us, clearly our free will remains intact and we still get to make the choices in our lives. However, you’ll notice that God doesn’t firstly call us to choose right from wrong, but rather to walk in His Presence. Doing what’s right is not our goal, but it is the result of walking in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit comes from a rested lifestyle that God gives us when our lives are turned toward Him. It’s a quiet confidence in our loving God that His Spirit permeates in us. In the Spirit we have access to Jesus’ faith, His strength, His leading, His wisdom, His presence and His perfect will amongst many other things. We know this because God’s word says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).

Yet, we are easily and often outside of God’s best. In particular areas of our lives we might be prone to either walk in the Spirit or not, despite God being at work in us. Yet, it’s this choice that determines the source of our subsequent choices and their outcomes. We are easily drawn away by our own flesh and the world’s temptations. Like Demas was, “in love with this present world”, I and perhaps even you and many others are examples of this. John speaks of “the sin that so easily entangles us.” Circumstances, distractions, fears or whatever can come our way and we are faced with whether to take control, or call on Jesus and be led and strengthened by the Spirit.

Jesus, our perfect example, said, “I only do what My Father does and I only speak the words that My Father is speaking.” He lived in perfect connectivity to God and has restored this possibility for us. Notice, however, that He always had His own will. Yet, unlike us, He always subjected it to the will of His Father, because He always drew on the Spirit to continually do so. Apart from God’s Spirit, Jesus could have done nothing of what we read about in the Gospels. Equally, Jesus says to his disciples, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Also, consider these conditional promises to us:

  • “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Notice the two conditions.
  • “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Pro. 3:6).
  • “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph 5:18). A lifestyle choice.
  • “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jas 4:8). Everybody else, but me!?
  • Jesus, talking to a church, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rev 2:5).
  • Whatever the works are that Jesus mentioned in the verse above, no doubt they exist in the light of John 6:28-29. “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’”

Jesus judges His church by their works, because the fruit in our lives, both in attitude and activity, show the extent to which we are relying on Him. Now, what do I do when I find that I’m outside of God’s best? I rest in His finished work at the cross and repent of having taken over control. I repent of not living in and from His presence and from doing my own thing. I give control back to Him and begin to rely on His still small voice again and His grace (God’s enabling power) at work in me. Correcting wrong behavior is firstly about choosing the right source.

The Christian life is about Jesus living His life in and through us. To the church and specifically to the individuals in it He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).

Rob Morley

%d bloggers like this: