“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7 (NIV)
“For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham.” Romans 9:6
Israel – Children of Jacob
The Messianic move among many Gentile believers today would give the impression that Jews are somehow a special race of people that will get automatic entry into God’s everlasting Kingdom. This only serves to highlight, again, how completely ignorant we are of God’s word, totally misunderstanding what scripture means when it refers to the Jews as ‘God’s people’. Understand that the fact that they were God’s chosen people does not mean they are saved.
Under the Old Covenant God chose Israel as His people, His nation upon the earth through whom He would demonstrate His love and power and most importantly through whom salvation (Jesus) would come. Jesus the Son of God would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 Jesus who is Salvation was Jewish.
It is the, “…Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” Romans 9:4-5 All the blessings enjoyed by Gentile believers today were first given to or came through natural Israel. We enjoy the benefits of the “common wealth of Israel”. They were the ‘natural’ branches we are grafted in.
They are God’s people according to the flesh but not necessarily according to the Spirit. They gave Jesus a nationality but this doesn’t make them saved.
Israel – Believers in Jesus
Jesus and salvation are inseparable both under the Old and the New Covenants. A person can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ no matter what point on the time continuum you lived, Old or New Testament. If you lived before Christ’s birth, to be saved, you would have to put your faith in the coming Messiah as proclaimed by the prophets. It made no difference whether you were Jew or Gentile and the same pertains to New Covenant believers. Both Jew and Gentile must believe in Jesus as Jesus Himself and His apostles preached.
The ‘born again’ experience that is so often spoken of today was an explanation given to a Jewish leader by Jesus. Jesus in John 3:3 told a Pharisees named Nicodemus that he needed to be born again to see or enter the Kingdom. Why then are people today turning the Jewish people away from salvation by telling them they are already saved because they are natural descendants of Abraham? Nonsense!
How many times must scripture tell us that, as pertaining to salvation, God does not discriminate based on a person’s nationality, sex or social status etc.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28
Addressing the Jews who thought they had a favoured position with God and would be judged differently Paul said, “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism.” Romans 2:9-11
Romans 9:6. Even those who are natural Israelites (the Jews) must be ‘born again’ to become part of spiritual Israel. There are also two streams of people descending from Abraham. There are those who are his natural descendants but most importantly those who are his children because they believe in Jesus. Read Galatians 3.
It is not those who are natural descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob that are the children of God but those who came through Jesus the promised son through whom God told Abraham He would make him the father of many nations. It is very important that you understand this, ‘Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.’ Galatians 3:16 Note here that the Seed in God’s promise to Abraham was Jesus not Isaac.
Biblical Terms used to define God’s people:
- Body of Christ
- Israel of God (Gal 6:16)
- Heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22 & Gal 4:26)
- Household of Faith, family of God, family of believers etc. (Galatians 6:10 & Eph 3:14-15)
Article written by: H. Slack