[Nov 28]--So What About The Jews? Part Three: Not All Who Are Descended. . .

Rom. 9:6-13

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re going to be using Roman 9-11 as a quick overview of how we need to respond to the Jews. The book of Romans is my favorite in the entire Bible, by the way. It’s the most complete summary of theology and Christian living that you’ll find in God’s word. Paul outlined the plan of salvation for us in the first eight chapters. But then he needed to address a really thorny topic: What about the Jews? Has God abandoned them? Are they still special in any way? Do they need to be saved like Gentiles do? By the time Paul wrote this, it was becoming abundantly clear that the vast majority of Jewish people, and especially the leadership, had officially rejected Yeshua as their Messiah. So how do we wrap our brains around this?

First and foremost, we need to understand that God’s plan has not failed. Gentiles are not his “Plan B.” And really this rejection of God’s plan is not exactly new. What we need to get into our heads is that one’s place in God’s Kingdom is not determined by DNA. It’s not now, and it never has been. Paul cites two examples for us, and this is extremely relevant.

The first is that of the fulfillment of the Lord's promises through Isaac. Abraham had a firstborn son before Isaac, namely Ishmael. Remember him? Sarah decided that Almighty God needed some “help,” so she convinced her husband to sleep with the servant girl in order to produce an heir. They decided to do things their way instead of sticking to God’s way, and surprise surprise surprise, it didn’t turn out well. The point is that by blood Ishmael should've been the child of promise, but he wasn’t. Blood does not guarantee someone a place in God’s Kingdom.

Then Paul ups the ante even further. You had two brothers in the same womb. Not just the same mother and father, but sharing a womb together. Actually, “sharing” might not be the best term, because they started fighting in there. They were born, and the conflict just continued. One son was the child through whom the spiritual heritage would continue, and the other was not.

You can see this today in plenty of examples. Parents do their best: They pray, they provide the best example they can, they raise their children in church, they try to teach Scripture in the home, and they get vastly different results in different children. One child grows up to be a minister or a missionary, while the other one winds up in prison.

So how does this apply to our understanding of the Jews? There might be a special place in God’s plan for the Jewish people as a group. I actually believe that there is. But that doesn’t mean that an individual Jew is in a right relationship with God. Paul's point here is that even before Christ, during the time of Abraham and Isaac, genetics was no guarantee of a good relationship with the Lord.

Is there any way we can apply this? Why, yes there is, and you can apply it without even knowing a single Jew in your life. If you—or anyone you know—is depending on your physical heritage to get you into Heaven, that notion needs to be cast out like rotten eggs. As I learned in Sunday School, God has a lot of children but absolutely no grandchildren. No one is going to get into Heaven based on the fact that their family is Christian. You must have a personal relationship with God through Jesus in order for that to happen.

Have you? And if you have, had you made this clear to the people in your family?

Father God, I thank you so much that you’ve cleansed me, forgiven me, adopted me, and claimed me as your own. Please help me to demonstrate that.

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