Monday, November 2, 2009

Jews and Gentiles -- Children of Almighty GOD

The longing of my heart and my prayer to GOD is that the Jewish people might be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for GOD, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don't understand GOD's way of making people right with Himself. Instead, they are clinging to their own way of getting right with GOD by trying to keep the Law. They won't go along with GOD's way. For CHRIST has accomplished the whole purpose of the Law. All who believe in Him are made right with GOD.

For Moses wrote that the Law's way of making a person right with GOD requires obedience to all of its commands. But the way of getting right with GOD through faith says,
"You don't need to go to heaven" (to find CHRIST and bring Him down to help you). And it says, "You don't need to go to the place of the dead" (to bring CHRIST back to life again). Salvation that comes from trusting CHRIST--which is the message we preach--is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, "The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart."

For if you confess with your mouth that JESUS is Lord and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with GOD, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed." Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives His riches to all who ask for them. For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?" Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news--the Good News about CHRIST.

But what about the Jews? Have they actually heard the message? Yes, they have: "The message of GOD's creation has gone out to everyone, and its words to all the world."

But did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, GOD had said,
"I will rouse your jealousy by blessing other nations. I will make you angry by blessing the foolish Gentiles."

And later Isaiah spoke boldly for GOD:
"I was found by people who were not looking for Me. I showed Myself to those who were not asking for Me."

But regarding Israel, GOD said, "All day long I opened my arms to them, but they kept disobeying Me and arguing with Me."
(Romans 10:1-21)

Paul, the apostle, wrote the above about A.D. 57 to the CHRISTian church in Rome, which included mostly Jewish followers, but also many Gentiles (people of any nationality other than Jewish). This letter was intended for all believers of the Good News then, but also for everyone today who has ever sinned. For haven't we all sinned by breaking one (or four or five or ALL) of the Laws of GOD? Can any of us truthfully say that he/she has not broken a single one of the Ten Commandments, or any of the 613 mitzvot (commandments, ordinances, rules for life) contained in the Mosaic Law? (The Mosaic law begins with the Ten Commandments and includes the many rules of religious observance given in the first five books of the Old Testament.)
One may argue that since he/she is not of Jewish heritage, he/she is not under obligation to follow the Mosaic Law. True. But we are ALL under GOD, under His authority, for we are all His Creation...and all of us have rebelled against GOD. (Whether you believe in GOD or not, it doesn't alter the fact that there is a Creator of the created; a Designer of the design. Can something come from nothing? Can the gazillion galaxies come about out of thin air? Even "thin air" had to have been created. Can a watch -- taken apart, with all its intricate parts jumbled in a box -- put itself together, even after a million years in the box?)
If a person is Jewish but still an unbeliever (not trusting that JESUS is the Messiah), then that person is a Gentile at heart. And if a person is a Gentile (male or female, black or white or brown or yellow or pink, Bolivian or American, Chinese or Aborigine, Maori or Filipino; whether homosexual "gone straight" or adulterer "gone monogamous" or ex-addict "gone clean" -- raised as Buddhist or Catholic or Baptist or Mormon or Jew or Muslim or atheist or just confused), but has trusted JESUS as Lord of his/her life, repented of his/her sins (true repentance is confessing/agreeing with GOD about his/her sins, asking for forgiveness and turning away from sin and turning to GOD) and made a conscious decision of the will to commit and surrender his/her life to JESUS -- then he/she is "of the circumcision"...a Jew at heart...adopted into the family of GOD's chosen people.
Some of the branches from Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing GOD has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in GOD's rich nourishment of His special olive tree. But you must be careful not to brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. Remember, you are just a branch, not the root. (Romans 11:17-18.GOD is indeed abundant in grace. To everyone on earth, whether Jew or Gentile, He gives the free gift of salvation... redemption... freedom from sin's wage of death -- out of His infinite store of abundant grace. And what is grace? Unearned, unmerited, undeserved favor or good will of GOD. So that no one may boast of his good works, so that no one may say he/she was good enough. No one ever was, ever is, or ever will be good enough in the sight of GOD. GOD is so beyond our finite concept of what is good -- GOD is holy -- perfectly and infinitely holy! Can we ever measure up to His standard of goodness and holiness? Of course not...and if you are honest with yourself, you'll agree -- not with what i say, but with the Truth, which is written in your heart -- your GOD-given conscience.
GOD only gave us Ten Commandments, us Gentiles, that is. The Jews were given the whole 613, given to Moses to give to the Jewish people. But even with "just" ten laws, we've utterly failed. Who has not stolen (a pen at work, a candy from the store bin, time off the clock at work), or not lied ("white," 99% of the truth, or kept silent about a truth, are all lies in GOD's sight), or not committed adultery in his/her heart (anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart -- Matthew 5:28); or not coveted (his neighbor's wife, or car, or Blackberry); or not cussed or blasphemed; or not honored his/her parents; or not killed in actuality or in our thoughts (abortion; whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment -- the same judgment due a murderer -- Matthew 5:22); or not guilty of idolatry (You shall have no other gods before Me -- the number one commandment of GOD's Top Ten, as written in Exodus 20:3-17 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5:7-21 for all of us slow learners).
Who has not broken the number one commandment? Who has not set up himself or herself as his or her own personal god? Who has not given a tea party for me, myself and i? Who has not allowed husband/wife/lover, job, money, addiction, pride, or personal agenda to become even more important than GOD -- the Source of all that a person is, the Source of all that a person has -- including life itself?
We are all guilty. We are all under the condemnation of our sins. We will all face judgment. Believe it or not. Just as the laws of nature have been set -- that for every action, there is an equal re-action ; that whatever a person plants, that he/she will also harvest. There's a consequence for each choice made...not just in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual.
What then is the answer? The remedy to our man-made dilemma? Read again Romans 10:9-13. For those who are still yearning to be filled with abundant Life! here in the now and in the inevitable hereafter of death; for those who are still searching for that indescribable joy that is far beyond all the fleeting emotional highs of happiness found in the things of this world; for those who long to be loved just as they are, to be accepted as is, in all his/her unsightly warts and scars -- here is the key to peace...peace and security and confidence and joy and contentment and yes...the happily-ever-after ending of your story here on earth.For if you confess with your mouth that JESUS is Lord and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with GOD, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed." Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives His riches to all who ask for them. For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord JESUS CHRIST will be saved."

4 comments:

  1. Dear Merlin,
    What a blessing! your artwork is beautiful... as are your words of praise and glory to our Saviour Christ Jesus! I am so glad that Joni sent me a link to visit you. I will visit again and take more time to view past entries.
    God bless,
    Sharon

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  2. Hi, Sharon :)

    Another sister in CHRIST -- it's like meeting a member of the extended family. It's a new experience for me, having so many brothers and sisters all of a sudden. Thank you for visiting.

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  3. wow you have a beautiful web page. Your writings are also beautiful.

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  4. Thanks, Anonymous :)

    i appreciate your visit and your comment.

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