Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19, KJV)
Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles, and his ministry was no easy task. In the Old Testament era, the world before God was spiritually divided into two groups: Jews and non-Jews or Gentiles. God dealt exclusively with the Jewish people, and the Gentiles had no part or any relationship with God. They were strangers. Paul vividly described the state of the non-Jewish people with the words
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12, KJV)
Christ’s work on the cross brought Gentiles to become part of God’s Household as children as much as the Jewish believers. Gentiles are no more strangers or foreigners. They are now children in the House because of the cross of Christ. In our current relationship with God in this dispensation, being Jewish or non-Jewish has no spiritual value with God. Paul states it again so beautifully :
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15, KJV)
Whether Jewish by birth or Gentile, there is no difference with God today.
Let me quickly point out two related points here, which Christians are often confused about. The first is that there is no extra favor you get with God trying to practice certain old Covenant rites and formalities such as circumcision, keeping a Jewish feast, using a prayer Shawl( tallit), having a Menora( Tabernacle Lampstand) in your home, speaking or quoting the Bible in Hebrew, etc. Your relationship with the Father in Christ today has no bearing on these things. I find some Christians who seem to think that there is a special spiritual favor or blessing that comes when you keep a Jewish feast or God responds better to our prayers if we use a prayer shawl. Certainly not! The whole point of this devotional is that God has said there is no difference. If you like using your prayer shawl, for example, nothing stops you from using it, but just do not think God will grant you some special favor if you do.
The second point, which is part of the reason many Christians are confused about Old Testament practices today, is that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel. God has not discarded or rejected Israel. Some Christians have even gone as far as saying the Church today has replaced Israel. Absolutely not! We must not confuse God’s dealing with His Church, having both Jewish and non-Jewish believers, and the nation of Israel. Israel still has its place before God. However, this in no way means God is asking you to become a Jew or start practicing Jewish traditions to gain special favor with Him. Do not mix up these two!
In summary, the cross of Christ has brought the Gentiles in, and they are no more strangers and foreigners!
Will God answer your prayers faster if you pray using a Jewish prayer shawl? Has God rejected Israel? Does He still care how we treat the nation of Israel? ( Hint. Yes!)
APPLY THE WORD
There is no blessing or favor with God that is outside of your faith in Christ. There is no special favor you will get by becoming a Jew or adopting Old Testament practices. However, it will be hard to love Jesus and not love the Jewish people and have the heart to see them come to know their own Messiah. Do not get these two truths mixed up. Enjoy your freedom in Christ as a Gentile, and remember God still has a plan for the nation of Israel.
Thank the Father for bringing the Gentiles in to be partakers of the inheritance in Christ.