Paul’s “Israel of God” – Slight Return

With regard to the replacement theology model/mantra, sometimes I’ll hear something along the lines of, “Does replacement necessarily lead to anti-Semtism?” That’s a good question, and I think  a fair question. Here’s the short answer: Sometimes yes – sometimes no. Historically, replacement teaching has often provided a pseudo theological justification for anti-Semitism. Today however, it’s more common that it provides a pseudo missiological justification for apathy and indifference towards Jewish evangelism.

If we’re really honest – our naturally tendency is to read the bible through our own ethnic-cultural glasses. In other words, we tend to think that it’s all about us. That’s not a uniquely Gentile trait, that’s an across the board human trait. In fact, if the shoe were on the other foot, if the Gentiles were the minority covenant people of God, and if the overwhelming majority of the church was Jewish, I seriously doubt most Jewish believers would be that interested in the Gentile roots of their faith. That’s our knee-jerk hermeneutical reflex. Too often without realizing it, we’re engaged in eisegesis (reading our own meaning into a text), rather than exegesis (deriving the author’s intended meaning from a text). And that’s not good, because eisegesis can lead to exit Jesus; which is why church leaders need to be teaching their people how to properly study the bible, which I believe includes at least a cursory awareness of the Scripture’s inherent Jewish frame of reference; particulary the four unconditional covenants God made with the Jewish people.

Here’s the deal: In addition to God calling out a people for His name (Acts 15:13-18), according to Romans 11:11, the other reason Gentiles receive salvation in Jesus today, is so they can be used by God to make unbelieving Jewish people want to receive salvation in Jesus today!  And so if you’re coming from an erroneous replacement assumption which basically says, “You rejected Jesus –you forfeited your covenant status– now it’s mine,” it makes it pretty hard to live out one of the key reasons you got saved. But if you have a biblical “wild olive-branch” attitude (cf. Rom.11:17-18), which says, “Not that I got it going on – but solely by God’s grace –I’ve become a sharer and a participant in the spiritual blessings originally given to the Jewish people, and because of that, I’m not only profoundly grateful, but I also genuinely care about you,” trust me, believe me, give this  blooger the benefit of the doubt, that’s a lot more winsome and puts a whole different spin on the entire discussion!  In fact, when you do this, God will actually be pleased to use you to reach His Jewish remnant who are out there somewhere in each and every generation (cf. Rom. 11:4-5).

Happy jealousy promoting (cf. Rom.11:11).  You’ll be abundantly rewarded for your participation in this holy venture at the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Messiah.

 

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