DO JEWS NEED TO BE SAVED?
In a previous message I discussed the history of the Gentile nations of the world for the first 2500 years of human history. We learned that those nations rejected the religion of God for the religion of idolatry. In addition they sank down to the worst kind of sins and vices. Idolatry and immorality made a separation between Gentiles and God, and this separation lasted until the coming of Christ and the Christian religion, which had its beginning in the first century A.D. It can be readily seen that Gentiles needed a Savior to save them from the righteous judgment of God. The message of Paul to them was that the gospel of Christ offered them reconciliation with God, admission into the kingdom of Christ on earth, and the hope of eternal life, for a life of obedience to God.. Romans 1 shows why Gentiles need to be saved.
Furthermore, it was most fitting that Paul would next discuss the relationship the Jewish nation had with God from 1500 B.C. until the coming of Christ, their promised Messiah. For 1500 years the Israelite or Jewish nation was God's chosen nation and people, and the Gentile nations are ignored in Biblical history, except as they had some connection with Israel and the future coming of their Messiah. The Jewish nation had many ups and downs with God from Moses to Christ, but the greatest mistake in all of Jewish history was to reject Jesus as their Messiah and refuse to leave the Jewish religion for the Christian religion. They saw no reason to become Christians. Had they not been the chosen people of God for 1500 years? God separated them from all Gentile nations and commanded them to remain separate from them. Why would God's chosen people, who lived by the famous Ten Commandments, need to be saved?. They were a saved people and had been for 1500 years. Hence, they rejected the Christian religion. Although many thousands of Jews became Christians in the first century, that was only a small remnant of the nation. The Jewish nation as a whole rejected Christ and Christianity, and still do.. To this day they feel no need to be saved. They feel as the chosen nation, salvation belongs to them by right of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai when God gave them the Ten Commandments. In Romans 2 Paul, who calls himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Jew of the Jews, declares that the Jews need to be saved just like the Gentiles. Let's examine what Paul says about the lost condition of the Jews.
First, before we comment on the failures of the Jewish nation, let me say that the human race owes that nation a debt of gratitude. God
gave that nation the responsibility to preserve the truth about Him to the world, and they did that in spite of their shortcomings. The Hebrew people
have given true religion to the world through Abraham, Moses and Christ. The existence of the Bible in the world is an honor that belongs to the Hebrew nation. The world owes them a debt of gratitude. With the possible exception of Job, Israelites wrote and preserved the 39 books of the Old Testament. With the exception of Luke's gospel., Hebrew, Jewish Christians wrote and preserved the 27 books of the New Testament. This is an honor that can never be taken away from that nation. Scripture says that is one advantage Jews have over Gentiles to this very day. There have been only three true religions on this planet: Patriarchal, Jewish and Christians; and all three were given through the Hebrew race.
Romans 3:1,2 says, “What advantage then has the Jew or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” The Jew in being a Jew, possessed many peculiar advantages, among the most important of which was being entrusted with the divine revelations from God. They lived in a culture which possessed divine communications from the one true and living God. We must regard these revelations as the greatest blessing ever bestowed on any portion of the human family. Moses Lard, one of our brotherhood's greatest Bible scholars, says of these revelations, “The respects in which they have blessed the world are countless. They are today our only authentic record of the origin and early history of man; and besides, they have in large measure taught the world its justice, determined its legislation and molded its humanity.” Whatever be their shortcomings, the Jews deserve to be honored for giving us the holy Scriptures. There is no justification for the hatred of Jews that exist among Gentile nations of the world. By the way, they brought the gospel to the Gentile world, and now the Gentiles should be willing to take the gospel to them.
In view of the facts that the Jewish people are the most religious people who ever lived on earth, have blessed the human race by bringing the Savior of the world into existence, and were God's chosen nation for 1500 years, what has happened between God and the Jews? They thought that God would bless the Gentiles through their religion, but the Christian religion teaches that the Christian nation is now God's chosen people instead of the Jews. However, the Jews do not believe this, and they feel insulted. by the claim. They do not believe it, and they resent Christians attempting to convert them to Christianity. They feel no need to be saved. What is the truth about this matter? Their claim is, “We have delivered the ten commandments of God to mankind; we love the ten commandments; we stand by the ten commandments; and we believe will go to heaven by obeying the ten commandments.
The Jewish people says, ”What have we done wrong?; wherein have we failed “? Why should God after 1500 years put Jews on the level of the Gentiles?” They deserve an answer. What is the true relationship between Jews and God?. The real question is, “Do the Jews need to be saved?”
To answer these questions, we turn to one of the greatest scholars on the Law of Moses ever to come out of the Jewish nation. He was trained by Gamaliel, the greatest Jewish scholar and teacher in the first century A. D. His Hebrew name was Saul, but was better known by his Greek name Paul. Paul left the Jewish religion for the Christian religion by means of a miraculous conversion. God knew he was better qualified to help the Jewish people than anyone else on earth. The apostle Paul answers all these troublesome questions of the Jews in Romans 2:17-29. Please have that passage before you.
Paul's first message to the Jews is that God has the same controversy with the Jews that He has with the Gentiles. God rejected the Gentiles for the way they lived and worshiped, and He condemns the Jews for the very same reasons. Even though they had the Ten commandments, they lived the same way the Gentiles did. God always had a small remnant of faithful Jews throughout their 1500 year history, but what what is said in Romans 2 was true of the nation as a whole. The Gentiles in early times did not have a written law, and they will not be judged by a written law, says Paul. He goes on to say that the Jews had a written law, and they will be judged by the law of Moses. Then Paul emphasized the fact that it is not the hearers of the law who are just with God but the doers of the law. He reasoned with the Jews like this. You are called Jews and make great pretensions to superior knowledge. You rely on the Ten Commandments, boast in God, know His will, and approve the better things. You think of yourselves as guides of the blind, instructors of the ignorant, teachers of babes, and possessors of knowledge of the truth.
But really you have none of these excellent qualities. You who teach others, do you teach yourself? You who preach, “Do not steal,” do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery?. You boast about having the Ten Commandments, but you dishonored God by breaking those laws. Paul continues by saying, you constantly broke these laws by stealing, committing adultery and by worshiping idols. The controversy God had with the Jews is that they broke the ten commandments. They were inconsistent in their conduct. They preached not to do this and that, and then did it themselves. Worst
of all, the Jews did not only personally dishonor God by breaking His laws, but they caused surrounding nations to dishonor God.(Romans 2:23,24). The Gentiles, who had the conception of many gods, judged a man's god by his conduct. A good man has a good god; a bad man has a bad god. This was their theory. We of today have much the same theory, and we judge a man's god by his life. There is a lesson here for Christians, for we too can honor or dishonor Christ by the way we live. We wear His name and stand for Him in the world.
Thus Paul has made his case to all Jewish people who live in the Christian age of the world. He expressed his love for his fellow countrymen and spent his entire life trying to save as many of them as he could.. He very well summed up the problem of the Jewish nation in Romans 10:1-4, “ Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved, for I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law of Moses for righteousness to everyone who believes.” This means all who believe in the righteousness of God hich comes through Christ Jesus. For these just reasons God has rejected the nation of Israel, even as He did the Gentile nations. He put both divisions of the human race on the same level.
Since both divisions of the human race failed to honor and please God in their respective religions, God in His great wisdom, goodness and mercy did a wonderful thing. He abolished both the religion of the Jews and the religion of the ancient gentiles. Paul affirmed this fact in Romans 3:9,10, “What then? Are we Jews better than the Gentiles? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin., as it is written, there is none righteous, not one.” It was God's will to offer free pardon to both divisions of the human race by means of a universal religion which would place Jews and Gentiles in one great brotherhood. In order to make such an offer acceptable, holy and just to Himslef and acceptable, reasonable and understandable to the human race, He decided to punish both divisions of the human race for all sins committed from the creation of the world. But by His marvelous grace and wisdom, He allowed the second person of the Godhead to willingly come to earth in the form of the man Jesus Christ. As the representative of the human race, Jesus was allowed to suffer the punishment due the entire human race to satisfy the Father's sense of justice. Being a holy and just God , sin deserves to be punished; . and He punished the entire human race by the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. What made this so acceptable to
God is that it was the second person of the Godhead who created the human race, and He was willing to give up His glory for 33 years, inhabit a human body and die for the race He created. I have often wondered why the second person of the Godhead came to earth instead of the Father or the Holy Spirit. So in a real sense, it can be said that the Creator of the human race became a human Being, and as their representative, suffered and died as a just punishment for all the sins of the race He created. This is the glory of the Christian religion. The one who created us took our failings and sins on Himself.
I now return to the question I asked in the introduction. Do Jews need to be saved? The answer is an overwhelming yes. A thousand times yes. Having made the forgiveness of all Jews and Gentiles possible as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, His final words before leaving the earth was, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. .Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all thins that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Amen. Jews should not rely on their own interpretations of scripture, but on interpretations God gave to apostles and New Testament prophets. Consider what I say and the Lord give you understanding.