How did the coming of Christ affect the relationship between Israel and the Gentile nations?

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Israel and the nations relate differently now that Christ has come. Three ways to talk about that relationship being changed are equality, and unity, and then finally gratitude. Equality: We want to say that Israel and the nations are on equal footing before the Lord, and the coming of Christ has revealed that. Jews and Gentiles alike are equally in need of a Savior. Jews and Gentiles alike must come to God through the work of Jesus and through faith in him. There is no distinction there — equality. Second, we want to say unity: The Scripture makes it clear that in Christ, Jew and Gentiles are one. Galatians 3:28 states that explicitly. So there's no preferential treatment within God's people for those who are ethnically Jewish or those who are not. There is no advantage that Gentiles have over Jews in terms of being closer to God or somehow better able to benefit from the work of Christ. We are one in the body. And here we have to say that the church hasn't always lived this out well. There have been times when the church has neglected to evangelize Jews and and folks with that kind of ethnic background, and there have been times when Gentile nations have persecuted the Jewish people. Scripture teaches that that ought not to be the case. Equality, unity should rule the day, and certainly nothing like some of the anti-Semitism that we've sadly seen. But finally, we want to say gratitude: There should be gratitude on the part of Gentiles toward the Jewish nation. We should notice that this is the people through whom God brought us the promises of Scripture, the people through whom God brought us the physical lineage of the Messiah. We should be grateful to God for his people Israel. and when we open the Old Testament we ought to be thinking as Gentiles, even, we're looking at our family photo album — these are our ancestors, these are our people, we are now a part of that family — and a sense of gratitude for that part of heritage. At the same time, Jewish people ought to be grateful any time they see somebody worshiping the God of Scripture, the only true God. Jewish believers ought to give thanks that Gentiles are now with them worshiping this one true God as he's revealed himself not only in Scripture but now ultimately in the coming of his son.

Answer by Dr. Jimmy Agan

Dr. Jimmy Agan is Associate Professor of New Testament and Director of Homiletics at Covenant Theological Seminary.