Paul’s Hebrew Roots
The New Testament Church is not independent or isolated from Old Testament Israel but is united and connected in the same faith. Jews who become Christians do not cease being Jews and Gentiles who become Christians do not become Jews.
- The church is a unique people of God - v. 15–16
- Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, traveling to Jerusalem with Gentile Christians bringing an offering to the Jewish Christians, lodging with a Hellenized (Greek speaking) Jewish Christian.
- All are equal in standing and privilege in Christ - Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- The church shares a Jewish and a Gentile identity - v. 17–25
- Jerusalem is God’s holy city - Psalm 122
- Paul did not meet with the other apostles but he met with James the half-brother of Jesus and other elders who were leaders in the church.
- Paul reported the success of the gospel among Gentiles.
- James reported the success of the gospel among the Jews.
- The Jewish Christians maintained their zeal for the Law of Moses.
- The Law of Moses, while not necessary for salvation, is still observed by Christian Jews as a testimony to unsaved Jews.
- Paul did not teach Jewish Christians to forsake Moses, circumcision or the customs but to realize they are fulfilled in Christ - Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
- Paul honored God and his Jewish heritage by participating in a Nazarite vow and purification ceremony at the temple.
- Jews who come to Christ could be called “completed Jews” -
- They may continue to keep the law according to their conscience while understanding that it has been fulfilled by Christ.
- Gentiles who come to Christ are called children of God - 1 John 3:1–3
- Gentile believers turn away from all other religious practices offensive to God’s law including sacrificial services with blood or drinking blood, strangled animals, and all immorality.
Israel will forever be a distinct people of God from all other nations - Isaiah 11:12 He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
The church is made up of Jewish and Gentile believers and will forever be identified in Christ distinct from Israel and the other nations - Ephesians 3:21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul's Hebrew Roots
Topics: The Church