Monday, August 17, 2009

Here is a question I recently was asked from a woman in our church:

“I am reading through the book of Romans and it says (2:10) "first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." And then in the next verse ... "For God does not show favoritism."

Help me since I just don't understand how " first the Jew " is not favoritism.”

Here is my response:

Great question. The gospel is for the Jew first not because God is showing a sort of "favoritism", but because Israel ("the Jews") are God's chosen people, that is, God elected them to be His "special" people and His "treasured possession" out of all the peoples on the earth (cf. Deuteronomy 7). Remember, this is not favoritism--this is undeserved grace (same with YOU and Me and our salvation--God didn't show favoritism in electing and saving us, rather, His grace saved us though we were dead in our own sins!).

Also, Jesus said in Matthew 15:24 "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This is not favoritism, this is Jesus saying: I have come that Israel may have their Kingdom and their Messiah, but they continually rejected Him!

With all this background, Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is for the Jew first. Why? Because the gospel was offered to them first when Jesus came to offer to His chosen people their Messiah and their Kingdom (which they ultimately rejected by crucifying their Messiah).

Now, in Romans 2, remember Paul is arguing that ALL are alike under sin--totally dead in sin and unable

to save themselves--both Jews and Gentiles (everyone!). When Paul says in Rom 2:9 that distress comes upon the Jew first, then the Gentile, and then in Rom 2:10 that glory and honor and peace comes to the Jew first, then to the Gentile this is NOT favoritism, Paul is just keeping in line with the thought throughout the book--the Jews are God's treasured people (again, NOT favoritism necessarily, but sovereign election and choosing by God).

The whole point leads to Romans 2:11--there is no favoritism, all are alike under sin. There is no favoritism with God with the Jews over the Gentiles, because they are ALL sinners and under God's wrath in and of themselves. Just look at Romans 2:12 to prove this: For all who have sinned ... will perish...


Jason Alligood said...

Great answer my friend!

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