Given their commonalities, why can’t we mix Judaism with Christianity?

Monday Musings for January 13, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

We Christians are beneficiaries of the Judeo-Christian heritage. In fact, my whole country (America) is a beneficiary of its morality and its work ethic... although I’m not talking about that today. Instead, I’m going to poke at a sore spot. If the Old Testament Jews were such a critical part of everyone’s Christian heritage, why aren’t they saved because of that?

Some Christians insist that the Jews will be saved by virtue of their being God’s chosen people... while still giving a nod to the evangelical understanding of how salvation works. But I don’t buy into that view of Israel — and under my pen, it gets even worse: Since I’m not a dispensationalist, I do not treat the Jews as a special class — eschatologically or soteriologically.

But I don’t see this as worse news for the Jews than for anyone else. The Bible says that we are all bound for hell. But God placed salvation within our grasps in the person of Jesus Christ — and those of us who received him find ourselves in the end-zone celebrating eternal life!

But why isn’t Israel doing the end-zone celebration with us? Because 2000 years ago, they fumbled the ball... and their coaches called a time out. But when the game continued, they refused to take the field... and they languished.

Fortunately, many Jews broke ranks and continued playing the game. Individual Jews have come to Christ all throughout the centuries! Israel’s loss is national, not individual... and the loss goes to the coaches, not the players... because being a Jew is neither here nor there in this age. Being human is.

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,” (Romans 3:22, NIV)

But I can see where the Jews might have a harder time coming to Christ than other people. The Savior of the world is revealed in the New Testament, after all... and as a group, the Jews do not believe it to be the inspired word of God. But this means that they’ve already made up their minds about Jesus. He’s not their Messiah, not deity, not a Trinity... so it probably is easier for a gentile to be saved today; they are not loaded with negative misinformation about Jesus.

But why would a Jewish conversion be any different from that of a Muslim living in Dearborn, Michigan... or of a Hindu living in Toronto, Ontario? The terms of salvation are the same for every person alive in this age: believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved! The problem is that eternal life can become cultural death when we live among people who hate his name.

That being said, converted Jews do have a unique problem — one they alone must bear: they will “look upon him whom they have pierced” — and that will be like watching a gameday tape after a bad loss. They’ll watch themselves fumble over and over again... and for a people who played in last year’s Super Bowl... that’s as humbling as it gets.

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