Distinctions I Need to Know

Have you ever gotten so discouraged by other people? The older you get, the more opportunities there are for people to disappoint you. When I begin to lose my confidence in the gospel because of the unpredictable nature of humanity, I do my best to remember the obvious.

When our faith wanes, look up and remind yourself of the rock-solid faithfulness of a sovereign God who is never surprised and who has everything under control.

When confronted with Jewish unbelief, Paul’s readers need that same assurance. Paul asks in 11:1 “God has not rejected his people, has He?” If God crumpled up the old covenant, who’s to say He won’t do the same with His new covenant when it comes to us?
Paul answers these questions with “may it never be!” He then gives a behind the scenes look at the Lord’s grand plan for the Hebrew children of Abraham.


1. Remnant vs. Majority
The concept of a remnant has always been a part of God’s redemptive plan so it should be no surprise to see it in effect today.

Prior to his conversion, Paul’s belief in the old covenant was so strong that he dedicated himself to the destruction of any who appeared to undermine it, namely Christians.
Paul acted similarly to the prophet Elijah. In Elijah’s day it appeared that all of Israel had rejected God and was lost forever. Even so, the faithful remnant is the true Israel, not the majority.

Jesus gives us a job to do now that will eventually bring about His kingdom. In addition, we see that God always fulfills His promises. Our greatest hope for Israel still rests in the character of God. We know the Lord always fulfills His promises so we know there will be an Israel to receive them.

2. Punishment vs. Discipline
Punishment is a matter of justice in which a person must suffer consequences of sin. It’s permanent, punitive, and retributive.
However, discipline is a matter of sanctification. This is where God uses the good and the bad to develop our character. It’s temporary and always constructive.

On the one hand, there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. Some are sovereignly chosen by God’s grace, others fitted themselves for hardening.
On the other hand, the Lord has special plans for the collective identity of the Jews. They play a crucial role in the final chapters of Earth’s history, so they receive unique attention from the Lord as a people. At the present, the whole Hebrew race is under discipline, including the elect and lost Jews.

The Jews have not been permanently cast out, they have been temporarily set aside. Just as the Lord did in the days of Moses and Joshua, He has suspended His plan for Israel to allow a season of grace. He did this with two benefits in mind:

1. It allows Gentiles to hear and respond (11:12).

2. We, as Gentiles, are to so enjoy the covenant of Christ, to be transformed by it, and to be excited and fulfilled by Jesus, that the Jews will become jealous and want what we have.

The expectation of the believer is to live a life that allows Jesus to produce the kind of fruit that provokes zeal and makes others envious, or jealous, of what we have in Christ.

3 Tools to Help
1. Actively engaging the spiritual disciplines
2. Actively engaging the ministry of presence
3. Actively inviting others to church
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org  and make sure you subscribe to receive these biweekly encouragements in your inbox.

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