Sin first entered into the world in Eden when Adam and Eve sinned by eating fruit the Lord said was forbidden. That was the first time in human history that man rebelled against God. However, this particular sin infected our first parents and sin was then passed on to every other human being. Sin is the deadliest force in the universe; it brings death and it separates us from God.
Romans 5:12, Paul said, ‘Just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…’
Isaiah 59:2, ‘Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He doesn’t hear.”
What we see from these two verses is that every human being from Adam through to you and I are contaminated by sin. So we’re all sinners and we were all separated from God as a result. Every single one of us.
Are Jewish people included in the human beings identified as sinners in these verses? Yes, they absolutely are. In fact, if you read the entire preceding chapter to Isaiah 59, starting at Isaiah 58:1, it actually names who God is speaking to when dealing with their sin. He said, “Cry loudly, don’t hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins.” God was specifically identifying the Jewish people in this instance and by the time He gets to chapter 59, He’s still talking directly to them.
So yes, Jews and Gentiles are the direct descendants of Adam and Eve, our first parents and therefore, we’re all tainted and corrupted by sin. But there are some who believe that God has a different means of saving His Jewish people to the means of saving His Gentile people. In other words, Jews are automatically saved just because they’re Jews and are God’s chosen people, but Gentiles have to come by faith by putting their trust in Jesus?
God doesn’t have a different plan of redemption for Jews to the plan He has for Gentiles. We’ve already read Isaiah 59:2, but let’s take a look at verse 1.
Isaiah 59:1, ‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it can’t save; nor is His ear so dull that it can’t hear.’ God is capable of saving even the hardest heart.
We’ve already spent a lot of time in previous programs looking at why God gave us the Law, so that we would know just how wretched and sinful we are. Who did He give the Law to initially? The Jews. Their role in reaching the world has provided to the Gentiles the Law of God, so that we Gentiles also realise that we’re wretched and sinful as well; both groups of people – now realizing that they are desperately in need of a means of redemption and salvation.
We’ve also learned that the Mosaic Law provided a means of dealing with sin on a temporary basis through the animal sacrificial system. An innocent and blemishless animal would die, shedding its blood in the place of the sinner, providing a temporary covering or washing away of sin. However, that system was inadequate and it was temporary and is currently out of function altogether. The process of the sacrificial system required the High Priest to make atonement for the people on their behalf. It’s called substitutionary atonement, and the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once per year on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and offer a sacrifice for himself and for the people. Daily sacrifices for sin and specific things also took place.
So Jews and Gentiles are all wretched and sinful, Jews and Gentiles are all reach back to Adam and Eve and Jews and Gentiles are all separated from God because of their wretched sinfulness. But our question is this; if Jews and Gentiles are both guilty of sin before God and are separate from Him, do we receive salvation and redemption the same way or in different ways?
First of all, the system of substitutionary atonement was given to the Jewish people, so it applies to them. The Messiah was promised to come to them and to come from them and be one of them. Remember, we’re the Gentiles who are grafted in! We’re joining them, they’re not joining us. So substitutionary atonement through the blood sacrifice of another is Jewish first and foremost.
Listen to this beautiful description of Jesus in Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:14-16, ‘Since we’ve a great High Priest who’s passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let’s hold fast our confession. For we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathise with our weaknesses, but One who’s been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, lets draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’
The book of Hebrews is so called because it was written to the…Hebrews!
The Mosaic Law, which is now done away with because all men broke God’s Law, and since there’s no Temple and no sacrificial system anymore, means that there’s no means of substitutionary atonement…BUT…Jesus Christ, Yeshua, the Son of the Living God, Jewish by birth and heritage, came to earth and lived among us, was tempted in all we are tempted but without sin. So He alone is able to understand who we are and what we go through. He’s our High Priest, who sacrificed Himself and became the substitutionary atonement on our behalf, fulfilling the Law as we’ve talked about before.
But again…is the old system all that is required for Jews? Can they rely on that and was Jesus sent only for the Gentile world?
Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) What about this, ‘Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t hear them.”’ (John 10:7-8) Or this, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he’ll be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9-10) ‘No one’ means no one, and ‘anyone’ means anyone…Jew and Gentile and don’t forget, He said these words to a Jewish audience.
The point is, Jesus declared very clearly using several different analogies that He and He alone is the way to the Father and salvation is in Him alone.
Acts 4:12, ‘There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.’ The context of this verse is talking about Jesus. His very name means ‘salvation’.
1 Timothy 2:5, ‘There is one God, and one Mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for ALL, the testimony given at the proper time.’ ‘All’ means Jew and Gentile.
A mediator’s role is to bridge the gap between two separated parties. The parties don’t connect with the mediator.
To answer the question of whether or not salvation is the same or different for Jews and Gentiles, the Bible is clear. There is one means of salvation for all people, be they Jew or Gentile and that means of salvation is in Christ alone. No one else has the power, the authority or the mission to provide salvation other than Jesus, Yeshua, the Son of God. So pray for your family and your friends, but please also pray for the Jewish people, that God would lift the blindness from their eyes and see their Messiah, one of their own brethren and come to saving faith.
The Jews are not without God, He’s keeping His promises and covenants with them, but as individuals, they must come to faith in Jesus, and so do we.
Based in part on an article at oneforisrael.org