… A Great Multitude of Gentiles…..

The Jews were always supposed to be a light to the Gentiles. And they usually failed miserably and became a laughing stock instead. Jesus came as the light. Through Him, who came through the Jews, the Gentiles were included in the reconciliation, grafted it to the vine. Paul says this is the mystery that had not been revealed, that the two would be one, and there is now no difference between Jew and Greek.

But the Gentiles did not have a covenant with God. They did not have the law. Because of this, the approach to the Gentiles was vastly different from the the one taken by the apostles, and even Jesus, with the Jews. Law and transgression were not mentioned in regard to Gentiles. The Gentile believers, for instance, were not required to be circumcised, for that was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant.

Matt 12:20-21 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

Also, spend time in the book of Acts. Here is where the apostle’s preaching to the Gentiles occurrs. The church today does not give nearly enough emphasis to this book which tells the history of the early church. It’s not just about Pentecost and speaking in tongues. It’s so much more.

They will trust in His name. We see in the new testament that when the Gentiles are approached with the gospel, they are given a brief sketch of who Jesus is and how he died and was raised again. Some always believed. They were not told they were sinners or had not kept God’s laws.

The apostolic letters, explaining how the new covenant replaced the old one, addressed the mixing of law with grace, and how the new covenant is better and replaced the old one. It was a hard concept for the Jewish believers to grasp, having been taught that righteousness came from keeping the law.

The early churches were mixed, with both Gentiles and Jews. They all needed to hear the teaching of grace-not-law, because the Gentiles, especially those who worshiped God with the Jews in the synagogues, before believing the gospel, also had heard the law.

The Gentiles outside the Jewish sphere had no such tradition. Just pagan gods. When they were told of the true God, that was all they needed to hear. The Apostles decided early on that the Gentiles did not need to be circumcised. They also said Gentiles shouldn’t eat things that were strangled or offered to idols. I’m not sure why, but it may have had something to do with not offending the Jews.

When we teach the laws of God, as believers, and don’t also teach that they are no longer in effect, we do ourselves no favors. We create a legalistic mindset that is like tossing a rotten apple into a barrel of good apples. Grace becomes of little benefit.

Paul called this mix falling from grace. It’s not losing salvation, but it is losing the benefits of grace and true liberty in our lives. I’m convinced this is why the apostles did not use the law when presenting the gospel to Gentiles. Look how hard it was for the Jewish believers to overcome that mentality. And besides, they knew the law was done away. Why would they bring it up? They wouldn’t.

So, to the Jews, the gospel freed them from the law that was death, as well as from Adam’s death. To the Gentiles, the gospel freed them from Adam’s death and trying to please idols. Either way, all gain the life of Jesus. Today, not even the Jews are under the law, although the Jews don’t accept that. But we who are not Jewish have absolutely no connection to the law.

If no preacher or Bible teacher ever mentioned the law again, we would be better off. This includes teaching the Ten Commandments. The law was temporary and we have in effect made it permanent. The law was a tutor to guide the Jews until Christ came. Now we are no longer taught by law, but by grace. Grace teaches to avoid ungodliness and to follow godliness.

Grace, the influence of God in our hearts. It’s all we need. Looking to the law hinders us from hearing the true voice of grace.

This is a bit longer than I like, and I included only one quote from scripture.