SEEK THE CONTEXT: Biblical Texts, Language, Cultural Background & Meaning. Context Changes Everything!

One God, Different Callings

One God, Different Callings

Christians, Jews, Christ-following Jews- What’s the difference? Aren’t we all God’s chosen children, the Israel of God?

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. (Rom 10:12).

This makes sense on many levels. We, humans, are more alike than different from each other.  Only the reality shows us that we are different in some significant ways. Being different and unique should be seen in a positive light.  Consider for example that choosing Israel from the nations and setting the people aside as a unique group was God’s idea (Deut. 7:6). The Almighty formed Israel from one family (Abraham and Sarah) through his covenant. He turned that family into a nation (12 clans) and gave them a unique culture and a specific way of worship. God gave Israel concrete beliefs, a distinct cultural identity, and even their own land. God made Israel different on purpose. That is Israel – the people of the covenant, a country, a clan, a political entity.

Christian identity is also rooted in being called out to be different from the rest of humanity, but Christians are not like Israel in many respects. Again, being different and not the same when compared to others is not something negative. Christians are not a nation and not one family or even a single clan. Christ-followers are a much bigger category, made up of many nations and clans from various lands. They have their own cultures, distinct languages, and peculiar customs of their own. Many non-Jews today are close to God today because of Jesus, but that does not mean they are now Israel. Nations remain as the nations and Israel

Many non-Jews today are close to God today because of Jesus, but that does not mean they are now Israel. Nations remain as the nations and Israel is still Israel. “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also” (Rom 3:29). Christ-followers from the nations simply joined Israel in solidarity of one faith through Messiah. And that is not the same as being Israel. There is a substantive difference.

God brought forth Israel into his world for a purpose. He brought the nations into the tent of Abraham for a good reason as well (Gen 12). Being Jews and Gentiles, having distinct roles and callings to fulfill in this world should not be seen in a negative light. Messiah’s coming does not change that. Diversity is a part of God’s design. Only we can be what God made us to be, so let each of us shine the light we have where we are.

Being Jews and Gentiles, having different roles and callings to fulfill in this world should not be seen in a negative light. That is a part of God’s design. It is intentional. Only we can be what God made us to be and God made us different for a reason.  Let Jews be who they were called to be. Let the nations not shun their heritage and wish they could be Israel. The dignity of people is not bound up in their membership in a particular group. All humans were made in God’s image. And the fact the God made us different and gave us different callings does not make us superior or inferior in the eyes of God.  So let each of us shine the light we have right where we are.

Pinchas

I am an educator, researcher, a faculty member and an avid believer in online education. My specialties are Sacred Texts and Cultures (Second Temple period, early Judaism and nascent Christianity). I am passionate about meaning, context, and cultural transmission of ancient texts. My preoccupations with history, ancient languages and contextual interpretation often find expression in my blog posts. Every human has a pretext, every message has a context. Context changes everything! Enjoy reading.


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