Saturday, October 8, 2011
“And he said… Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18 KJV).
Ephesians 2:11,12 explains that, in “time past,” Gentiles (non-Jews) were “without Christ” and “without God in the world.” Back in Genesis chapter 11, at the tower of Babel, God “gave up” the nations “to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16; Acts 17:30; Romans 1:20-32). From Genesis chapter 12 until we come to Paul’s ministry (Acts chapter 9), God dealt with Israel, not the Gentiles.
Did God not care about saving Gentiles in the Old Testament? He did care, but His method of saving Gentiles was through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory (Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.): God would only bless and save Gentiles through Israel’s kingdom (Genesis 12:3). But, by the time of early Acts, Israel has already killed her Messiah-King Jesus Christ and blasphemed against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31,32). Now, God saves Saul of Tarsus (Paul).
In today’s Scripture the Apostle Paul recounts his salvation experience to King Agrippa. Jesus Christ told Paul that he would His vessel to Gentiles (cf. Acts 9:15,16; Acts 22:21). Now, God revealed that Gentile salvation would occur through Israel’s fall. With her kingdom temporarily postponed, salvation would go to Gentiles through Paul’s ministry. “Through their [Israel’s] fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (Romans 11:11).
Today, we do not need to be a part of the nation Israel to be saved. By placing our faith in the finished cross work of Jesus Christ, God accepts us and saves us in His Son (Ephesians 1:6). In the “but now,” as Gentiles we have an opportunity to be saved from our sins and delivered from satanic bondage (Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:12-14). Despite Israel’s unbelief and rejection of her kingdom, salvation still came to us Gentiles!