JUSTIFYING GRACE AWAY
“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”
The Jews were rejecting the message that had been given to them first as a privilege. Paul and his team were following what they believed was the plan of God, first the Jew, then the Gentile. To the Jew first because it would fulfil the promise of Abraham that all the peoples on the earth would be blessed through him.
They had been considered worthy by God to be the first to receive His blessing, He came to them, He came as a Jew. But their rejection of Jesus has meant that they have counted themselves not worthy for this to have happened, they have turned their back on this blessing. This is not the kind of ‘worthy’ that we hold to for no one is ‘worthy’ of salvation because it is a free gift of God. But rather this is the Jew despising salvation, refusing the gospel being preached to them anymore and as a result are proclaiming that they should not be saved. God was not rejecting them for salvation, they in rejecting Christ was rejecting salvation. Salvation comes to those who recognise they are sinners, in need of a Saviour and who see the death and resurrection of Jesus as that way of salvation, that’s what makes us worthy. Our recognition of our sin, Saviour Jesus, salvation plan, this qualifies us.
The most righteous people in the eyes of man were guilty of rejecting the righteousness of God. But let’s try and see it from their perspective.
- Their message of the good news contained the need for good living, rules to keep, it was hard work but worth it. Paul’s message was too easy, cheap and available to anyone who doesn’t appreciate the Scriptures and probably the Gentiles did not even know one story from the ancestors.
- They worked hard every day to keep the laws found in their Scriptures. Working hard was showing God their love for Him. Working hard was showing them that He was pleased with them. Paul’s message had no work attached to it at all. It seemed in Paul’s message the only person working hard was God.
- They had already established a way for the Gentile to be saved, God had established it: the Gentile becomes circumcised and they become Jewish in belief, worship and practically working this out in their life. There was already a way. Paul’s message offered an alternative way and there wasn’t a need for any changes to what was in their eyes the perfect way.
Those who bring warning against GRACE have their justifications. GRACE brings you in and JUSTIFICATIONS can keep you out.