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Has God Rejected Israel? (29 of 47)
I. The Truth About the Writer
The first proof that God had not rejected His chosen people was that Paul, not only a believer in Christ but also an apostle (1:1), was himself an Israelite.
Although Paul does not mention it here, the vast majority of early Christians were Jews. It was for the very reason that so many of his fellow Jews had turned to Jesus as their Messiah that Paul, under his former name of Saul, had once fiercely persecuted the church (Acts 8:1 - 3; 9:1 - 2). Before his conversion, he had been the most fanatical Christ - hating and Christian - hating Jew in Israel. If such a Christ rejecting Jew as himself could be brought to saving faith, the gospel had power to save ANY JEW.
More than that, however, Paul's own conversion made it obvious that God could not possibly have rejected all Israel. He was living proof that, just as God's promises to Israel do not include all individual Jews, so his judgment and rejection of Israel do not include all individual Jews. Paul would hardly devote the rest of his life, and many times risk his life, to preach a gospel from which he himself was excluded.
Paul was not a proselyte to Judaism, but was a Jew by birth, a genuine Israelite, a descendent of Abraham. Probably speaking of Judaizers, who were among the "false apostles, deceitful workers, [who were] disguising themselves as apostles of Christ," Paul asked the Corinthians, "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I" (2 Cor. 11:13, 22).
Paul not only was a descendent of Abraham but a member of the tribe of Benjamin, "one of the most favoured tribes" of Israel according to theologian Charles Hodge. "Judah and Benjamin, especially after the exile, were the chief representatives of the theocractical people" (COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950; orig. revised ed.., 1886], p. 353).
Paul again ...
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