Gods Chosen People
Karen* wrote asking for advice about how to relate to her Jewish boyfriend. She is a Christian. He doesn’t share her faith. Karen said, “I believe that without trusting in Jesus’ atonement, your sins are not forgiven. But I also believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people.”
That is a common view among so many Christians. But it is based on faulty assumptions. Biblical beliefs about salvation, as held by followers of Jesus, are a category of dogmas – religious truths. Jewishness is one nationality with the category of ethnicity.
So, those two concepts are not about the same subject. Salvation in Jesus is about religious truth. Jewish identity is an ethnic identity.
When Karen said, “I believe that without trusting in Jesus’ atonement, your sins are not forgiven,” she was absolutely right. She is just reporting what Messiah Y’shua (Jesus) said: “Iam the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Y’shua is the ultimate sin bearer forall humanity. He is the promised Servant who came fulfilling Isaiah’s
But He waspierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
to fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Karen is right. The only atonement for sin is in the Messiah, Y’shua. That salvation from the judgment on sinfulness is available to all people. So, is there some special arrangement for spiritual redemption of Jewish people?
Jews are God’s “chosen people,” absolutely! That idea is in the Bible. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (or Israel) are God’s special treasure – His chosen people. However, that idea is more about God than it is about the Jews. The emphasis is on God’s chosen nation.
We can find some help in understanding this concept within the Torah. God said in Deuteronomy 7:6-9:
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments…”
That passage describes why God chose the people of Israel. It says that God sanctified the Jewish people, set them apart (a “holy” people) for a purpose. Yahweh’s relationship with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob demonstrates, for all humanity throughout history, that God is the only true God. He is the only Lord and faithful deity who keeps His word forever. The passage doesn’t say anything about Jewish people being saved from the judgment of sin. It does say that the enduring existence of the Jewish people shows that God is true to all of His promises forever.
By comparison, Yahweh’s provision of salvation from the judgment of sin is a theological truth. At a moment in time – a day of atonement – Y’shua died in the place of all of sinful humanity. Yahweh’s preservation of the Jewish people is, on the surface, preservation of an ethnicity. But it has theological implications: Yahweh is true and He will fulfill all of His promises forever.
So, being born to Jewish parents makes a child an ethnic Jew, but it doesn’t save that child from sin. Being born in a Christian home gives a child opportunity to hear the good news, but it doesn’t save the child from sin until he or she becomes a believer.
I hope this helps to sort out a common question. Let us know what you think or how we can be of further assistance.