The Mystery of Christ to Jews Also

Justin Johnson

In times past salvation was only of the Jews (John 4:22). Their salvation was through the covenants and the law.

With Paul that all changed. The Lord gave Paul the office of “apostle of the Gentiles” to send salvation, without the law, to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11, 13). It is not strange, then, to discover Paul ministering to Gentiles in Galatia, Corinth, and Colosse.

However, many times Paul ministers to Jews also. These passages are stumbling points for those first learning to rightly divide the word of truth. Why is Paul ministering to Jews?

Here is the answer: Paul’s one ministry was to both Jew and Gentile. Listen to the Lord:

“…[Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel…” – Acts 9:15

Paul Sent to Unbelieving Israel

Paul’s commission did not exclude all Israel. Rather it included “all men” (1 Tim 2:4). The gospel of grace was for any unbelieving Jew or Gentile. The mystery of Christ gave mercy to all who were concluded in unbelief.

“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” – Rom 11:32

Paul says his heart’s desire is that Israel might be saved (Rom 10:1). The majority of Israel had rejected the prophets, the Messiah, and the twelve apostles. They were in unbelief. Paul’s prayer could be fulfilled through a dispensation of grace gospel.

Paul Ministers Grace to Israel

When Paul ministered to Jews he ministered to them the gospel of the grace of God. How could an apostle of Gentiles minister the gospel of Christ to Jews?

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;” – 1 Corinthians 9:20

He ministered to unbelieving Israel from their scriptures that his gospel was true.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20

But he never strayed from the preaching of the cross (1 Cor 2:2, Acts 13:38-39). Paul wanted Jews saved as well.

Paul Writes to Jews

Not only did Paul go to Jewish synagogues to preach the gospel of grace, he also wrote to Jews. You can find passages to or about Jews in Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Titus.

“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,” – Romans 2:17

There were Jews who believed the gospel of grace and became part of the body of Christ. They were saved by Paul.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:13

Jews in Paul’s Ministry

Paul was a Jew. Paul was an unbelieving Jew saved by the dispensation of God’s grace (1 Tim 1:16).

He taught the mystery of Christ to his kinsmen along with Gentiles, but only to those who were counted in unbelief. The Bible calls them uncircumcised (Acts 7:51).

Peter recognized that Paul could not minister his gospel of grace to the believing remnant of Israel. Paul’s gospel declared mercy to those in unbelief. The remnant were those in belief (Acts 2:44).

So Peter and Paul separated their ministries. Peter confined his ministry to the circumcision. Paul expands his ministry among all the uncircumcision (Gal 2:7-9).

The circumcision in Jerusalem never received the gospel of grace from Paul (Acts 21:20). Paul kept his mouth shut according to his promise (Rom 15:20). Instead he ministered to those uncircumcised Jews among the Gentiles.

Paul always had the same ministry from the Lord (Gal 1:1). He ministered it to unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles.

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Published: January 13, 2011
Last Modified: October 22, 2016
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