How balanced has the Church been?
Whatever you take on board, in terms of actions, one thing must be stressed. One New Man is a partnership between people - Jews and Gentiles - not just ideas. It is not good enough just to take Jewish ideas and run with them, in the knowledge that the vast proportion of Jewish people are currently spiritually lost and that a contributory factor to this situation has been the actions of Christians, past and present.
In the past, Jews were persecuted by Christians in the name of Christ, so it is not surprising that Jews currently are not exactly embracing the religion of Jesus Christ. In the present, many Christians, acting out of misplaced compassion for the past, are in fact totally deluded in their attitude to the Jews. They shy away from evangelising them because of the past hurts and, aren't they still God's people and saved through Judaism? This is totally wrong and just a subtle form of anti-Semitism, denying Jews eternal life at the altar of political correctness. Every unsaved Jew is going to hell just the same as any unsaved Gentile.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Our first thought should be to look at our One New Man and realise how lopsided he is. Not enough Jews! So how do we get more Jews in? Simple - we make a concerted effort to pray for them, love them, understand them and make sensitive efforts, if led, to present the Gospel to them. We must learn to treat them at least as any other people group and realise their need for the Good News of Jesus Christ. Forget political correctness and inter-faith wishy-washyness, we need to do our bit to get them into the Kingdom.
Now the scene has been set, let's consider some practical actions. Of course you may not be in a position to do everything I suggest, but everything you do will bless you, because God said it would. Here He speaks of Abraham and his descendants.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse ... (Genesis 12:3)
Blessings are not to be sniffed at and it's a win-win situation. You bless the Jews, God blesses you. It won't necessarily make you rich, healthy or beautiful, but if it leads just one of God's chosen people to salvation, then you have blessed that person immeasurably, which in turn blesses you too!
We start with something that every Christian can do, what every Christian ought to be doing ... praying. Pray for the Jewish people and, if there's one particular focus to your prayers, be inspired by the following.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
There is a mystery here, something known only to God. Paul has revealed this to the Gentiles as an explanation as to why Jews, by and large, reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's all about you, Gentiles, all about you! God, for His own reasons, has hardened most of the Jewish people against the Gospel and, through this hardening, has switched His attention to Gentiles. It's a mystery, so His reasons for this may not be clear to us, but it does help us to get things into perspective. This is why our One New Man is lopsided. But there's a time limit on this and, one day, this hardening is going to be removed and, what a day that is going to be! Read on ...
Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! (Romans 11:11-12)
One day our One New Man is going to be complete and the world is going to be blessed because of the greater riches this will bring. I believe we are close, very close to this day. We are not there yet but, inasmuch as God answers the sincere prayers of His people, we can pray that this day can come soon. This should be the primary focus of your prayers for the Jewish people.
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:15)
Pray for this veil to be lifted, so the Jews can truly see Jesus and claim their spiritual inheritance. Of course you may know individual Jews, or God may have burdened you to pray for Israel.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. (Psalm 122:6)
Whatever God leads you to do, just do it!
(This is an abridged extract from Steve's book How the Church Lost the Way: And How it Can Find it Again)