Faith and Theology: Dr. John MacArthur Q&A

Devotional

How were Gentiles brought into the family of God?



Historically, the Gentiles (the “uncircumcision”) experienced two types of alienation. The first was social, resulting from the animosity that had existed between Jews and Gentiles for thousands of years. Jews considered Gentiles to be outcasts, objects of derision and reproach. The second and more significant type of alienation was spiritual, because Gentiles as a people were cut off from God in 5 different ways (Eph. 2.11, 12).

1) they were “without Christ,” the Messiah, having no Savior and Deliverer and without divine purpose or destiny.
2) They were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” God’s chosen people, the Jews, were a nation whose supreme King and Lord was God Himself, and from whose unique blessing and protection they benefitted.
3) Gentiles were “strangers from the covenants of promise,” not able to partake of God’s divine covenants in which He promised to give His people a land, a priesthood, a people, a nation, a kingdom, and a King—and to those who believe in Him, eternal life and heaven.
4) They had “no hope” because they had been given no divine promise.
5) They were “without God in the world.” While Gentiles had many gods, they did not recognize the true God because they did not want Him.



“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (v. 13). “Far off” was a common term in rabbinical writings used to describe Gentiles, those who were apart from the true God (Is. 57.19; Acts 2.39). Every person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation, Jew or Gentile, is brought into spiritual union and intimacy with God. This is the reconciliation of 2 Corinthians 5.18–21. The atoning work accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately even its presence. “He Himself” (v. 14). Through His death, Christ abolished Old Testament ceremonial laws, feasts, and sacrifices which uniquely separated Jews from Gentiles. God’s moral law (as summarized in the Ten Commandments and written on the hearts of all men, Rom. 2.15) was not abolished but subsumed in the New Covenant, however, because it reflects His own holy nature (Matt. 5.17–19.)