One New Man in Christ
Often those of the Jewish race who come to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in faith, think of themselves as “Jewish believers;” just as those who are not of the Jewish race, once they have placed their faith for their eternal salvation in Christ, think of themselves as “Gentile believers.” Both positions are unsubstantiated by Scripture.
Once a person of any race, gender, or creed, by faith alone in Christ alone, is “born again,” he or she is identified by the New Testament, and thereby known by God, as a new creation—one new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:14-16). From that point forward he or she should essentially not think of himself or herself as a “Jewish Christian” or “Gentile Christian,” but just as a Christian. In reality the Scriptures teach that in Christ there is no race, social, or gender distinctions. Spiritually speaking, the person who has accepted Christ by faith is the seed of Abraham and heirs according to the promise.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile], there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:27-29)
Other passages bearing on the matter are:
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20, 21)
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. (Romans 10:12)
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. . . . There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling. (Ephesians 2: 14-16; 4:4)
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)
Many of you know that I am Jewish and therefore, I am often asked for advice on how to witness to my people. Sometimes I think they ask me because they assume it must be some kind of genetic thing. First, I must tell you that a Jew is saved in the same manner as a Gentile; God does it because man cannot. The most effective tactic in Jewish evangelism is still fervent prayer and love. I realize that some of you graciously think that all Messianic Jews are special. That's very kind of you, but I fear that this has led to a problem. Some of us in the Messianic community seem to believe the rhetoric that we are special by birth, and that is a temptation that can lead to spiritual arrogance. This can be very dangerous. We are special by birth but it is by the new birth! We are all dependent on Jewish blood, but it was not the blood of our Jewish parents. It was the blood of our Jewish Savior — Jesus.
I also want to briefly address
certain Messianic traditions and Jewish flavored trends about our
Messiah. By the way, I usually call him Jesus. I love and respect my
peers who religiously call Him by His Hebrew name — Yeshua,
but reading Hebrew doesn't automatically make us more spiritual.
Calling Jesus, Yeshua is very nice, but knowing His name
doesn't insure that we know or share His character. We might wish
to remember that some traditional Jews find changing the names of
the New Testament characters to be an offensive tactic. To some,
changing the names does not protect the innocent, it convicts the
suspicious. To many, calling Jesus, Yeshua is little more
than a subterfuge and they deem it to be improper. Forgive me, but
His name, which was a very common first century Jewish name, is not
offensive in any language. It is not His name, but His claims that
enrage unbelievers. Regardless of what we call the Son of God, He
will always be a stumbling block to those who don't believe God
wanted nor needed a Son. Personally, I don't feel that we have any
obligation to put Jesus in a more appealing package or change His
name. He is altogether winsome and perfect without our help.
To this, no more from this writer can be stated.