The Attitude of the Church Towards the Jews.
An address given at the Mildmay Conference on June 24th, 1885.
I should like to draw your attention, dear friends, to a few verses in the Epistle to the Romans.
The subject allotted to me is, "The Attitude of the Church towards the Jews: What ought it to be?” Oh that we may get some understanding concerning this matter! It is well to see what God's Word tells us concerning Israel in their connection with the Gentiles and the Church of Christ. Look at two or three verses only.
In the twelfth verse of [Romans] chapter xi., I find, "If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them, the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” And in verse 15, "If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" Then in verse 28, "As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." And also in verse 30, "As ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief." When we look at these several points in connection with God's dealings with the Jews, we are stirred up to consider what we owe to them. What then, should be our attitude towards that peculiar people, God selected to be His special people? "They are enemies for your sakes."
Now observe, with regard to God's dealings with Israel, the effect of their unbelief is what they lose by unbelief, we enter into by faith. Through faith, we just enter into what they have lost by want of faith. Now, there is a passage in the ninth chapter, where Paul, in touching words says, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." Observe the seven points they have lost through unbelief and we have obtained through faith; the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, the promises, of whom concerning the flesh, Christ. Now all this stir amongst us concerning the Jews, and the stir amongst the Jews, of which we have heard lately, is just a sign of the closing up of this Gentile dispensation; and it is therefore deeply important to consider what has been opened to us through their unbelief, and how little we have done for them in return.
Now consider for a moment these points. First, the adoption. Turn to Gal. iv. 4, 5, and see that "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." And not only called sons, but are sons. "Because ye are sons;" "Now are we the sons of God." So, we have received the adoption, just what we have read that Israel lost. Another verse from Eph. i. 4, 5, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Thus, what they have lost, we have gained.
Then the glory. Observe the expression in Isa. xlvi. 13, "I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Israel for My glory." Compare with that 2 Thess. ii. 14, "Whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Compare Phil. i. 10, 11; 1 Thess. ii. 12; and 1 Peter v. 10, 11. I will not read these; but turn to them at your leisure and see that as Israel lost the glory by unbelief, we have obtained the glory through faith.
Now the Covenant. Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant (Heb. ix. 15), and so we, by faith enter into the covenant Israel has lost by unbelief.
Then the giving of the law. See Rom. x. 4, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Refer also to Psalm cxlvii., last two verses, "He sheweth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation." Compare Romans viii. 4, and see that what Israel lost, we have gained.
Then the service of God. Read Heb. ix. 1-14, and see the precious thought of the apostle, how that to the service shadowed in the ceremonies, we are called. Compare with that also 1 Thess. i. 9. May the outcome of this Conference be that all of us may more faithfully in these last days serve the living and true God.
Then the promises. Read Deut. vi. 10-14, and xxviii. 1-14, and see what Israel has lost; and compare Gal. iii. 14-16, and 2 Cor. i. 20, to understand what we have gained.
Then of whom concerning the flesh, Christ came. Read Gal. iv. 19, "Until Christ be formed in you;" Col. i. 2, "Christ in you, the hope of glory;" and Col iii. 4, "Christ, who is our life," and see how, in a spiritual sense, what Israel lost, we have gained by faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now, as we look closely into these things, we see the position God has placed us in; and if we have got such blessing through Israel's fall, surely it must stir our hearts to take a deeper interest in those things concerning Israel. When we consider these things, we say, with the brethren of Joseph, "We are verily guilty" concerning Israel. It behoves us now to search our hearts and lives in this matter. God's Son came to give blessing to Israel; they would not receive Him, and now His goodness and mercy has passed on to us. But remember, while "they are enemies for our sakes, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." And ye, through their unbelief have obtained mercy, even so now through our mercy, they may obtain mercy. Now, what have we done to advance the cause of Israel, to spread the name of Christ among them? Remember that those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem, shall have mercy and loving-kindness manifested towards them. Let us seek to manifest such loving acts as we have it in our power towards Jews. And may we be guided to the Scriptures of truth concerning His ancient and chosen people Israel.