Matins Devotion: January 11, 2023
When it comes to the various theological assertions people make, I have a theory that I like to call the Common Knowledge False Doctrine Index. And the theory goes like this: the more certain people are that a certain point of doctrine is a universally accepted truth, the less likely that point of doctrine is to be true. To give just a few examples, “everyone knows God helps those who help themselves.” False. “Everyone knows we become angels when we die.” False. And, of course, “everyone knows the Jews are God’s chosen people.”
This is a topic St. Paul addresses in our reading from Romans 3 today when he writes “what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Then later, he goes on to quote Psalm 14 and these words about how all men are corrupt and how no one seeks after God.
In other words, here Paul is telling the Jewish Christians, “the Jews were God’s chosen people because they were given the covenant. They were given Moses and the prophets. God invited them to the feast of salvation through His word. But most of His people refused to come, chasing after false gods and worst of all, rejecting Christ when He came to bring them home. The Jews were given a treasure that they threw away and now are equally as lost and condemned as the unbelieving gentiles. The unbelievers of Israel are not God’s chosen people, Paul tells us. They are just as much not a people as the lost nations.
So if the Jews or the gentiles want to be God’s chosen people, there’s only one way to become that. It’s to be adopted into His family through faith in Jesus Christ. The only way to join the Father’s feast is to be welcomed in through His Son. And Christ has welcomed you in. Through his blood, His dying breath, His love and mercy, Jesus Christ has destroyed your sin. Through His resurrection, He has conquered your condemnation. And through your baptism into the Triune Name, He has conquered your heart, just as He has done for all who believe.
Despite how often people assert it, it’s simply not true that the Jews, as an ethnic people, are God’s chosen people. You are God’s chosen people. We are God’s chosen people. God’s holy nation is not earthly Israel. It’s the church. May Christ preserve and keep us as His own until the great and glorious day of His return.