Christ told his disciples (special students) to take his message, the gospel, across the world (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8). Those original disciples, and all the first Christians, were Jews. In other words, they belonged to the nation called Israel. God chose Israelís people to be his special people (Romans 9:4-5).
So, the first people who put their hope and trust in Christ were Jews. They included Paul (Romans 11:1). You can read about the extraordinary event that caused Paul (then called Saul) to put his trust in Christ, in Acts 9:1-22.
Paul has just written about Godís great plan to bring all things under the rule of Christ (1:9-10). Paul taught that God works in every circumstance to bring about his purposes (Romans 8:28). So, clearly God was working in the lives of Paul and all the first Christians.
What God was doing in the lives of those Jewish Christians was for his own glory. In other words, their lives brought honour to him; they were showing Godís greatness to the world. In his great wisdom, God had chosen to use their lives for this purpose.
We can see that those Christians truly were Godís special, holy people. They belonged to Israel, Godís holy nation; and they were also carrying out Godís holy work in the world. Perhaps it is not so easy to recognise that later Christians are also Godís special, holy people. They may be from other nations (1 Peter 2:9-10); but God has joined them to Israelís people who trust in Christ (Romans 11:17-27; Ephesians 2:11-19). They are all Godís holy people; they all belong to God.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.