God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that, by means of their family, he would show kindness to people from every nation (Genesis 12:3). God would make it possible for people from all nations to receive a relationship with him. People from every nation would know the same kind of relationship with God that Abrahamís family had (Romans chapter 4).
As a mark of that promise, that family accepted circumcision: a minor operation on the sex part of males. That family became the nation called Israel, also called the Jewish people. Circumcision distinguished them from the other nations; it also reminded them of their nationís special work for God. That work is to bring the knowledge of God to the world, as Paul explains in Romans 2:17-20).
However, Israelís people could not carry out that task properly or completely, because of their own wrong deeds (3:9-12). By Godís standards, we are all guilty people (3:23). That is why God sent Christ into the world (John 3:16). He died to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds (5:6-8). We must turn from our evil deeds and accept him into our lives by faith (trust in God). God accepts all who turn to him in faith, from every nation (3:29-30). Therefore, people from every nation can now receive a right relationship with God because of Christís work.
Christ did not carry out that work separately from Godís promises to Israel. Rather, Christ did it because of Godís promises to Israel. Christ himself belonged to Israel (9:5). So, he brought the knowledge of God to all the nations on behalf of the rest of Israel. Godís kindness, both to Israel and to all the nations, is a great reason to give honour and thanks to God (15:9)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.