“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” (Romans 15:8–9, KJV 1900)
When I have spoken to young adults, many have a dream of making a difference in the world. In fact, in 1990, Lifeway began a ministry called “World Changers” that gave students and opportunity to touch the lives of people in need though organized mission projects. While all people want to make a difference, I find that young people, in particular, have this drive. Throughout history God has chosen certain groups of people to be “World Changers.” Today, He has chosen the church for this.
While God has chosen the church to take on this worldwide mission, many do not understand that prior to the church age, God chose another group for this mission. This group played a vital role in history. In fact, we would not be the church we are today without them. Yet, I do not think that even they fully realized the important role they would play in this grand plan of God.
I am speaking of the Jewish people. Here, Paul calls them “the circumcision.” At the time of Christ, only a small contingent of the Jewish people saw that Jesus came as Messiah to be “a servant” to the Jews. Furthermore, they did not comprehend the plan of God for Gentiles. Neither, did they comprehend their vital role in this plan. In fact, the majority of the Jewish religious hierarchy actually opposed what God was doing in Jesus.
Nevertheless, God’s purposes stood firm and He still used the Nation of Israel to do something that they, for the most part, did not understand. Yet, they should have understood for the Old Testament Scriptures clearly indicated that Jesus, Messiah, confirmed the promises given to the patriarchs and that the Gentiles would enter in. The result being that the Gentiles would give glory to God. Paul cites several Old Testament references describing the inclusion of the Gentiles in the blessings of the promises.
In the four references, Paul begins with a quote of David speaking of praising God among the Gentiles. He concludes with Isaiah’s prophecy of the Gentiles living under the rule of the Messiah and having true hope. This shows us that all along, God had used the Jews to bring hope to the Gentiles so that the promises given to the patriarchs would be fulfilled.
Just as the God used the Jews in ways that they probably did not comprehend to fulfill His purposes, I believe He is using the church today in a vital part of His great sovereign plan. What is our part? It is to take the message of hope to the ends of the earth. I truly believe that we will not understand the full impact of what the Lord has been doing through us, the church, until we all get to Heaven. That day will be an awesome one. “What a day of rejoicing that will be.”