“I know I’ve told you my testimony but do you REALLY understand what it means to you?” Paul is more than excited to share the deepest meaning with his Gentile audience. “It means that YOU TOO are HIS!”
God’s exclusive relationship with the Jewish people had excluded everyone else; Gentiles. Before Abraham there wasn’t a distinction between specific peoples. God worked with and through whomever He chose. But once He called a people apart for Himself, His focus was directed to them. He still worked His wonders in subtle ways but those works were usually still centered on the Jewish nation. Examples are His hand on the nations that Israel served in slavery. God gave them victory over His people, and then He punished them for how they mistreated them while in captivity.
But Paul is revealing to his readers how God really had ALL of mankind in mind when wanting a relationship. This was something that wasn’t shown to the prophets of old. It was hidden in plain sight. God didn’t let them understand everything that He was saying until just the right time. 20/20 hindsight.
When the time was right, God peeled away the vail from the people’s eyes. No longer was there a reason to keep this part hidden, so the Holy Spirit began working with Jesus’ followers to show them this truth. Paul wasn’t the first one to be sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles; Peter was. And God made certain that Peter saw the evidence of their acceptance by Him through the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the spot.
This was just the beginning. Now that the lock had been removed it was time to throw the gates open. Paul was the one God used for this purpose. I don’t know what it was about Paul that prompted God to choose him. He was so set against Jesus that he was willing to kill for that cause. But now he was so committed to Jesus that he was willing to die for the cause. What more convincing about face could there have been. Maybe that was why God did it that way.
To the Gentile who was locked out of the Kingdom, the gate has been flung open! That gate is Jesus. He is calling out to ANY who would believe in Him to come into His Kingdom. Another important fact in this invitation though is that there is only ONE way in. Being Jewish wasn’t it. Following the law wasn’t it either. The only way in was through Him.
Because of this it might even have been easier for the Gentile to accept this condition than the Jew. The Gentile had nothing to compare previous relationships with God to, whereas the Jew had to abandon their perceived preference and practices and enter into a new kind of relationship. One based on His works and not theirs.
How exciting it must have been to finally have that separation removed. To be seen by God as just as desirable as anyone else. It wasn’t easy for the Gentiles to walk on into this new relationship because the Jews did NOT want to share. But walk in they could, and did! And Paul was more than willing to “hold the door” for them.
Father God, thank You for shouting out to me, a Gentile, and letting me know that I am welcome in Your presence too. Thank You for thinking of me and planning for my acceptance from the very beginning. Thank You for revealing Your plan at just the right time. Thank You for sending Paul to the Gentile communities to share this good news with them. And thank You for writing it all down so I could hear of Your “open door” for myself all these years later. Thank You for allowing me to be in a personal relationship with You.
Thank You Holy Spirit for keeping the prophets’ eyes closed. Thank You for working behind the scenes throughout history to bring things into focus when the time came. Thank You for helping me understand what was shared so long ago and apply it to my own life. I have heard the good news and I LOVE it! Thank You that I was born in the time after the separation was removed. I have no idea what my life would have been like if I had been a part of earlier history.