1 Co 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
There have been much dispute as to the nature of the church, and how Israel relates to the church. Many of the Reformation camp has insisted that the church is the Israel of old. That infant baptism have replaced circumcision, and the covenants of Israel are still applicable to the church. This has given rise to spurious and erroneous ideas that still permeate the church today. Paul in his cursory note to the Corinthian church, highlights that the Jews, the Gentiles and the church of GOD are three separate and distinct entity. He speaks this upon the principle of love of GOD, that as God’s people, noting the essential differences of each camp, we are to operate primarily by GOD’s love to esteem each better than themselves. Notice three truths from this word from Heaven:
1. God had the Jews in mind: We are not to offend them. God made them His chosen people, His chosen nation. The promise to Abraham: I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee in Genesis 12:3 is still applicable today. Notice the many nations that have suffered tremendously when they attempt to defy Israel and to oppose her. A nation born in war, many times afflicted, attacked and despised by her neighbours, but never yet toppled, or annihilated, for the Lord Jesus is their protector, and will be even to the end of the age.
2. God had the Gentiles in mind: We are not to offend them. The Gentiles were in the Abrahamic promise: and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed. Gen 12:3 . Unbeknown to even many of the old prophets, the Gentiles WERE in God’s plan of salvation. God revealed His plan for the world, but waited for the fulness of time before He showed the Saviour to this world. Yet, people in the past , Gentiles have known and followed the Lord: Rachel, Ruth, Naaman, though not in the fulness of revelation, yet, they have known the way of Jehovah and have followed Him.
3. God had the church in mind: we are not to offend her. The church is God’s institution in this age. God has no other plan revealed in the scripture. Man attempts to rationalise the existence of their works but if it is not found in God’s word, it is not in God’s plan. God’s eternal purpose has been to be reconcile all men, and taking men from different cultures and backgrounds and making them one in Christ. God purposed that even the most antagonistic of people groups can be reconciled under the banner of Christ’ love , Christ’s law and Christ’s life. God takes a serious view to offence to the church, and states clearly that His protection is on the church (Matt 28:20 / Matt 16:18) . And yet, He will withdraw His protection when we withdraw our obedience to His word and His works.
We are to understand from GOD’s word that there is Israel, there is the Gentiles and there is the church of God. All three are distinct groups and yet all three are loved by God, that Paul admonishes the Corinthian church not to offend any of them.
Do you love the Church of GOD today? Is there love for the lost? and do you pray for the peace of Israel ? May the Lord help us to accurately and decisively divide the word of GOD that we may be found approved unto to GOD.
Evangelist – Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church