Salvation Is of the Jews

When Jesus Christ challenges Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, in  relating with God, He says, “Ye must be born again.” (Jn 3:7)

Since this is in the New Testament, and we never hear it taught from the Old, it’s easy to think that being born again is relatively novel, something Moses, David and Abraham knew nothing about.

But Christ is speaking before the Cross, before He dies and rises again, so nothing has actually changed since Mount Sinai, when God revealed His Law, or really even since Adam. There’s no New Testament scripture at this point in time, yet Christ acts as if Nicodemus should already know about being born again, as if it’s obvious from the Old Testament. (Jn 3:10) How significant! If we don’t see being born again in the Old Testament like Jesus expects, what makes us think we understand it?

In a similar encounter, Christ challenges a woman and says something just as striking. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” (Jn 4:22) He’s saying that if we don’t understand the salvation presented in the Old Testament, the oracles of God committed to the Jews (Ro 3:1-2), then we don’t understand salvation at all; we’re worshiping in ignorance. Not a good place to be.

In a third encounter, Christ tells an equivalently insightful story of a rich man suffering in Hell, concerned that his family will follow after him into its flames. He asks Abraham to send an acquaintance back from the dead to warn them. Abraham says, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” (Lk 16:29) The claim is that Old Testament scriptures are a sufficient witness of the gospel. But the rich man pleads, convinced that the Old Testament is insufficient; if someone they knew rose from the dead to warn them, then they would repent and be saved. But Abraham is firm: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (31)

Not only is the Old Testament a sufficient witness of the gospel, it is so overwhelmingly sufficient that if one isn’t convinced through it, then nothing will convince them.

Salvation is of the Jews: accomplished by Christ, a Jew, and revealed by and through Jews, God’s chosen people, in the scriptures God has transmitted to us all through them. This doesn’t mean we have to become Jewish in order to be right with God (1Co 7:18-20), but it does mean that the gospel of the New Testament is exactly the same as the gospel of the Old Testament. If the gospel we believe in isn’t an Old Testament gospel, then it’s a false one. (Ga 1:8)

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6 thoughts on “Salvation Is of the Jews”

  1. Great stuff Tim, but there is an “if”.

    Some people would “Po Po” your narrative, not me. If you are saying that salvation comes from faith alone in Christ alone, even pre-cross IE: the coming “Messiah”, I’m all in, “Good Stuff ”

    Salvation is the same now as it was then.

    Iron sharpens Iron

    1. Exactly! Justification has always and only been by faith, faith that’s rooted in supernatural transformation, the quickening of the Spirit through the Word. Hope you are well Bro!

      1. But was that “faith” in the “deliverer” or coming “Messiah” for the Jew?

        1. Yes! “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn 8:56)

  2. Tim,

    Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
    Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? [ It’s a question! ]

    [ The implication I hear, is that Yeshua is telling Nicodemus, you should KNOW this ]

    From Psalm 87

    And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

    Have to admit, I am not beyond psalm 87 yet on the subject.

    His Foundation is in the Holy Mountains – headliner in KJV version of psalm 87


    1. Hi Stephen! Yes, I think Yeshua is telling ALL of us: “You should know this!” There’s no excuse for not knowing how to be born again, and knowing that our understanding is consistent with the entire body of holy scripture. One neglects this at their eternal peril, presuming that common religion will keep them safe on Judgment Day. If the Queen of Sheba traveled far to hear the wisdom of Solomon, surely the common availability of scripture will judge this generation — particularly in the West, where there’s a Bible in most every hotel drawer. We will all be held accountable for our opportunity to know, and how we leveraged it. This is very sobering.

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