It is extremely difficult, (yea, even bordering on the impossible) to correct a man’s thinking on a particular doctrine or subject, once he has been convinced (i.e.; taught) that the scripture speaks of some notion which is in reality, in opposition to that which is actually true. Apart from a work of grace to remove the scales from his eyes, he will remain in opposition to the truth.
It is far more difficult for a man to “unlearn” things which are ingrained in his thinking than it is to “learn” that which cannot be overturned. This is why the LORD said, that the harlots and publicans go into the kingdom of GOD before the men of religion. The man who knows himself to be a sinner, possessing no righteousness of his own, can more readily embrace the mercy of GOD shown to sinners, than the man who believes he can gain the favor of GOD through his faith, knowledge, and devotion.
The transformation of the mind of Saul of Tarsus, as he became Paul the Apostle, is just such a marvel, which cannot be explained by human understanding. It is no wonder that Festus declared, “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” (Acts 26:24); when Paul related his testimony concerning the revelation of the truth of the Gospel, and the PERSON of HE; who is both LORD and CHRIST. Everything which Paul said went contrary to the thought process of Festus who was in some measure acquainted with the Jewish traditions and religion.
Consider the mindset of the Jews, being one of the oldest cultures recorded in the scriptures, and maintaining a tradition that is ingrained in their psyche from infancy, since to them were given the message of prophets which were sent and ordained by the Everlasting GOD. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. “ (Rom 3:1-2) Because of this they considered that they were in particular the chosen people of GOD and assumed that they could inherit and pass on the promises of GOD to their posterity by instruction, in, and adherence to, these traditions. “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” (Isa 28:13)
Paul was not only taught in this way, but was very zealous to uphold and defend that which he believed to be true even to the putting to death, those whom he believed were the enemies of the truth, as he understood it. No man could ever have convinced him otherwise, for he was a Jew of the Jews and a Pharisee, of the Pharisees, proud of his lineage and steeped in the letter of the law which he blamelessly walked in. (see Phil.3:5,6) Not all Jews are as zealous as Paul, but all are equally convinced of the veracity of their religious traditions.
It is not shocking then, that many Gentiles, have regard unto the position wherein they believe the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hold as being the “chosen people of GOD.” Now it cannot be successfully argued that the LORD has not shown favor to the carnal nation of Israel, down through history, nor that they may not yet be used by HIM in the ultimate unfolding of HIS purpose for the nations of this earth. But, by the grace of GOD, it can be shown that they are but a type and foreshadow of that people which were chosen in CHRIST from before the foundation of the world. As Paul came to understand, “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom 9:6-8)
As the LORD opened his understanding, he confessed, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom 2:28-29). The “chosen people” of GOD, as pertains to the everlasting promise of GOD is not the carnal nation of Israel, but rather that “nation” which is hidden in CHRIST from before the foundation of the world. That people which were not a “people” (i.e.; a nation recognized by men) but are now clearly manifested as the people of GOD (see I Pet.2:9,10) and the heirs and joint heirs of HIS everlasting promise.
Those who would purport that the carnal nation of Israel are to be the recipients of the promise of GOD to Abraham and his seed, fail to understand the import of what Paul explains and could see clearly. For he points out that the SEED of Abraham to which the promise was given was not the multiple descendants of Abraham after the flesh, but rather to HIM who was before Abraham, but sprang from his loins as ONE born as the LION of the tribe of Judah and the SON of David who would sit upon the throne of HIS Kingdom forever. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Gal 3:16)
All of the promises which benefit the sons of GOD are theirs because the promise was given to CHRIST, (by the FATHER) and they are by election and imputation made to be those who inherit all things in HIM. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2Cor 1:20-22)
CHRIST is the SEED of Abraham who does bestow upon those, whom HE has loved with an everlasting love; all of the blessings which are HIS in this covenant which the FATHER has made with HIM. This is not a particular nationality of people in the Earth, but rather are those who are redeemed “to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev 5:9) “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28) Does this not fulfill the prophetic words spoken by the FATHER to the SON in Psalm 2 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psa 2:8)?
So when Paul declares, “if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”, he is asserting the union which exists between CHRIST and HIS people. They cannot be separated from HIM nor will HE be separated from them. Even as HE prayed for them and not the world (in general) in Gethsemane, so too shall HE give them all of the blessings and the benefits of that promise which is HIS, both now and forever. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom 8:16-17) “And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” (1Cor 3:23) “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21)
What a great consolation and comfort is given to those for whom CHRIST came and in HIS own body on Calvary’s tree, did purchase them from the slavery and sentence of death which they did gladly embrace when they walked according to the same spirit which now still works in the children of disobedience. HE would not abandon them since they belong to HIM but just as that faithful shepherd would leave the ninety and nine in order to find his lost sheep, so too HE would do whatever was necessary that HE might not lose even one of those sheep which HE has loved with an everlasting love.
“For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” (Isa 62:1-4)mam