In God’s eyes, according to His plans, TRUE JEWS are those who are born-again spiritually. This includes the believing Israelites, (Remnant), along with all believing Gentiles. A TRUE JEW is one inwardly by faith in Christ, not outwardly by fleshly birth.
“28For lie is NOT A JEW who is one OUTWARDLY, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29but HE IS A JEW who is one INWARDLY; and circumcision is that OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but FROM GOD.” (Rom. 2:28-29).
Paul said that he was grieved in his heart because of his countrymen according to the flesh. He was referring to physical Jews, who were unbelievers. He was not referring to the TRUE JEWS (born-again believing spiritual Jews). He said that the physical Israelites by the flesh, to whom pertains the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, CHRIST CAME, who is over all. He is the eternally blessed God (Rom. 9:1-5).
Paul said that they are NOT ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE OF ISRAEL. Neither are they all children because they are the physical seed of Abraham. But TRUE JEWS are those who are children of the promise who are counted as the seed.
“6But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are NOT ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE OF ISRAEL, 7 nor are they all children because they are the (physical) seed of Abraham; but, ‘IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED.’ 8That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD; but the CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE (spiritual Israel) are counted as THE SEED.”(Rom. 9:6-8; Gen. 21:12).
TRUE JEWS are those who are in Christ by faith. This includes believing Jews and believing Gentiles. These are the sons of Abraham to whom the promises have been made. The Jews in the physical nation of Israel are not the sons of Abraham to whom God gave the promises and the blessings. Instead it is to Abraham and his Seed, who is Christ.
“7 Therefore know that only those WHO ARE OF FAITH are SONS OF ABRAHAM. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify THE GENTILES by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “IN YOU ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED.” 9So then those WHO ARE OF FAITH ARE BLESSED WITH BELIEVING ABRAHAM.” (Galatians 3:7-9; Gen. 12:3).
“16Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ WHO IS CHRIST.” (Gal. 3:16; Gen. 22:18).
The physical nation of Israel has passed away in God’s plans. All of the Old Testament promises to Israel are for His TRUE JEWS, who are in Christ by faith and are called Christians. God will not go back to the physical nation of Israel 2000 years after Paul wrote his epistles. To do so would make Christ of no effect. He fulfilled all of the Law and HE HAS RECEIVED THE PROMISE. These promises are not for anyone else or any nation. It is only for those who are IN CHRIST BY FAITH, known as TRUE JEWS and are called Christians.
That is why Paul wrote that “ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED.” He was referring to all of believing Israel in Christ (believing Jew or believing Gentile). Each and every “faithful believer” in Israel will continue to be saved. He quoted what God had said as recorded by Isaiah, that the Deliverer or Redeemer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel). He said that these words shall not depart from their descendants from that time and forevermore.
He referred to His New Covenant Kingdom in which their sins were taken away through Christ’s atonement for the faithful believers. Jesus brought this New Covenant for HIS PEOPLE, believing Jews and believing Gentiles, TRUE JEWS or the spiritual Israel of God (Isaiah 59:20-21; Rom. 11:26-27).
The physical nation of Israel is no longer in the picture. That does not mean that physical Jews cannot be saved and receive the promises. They are able, on an individual basis, to become a TRUE JEW in Christ and receive the promises, just like any Gentiles true believer does. But it must be through FAITH IN CHRIST as an individual and not as a nation.
“26For you are all SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are ABRAHAM’S SEED, and HEIRS according to the Promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29).
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[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 11 on Romans 11”]