In order to understand what being grafted into Israel means, we should understand that believers today are not much different from the Israelites in the Old Testament. We come to God essentially the same way.
- Chosen by God
- Baptized (immersed in water)
- Saved from death and slavery
- Voluntarily entered into covenant with God
- Commanded to be holy
- Blood atonement for sin and guilt
- Require frequent cleansing from uncleanness
- Received forgiveness of sins and trespasses
- Justified by grace through faith
- Experience blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience
- Process of sanctification is accomplished by living a life of obedience
- Those who are disobedient and rebel against God fail to enter God’s rest.
Paul emphasized in Romans and Galatians that entering into covenant with God is not accomplished by circumcision = ritual conversion to Judaism. It’s not accomplished by any other ritual for that matter. Baptism and circumcision have their own purposes and meanings that must be done in obedience to God’s commandments but they are not specifically done for conversion sake. These things are meaningless (nothing) in terms of their ability to make you part of Israel. In Romans 11, Paul describes Gentiles being grafted into the olive tree of Israel. Becoming grafted into the olive tree of Israel is accomplished purely by faith in Jesus Christ.
So what does being grafted into Israel mean? It means Jewish and Gentile believers have been joined together to comprise one spiritual body of people. If you are a Gentile, it means you have forsaken that which you have always known and chosen to embrace Israel as your people. This happens when a person forsakes their sins, chooses to obey God’s commandments, and trusts in the atonement Jesus provided on the cross.
Gentiles are like Ruth, the Moabitess who said to Naomi, “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” (NKJV)
Many people enter into covenant with God without fully realizing what they are doing. By entering this marriage covenant, people are choosing to:
- Accept the terms of the covenant (God’s laws).
- Become one with Israel, God’s chosen people.
- Embrace the past, present, and future of Israel.
In the final judgment only Israel will be saved.
God’s grace has always been available to Israel. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Those who curse Israel will be cursed.
Will you choose to become grafted into Israel?
The issue of Galatians is not law versus grace. It’s how to be grafted into Israel. For a study on Galatians, I highly recommend visiting http://www.bereansonline.org , clicking on Studies, and downloading Epistle to the Galatians. Be sure to download the audio files that go with it. You will not be spoon-fed. You must study like a Berean. There’s lots of excellent stuff on this site so if you’re hungry, it’s a good place to feast from.