Gentiles, In Nt
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As Jesus went into Capernaum, a centurion came up to Him, begging Him, And saying, Lord, my servant boy is lying at the house paralyzed and distressed with intense pains. And Jesus said to him, I will come and restore him.read more.
But the centurion replied to Him, Lord, I am not worthy or fit to have You come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant boy will be cured. For I also am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my slave, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard him, He marveled and said to those who followed Him [ who adhered steadfastly to Him, conforming to His example in living and, if need be, in dying also], I tell you truly, I have not found so much faith as this with anyone, even in Israel. I tell you, many will come from east and west, and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, While the sons and heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then to the centurion Jesus said, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed. And the servant boy was restored to health at that very moment.
After Jesus had finished all that He had to say in the hearing of the people [on the mountain], He entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a bond servant who was held in honor and highly valued by him, who was sick and at the point of death. And when the centurion heard of Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to Him, requesting Him to come and make his bond servant well.read more.
And when they reached Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that You should do this for him, For he loves our nation and he built us our synagogue [at his own expense]. And Jesus went with them. But when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent [some] friends to Him, saying, Lord, do not trouble [Yourself], for I am not sufficiently worthy to have You come under my roof; Neither did I consider myself worthy to come to You. But [just] speak a word, and my servant boy will be healed. For I also am a man [daily] subject to authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my bond servant, Do this, and he does it. Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and He turned and said to the crowd that followed Him, I tell you, not even in [all] Israel have I found such great faith [as this]. And when the messengers who had been sent returned to the house, they found the bond servant who had been ill quite well again.
And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon! But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.read more.
He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me! And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs. She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups ( little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters' table. Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.
And Jesus arose and went away from there to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He went into a house and did not want anyone to know [that He was there]; but it was not possible for Him to be hidden [from public notice]. Instead, at once, a woman whose little daughter had (was under the control of) an unclean spirit heard about Him and came and flung herself down at His feet. Now the woman was a Greek (Gentile), a Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept begging Him to drive the demon out of her little daughter.read more.
And He said to her, First let the children be fed, for it is not becoming or proper or right to take the children's bread and throw it to the [little house] dogs. But she answered Him, Yes, Lord, yet even the small pups under the table eat the little children's scraps of food. And He said to her, Because of this saying, you may go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter [permanently]. And she went home and found the child thrown on the couch, and the demon departed.
Listen to another parable: There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a hedge around it and dug a wine vat in it and built a watchtower. Then he let it out [for rent] to tenants and went into another country. When the fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his [share of the] fruit. But the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.read more.
Again he sent other servants, more than the first time, and they treated them the same way. Finally he sent his own son to them, saying, They will respect and give heed to my son. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, This is the heir; come on, let us kill him and have his inheritance. And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes back, what will he do to those tenants? They said to Him, He will put those wretches to a miserable death and rent the vineyard to other tenants of such a character that they will give him the fruits promptly in their season. Jesus asked them, Have you never read in the Scriptures: The very Stone which the builders rejected and threw away has become the Cornerstone; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? I tell you, for this reason the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the fruits of it.
And [Jesus] started to speak to them in parables [with comparisons and illustrations]. A man planted a vineyard and put a hedge around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower and let it out [for rent] to vinedressers and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a bond servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they took him and beat him and sent him away without anything.read more.
Again he sent to them another bond servant, and they stoned him and wounded him in the head and treated him shamefully [sending him away with insults]. And he sent another, and that one they killed; then many others -- "some they beat, and some they put to death. He had still one left [to send], a beloved son; last of all he sent him to them, saying, They will respect my son. But those tenants said to one another, Here is the heir; come on, let us put him to death, and [then] the inheritance will be ours. And they took him and killed him, and threw [his body] outside the vineyard. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read this [passage of] Scripture: The very Stone which [ after putting It to the test] the builders rejected has become the Head of the corner [Cornerstone]; This is from the Lord and is His doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?
Then He began to relate to the people this parable ( this story to figuratively portray what He had to say): A man planted a vineyard and leased it to some vinedressers and went into another country for a long stay. When the [right] season came, he sent a bond servant to the tenants, that they might give him [his part] of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat ( thrashed) him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent still another servant; him they also beat ( thrashed) and dishonored and insulted him disgracefully and sent him away empty-handed.read more.
And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and threw out [of the vineyard]. Then the owner of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it is probable that they will respect him. But when the tenants saw him, they argued among themselves, saying, This is the heir; let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours. So they drove him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and [ utterly] put an end to those tenants and will give the vineyard to others. When they [the chief priests and the scribes and the elders] heard this, they said, May it never be!
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know and understand that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside [the city] get out of it, and let not those who are out in the country come into it; For those are days of vengeance [of rendering full justice or satisfaction], that all things that are written may be fulfilled.read more.
Alas for those who are pregnant and for those who have babies which they are nursing in those days! For great misery and anguish and distress shall be upon the land and indignation and punishment and retribution upon this people. They will fall by the mouth and the edge of the sword and will be led away as captives to and among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (completed).
Jesus sent out these twelve, charging them, Go nowhere among the Gentiles and do not go into any town of the Samaritans; But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days ( perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).
And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]. He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [ from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] will be condemned.
And said to them, Thus it is written that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from ( among) the dead, And that repentance [with a view to and as the condition of] forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
And he said to them, You yourselves are aware how it is not lawful or permissible for a Jew to keep company with or to visit or [even] to come near or to speak first to anyone of another nationality, but God has shown and taught me by words that I should not call any human being common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean.
The next day as they were still on their way and were approaching the town, Peter went up to the roof of the house to pray, about the sixth hour (noon). But he became very hungry, and wanted something to eat; and while the meal was being prepared a trance came over him, And he saw the sky opened and something like a great sheet lowered by the four corners, descending to the earth.read more.
It contained all kinds of quadrupeds and wild beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him, saying, Rise up, Peter, kill and eat. But Peter said, No, by no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean. And the voice came to him again a second time, What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding and calling common and unhallowed or unclean. This occurred three times; then immediately the sheet was taken up to heaven. Now Peter was still inwardly perplexed and doubted as to what the vision which he had seen could mean, when [just then] behold the messengers that were sent by Cornelius, who had made inquiry for Simon's house, stopped and stood before the gate. And they called out to inquire whether Simon who was surnamed Peter was staying there. And while Peter was earnestly revolving the vision in his mind and meditating on it, the [Holy] Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are looking for you! Get up and go below and accompany them without any doubt [about its legality] or any discrimination or hesitation, for I have sent them.
I was in the town of Joppa praying, and [falling] in a trance I saw a vision of something coming down from heaven, like a huge sheet lowered by the four corners; and it descended until it came to me. Gazing intently and closely at it, I observed in it [a variety of] four-footed animals and wild beasts and reptiles of the earth and birds of the air, And I heard a voice saying to me, Get up, Peter; kill and eat.read more.
But I said, No, by no means, Lord; for nothing common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean has ever entered my mouth. But the voice answered a second time from heaven, What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding or calling it common or unhallowed or unclean. This occurred three times, and then all was drawn up again into heaven. And right then the three men sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house in which we were. And the [Holy] Spirit instructed me to accompany them without [the least] hesitation or misgivings or discrimination. So these six brethren accompanied me also, and we went into the man's house. And he related to us how he had seen the angel in his house which stood and said to him, Send men to Joppa and bring Simon who is surnamed Peter; He will give and explain to you a message by means of which you and all your household [as well] will be saved [ from eternal death].
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to the message. And the believers from among the circumcised [the Jews] who came with Peter were surprised and amazed, because the free gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out largely even on the Gentiles. For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and extolling and magnifying God. Then Peter asked,read more.
Can anyone forbid or refuse water for baptizing these people, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Then they begged him to stay on there for some days.
And after there had been a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, Brethren, you know that quite a while ago God made a choice or selection from among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the message of the Gospel [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] and believe (credit and place their confidence in it). And God, Who is acquainted with and understands the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit as He also did to us;
But on the contrary, when they [really] saw that I had been entrusted [to carry] the Gospel to the uncircumcised [Gentiles, just as definitely] as Peter had been entrusted [to proclaim] the Gospel to the circumcised [Jews, they were agreeable]; For He Who motivated and fitted Peter and worked effectively through him for the mission to the circumcised, motivated and fitted me and worked through me also for [the mission to] the Gentiles. And when they knew (perceived, recognized, understood, and acknowledged) the grace (God's unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) that had been bestowed upon me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who were reputed to be pillars of the Jerusalem church, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Jews).
But the Lord said to him, Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the descendants of Israel;
And I said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But arise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, that I might appoint you to serve as [My] minister and to bear witness both to what you have seen of Me and to that in which I will appear to you, Choosing you out [selecting you for Myself] and delivering you from among this [Jewish] people and the Gentiles to whom I am sending you -- "read more.
To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me. Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, But made known openly first of all to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the whole land of Judea, and also among the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works and live lives consistent with and worthy of their repentance. Because of these things the Jews seized me in the temple [ enclosure] and tried to do away with me. [But] to this day I have had the help which comes from God [as my ally], and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike, asserting nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses declared would come to pass -- " That the Christ (the Anointed One) must suffer and that He, by being the first to rise from the dead, would declare and show light both to the [Jewish] people and to the Gentiles.
I want you to know, brethren, that many times I have planned and intended to come to you, though thus far I have been hindered and prevented, in order that I might have some fruit (some result of my labors) among you, as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. Both to Greeks and to barbarians (to the cultured and to the uncultured), both to the wise and the foolish, I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay. So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Still on some points I have written to you the more boldly and unreservedly by way of reminder. [I have done so] because of the grace (the unmerited favor) bestowed on me by God In making me a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I act in the priestly service of the Gospel (the good news) of God, in order that the sacrificial offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable [to God], consecrated and made holy by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have legitimate reason to glory (exult) in my work for God [in what through Christ Jesus I have accomplished concerning the things of God].read more.
For [of course] I will not venture (presume) to speak thus of any work except what Christ has actually done through me [as an instrument in His hands] to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, [Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit. [The result is] that starting from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel [faithfully executing, accomplishing, carrying out to the full the good news] of Christ (the Messiah) in its entirety.
I went because it was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go, and I put before them the Gospel [declaring to them that] which I preach among the Gentiles. However, [I presented the matter] privately before those of repute, [for I wanted to make certain, by thus at first confining my communication to this private conference] that I was not running or had not run in vain [guarding against being discredited either in what I was planning to do or had already done].
And of this matter I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (special messenger) -- "I am speaking the truth in Christ, I do not falsify [when I say this] -- "a teacher of the Gentiles in [the realm of] faith and truth.
But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the [Gospel] message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was delivered out of the jaws of the lion.
But since they kept opposing and abusing and reviling him, he shook out his clothing [against them] and said to them, Your blood be upon your [own] heads! I am innocent [of it]. From now on I will go to the Gentiles (the heathen).
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out plainly and boldly, saying, It was necessary that God's message [concerning salvation through Christ] should be spoken to you first. But since you thrust it from you, you pass this judgment on yourselves that you are unworthy of eternal life and out of your own mouth you will be judged. [Now] behold, we turn to the Gentiles (the heathen).
And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified (praised and gave thanks for) the Word of God; and as many as were destined (appointed and ordained) to eternal life believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus as the Christ and their Savior).
Now at Iconium [also Paul and Barnabas] went into the Jewish synagogue together and spoke with such power that a great number both of Jews and of Greeks believed (became Christians); But the unbelieving Jews [who rejected their message] aroused the Gentiles and embittered their minds against the brethren.
After saluting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party [certain Jewish Christians] found fault with him [separating themselves from him in a hostile spirit, opposing and disputing and contending with him], Saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and [even] eat with them?
When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He did on us at the beginning. Then I recalled the declaration of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with ( be placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit. If then God gave to them the same Gift [equally] as He gave to us when we believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I and what power or authority had I to interfere or hinder or forbid or withstand God?read more.
When they heard this, they were quieted and made no further objection. And they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto [real] life [after resurrection].
For up to the time that certain persons came from James, he ate his meals with the Gentile [converts]; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he withdrew and held himself aloof from the Gentiles and [ate] separately for fear of those of the circumcision [party]. And the rest of the Jews along with him also concealed their true convictions and acted insincerely, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy (their example of insincerity and pretense).
But some who believed [who acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and devoted themselves to Him] belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, and they rose up and said, It is necessary to circumcise [the Gentile converts] and to charge them to obey the Law of Moses. The apostles and the elders were assembled together to look into and consider this matter. And after there had been a long debate, Peter got up and said to them, Brethren, you know that quite a while ago God made a choice or selection from among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the message of the Gospel [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] and believe (credit and place their confidence in it).read more.
And God, Who is acquainted with and understands the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit as He also did to us; And He made no difference between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith ( by a strong and welcome conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God). Now then, why do you try to test God by putting a yoke on the necks of the disciples, such as neither our forefathers nor we [ourselves] were able to endure? But we believe that we are saved through the grace (the undeserved favor and mercy) of the Lord Jesus, just as they [are]. Then the whole assembly remained silent, and they listened [attentively] as Barnabas and Paul rehearsed what signs and wonders God had performed through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished talking, James replied, Brethren, listen to me. Simeon [Peter] has rehearsed how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people [to bear and honor] His name. And with this the predictions of the prophets agree, as it is written, After this I will come back, and will rebuild the house of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its [very] ruins, and I will set it up again, So that the rest of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My name has been invoked, Says the Lord, Who has been making these things known from the beginning of the world. Therefore it is my opinion that we should not put obstacles in the way of and annoy and disturb those of the Gentiles who turn to God, But we should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, and all sexual impurity, and [eating meat of animals] that have been strangled, and [tasting of] blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had his preachers in every town, for he is read [aloud] every Sabbath in the synagogues. Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, resolved to select men from among their number and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, [both] leading men among the brethren, and sent them. With [them they sent] the following letter: The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings: As we have heard that some persons from our number have disturbed you with their teaching, unsettling your minds and throwing you into confusion, although we gave them no express orders or instructions [on the points in question], It has been resolved by us in assembly to select men and send them [as messengers] to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men who have hazarded their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will bring you the same message by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to lay upon you any greater burden than these indispensable requirements: That you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from [tasting] blood and from [eating the meat of animals] that have been strangled and from sexual impurity. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell [be strong]! So when [the messengers] were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and having assembled the congregation, they delivered the letter. And when they read it, the people rejoiced at the consolation and encouragement [it brought them].
Then after [an interval] of fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem. [This time I went] with Barnabas, taking Titus along with [me] also. I went because it was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go, and I put before them the Gospel [declaring to them that] which I preach among the Gentiles. However, [I presented the matter] privately before those of repute, [for I wanted to make certain, by thus at first confining my communication to this private conference] that I was not running or had not run in vain [guarding against being discredited either in what I was planning to do or had already done]. But [all went well!] even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled [as some had anticipated] to be circumcised, although he was a Greek.read more.
[My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses]. To them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the Gospel might continue to be [preserved] for you [in its purity].
In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off]. Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [ for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him]. I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.read more.
If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God's gracious favor and unmerited blessing). For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit's [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope. For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near.
And [now] they sing a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll and to break the seals that are on it, for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased men unto God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And You have made them a kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall reign [as kings] over the earth!
So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous. Now if their stumbling (their lapse, their transgression) has so enriched the world [at large], and if [Israel's] failure means such riches for the Gentiles, think what an enrichment and greater advantage will follow their full reinstatement! But now I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I lay great stress on my ministry and magnify my office,read more.
In the hope of making my fellow Jews jealous [in order to stir them up to imitate, copy, and appropriate], and thus managing to save some of them. For if their rejection and exclusion from the benefits of salvation were [overruled] for the reconciliation of a world to God, what will their acceptance and admission mean? [It will be nothing short of] life from the dead! Now if the first handful of dough offered as the firstfruits [Abraham and the patriarchs] is consecrated (holy), so is the whole mass [the nation of Israel]; and if the root [Abraham] is consecrated (holy), so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree, Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you. You will say then, Branches were broken (pruned) off so that I might be grafted in! That is true. But they were broken (pruned) off because of their unbelief (their lack of real faith), and you are established through faith [because you do believe]. So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], neither will He spare you [if you are guilty of the same offense].
And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham's Seed], then you are Abraham's offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise.
After this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count, [gathered out] of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. These stood before the throne and before the Lamb; they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, with an eternal Gospel (good news) to tell to the inhabitants of the earth, to every race and tribe and language and people.
There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
[And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). For God shows no partiality [ undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].
Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God's own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God's [own] household. You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone.
[In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [ who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [ everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person].
And I have other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be [they will become] one flock under one Shepherd.
For so the Lord has charged us, saying, I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles (the heathen), that you may bring [eternal] salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified (praised and gave thanks for) the Word of God; and as many as were destined (appointed and ordained) to eternal life believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus as the Christ and their Savior).
Even including ourselves whom He has called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles (heathen)? Just as He says in Hosea, Those who were not My people I will call My people, and her who was not beloved [I will call] My beloved. And it shall be that in the very place where it was said to them, You are not My people, they shall be called sons of the living God.
But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men.
Thus Abraham believed in and adhered to and trusted in and relied on God, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (as conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action). Know and understand that it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (declare righteous, put in right standing with Himself) the Gentiles in consequence of faith, proclaimed the Gospel [foretelling the glad tidings of a Savior long beforehand] to Abraham in the promise, saying, In you shall all the nations [of the earth] be blessed.read more.
So then, those who are people of faith are blessed and made happy and favored by God [as partners in fellowship] with the believing and trusting Abraham. And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them. Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live. But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith]. Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified); To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit.
Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited [to him]? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the mark of circumcision as a token or an evidence [and] seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised -- "[faith] so that he was to be made the father of all who [truly] believe, though without circumcision, and who thus have righteousness (right standing with God) imputed to them and credited to their account,read more.
As well as [that he be made] the father of those circumcised persons who are not merely circumcised, but also walk in the way of that faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.