The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 147 of 179
Index | Zoom
This limitation of the Saviour's earthly ministry is evident once more in Matt. 15:,
where He says to the woman of Canaan: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the
house of Israel" (Matt. 15: 24).
If the presence of the statement in chapter 10: quoted above precludes the idea of the
church in chapters 5:-7:, it is equally clear that the similar statement in chapter 15:
must also exclude the church from the parables of Matt. 13:, and a study of their
teaching abundantly confirms this. The parable of the unforgiving servant, for example,
while in line with "the Lord's prayer" (Matt. 6: 12, 14), is entirely different from the
teaching concerning the forgiveness of sins to be found in Paul's epistles to the church.
The Lord's advice to the one who enquired what good thing he should do that he might
have eternal life, is perfectly in harmony with the dispensation of the law and the
kingdom, but it is not in harmony with the dispensation of grace. Evangelically-minded
believers who insist that Matthew's gospel is for the church, would hesitate to take these
words of inspired truth as their gospel for to-day, and their hesitation only confirms the
truth for which the Apostle contends in Rom. 15: 8.
The expression "the truth of God"--in Rom. 15: 8--also occurs in Rom. 3: 7 and is
balanced, in that chapter, by "the faith of God" (Rom. 3: 3). Both expressions refer to
the faithfulness of God in keeping His covenant promises. The earthly ministry of Christ
was "on account of" (huper) the faithfulness of God, and was moreover a "confirmation"
of promises. Such a confirmation of promises already made is obviously very different
from the introduction of something new, as in the constitution of the church.
The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, and David, find
their confirmation in Christ. For this He was born, and for this He died. Not until Israel
had rejected Him was it made known that His cross was the instrument of a greater
salvation than that entertained by the prophets or included in the promises. Israel, and
Israel alone, were the "children of the prophets, and of the covenant made with the
fathers" (Acts 3: 25), and it was to Israel that the Lord was "first" sent (Acts 3: 26).
The second part of Paul's statement in Rom. 15: 8, 9 is "that the Gentiles might
glorify God for His mercy". Here instead of "truth", "confirmation", "promises",
"fathers", stands the simply word "mercy".
The Gentiles had no "fathers", no
"covenants" and no "promises"; all these belonged exclusively to Israel (Rom. 9: 4, 5).
The same word huper is used here in connection with the "mercy of God", as is used
in the previous verse in connection with the "truth of God".
The truth of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the mercy of God is confirmed by
repeated quotations from the O.T. Scriptures. It should be noted that no quotations are
considered necessary to "prove" that the Jews was "first". To-day, however, the reverse
would be true. Quotation after quotation is necessary to reinstate the Jew in his true place
in the early part of the N.T., and we find that many who are not only believers, but
students as well, seem able to interpret the Acts as though chapter 28: 20 were