The Israel of God

Scott Hoezee

Read: Galatians 6:16-18

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be . . . upon the Israel of God. (v. 16)

Paul began Galatians with a blessing and concludes with a benediction. This was a hard letter full of hard truths. But in the end Paul wishes—what else?—that the grace of Jesus will be with them. The whole letter has been about grace, and grace gets the final word, too.

But before he signs off, Paul calls the church “the Israel of God.” That is highly significant because it makes clear something taught in the wider New Testament but not always spelled out so plainly: the church is the new Israel. And since Paul is writing this letter to Gentiles, this is a wonderful sign that God’s promise to Abraham back in Genesis 12 has been fulfilled: people from all nations are now Israel. The salvation God covenanted to bring for the whole world has now come, and so Israel is no longer one nation but is made up of people from all places, the one holy and apostolic church.

In Christ, God has universalized his people, and it can and does now include everyone who believes no matter where they come from, the color of their skin, their social status, or gender. God makes no such distinctions or discriminations. Christ is now all in all, and baptism makes us all one. That is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God! —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: For lavishing us with the good news of the gospel, dear God, we give you our thanks and praise!