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Questions and Answers | Jewish Followers of Jesus

Why do some people claim to be "Jewish followers of Jesus"? Does maintaining ethnic or social distinctions contradict Galatians 3:28?

Since I’m Jewish, people have often asked me this question. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Why do I still say I’m Jewish even though I believe in Jesus?

The Bible does not teach that we become a mass of undifferentiated humanity when we believe in Jesus. In heaven “every nation, tribe, people and language” will worship before the throne of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9). Being Jewish is an ethnic identity, not merely religious practice, and faith in Jesus does not change a person’s ethnic identity. Further, the apostle Paul repeatedly identified himself as a Jew= (Acts 21:39; 22:3), a dishonest statement if his faith in Jesus meant he was no longer Jewish.

So, what does Paul mean? Paul is saying it doesn’t matter whether someone is Jewish or Gentile, a slave or free, a man or a woman when we trust in Jesus, we are justified by faith in exactly the same way and united in Christ spiritually. Even so, we remain distinctly Jewish, Irish, Italian, or French, or any other ethnicity, as much as we remain men and women.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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