What is a Spiritual Jew?

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By BibleAsk Team


Understanding the concept of a spiritual Jew involves delving into theological interpretations and scriptural teachings that span both the Old and New Testaments. The term “spiritual Jew” refers to a person who embodies the spiritual principles and promises outlined in Scripture, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background. To explore this topic, we’ll examine the biblical foundations, theological implications, and practical applications of being a spiritual Jew, drawing upon relevant passages from the Bible.

Biblical Foundations

1. Abraham: Father of Faith

The concept of spiritual Jewishness finds its roots in the Abrahamic covenant. Genesis 12:3 (NKJV) records God’s promise to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This covenant extends beyond ethnic boundaries, encompassing all who share Abraham’s faith (Romans 4:16-17).

2. Circumcision of the Heart

In the Old Testament, physical circumcision symbolized the covenant relationship between God and the descendants of Abraham (Genesis 17:10-14). However, Jeremiah 4:4 (NKJV) speaks of a deeper reality: “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts.” This spiritual circumcision signifies inner transformation and devotion to God, transcending outward rituals.

3. Inward Renewal

A believer becomes a Spiritual Jew by virtue of accepting Christ. In the New Testament, the covenant was written with the Blood of Jesus. The Lord promised all the believers that, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Hebrew 8:10, NKJV). Therefore, all the promises that God made to the literal Jews in the Old Testaments are, today, for those that accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior (Jews or Gentiles). 

The following Bible verses will help shed light on who is a Spiritual Jew:

  • “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11, NKJV).
  • “and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stone” (Matthew 3:9, NKJV).
  • “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose [a]praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:28, 29, NKJV).
  • “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29, NKJV).

Theological Implications

1. Fulfillment of Prophecy

The New Testament portrays Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Matthew 5:17 (NKJV) records Jesus’ words, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus establishes a new covenant that extends salvation to both Jews and Gentiles, fulfilling the promises of God’s redemptive plan.

2. Transformation

A spiritual Jew is he who possesses the spirit and character that fulfills God’s purpose in calling him to be His chosen child. God separated him, not merely to perform certain external rites, but to be a person holy in heart and life (Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:14; Psalm 51:16, 17; Isaiah 1:11–20; Micah 6:8). The fact that one is listed as a member of the church, or that he was born of godly ancestors, does not guarantee his salvation. The real is he who is one inwardly, for true religion is a matter of the heart.

3. Grafting into the Olive Tree

In Romans 11:17-24 (NKJV), Paul uses the metaphor of an olive tree to illustrate the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation. Believers, whether Jewish or Gentile by birth, are depicted as branches grafted into the olive tree of God’s covenant promises. This imagery emphasizes the spiritual continuity between Old Testament Israel and the Church, with Jesus as the root of their shared faith.

4. Unity in Christ

Spiritual Jewishness emphasizes the unity of believers in Christ, irrespective of ethnic distinctions. Galatians 3:28-29 (NKJV) affirms this unity, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” This passage underscores the spiritual inheritance shared by all who are united with Christ, fulfilling the promise made to Abraham.

Practical Applications

1. Identity in Christ

Spiritual Jewishness invites believers to find their primary identity in Christ rather than in ethnic or cultural heritage. Philippians 3:3 (NKJV) exhorts, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” This verse underscores the centrality of spiritual devotion and worship as defining characteristics of believers, regardless of their background.

2. Responsibility to Witness

As spiritual heirs of Abraham’s faith, believers are called to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 (NKJV) declares, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This commission extends to both Jews and Gentiles, reflecting God’s universal desire for salvation.

3. Unity in Diversity

Spiritual Jewishness fosters unity amidst the body of Christ. Ephesians 2:14-16 (NKJV) speaks of Christ’s role in reconciling Jews and Gentiles, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” This passage emphasizes the reconciling work of Christ, transcending ethnic barriers and fostering unity among believers.

Conclusion

The concept of spiritual Jewishness represents a profound theological truth rooted in the Scriptures. It signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises through faith in Jesus Christ, uniting believers from diverse backgrounds into one spiritual family. As spiritual Jews, believers are called to embrace their identity in Christ, bear witness to the gospel. Through inner renewal and obedience to God’s Word, believers partake in the rich inheritance of Abraham’s faith, embodying the timeless truths of God’s redemptive plan for humanity.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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