Many years ago, there were about ten of us in a believers’ meeting, and everyone was sharing their life stories just to encourage one another. Some told of how God miraculously provided for them and blessed their families. I think we had a few testimonies of divine healing too.
But there was one man with a very different story. Joyfully, he stood and said, “Once I was damned, but God’s grace saved my soul.” To my surprise, he looked more joyful than others who shared stories of miraculous provision and divine healing.
I had a chat with him after the meeting so I could find out the details about his single sentence salvation testimony. He told me how he had lived recklessly as a youth and mocked every believer he met. To end his story, he said, “Only God’s grace could have saved an undeserving sinner like me.”
You know, that is true for all of us who are born again today. We were saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). While I am grateful to God for this, I find it especially exciting that God wants to do the same for EVERYONE in Israel.
All Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26).
Just like the prodigal son in Yeshua’s story, God is willing to accept anyone who comes to Him. After squandering all he had, the young man returned home and the father welcomed him again with open arms. Joyfully, the father exclaimed,
For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:24)
Similarly, God poured out His love on us even when we were sinners (Romans 5:8). In our recklessness, Yeshua gave us His best. With this story as a focal point, I want to share a few thoughts about God’s love for Israel.
From Everlasting to Everlasting
Anytime I’m exhorting believers on how to develop a passion for evangelism, I often recommend that they spend quality time meditating on God’s love. James described two kinds of attitudes towards the Word of God in the first chapter of his epistle. He said the first man observes himself in a mirror, goes away, and immediately forgets what he saw (James 1:24). The other man doesn’t just look and go away. Instead, he keeps looking at the perfect law of liberty till he becomes the doer (James 1:25).
God’s Word influences our lifestyle when we wholly devote ourselves to it. In a similar manner, when we feed on God’s love for the unsaved, it inspires a zeal in us to reach out to them. So, what does God’s Word sas about His love for Israel?
“At the same time,” says the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness – Israel, when I went to give him rest.” The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:1-3)
Personally, this text has been one of my greatest motivators in evangelizing the lost sheep of Israel. Let’s take a closer look at what the Lord said through Jeremiah here. Did you notice how long God said He has loved Israel? He said from everlasting! Apparently, God was making a lifetime commitment to Israel.
As long as time permits, God will wait patiently for everyone till they come to a knowledge of the truth (II Peter 3:9; I Timothy 2:4). God doesn’t give up on any man. And when the sinner finally receives salvation, the Bible says there is joy in heaven (Luke 15:7). When God saved my soul, all of heaven broke out in celebration! This is true for every believer in Yeshua.
God Is Always Seeking the Lost; Are You?
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
“To seek and to save…” God doesn’t have a casual interest in people receiving salvation. He actually goes out searching for everyone.
Both when it was convenient and when it wasn’t, Yeshua maintained an unwavering commitment to save the lost. Even in tiredness, He preached the words of life (John 4:6-14). He placed His Father’s will above His personal wants or needs.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 4:34)
Our commitment to evangelizing the lost sheep of the house of Israel shouldn’t be any different. We must see every encounter with people as a God-given opportunity to share the good news with them. Just as for believers in other nations, our testimony shouldn’t end with “God saved my soul.” God also wants us to reach those in darkness. The lost will remain lost until we reach them with the Gospel.
God’s love for Israel is everlasting. This love was consummated when Yeshua laid down His life (John 15:13). God wants us to go everywhere spreading this good news. Persecution is no excuse to stop evangelizing. Not even our needs make a good excuse! In and out of season, God expects us to be spreading the Gospel (II Timothy 4:2). And when we choose to do as He commands, He will give us the wisdom and strength and resources we need to fulfill His mission upon the earth.