Lesson 5 – Jesus Christ and the Gentiles

Jesus Christ and the Gentiles

Lesson Aim : To show how the Gentiles can be united with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Scriptures: Rom. 1:1-7; Acts 26:17, 18; Eph. 2:11, 12; Gal. 3:26-29; Rom. 11:13; Col.1:25-27.


Term Definitions:

Israel:  It means ruling with God.  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.  The land of Canaan was divided into twelve states and called Israel.  Israel split after Solomon’s death.  Ten tribes were identified as Israel.  However, later they were taken captive by Assyria.  Finally, the ten tribes’ land area was known as Samaria and Galilee.  Benjamin joined with Judah and they became the nation of Judah.  

Gentile:  This word has been translated from a Greek word from which we get the English word “ethnic.” It means nations.  Israel was God’s people based on His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  All other people were ethnic people in relation to Israel; therefore, they were called Gentiles.

Jew: Yehudim, in the Old Testament, refers to the people of the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin.  It appears first in the Bible in II Kings 16:6 (KJV).  The Judeans were referred to as Jews during their captivity in Babylon and after their return to the Jerusalem area. 

In the New Testament, the word Jew refers to the people of the two tribes, who professed to believe in Jehovah God.  The Gentiles were those who worshipped idols.  In God’s mind, the true Jew was a person who walked by faith and kept the requirements of the Law.  This could include those of the Gentile nations.  See Rom. 2:25-29.  Since all people were created to be children of God, the Gentiles were included in the promises to Abraham.  This promise was voiced by God’s prophets.  The Gentiles became objects of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ.  See Rom. 9:22-26. 

Those who had faith in God’s promises made to Abraham were the true Jews, or spiritual Israel.  That is, those who are ruled by God. Read Rom. 9:6-8. The Israel of God still stands today “in Christ” by faith.  All nations are invited to enter.  “And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”  Gal. 6:16.


Gentiles are the people who have been born of a bloodline other than an Israelite.  They have many reasons to rejoice in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Here is how it was with the Gentiles before Christ came into the world.

Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” which was performed in the flesh by human hands – remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Eph. 2:11, 12

The Apostle Paul was commissioned to preach the gospel of God to the Gentile.

But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles.  In as much then, as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.  Rom. 11:13

 When Paul was questioned by King Agrippa as to what he was preaching, his reply was that Jesus Christ was sending him to the Gentiles:

To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in me (Jesus).   Acts 26:17, 18

Some members of the church who were recipients of Paul’s letter in Rome were formerly identified as Gentiles.

Through Him (Jesus Christ) and for His name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience of faith.  And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.  Rom. 1:5, 6  

 Gentiles were in a terrible condition because at the time Paul got his call to preach, they were not blessed with Israel.  There was a time in history when people became so wicked God destroyed them all by a flood.  Noah and his family were saved from God’s wrath by their faith (Heb. 11:7).  A few hundred years after the flood people became very wicked again but God did not destroy them as He did before.  He did make a difference in the way He blessed the faithful people over the wicked, the Gentiles.  This second event happened during the life of Abraham.

Abraham was faithful to God but most of the other people had begun to worship idols and do evil, as in the days of Noah.  God made the following promise to Abraham and it set him apart. 

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  Gen.12:2, 3 

Abraham was the first Jew – as they were later called.  Notice it was said; God would bless the people who blessed Abraham and curse anyone who cursed him.  This certainly did give him a favored position among men.  We want to notice the last part of this scripture for in it is found the good news for the Gentiles.  “And in thee shall all families of earth be blessed.”  God made certain promises to Abraham that would someday affect all the nations (Gentiles).  He used the term “in thee,” which meant through the bloodline of Abraham the promises would be passed to the Gentile.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he said, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one and to thy seed, which is Christ.”  Gal. 3:16.  In other words, these promises were not to be fulfilled in several different children of Abraham but through Jesus Christ.  Jesus, according to the flesh, was a descendant of Abraham (Matt. 1:1).  The promise made to Abraham for Gentiles was through the “righteousness of faith” and not the Law of Moses.

God promised Abraham he would be heir of the world; “A father of many nations have I made you.”  When sinners’ faith leads them to put on Christ in baptism, Abraham becomes their father.  The Holy Spirit was also promised to the Gentiles through the righteousness of faith.

For the promise to Abraham and to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  Rom. 4:13

In order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  Gal. 3:14

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.  Gal. 3:27, 29

A great mystery over-shadowed God’s plan for the Gentiles for hundreds of years but this mystery is now revealed “in Christ.”

That is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of his mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you; the hope of glory.  Col.1:26, 27

God’s new covenant is now offered to the Gentiles.  In the obedience of faith, Gentiles can now  put on Christ and conform to His person (Rom. 8:29).  Both Jews and Gentiles are promised a continued life with God after we leave our physical bodies (Rom. 1:16).

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does the word Gentile mean?
  2. What caused God to make a difference between the Jew and Gentile before Christ came?
  3. Who became known as the Jews?
  4. Who is the father of all nations?
  5. How can a Gentile become a son of Abraham?
  6. Describe the Apostle Paul’s ministry.
  7. Describe the Gentile’s condition before God granted them “repentance to life.”  Acts 11:18.
  8. How is the mystery of the Gentile now solved?

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