(Rom. 2:28-29) Does this passage teach that Christians inherit the Jewish promises of the Old Testament? (c.f. Phil. 3:3; Gal. 6:16)

CLAIM: Some amillennial interpreters argue that the church inherits the promises of Israel. Is Paul reinterpreting the concept of being a Jew to apply to Christian believers?

RESPONSE: Paul cannot be saying that Christians inherit the promises to Israel in this passage, because Paul hasn’t even explained how one becomes a Christian yet—in this point of the book of Romans! He doesn’t tackle this subject until 3:21-31. Here he is making the argument that Gentiles are better than Jews, if they keep the Law. Circumcision is of no value unless one keeps the law. He doesn’t even claim that these Gentiles are Christians at all. Thus it would be a mistake to conclude that Paul is abrogating the covenants to the Jewish people based on this passage.

Paul tackles the role of ethnic Israel in Romans 9-11. In Romans 2, Paul is not teaching eschatology (the end times); he is teaching soteriology (salvation). In Romans 2, Paul is arguing that Gentiles can come into the forgiveness of Christ during the Church Age; he is not arguing that God’s promises to the nation of Israel will be fulfilled in Gentile Christians in the millennium. We can compare these two sections of Romans in this way:

(We have handled this subject in further depth elsewhere: see “Millennial Views”).


Paul’s Argument in Romans

Romans 2

Romans 9-11

Arguing against Jewish self-righteousness

(“boast in God” 2:17; “confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness” 2:19).

Arguing against Gentile self-righteousness

(“Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either” 11:20-21)

Encouraging Jews to come to Christ in the Church Age.

Encouraging Jews that they will be rescued as a nation in the millennium.