The Change

By Oscar M. Baker

“Be it known therefore to you, that to the Gentiles is sent the salvation of God; and they will hear” (Interlinear Gr. N.T., Acts 28:28). Paul, who is the speaker here, is talking to the Jewish leaders that he’d gathered together for an all day meeting in Rome, shortly after he’d arrived there as a prisoner. And he’s speaking in his own hired house, but bound with a chain. The Roman authorities had been rather lenient with him on that occasion, and probably for the reason that he was a Roman citizen, he was a well educated man, and also the fact that really there was no charge against him. So they were giving him some comfort before his case would come before Caesar, which probably took 2 years. We talk about our courts being slow sometimes in our country, but way back in Rome they were a little slow, too.

So he says, “Be it known therefore to you” (I’m telling you folks this right now.) “that to the Gentiles is sent the salvation of God.” Now just whom would we think this is referring too? I know the ordinary person would think of all the nations and people of the earth. Well, the word Gentiles here is not particularly nations – it’s non-Jews. But when these Jews would hear this, they would immediately think of the Gentile converts to Judaism who attended the synagogue. They were not circumcised, they had not taken on the Jewish law, they were not subject to any of the Jewish rituals or anything of that kind – they just attended the synagogue and they heard Moses preached every Sabbath. Up to this time Paul had already been preaching to the Gentiles in the synagogues for close to 18 years. But here is the statement, “that to the Gentiles is sent the salvation of God”. Now this is a little different statement than Paul had ever made before. Back in Acts 13:46 you find there that Paul says, “…lo we turn to the Gentiles.” Israel would not listen, didn’t consider themselves worthy of everlasting life, that is, a position in the kingdom, and so he said, we turn”, Paul and Barnabas. But here in Rome when Paul was standing alone before these Jews he says, I want you to know this now, that the salvation of God is sent to these Gentiles, and they will hear.” Well they had been hearing, but they had been hearing something else. They had been hearing the salvation that was sent to the Jews, but now they’re to hear something new! The salvation that was sent to the Jews could not possibly be sent to the Gentiles because it had all of the law and rituals, and all the forms of the Jews which were absolutely forbidden forever to uncircumcised people.

There is a change here, yes. And I think most people who read it realize that there’s a change here, but the question is what is the change?

[From T.F.T. tape 12-28-76.]