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One of the favourite verse, used as encouragement, is this from Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

The context of the verse was a letter to the exile, specifying the Israelites. What justification is offered for the application of God's promises to Israel to modern day Christians?

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An interesting question, but you may need to refine the scope a little bit for this to be sufficiently focused to remain open. It is quite probable that different theological perspectives will answer this question in quite different ways, so what particular (doctrinal or denominational) perspective are you most interested to hear from? –  bruised reed Jul 22 at 12:19
    
I have edited your question to match your title--and to make the question on-topic. Asking if we are justified is a truth question which we can't answer, but asking what justification is used is an academic question which we can answer. –  Flimzy Jul 22 at 13:16
    
@bruisedreed: The title offered an objective question, and I have edited the body to match. Do you think it's a better fit now? –  Flimzy Jul 22 at 13:24
    
@Flimzy yep - good edit –  bruised reed Jul 22 at 13:28
    
Thanks for the edit. I will see how I can parse my questions better. –  Extrakun Jul 22 at 13:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The promises made to Israel were conditional promises. He had plans for them if they obeyed and kept His Holy Commandments. The rest of the nations were supposed to see Israel and come to God through their example.

'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'

Exodus 19:5, 6

Unfortunately, they did not obey, nor did they listen.

For they have not listened to my words,” declares the Lord, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:19

As in the Parable of the Tenants told by Jesus in Matthew 21:33-44 the privilege of being part of Abraham's true seed, the True Israel, the Kingdom of God was taken away from those who rejected it and given to those who accepted it, Jew or Gentile.

“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Matthew 21:43-44

Jesus was sent for the lost sheep of Israel.

"Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 10:5, 6

Nevertheless, at the stoning of Stephen, he made one final appeal to the Israelites:

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

Acts 7:51-53

And so the gospel went to everyone, and not only the Jew. If we love God, believe in Christ, and obey His Holy Law, as the Israelites of old failed to do, we ARE Abraham's seed. These promises that were made to Israel were conditional promises, and they still are!

According to Paul, we, as modern day Christians are the true Israelites. This is because

if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

Now, the kingdom of priests and the holy nation are not physical Israel, but Spiritual Israel, who are those who believe on Jesus and keep His Holy Law.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

These promises can be claimed by those who are in Christ.

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I might also add Mark 7:27-28: "[Jesus] said to [the Syro-Phoenician woman], 'Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.' She replied and said to him, 'Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.'" –  Matt Gutting Jul 22 at 16:13
    
Is this answer what is meant by replacement theology? Or does it come from some other Christian grouping? Or did you think of it yourself? –  gideon marx Jul 22 at 19:26
    
@gideonmarx I'm not sure what replacement theology is, but I assume it has to do with what I wrote. I'm pretty sure it is what my denomination believes, nevertheless even if it wasn't, it is 100% supported by Scripture. Is there anything that bothers you about the answer or a Scripture you believe is out of context, perhaps? –  jlaverde Jul 23 at 12:13
    
@MattGutting Spot on, Matt. –  jlaverde Jul 23 at 12:15
    
The Scripture you quoted can be understood completely differently so you have to give it some context. Maybe explain who believes this interpretation. I am quite happy to accept that it is only your view but would like to know if there are still Christian groupings who hold on to this basically Islamic point of view. –  gideon marx Jul 23 at 19:02

The moment I read your question, one passage jumped into my thoughts almost immediately. It's a favorite.

Romans 8:28-39 NIV

"All things work together for good." (vs 28) A often quoted passage. It doesn't promise us that we'll avoid bad things altogether. But it does give us assurance that in the end whatever we endure will be worth it. Just like in Jeremiah, God has a plan that isn't aimed at harming us, but giving us hope and a future.

While verse 28 alone is encouraging, when you read 28-39 you are given an incredible assurance that we can have:

  • hope: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose" (vs 28)

  • courage: "What, then, shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (vs 31)

  • freedom from condemnation: "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies." (vs 33)
  • perfect love from God: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vs 38-39)
  • everything we need: "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

So, yes. I think it's quite safe to say that God has the same plan for us that He offered up in Jeremiah.

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New Covenant believers (i.e. Christians), can certainly have the confidence that God regards them with at least as much care as that displayed in Jeremiah 29:11 for:

...Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. - Hebrews 8:6 ESV (emphasis added)

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