The following is an excerpt from and article by Brian J. Vickers, "Who is the 'Israel of God' (Galatians 6:16)?" Eusebeia (2006): 8-9. In the article, Vickers argues that-in the context of the epistle-"Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 refers to all believers in Christ: both Jewish and Gentile. The following paragraph situates the Apostle's use of this term in Galatians with other NT language for believers.
Though the phrase "Israel of God" only appears in Galatians 6:16, there are texts in which language
|Brian J. Vickers|
reserved in the Old Testament for Israel alone is applied without hesitation to all who believe in Jesus: whether Jew or Gentile. For example, Peter, quoting Exodus 19:5-6, calls his readers (who undoubtedly included Gentiles, see 1 Peter 4:3) "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people (1 Peter 2:9; cf. 2:5)." Here Peter unreservedly uses covenant language once reserved for Israel alone and applies it to all who believe in Jesus. References to God's election of believers (e.g. Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:10) are reminiscent of Old Testament texts that speak of God's election of Israel (e.g. Deuteronomy 7:6-7; 14:2). Finally, the all-inclusive designation of believers as the "children of God" (e.g. Romans 8:14; 1 John) finds counterpart in Hosea 11:1, "out of Egypt I called my son," a clear metaphor for the relationship between God and Israel (as well as a clear Messianic text).
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