When Paul says “there is no difference,” is he referring to people outside the Body of Christ, or in it?

WHEN PAUL SAYS “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE,” IS HE REFERRING TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE BODY OF CHRIST, OR IN IT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

While this precise expression appears only twice in the Pauline epistles—Romans 3:22 and Romans 10:12—the concept of “no difference” is found in other verses as well. Depending on the context, it can describe: (1) people outside the Church the Body of Christ, or (2) people within the Church the Body of Christ.

All lost people—both Jew and Gentile—are equally lost. They are all headed to the same Hell and the same Lake of Fire. Moreover, since an unsaved Jew is just as much under Satan’s control as an unsaved Gentile, the Jew would technically be a Gentile in God’s sight. God does not see national distinctions as touching their deserving of His wrath. Romans 2:9-11 says, “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;… For there is no respect of persons with God.” There is no advantage to being a Jew, and no disadvantage to being a Gentile. God’s wrath is coming upon all sinners (Jew and Gentile alike). Here is “no difference” outside the Church the Body of Christ. However, the ground is level at the foot of Calvary’s cross, and all sinners (Jew and Gentile alike) can escape that wrath by simple faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans chapter 3: “[9] What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all [Jew and Gentile alike] have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: [30] Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision [Jew] by faith, and uncircumcision [Gentile] through faith.”

Romans chapter 10, verses 12 and 13: “[12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [Gentile]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. [13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Like the doctrine in chapter 3, this was an extremely hard truth for unsaved Israelites to grasp during the Acts period. They could not fathom now being on the same level as the Gentiles, having the need to trust the same Saviour (Jesus Christ) that the Gentiles needed to trust! It was through one Jesus Christ that all could escape the spiritual darkness and ignorance pervading the world at the time—and even now.

National Israel is fallen in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Thus, there is no benefit in being a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Romans 11:11-14: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they [Israel] should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Notice Paul’s apostleship in verse 13, Jesus Christ’s ministry in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1-2)!

Anyone and everyone is now able to approach the God of the Bible because of Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Here is Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24). Ephesians chapter 2: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye [Gentiles] who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both [believing Jews and believing Gentiles] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both [believing Jews and believing Gentiles] unto God in one body [the Body of Christ] by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentile], and to them that were nigh [Jew]. [18] For through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Through personal faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), we are guaranteed forgiveness of sins, justification, a home in Heaven, et cetera. All saved people—both Jew and Gentile—are equally saved. They are members of the same Body of Christ, they have the same righteousness of God imputed to their account, they been given the same forgiveness, they have been blessed with the same spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3), and so on. Here is “no difference” within the Church the Body of Christ. As in the earlier case, there is no advantage to being a Jew, and no disadvantage to being a Gentile.

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15). “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile], there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs [with believing Jews], and of the same body [of Christ], and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek [Gentile] nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:10-11).

Also see:
» Are we Pauline dispensationalists anti-Jewish?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?

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