Jewish boasting was multi-faceted

  • They boasted of their ethnic membership in the Abrahamic covenant, something they were born into by grace alone, by God’s unconditional grace.
  • They boasted in their personal righteousness, their own efforts, accomplishments, rule-keeping — in contradistinction with how they saw the lawless Gentiles and unfaithful Jews.

Both corporate and individual. Both collective and personal.

The gospel’s “so that no man may boast” (Ephesians 2:9) and “justified by faith apart from works” (Romans 3:28) precludes both forms of pride: nationalistic/ethnic/corporate pride and individualistic pride. Corporate boasting and personal boasting. Not by works: either works that speak to my personal righteousness, or works that signify my group identity.

The same grace that brought free and immediate forgiveness of sins for ungodly individuals brought together Jews and Gentiles in shared Christian community, no longer alienated by the wall of “wall of separation.” The same thing that accomplished our peace with God secured our peace with other believers.