I received the following question:
How does your stance that Greeks are Jews who take on Greek customs affect our beliefs/picture of Paul’s work in bringing the message to the Jew first and then to the Greek.
In spite of the fact that Romans 1:16 has been used almost universally as a proof text for Gentile salvation, the word Gentiles does not appear in this verse, but rather the word Greeks. What Paul is saying is that the gospel is for the Jew (that is, the ancestral Israelite who had been living faithful to His God) first, that is, primarily. Those Israelites who had proven themselves faithful to God through all the hardships of living for Him out among the Gentile world rightfully received the priority in hearing the gospel proclaimed to them. Yet God in grace also was reaching out to those who did not live the Jewish culture, but rather lived the Greek lifestyle that was common among the nations. These largely were ancestral Israelites who had not been faithful to God, and had the gospel offer to them pardon for their faithlessness and salvation from their sins through faith in Jesus Christ. Also included in these Greeks would have been what we think of as Gentiles, who of course all lived the Greek lifestyle, unless they were proselytes. Proselytes would have been included in with the “Jews,” anyway. But there were some “Gentile” Greeks who did believe in the gospel and receive salvation in the Acts period, as we know from reading Acts. Thus, the gospel was also to the Greek, whether that was an ancestral Israelite Greek, or a Gentiles Greek. The difference here is not one of nationality, like Jews and Gentiles, but of lifestyle.