February 5th, 2007
The Israelites had received the first round offers in the kingdom of God, but many of them had rejected them, preferring their own brand of legalism. So now the Gentiles were getting the second round offers. They were being offered places in the kingdom not based on their original merits because they were not the original chosen people of God, but based on God’s free gift. Like university students who obtained their places on the basis of second round offers, they had to be careful to ensure that they did not fail to meet the standards required of them, which would have resulted in their expulsion from the kingdom.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 11
11:1 I ask then, did God reject his people? Certainly not! I am an Israelite too, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 11:2 God did not reject his people, whom he knew in advance. Or are you unaware of what the Scripture says about Elijah? He pleads with God against Israel: 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars and I alone am left, and they want to kill me.” 11:4 But how does God answer him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand people, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 11:5 Similarly there is now also a remnant, chosen according to God’s grace. 11:6 If by people are chosen by grace, then it is no longer by what they have done; otherwise grace would not be grace.
11:7 Where does this leave us? Israel failed to obtain what it was looking for. The chosen ones obtained it, and the rest became resistant. 11:8 As it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, unseeing eyes and unhearing ears, to this very day.” 11:9 David says, “Let their table become a trap and a net, a stumbling block and a retaliation to them. 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, so they cannot see, and keep their back always bent.”
11:11 So I ask, did they stumble so as to fall? Certainly not! But as a result of their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. 11:12 If their wrongdoing enriches the world, and their loss enriches the Gentiles, how much more will their full recovery? 11:13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Since I am an apostle to Gentiles, I talk up my ministry 11:14 in the hope that I can provoke my blood relations to jealousy and save some of them. 11:15 If rejection of them results in reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be but life from the dead? 11:16 If the first portion of dough given as an offering is holy, so is the whole batch of dough. If the root is holy, so are the branches. 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive branch, were grafted in amongst them, and shared with them nourishment from the root of the olive tree, 11:18 do not boast over the branches. If you boast, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. 11:19 You might say, “Branches were broken off for me to be grafted in.” 11:20 True, they were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand because of your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear, 11:21 because if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you. 11:22 So you can see the goodness and severity of God: severity towards those who fell, but goodness towards you, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 11:23 As for them, if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted back in, because God is able to graft them in again. 11:24 If you were cut out of a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more easily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 11:25 I do not want you to be unaware, friends, of this mystery, or become conceited. Part of Israel has become obstinate, until the full complement of the Gentiles has come in, 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved. It is written, “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn ungodliness away from Jacob. 11:27 This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins.”
11:28 With regard to the good news, they are enemies for your sake. But with regard to being chosen, they are beloved for the ancestors’ sake. 11:29 The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 11:30 Just as you were previously disobedient to God, but have now obtained mercy as a result of their disobedience, 11:31 they also have now been disobedient, so that as a result of the mercy shown to you they can also obtain mercy. 11:32 For God has imprisoned all people in disobedience, so that he can have mercy on all. 11:33 Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How immeasurable are his judgments, and how untraceable are his ways! 11:34 “Who has understood the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his adviser?” 11:35 “Or who has given to God, that God should repay him?” 11:36 From him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.
Entry Filed under: Legalism