Let us continue our journey through the book of Romans. I want to thank you for the significant and positive response to our study. I pray that these emails are beneficial to your walk with the Lord and help you on your journey.
Read: Romans 11
We come to yet another complex chapter of Romans. It is essential once again to understand the context in which this book is written. Another aspect to keep in mind is that the chapters and verses were not part of the original text. It is fitting to understand that Romans 9-11 are a continuation of the same argument. So with that setup, let us dive in.
1. Has God failed Israel? (1-5) Did God reject His people? Has the Word of God failed the nation of Israel? The answer is resounding no. Paul writes that he is a Jew. Looking at Elijah, Paul makes his argument that God has preserved a remnant of Jews that would cross the line of faith and believe in Christ. This is based on the merit of grace and not based on anything that they’ve done to earn it. This is the prominent distinction between Christianity and other world religions. Salvation is an act of grace and not something that you can earn. Grace is that undeserved gift from and an un-obligated giver. God is showing grace to many Jews for the purpose of fulfilling the promises of God.
2. God’s Work. (7-10) What Israel worked so hard to obtain, they didn’t. They missed the mark. They sought to capture something that was not possible to obtain. Rather, their hearts were hardened. Here is the difficult text of God hardening the hearts of them. I do not claim to understand the fullness of what Paul is trying to say in these few verses. We see that the signs of the covenant have become blinders to the people. Through these things, their hearts have been hardened. We still see this today. We see people who think that they are Christians have their hearts hardened because they trust in their baptism. They believe because they were baptized that everything is great. There are other things that people look to that harden their hearts to the truth of the Gospel. We do not know why or how God does this; we know He does for His own glory and purpose.
3. Gentiles Grafted in. (11-16) These few verses should give you and me great joy. I would presume that most of the readers are not Jewish in descent. Because of their trespass, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Gentiles now receive the riches of salvation that the Jews had missed because of their hardness of hearts. Paul writes that as the Apostle to the Jews, he magnified this truth in hopes that the Jews would have a sort of holy jealousy and turn to Christ.
4. Don’t become arrogant. (17-24) Now that we who were not part of the natural tree have been grafted in the tree, it is not the time for arrogance. To think that you and I are better than the Jews because we have received this salvation and believe that we are more worthy than they are. Paul reminds us that the Jews are God’s chosen people; we were grafted into this wonderful plant. We are not natural to the olive tree. This is not a text saying that one can lose their salvation; instead, a reminder that we are thereby grace. We did not place ourselves and support ourselves in this matter; it is the Lord that sustains and supports us. We are completely dependent on the Lord in this matter.
5. Israel’s Return. (25-32) To summarize all that Paul has been saying he lays it out. Israel has had the hardening of the heart. They have forgotten that it’s a matter of grace, and instead, they’ve trusted in the works that they do. Because of this, Gentiles have been blessed by this grace. We have received the right to become children of God, though all will be brought to completion. Now there is much debate amongst scholars on this text. Some say that we should not share the Gospel with Jews because they are all going to be saved. I do not agree with this. The two main thoughts on this are that Paul is referring to the idea that is mentioned in Old Testament texts. That God will work to complete the promises to Israel. This is where I believe Paul is writing about. The other is that God will redeem Israel in the end. Again, I don’t see other texts that really support this idea. The point for us is not to think about this being a future prophecy but rather implications for today. The implication being that the God in whom we trust and put our faith in will fulfill His promises.
6. Closing with a song. (33-36) I love that Paul closes out this section of scripture with song. The glory of God so moves Paul in fulfilling His promises that Paul is moved to sing praises to Him. Have you ever done this? That you’ve thought about the grandness and wonder of the God in whom we serve, and it’s led you to praise? When’s the last time that you sang to Him?
I hope this is encouraging to your Saturday. I pray to be with you soon!