Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romans 10 & 11

Romans 10 & 11 deal primarily with God's dealing s with Israel. Paul has concern for his kinsman as we saw in Romans 9. God picked Abraham out of all the people that were alive and it is from him that the people of Israel came from. Indeed, it was from them that the God-man Jesus Christ, the Savior of humankind came. So, why it it that the nation of Israel rejected Christ? Romans 10:3-4 says For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.  The Jews sought to establish their own righteousness and did not submit to God's righteousness. Romans 7 told us that Christ fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law. What the Jews were trying to do, Christ did for all who believe. They were trying to keep the law. They could not but refused to accept that fulfillment of the law, that Christ accomplished. We have seen that Christ accomplished what Adam could not, we now see that Christ accomplished what the Jews could not, in keeping the law. Adam and Israel were to be lights for the rest of humanity, they were to attract the attention of other people; other nations by their godliness and be used by God to present salvation to those others by way of the gospel, they failed, but Christ accomplished it. Christ is the second Adam, and Christ is also Israel, fulfilling what both failed to do. Because Christ has fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law, all who look to him, the true light, are to have faith in Him.  "Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9  We look to Christ for salvation, we express faith in Him and Him alone. "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13 We see the importance of preaching the gospel, it is God's way of saving people.

Paul asks the question did the Jews not understand this? He answers that God was to make Israel jealous by bringing salvation to those who were not even looking for it, saying that God's attitude was expressed to the nation ; "all day long I have held out my hand to a disobedient and contrary people." Romans 10:21 Paul continues his explanation is Romans 11 - why have many Jews rejected salvation by grace in Jesus - by sought salvation by works. Paul asks another question, Has God rejected His people? Paul says no God has not given up on the Jews finally and completely.  We should see in God's dealing with the nation Israel things that can guide us in His dealing with the Church also. The elect may be at times disobedient, they may be at times in sin, even terrible sins, but God always brings them back to Himself, ALWAYS! - the elect can not finally and completely fall away from Christ, God will not allow them to.
We see that in Romans 11:1-7. Those verses talk about Elijah and how in running for his life he tells God that he is the only one left, but God tells him that, that He (God) had kept 7,000 for Himself, who had not bowed the knee to Baal. The only reason you have not given up on God, and the things of God is because God is keeping you for Himself. I Peter 1:4-5 (KJV) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. The elect are kept by the power of God, just as the 7,000 were not allowed to bow the knee to Baal, you will not be allowed to bowed the knee to ungodliness, and wickedness. During Elijah's time there was widespread apostasy (falling away from God, turning away from God, renouncing the things of God). 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us that before the Antichrist will appear there will be a great falling away. God's power is holding us, God's hand is keeping us. When God brings unsaved people around us we should tremble for them knowing that the judgment of God stands over them, some may be the elect, waiting to hear that God saves in Christ, only intimacy in relationship with Christ will put us in a position to help them.

So God had kept a remnant. Paul says at the present time their is also a remnant chosen by grace. This is true in our day as well, God has promised to present the Church as a bride to Christ, the Bridegroom and that bride is the remnant, the elect. The remnant is maintained by God throughout church history. Paul goes on to say that God has not wiped His hands of the Jews. - But that through their stumbling at Christ - Christ was offered by the Gentiles. Paul, says that God is not finished with the nation Israel because he is an Israelite, saved and a member of the elect. Paul was also the apostle to the Gentiles, assigned by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. God hardened the Jews was so that the offer of the Gospel could go to the rest of humankind. In fact, fulfilling what the nation failed to do. Paul tells us that the hardening upon Israel is only partial - used by God to bless the rest of humankind, and when the fullness of the Gentiles has come then all Israel will be saved. There has been controversy and confusion over the interpretation of this verse. I tend to go with that interpretation presented in The Reformation Study Bible - that says the church has understood this verse to mean is that Paul is showing how God will, in the future, bring widespread salvation to the Jewish people that, in an obvious general sense, it can be said that all Israel will be saved. We should rejoice at God's amazing plan of salvation just as Paul does.

There has been some controversy over the this verse, I believe because of the belief that God has favored the nation of Israel over other nations and the Jewish people over other people. One example was the ministry of Herbert Armstrong (although that ministry has changed and become more biblical sound in their doctrine) who taught that the United Kingdom and America were the lost tribes of Israel and were blessed of God over everyone else. There was also Ben-Israel,a group of African-Americans who stated that they were also of the lost tribes of Israel, and even settled in Israel. Both of these, I believe, misunderstood the graciousness of God. We do not have to check our genealogy to try to find a link to Israel. We all have the genealogy of Adam, and as such we all are sinners, but as we have learned Christ is the second Adam, Christ is the true Israel, so our genealogy is in Christ, He is the one we need to trace our spiritual ancestry to.

All we need to do is take a look at what is happening in heaven. God because of His power allows us to look into the very throne room and see what is going on, when we look there this is what we see:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"   Revelation 7:9-10 (emphasis added)

Those verses give us a glimpse of the present and the future, it shows me and you and all that are the elect. I picture myself in that multitude. Only God, by His great power can show me what one day I will be doing. It is to behold a small glimpse of Glory, although we now look at it as thou through a mirror, it is glorious!!

Almighty and Gracious LORD, Thank you for your great plan of salvation, thank you that you keep us, and that you have given us what Christ accomplished and not left us in our own works. In His name we pray.. Amen

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