Studies In The Book Of Romans
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1. Did God cast away Israel?
“God forbid”: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1).
We concluded chapter ten by studying about God provoking His people Israel and stretching out His hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people (Romans 10:19-21). We will continue on here from that point.
God never planned on forsaking His people, Israel (ISamuel 12:22, IIKings 23:27, Psalms 89:31-37, Psalms 94:14, Isaiah 49:14-15, Matthew 10:5-7, and Acts 13:24).
Paul used himself as evidence, being an Israelite (Acts 22:1-3, IICorinthians 11:22, and Philippians 3:4-5), that God had not removed Israel from salvation since Paul himself was redeemed (ITimothy 1:12-16).
2. What was true in the days of Elijah (Elias) that was still true when Paul was writing the epistle to the church in Rome?
There was still a remnant of the Jews: “(2) God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, (3) Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. (4) But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. (5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:2-5).
The account concerning the 7,000 who had not left for Baal (IKings 19:1-18).
God knows beforehand who will obey Him (IPeter 1:2).
A remnant (IIKings 19:30-31, Isaiah 1:9, Isaiah 10:20-22, Jeremiah 23:3, and Romans 9:27).
3. If there was a remnant because of works, what would that mean about grace?
There would be no grace: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:6).
This, or any other verse about grace, is not saying what we do not need to do works to be saved (James 2:14-26).
Inaction is sin (James 4:17; cf. Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 6:46, Luke 11:28, John 8:31, Acts 2:40, Romans 2:4-10, Colossians 1:23, James 1:19-27, IJohn 3:8-10, IJohn 5:2-3, etc.).
Works, without grace, are useless (Ephesians 2:5-10 and IITimothy 1:8-9).
4. Was there a purpose in the hardening of Israel, their fall, and salvation coming to the Gentiles?
To provoke them [Israel] to jealousy: “(7) What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (8) (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (9) And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: (10) Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (11) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy” (Romans 11:7-11).
Israel had not obtained (Romans 9:31-32 and Romans 10:1-3).
Though they sought, they do not find (Proverbs 1:24-33 and Luke 13:23-24).
To be clear, this was not God’s desire (Ezekiel 33:11 and ITimothy 2:4), but the fruit of their ways (Hosea 5:1-6).
“The rest were blinded” (John 12:37-43; cf. IICorinthians 3:12-16).
The spirit of slumber (Isaiah 29:1-13).
David said and why… (Psalms 69:22-28).
Their fall presented salvation to Gentiles (Acts 13:55-51).
Provoke them, which we’ll see again in verse 14, is the point we’ve seen contextually (Romans 10:19).
5. What did the fall of Israel bring to the world and to the Gentiles?
Spiritual riches: “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness” (Romans 11:12)?
Make known the riches (Romans 9:22-23).
Thus, if the riches of salvation are shown through their fall (Romans 11:25) think of what it would be if they were restored and stood united with the Gentiles as God has desired all along (vs. 15.; cf. Ephesians 2:13-16).
6. What was one of Paul’s goals in using his office in speaking to the Gentiles?
To provoke the Jews to emulation [jealousy]: “(13) For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (14) If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13-14).
Paul saying his was the apostle of the Gentiles did not mean he was the only one teaching Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48, Acts 15:23, etc.).
Nor did that mean he did not teach Jews (Acts 18:4-8, Acts 18:18-19, Acts 28:17-31, etc.).
What was clear is that Paul would do anything lawfully to help them and others be saved (ICorinthians 9:16-23).
7. Could it be said that, since the casting away of Israel meant reconciliation for the world, that their acceptance would bring about something great?
Yes, spiritual life from spiritual death: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead” (Romans 11:15)?
This verse is a repeat of the point made in verse 12.
The desire of our Lord is to reconcile all to Him (Ephesians 1:10 and Colossians 1:20-21).
Life from the dead could certainly mean bodily resurrection (John 11:25).
However, the contextual point here is not about a bodily resurrection, but would be restoring the spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5) back to spiritual life (Luke 15:11-24 and Romans 6:11-13; cf. IICorinthians 5:14).
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