Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 11 (pt 1 of 11)

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In chapter eleven Paul shows us that in the same way God set aside Israel for a time, in order that grace can do its work among the Gentiles, so God has completely set aside the flesh, the fallen nature, what we are by human nature, so we can learn what God will do for and through us. When we freely admit, in practice, that without Christ we can do nothing, then we will learn that we can do all things through him who strengthens us. All this is accomplished by Faith, and it will never be any different. No matter how long we live as Christians, we will ourselves never become any better or any more able to serve Christ, apart from simple dependence on him. It is always and only Christ working in us, which accomplishes the Father’s, will.

Quite simply, right now, we do not have all the answers. We find ourselves asking, “Why?” The fact that we must ask that question proves that our understanding is limited. All too often, we think that because we do not have the answers, no one does.

We should never confuse our situation with God’s. We should never think that because we do not understand that God does not understand. God not only understands, he is working out a well-defined plan for all of humanity. God did not simply spin this world off into space and walk away. He is not making it up as he goes. He is intimately involved in the human situation.

We see this in his dealings with the Jews. We see in how God deals with Israel, an illustration of how he is bringing salvation to all people.

We all know that Israel is God’s chosen people. The Lord called them and made a covenant with them that he would be their God and they would be his people. Over the years, they rebelled and God dealt harshly with them. He has disciplined them over and over, because he had chosen them. Yet, when he sent the Messiah, Jesus, they rejected him outright. Therefore, God set them aside. However, he has not forgotten his people. He will deal with them again. He will again reveal to them that salvation is by grace.

Does this mean, then, that God is so fed up with Israel that he’ll have nothing more to do with them? Hardly. Remember that I, the one writing these things, am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham out of the tribe of Benjamin. You can’t get much more Semitic than that! So we’re not talking about repudiation. God has been too long involved with Israel, has too much invested, to simply wash his hands of them (Romans 11:1)

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome

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