Holy Fruit, Holy Root

The next section of Romans 11 is a very interesting one.  Here is what Paul writes in verses 11-18:  “11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their all, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!  13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, […]

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God Gives a “Stupor”?

In continuing to comment on Israel’s rejection of God through Jesus Christ Paul writes about how God actually “blinded” some of Israel.  Let’s read verses 7-1O of Romans 11:  “7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:  “God has given them a spirit of stupor,  Eyes that they should not see  And ears that they should not hear,  To this very day.”  9 And David says:  “Let their table become a snare and a trap,  A stumbling block and a recompense to them.  10 Let their eyes be […]

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Grace not Works

I find Romans 11 to be a very challenging chapter to interpret and apply.  I don’t think that I am alone in this.  The immediate context is God’s work among His people, Israel, yet Paul is writing to Gentiles about God’s work in Israel and then later in the chapter, among the Gentiles.  In the last chapter Paul has written about how, for the most part, Israel rejected Jesus. But in the first paragraph of chapter 11 we read that this rejection isn’t total.  Here are verses 1-6:  “ I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an […]

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I Can’t…or Won’t…Hear You!

I can’t remember what TV show it was on but somewhere in the recesses of my brain I can hear someone saying, “I Can’t Hear You!”  even though they really could hear the other person.  If you know the show please comment on that.  Anyway, sometimes it is not that we can’t hear but rather that we won’t hear.  That’s the case in Romans 1O.  After describing how people need to be able to hear the gospel, we read that some of those who had heard didn’t really “hear”.  Here are verses 16-21:  “16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. […]

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The Importance of Preaching and the Preacher

In our culture the word “preaching” has a particular connotation.  We think of a pastor or a preacher standing in front of a group of people on Sunday morning preaching a sermon.  But when Paul uses these words in Romans chapter 1O, that’s not what he has in mind. Let’s read verses 14-15:  “14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  “How beautiful are […]

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Are You “Saved”?

Today’s passage is rather long, verses 5-13 of chapter 1O:  Here they are:  “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your […]

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No Plan B for Righteousness

I usually like having a “Plan B”. After all, “Plan A” doesn’t always work. God’s plan for righteousness is through Jesus Christ.  That’s the only plan there is.  There is no Plan B.  However, that doesn’t keep man from attempting one.  We see this in Romans 1O:3-4:  “3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Paul is writing about the nation of Israel and says that they were ignorant of God’s righteousness.  They shouldn’t have been ignorant of it, but they […]

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Enthusiastically Wrong

Have you ever judged enthusiasm for truth?  I know that I have.  I’ve listened to someone who was so enthusiastic about something, so passionate about something, that I made the assumption that he was right.  But in reality, he was enthusiastically wrong. Whether it is enthusiasm or sincerity, there is really no substitute for the truth.  This is how Paul opens the next section in reference to Israel. Here are verses 1-2 of chapter 1O: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not […]

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Don’t Trip Over Jesus

As chapter 9 concludes Paul wraps it up with a contrast between the Gentiles and the Jews.  Here are verses 3O-33:  “30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:  “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,  And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Paul writes that the Gentiles pursued […]

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Hard Truth, Part 2

Yesterday we began to look at an important but difficult to interpret passage of the book of Romans.  The passage begins with a declaration that God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy and compassion on whomever He will have compassion.  There is a strong flavor of God’s election and sovereign choice.  Paul also reminds the reader that there is no unrighteousness with God.  This leads to a significant theological question which is found in verse 19 and then a rather lengthy section after that:  “19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who […]

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