Lesson 38


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

11:7 What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didnít obtain, but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened. 11:8 According as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day." 11:9 David says,

"Let their table be made a snare, and a trap,

A stumbling block, and a retribution to them.

11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see.

Bow down their back always."

11:11 I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? Certainly not! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 11:12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? 11:13 For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; 11:14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them. 11:15 For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?


Today's Lesson 

In the larger section of which Todayís Scripture is a part, Paul is stressing that the nation of Israel has stumbled because it had sought to establish a relationship with God that was based on a righteousness of works. Through the law, Israel sought to earn Godís righteousness with obedience. Paul too, had sought to approach God in this manner before God revealed to him His Son.

 

Paul contrasts this approach with that of the elect. God has revealed Himself to the elect and saves them on the basis of their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, His Son. The elect are made up of Jews and Gentiles from every nation who have heard the word of God and believed. Paul declares that the elect have achieved through faith the righteousness that Israel sought to establish by works.

 

Because they did not believe the word of God, those who rejected Christ were hardened. Christ has become for them a stumbling block and a stone of retribution. This is why there are some people that, no matter how much you speak to them the things of God, they refuse to hear. They cannot see the light because they refuse to acknowledge Christ. When men reject the Son of God, there is no hope for them to understand the things of God.

 

Paul then turns to speak with his Gentile readers. He tells them not to allow their position in Christ to make them haughty or to feel superior over Israel. The fall of Israel has meant salvation to the Gentiles. But they are not fallen so that God cannot redeem them. In fact, Paul writes that God can use the salvation of the Gentiles to stir the Jews to repentance.

 

There is a strain of Anti-Semitism in many Christian teachers and writers. Some have even seen this tendencies in the writings of Paul. But Paulís greatest desire is to see his people saved. He had a great love for Israel and its culture. But Paul understood that there are greater things than culture and national pride. Those who reject the righteousness of God will be eternally lost. His priority was the salvation of all people. He would not let national zeal or a desire for tranquility prevent him from telling people what God had revealed to him. He knew that many people would misunderstand him and his teachings, but he also knew that preaching the word of God was even more important.

 

Into every Christian life, God brings a new sense of priorities. Things that were not important before Christ takes residence in our lives become important. God affects the way that we perceive the world. God changes our desires and our goals. The goal of our relationship with Christ is not our salvation. The goal of our salvation is service for our Savior. You will never know the full joy of serving Christ until you allow God to use you for His cause.

 

What burden is God putting on your heart right now? What does God want you to do above all else?

 

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