Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Studies in Romans Presentation 22. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Studies in Romans Presentation 22. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Studies in Romans Presentation 22

2 SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS : A gospel that changes our relationship to God 3:21- 5:21 HOW TO GROW AS A CHRISTIAN : 6: Sanctification 6:1-23 Union with Christ and its implications The Place of the Law 7:1-25 Life in the Spirit 8:1-39 A SHORT DETOUR : Questions concerning Israel 9:1-11:36 HOW A CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO LIVE : 12:1-15:13 PERSONAL GREETINGS : 16:1-27 Presentation 22

3 Studies in Romans QUESTIONS CONCERNING ISRAEL Chap 9v1-11v36 Presentation 22

4 Chapter 9 begins a new section of the epistle. In Ch. 1-8 Paul has expounded the thesis of 1.17, "the just shall live by faith". Paul’s normal method of teaching was first unpack the substance of the doctrine then apply its implications to the lives of his readers. But here we have a major digression. Not till Ch.12 ff. are the doctrines of Ch. 1-8 applied. Paul deviates from his normal practice because he anticipates a problem that his teaching would have raised. Paul had claimed that his gospel was ‘the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew’. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Presentation 22

5 But Israel has rejected the gospel. Does this mean God has been unfaithful to the promises made to Israel? Was the gospel too weak to save, the Jews? This prompts a series of more general questions: If God loved the world and gave his Son for it, why are there some who do not believe and who are not saved? Is the gospel impotent? If God creates faith in our hearts, enabling us to believe, does he withhold saving faith from some and give it to others? Where does the responsibility for salvation lie - with God or man? If with God, how are we to reconcile human unbelief, with God’s love? And if responsibility lies with man, by rejecting salvation can he frustrate the God’s purposes? Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Presentation 22

6 The note of joy and triumph at the end of Ch.8 is exchanged for one of mourning and deep sorrow in Ch. 9. Paul’s sorrow arises from the fact that his own people, the Jews, had rejected the gospel. For Paul there was no loss like the loss of a soul. He was a debtor to both Jew and Greek. He felt he owed it to the world to make Christ known, and when his own privileged people rejected Christ, he experienced incessant pain. Such is his longing for them to enter into the joy of salvation, that he says he could [not would] wish himself to be accursed if it would bring them to faith. It is a breath-taking statement [cf. Moses Ex 32: 32]. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Presentation 22

7 His sorrow is heightened by the fact that the Jews had so many privileges. If any nation should have been ready to receive God’s salvation it should have been them. Of all the nations of the earth God had adopted them. [Ex.4.22, Ezek.16]. The Shekinah glory of God’s presence had led them and rested on the temple [Ex. 24:16,17; 40:34-38; 1Kings 8:10- 11]. The covenants were given to them [Gen 15:8-21; 17:1-21; Ex. 24; 2Sam 23:5]. They received the law of God [Ex ]. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Presentation 22

8 Temple worship, with all of the significant symbolism of the ceremonial law, including sacrifice, was theirs. They had been entrusted with the promises – a reference to the messianic hope of the Messiah. They also were descended from the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were themselves great heroes of the faith [Heb. 11:1-22]. But the greatest privilege of all, was that from their nation came the human nature of Christ. The Jews’ unbelief was clearly not due to a lack of divine provision. It is sobering to think that unbelief can render such privileges redundant. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Presentation 22

9 In v 6 ff. Paul answers the claim that God's promise to Israel had failed by distinguishing between spiritual and nominal Jews [cf. 2:28-29]. Not every Jew belongs to the true Israel of God. God’s blessing does not proceed along a line of natural descent. Paul then illustrates this: both Isaac and Ishmael came from Abraham’s seed. Both received the outward sign of circumcision, but God regarded only Isaac as the son of promise. All true sons of Israel are heirs of salvation. God reveals a process of election in the giving of the promise. What if we think that Isaac was chosen in preference to Ishmael, because he was the son of a free woman, unlike Ishmael, who was the son of a bondwoman? Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

10 Paul points out that a similar election took place in the next generation when God chose Jacob rather than Esau, even before they were born. The natural seed of Abraham and the seed of promise are therefore to be seen as two quite different entities. The conclusion we draw from these examples is that salvation is not a potential promise for all, but an actual power conveyed by God to those whom he has chosen. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

11 No man has a right to the mercy of God. The principle that determines divine election is hidden in God. No factor in man accounts for it, whether parentage [Jacob and Esau had the same parents] or personal achievement. This is not to suggest that God’s choice is arbitrary or a matter of indifference, for v11 tells us that God has purpose guiding him in his election. The purpose of election determined the radical distinction between the two brothers, not their own achievements - ‘not by works but by him who calls’. Does that mean that what men do in life does not matter? No, but it does tell us that it is divine election that determines the lifestyle, and not the lifestyle that determines the destiny. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

12 The discrimination that is made by men is often unrighteous and unloving, because it is rooted in personal caprice and warped judgement. But we must not judge God by human standards. The purpose of God in election is wise, loving, gracious and glorious [Eph. 1:3-5] and may remain unfathomable to us throughout eternity. The practical function of election is to draw out adoration, rather than to satisfy a prying curiosity Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

13 Someone asks, ‘Is the purpose of God in election not grossly unfair?’ ‘No’, says Paul, ‘God is acting according to his revealed character’ v Choosing both Abraham and the Jewish nation to be special objects of his blessing, God rejected the other nations of the earth. But now Israel had been rejected in order that the formerly rejected Gentiles, might inherit the promises. Is it unfair of God to reject Israel in order to bless the Gentiles? There is a sense in which salvation lies at the heart of, and indeed rests upon, rejection. Think of the terrible rejection of Jesus. He went out into the outer darkness of God-forsakenness. Was it unfair for God to reject Jesus, in order that he might accept us? That is the logical conclusion of the thinking that says, ‘it was unfair of God to choose Jacob at the expense of Esau’. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

14 In order to show that God is not capricious in his bestowal of mercy, Paul turns to scripture and sets out some divine principles. In v15 he quotes from an incident recorded in Ex. 33. Israel had angered God through the manufacture and worship of the golden calf. Moses asked for mercy. God pardoned Israel, but in order to do so he did not look for something in Israel that merited pardon [there was nothing there to find]. Instead, he looked and found something in himself. God retreated into his sovereignty in order to find pardon for Israel. If God is sovereign in the exercise of his mercy, then the opposite is also true. He is sovereign in withholding mercy if he so chooses. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

15 An example of God withholding mercy is given. We are told that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, v18. The O.T. background of this incident is found in Ex Although God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, he was a responsible agent [just as the people of Israel were cf. Ch.10]. God’s sovereignty never cancels out human responsibility. In the Exodus passage, three expressions are used to describe the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart: [1] Pharaoh’s heart was hardened Ex. 7:14, 22; 8:19; 9:7, 35 [2] Pharaoh hardened his heart Ex. 8:15, 32; 9:34. [3] God hardened his heart Ex. 4:21; 7.13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

16 The hardening of Ex. 4:21 is God’s reaction to 3:19; that of 7:3 and 7:13 is God’s reaction to 5:2, and so on. The phrase ‘God hardened Pharaoh’ comes in towards the end of the story. God reacts to Pharaoh’s actions and attitudes. God hardens Pharaoh’s heart in response to Pharaoh’s own hardening. The human will is like a piece of clay. It is soft and we begin to shape our responses toward God. He may seek to influence its form but he does not force a shape upon us against our wills. As time passes we say, ‘This is the shape I want and no other’, then God takes the clay and bakes it in an oven. Once clay has been baked, its shape cannot change. God confirms us in our choice. His hardening confirms the shape we have chosen. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

17 The plagues were God’s word to Pharaoh. As a result of rejecting that word Pharaoh was responsible for the judgement he experienced. When God speaks to man, he speaks in mercy; when mercy is rejected, man’s heart is hardened. His conscience becomes less sensitive, and he is less capable of responding when God next speaks. Conscience is like nerve endings in the body. When a hand approaches the intense heat of the fire, the nerve ending warns that a burn is inevitable. Failure to heed the warning results in the nerve endings being damaged/desensitised. In the same way, an over-indulgence of sin, and a constant refusal to heed the warnings of conscience, results in desensitisation. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

18 Paul anticipates a further objection, in v19, namely, that it is not fair of God to find fault with those he has not chosen. If men are not elect, why should it be held against them that they are not saved? To press the election and purpose of God back as far as this smacks of blasphemy, cf.v20. How can a mere mortal intrude into the secrets of divine majesty? Man, the creature, has no authority to call God to account. To speak like this is to suggest that we are more loving and merciful than God. Paul indicates that to venture beyond this point, this boundary of human reason is foolish – it’s like walking over the edge of a cliff. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

19 When we get to the boundary of our human reason, what lies beyond is not intended to be the subject of inquisitive speculation, but a mystery that should produce submission in our hearts, and a heightened sense of worship, that the purposes of God are beyond our finite reasoning. To do otherwise is to cast ourselves in the role of a piece of clay that seeks to give the skilful potter some advice about the kind of pots that he should be producing! God has final responsibility for what he does in history, just as the potter has final responsibility for what he produces from clay. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

20 Is Paul speaking hypothetically in v22ff.. ‘What if…?’ Paul may mean either: 1. vessels of wrath and honour are equally in the hands of the divine potter and so we should accept the divine will with respect to God’s mercy and his wrath. While ‘vessels of mercy’ are said to have been prepared beforehand for glory, the description of ‘vessels of wrath’ is cast in an indefinite passive tense ‘prepared for destruction’. Suggesting, that while God may have ordained them for destruction, men’s sin is the cause of their destruction. Or… Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

21 Or… / 2. that God has the power to behave in this way, without necessarily doing so. And if God did so, Paul would still consider him good. Verse 23 is then given as the reason God endured the vessels of wrath, in order to bring mercy and blessing to men. As a result of Israel becoming a vessel of wrath, a door of opportunity was opened up for the Gentiles. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

22 Paul’s quotes from two prophets in v25ff. The prophets were contemporaries. Isaiah ministered to the southern tribes of Judah, while Hosea ministered to the 10 northern tribes. Hosea’s audience were practically heathens; years of prolonged apostasy had caused many to despair of salvation. To them the message, ‘the Lord saves’, was one of hope. Verses show that even in O.T. times it was clearly God’s purpose to bless, not only the Jews, but the Gentiles also. The Jews were blind to their own scriptures, which taught that God’s mercy was wide and not restrictive, inclusive and not exclusive. They indicated a redemptive ingathering of Gentiles. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

23 Meanwhile, Isaiah’s ministry charged a complacent people, who trusted in religious formality, to recognise that it was not their natural descent from the patriarchs that was important, but rather a vital faith in a God who saves. In v27-29 our attention is focussed upon the fact that God’s redemptive purpose would be advanced through a believing remnant, a spiritual Israel. Therefore, in Paul’s day, the fact that large numbers of Jews were not flocking into the kingdom was no surprise, and did not indicate a failure on God’s part. For centuries God had been preserving and sanctifying a believing remnant who would welcome their Messiah. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

24 There is a shift of perspective in v 30 ff. in which the believing Gentile is contrasted with the unbelieving Jew. The Gentiles were not seeking after righteousness, and yet in droves they became possessors of it. The cause of their salvation is therefore not to be found in themselves but in God’s grace. They heard the gospel preached, they found faith stirring in their hearts and they reached out and made Christ’s righteousness their own. In contrast, the Jews pursued righteousness but did not find it, because they went off on the wrong direction; they mistakenly believed that they could earn salvation by diligently keeping God’s law. Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22

25 The Jews, by proudly refusing to become debtors to God’s mercy, closed the door on the only divinely offered way of salvation. The words and works of Jesus challenged their proud self-reliance, and as a result he was to them a stumbling block and rock of offence. The remnant of Jews and the Gentiles who exercised faith in Christ found him to be the chief cornerstone of their salvation. Therefore, from the human perspective, the all-important question to ask is not, ‘Am I elect or not?’ but ‘Will I believe or not?’ ‘Will I submit to God’s righteousness or not?’ Questions Concerning Israel: The Unbelief of Israel God’s Faithfulness and Righteousness Vindicated Presentation 22


Download ppt "Studies in Romans Presentation 22. SUMMARY OF CONTENTS: OPENING REMARKS: 1:1-17 BAD NEWS : Universality of sin and its condemnation 1:18 - 3:20 GOOD NEWS."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google