Thursday, 11 November 2021
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. - Romans 11:12
In chapters 9-11of Romans, Paul takes time to write on God’s special program for Israel in connection with the Gospel. Even though they as a nation had rejected Christ Jesus as their Messiah, God had not given up on them. He begins chapter 11 with this question: "Has God rejected his people?" And he answers: "By no means!" Then he gives his argument: "For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin." Paul argues that God's faithfulness to His people is found exactly in the fact he, a Jew was saved by God’s grace and mercy! God has not rejected his people- for there is a remnant among the Jews (including himself) that receives salvation by faith in Christ Jesus!
Chapter 11 is about the way God has worked/will work towards Israel and the nations in history. And therefore it is all about who God is and what He is like. History reveals God’s work—it's all about Him, from beginning to end and so history is ‘His Story.’ He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The universe displays the fullness of the glory of God's perfections (Cf. Psalm 19:1). In His sovereignty, God has chosen the nation of Israel—they exist for the glory of God. "I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory" (Jeremiah 13:11).
Though Israel now is a covenant-breaking, unbelieving nation-that is going to change. Right now, there is a hardening in their hearts which has become beneficial to the Gentiles. In their rejection of Christ as their Messiah, God has blessed the Gentiles through the Messiah. We who have been saved through Christ Jesus are part of that blessing! Galatians 3:14 says: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” But God stills maintains His love for the Jews because of His promises to their forefathers. God’s plan for Israel will be fulfilled. Paul tries to establish that, in connection with the second coming of Christ there will be a great turning of Israel to Christ.
The key verse reminds us that we who have been saved through faith in Christ should never boast about so great a privilege we have received through God’s great mercy. Paul uses the illustration of wild branches being grafted into an olive tree to show how we, who were not part of Israel have been grafted in, because of God’s mercy. In having received salvation, we are called to constantly remember His mercy and kindness towards us and continue in His kindness.
So for now, let us commit ourselves to the Great Commission Christ has given to all His disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:18). It is part of the great work of gathering the fullness of the Gentiles so that the hardening be lifted from Israel. We who have been saved have a great responsibility. As Paul endeavored in his lifetime to further the gospel as much as he could [1 Corinthians 9:22-23: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”], may we also pray and see that others too will experience this great privilege of knowing Christ and living for Him!
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”[
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.