In this chapter, Paul concludes his doctrine of salvation, finishing with the very deep, and somethings very confusing, subject of Election. Starting in chapter 12, he will teach how a Christian is to live.
In this chapter, Paul continues on with his explanation of the doctrine of Election. He has sounded as though all Israel had been cast off by God for their sin. Now he gives more practical applications of the doctrine of election.
I must admit that this chapter is one of the most difficult in scripture.
Here is a breakdown of this chapter.
Vv. 1-6 God hath not so far cast off all Israel, but that a remnant is saved by grace, not by works.
Vv. 7-10 The judicial blindness of the rest is prophesied of in Scripture.
Vv. 11-16 The consequence both of their fall and conversion with regard to the Gentile world.
Vv. 17-22 The Gentiles are cautioned not to insult the Jews, but to make a proper use of the example both of God?s goodness and severity.
Vv. 23-32 The true Jews shall in time, believe and be saved.
Vv. 33-36 God?s judgments and ways are unsearchable.
Many today try to reduce God to their human understanding, and thus destroy what Paul presented in these three chapters.
In the previous chapter, Paul has sounded like all Israel had been rejected and replaced by the Gentiles as God's people for their rebellion against their God.
Based upon Psalms 94:14, it appeared that God broke his covenant:
For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
Paul offers several proofs that God has not broken his covenant.
V. 1, Are the Jews cast off?
First answer is given in Paul's customary form, God forbid.
Paul rejects the thought that God totally abandoned his people, Israel,and proceeds to prove his point. His first proof is from his own self.
Paul answers the objection that God broke his covenant with Israel by stating his fleshly linage to Abraham through Benjamin. He shows that he was not a proselyte converted to the faith, but was by nature a true Israelite. And he has not been cast off. (Newell)
Philippians 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Note that a true Israelite, or Jew, can prove his linage to Abraham through his tribal head, Benjamin in this case. Those today who claim to be Jews are Jews strictly by religion. However, there is a group of people who claim they are Israelites through the Anglo-Saxon race. How foolish.
V. 2, second answer: God has his elect.
foreknew, not in the sense of foreknowing how the individuals would respond, but foreknowing what God would do for them. In other words, those who were chosen from the foundation of the earth were elect and predestinated to eternal life, and nothing can change that fact. They cannot be cast off.
Romans 8:29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The genuine covenant people from the time of Abraham were those whom God foreknew, or those elect to eternal life.
Paul presents two classes of Jews, or Hebrews. Paul has discussed the difference between the two classes of Jews in the previous two chapters. One class consisted of his people, those he foreknew, and the other class consisted of those who were outside the covenant.
First Paul referees to himself as proof that God had not cast
off his people
Second, the elect cannot and will not be cast off by God.
Third answer that God has not cast away his people is from the Old Testament. He quotes Elijah as proof that from the beginning, God will not cast away his people---those he has chosen for himself. We see then that there has always been two classes of Hebrews, or Israelites. Those God chose as his own, and those whom he left in their sins. Those Israelites who have been left in their sins were identified throughout the Old Testament as uncircumcised pagans.
The circumcision that makes one a Child of God has always been the circumcised heart, or the new heart placed there by the spirit of God.
Elijah... He was so distressed over Israel's sins that he even prayed against them.
1 Kings 19:1-21
V. 3, quotes 1 Kings 19:10, where Elijah prays against the ten tribes of Israel. The altars were probably the altars to the true God built by the Godly prophets to the ten tribes, such as Elisha and Elijah, as well as the college of the prophets in the area of the ten tribes. Rehaboam forbad Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship when he split the ten tribes from the two, Israel vs Judah. As Israel became more pagan, God sent prophets to them.
Elijah was certain all of Israel had apostasies and been cast off by God, and he alone was left faithful to the Lord. So general was the defection from God by the ten tribes, Israel, that Elijah was sure he was the last of the ones who worshiped the true God.
Today, those faithful to their Christian profession in the midst of a corrupt word many times feel I am left alone as the whole world goes whoring after strange gods.
Note: How any times have we felt left alone by God? We must not be rash in our judgments of others, for God alone knows who are his chosen. He alone knows the heart of a church.
V. 4, Paul quotes part of the Lord's answer to Elijah's fear that all Israel had been cast off by God. The entire answer is found in 1 Kings 19:15-18, but Paul only quotes v. 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
Look at God's answer to Elijah:
I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
First, God reserved them by his free grace and mercy. They did not reserve themselves from the surrounding national apostasy.
Second, seven thousand men A certain number for an uncertain number, (Poole) which is typical of God. When we see an even number mentioned, it usually represents an unknown number. The seven thousand number does not included women and children, which were no doubt reserved with the men.
Paul points out to the questioning Jews that even under the worse judgment, God still has his elect.
V. 5, Paul tells them that there is a remnant of Jews according
to God's election. Therefore, their rejection is not total. Though
those who believe may be few in respect of the whole, there are
many thousands of the elect reserved by God's grace.
Vv. 4, 5. Twice now Paul has pointed out that the preservation of the elect is something that God must do, and that he does.
V. 6. Paul seems to get into a tangle of words here, but he reminds his readers again of what he has said all along. Grace and Works cannot mix.
For what is works is works, and what is free grace is free
Paul has spent the first 10 chapters of Romans, starting with Abraham, proving to impossibility of works and grace going together. Evidently, the Jews could not understand that impossibility any more than many today can understand that impossibility.
If election and calling were both of grace and works, then grace is no grace, and works are no works.
Second section, vv. 7-10. The judicial blindness of the non-elect is prophesied in Scripture.
V. 7, What then? Paul now sums up the argument he has been making from the first of this letter.
Israel hath not obtained... Though Israel took great pains in seeking righteousness and life by the works of the law, they failed to find what they were looking for.
We must say the same today. Though many church members who believe they are saved are seeking righteousness and life by the works of the law, they are "missing the mark." They may abe able to quote for by grace are ye saved through faith, but actually they are trying to mix the two. They fail to obtain that for which they are looking.
But Paul has shown that even in the midst of the many confusing gospel messages which have not life in them, God has his elect---those whom he called to himself. Those elect may already be converted, or maybe God has not called them yet. Therefore, the need of the preaching of the Gospel as spoken of in chapter 8.
Though we may say with Isaiah, Lord, who hath believed our report?" we see here God has his elect scattered world wide.
Blinded... The non elect are left in happily their ignorance and sin. We see in Paul's writings that the purpose of leaving them in their ignorance and sin was and is so God could bring judgment upon them, and break them off. The reason for breaking them off was so the Gentiles could be grafted in.
Isaiah 6:9 ¶ And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear
ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive
Isaiah 29:10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
Though people hear, they do not understand what they hear.
Why? Because God has then in a deep sleep
In Paul's day, the non-elect were in a deep sleep, as they are today.
They are blind, deff and indifferent to the Gospel, because it is in God's eternal plan that they be so.
Vv. 9, 10.
Psalms 69:22 ¶ Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
In this Psalm, David, who is a type of Christ, is speaking for Christ. Here we see Christ complaining about how his own people would vex him, and give him gall for meat and vinegar to drink, which they did while he was on the cross.
The implication here is Christ praying down the wrath of God upon his enemies. He prays that all their good and pleasant things be turned to their own destruction.
He prays that their understanding be darkened, so they can understand nothing of heavenly things. Rather than hunger and thirst after God, they hunger and thirst after things of this world. They have no desire to hear and understand the Gospel, and are unable to understand it if they do hear it. The result is destruction and death.
In this psalm, David prays down great miseries upon the Jews, as well as those who are at war against the gospel of Christ.
Throughout the Psalms, a common prayer is that the enemies of God might be caught in their own snares, snares they have set for the righteous.
As unhappy birds are enticed by that which is their sustenance, and then killed, and so did that thing turn to the Jew?s destruction, out of which they sought life, that is, the law of God, for the preposterous zeal of which they refused the Gospel. (Geneva)
We are careful about feeding our birds, because our present cat will catch them. Our other cat was so old and tame, that she would sit on the porch and just watch them. This one will not.
As Geneva says, the birds are enticed by the food to live, and but meet death. The same with the Jews. They sought the law for life, and met death. How many unsaved today are seeking life through their good works, yet will meet death.
Lord, Lord have we not done many good works in thy name? And he will say unto them, depart from me ye workers of iniquity. Matthew 7:22, 23.
In this section, we have presented to us Judicial blindness
That is, a blindness sent by God to bring about the just judgment for sin.
God left the vast majority of Israel in their blindness. Though they had a zeal for the law, their zeal was without knowledge, and could not bring life and righteousness.
There blindness was for a purpose, and that purpose was so they would be broken off and the new nation of God grafted onto the root.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Either the god of this world is the Lord God, or it is the devil. Either way, the blindness that leaves people content in their sin is from the Lord God.
Why?? The same reason Israel was blinded, so God can bring judgment upon the nations.
What is the purpose of God's judgment?
Ezekiel chapter 7.
Ezekiel 7:4 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will
I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine
abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know
that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 7:9 And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth.
Ezekiel 7:27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Underline the phrase: About 60 times in just his book, Ezekiel tells us that the purpose of judgment is not only to judge sin, but it is to teach the people that God alone is the Lord.
Throughout Scripture, especially in the book of Judges, we see that the result of God's judgment, the people returned to the Lord.
We are living in the midst of a serious judicial blindness. People, even those who profess to be God's people and to love his word, are happily blind to the truth of the God's word. In fact, many flee from the truth.
God is going to be justified as he is bringing judgment against the "Christian west" for their totally disregard for his word---open sodomy, murder by the multiplied millions, deceit, theft, covetousness which is idolatry.
The willing and deep blindness we see around us is God's doing, as he brings about judgment.
But as Paul points out. Not all are blind. God had his elect remnant, and we must take the gospel to one and all in order that they might be called by the Spirit.
To here, 12/21/11
Vv. 11-16 The consequence both of their fall and conversion with regard to the Gentile world.