There are three things Paul wants us to understand from the last section of Romans 11: a mystery, a mercy and a majesty. These important theological truths give us a firm foundation of faith to build our lives upon.
Romans: The Glory of the Gospel Part 28
Understanding – Romans 11:25-36
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – April 22nd, 2018
- Last week, we saw how God continues to unfold His plan of salvation by first giving His covenant love to Israel. Israel in large rejected the grace of God through Christ by persisting in their own righteousness and became hardened of heart towards God. Because of the trespass of Israel by rejecting Christ, the message of gospel has gone into the rest of the world. Those outside of God’s covenant of faith have been grafted into these promises by belief in Christ. So now we share in the covenant and receive the blessings of being included in the family of God – as long as we continue to be connected through faith in Christ.
- This morning, we are going to finish chapter 11 and the larger first focus of this book where Paul has been laying a theological foundation in which we build our lives and actions upon. This section comes to a close in a prayer of worship and praise to God. The rest of the book then turns to how we are to live out these theological truths as followers of Ch There are three things that the Holy Spirit wants you to understand from this passage for today: understand a mystery, understand a mercy, and understand the majesty of God.
Understand this mystery
Rom 11:25-27 ESV
Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
- The mystery that Paul is unveiling is how the people of Israel factor into the plan of God. There has now been a partial hardening of the heart of the people of Israel until the time when the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
- It is also interesting to note that Paul starts this phrase with “lest you be wise in your own conceits” which is an interesting thought. Our pride comes equipped with its own “wisdom.” Having a heart of pride filters and directs our thoughts, our actions, and our interactions with others. (Ill. with interactions with ourselves, our family, our workplace and our world.) Pride is the primary “hardening agent” of our hearts, causing us to lose sensitivity to God and others. Pride isolates us from others and insulates us from truth, eventually destroying our soul. Ask God and others to help free you from pride so you can walk in humility with God and grace in the world.
- A partial hardening to the people of Israel has come until the fullness of Gentiles has come in. I personally think that the “fullness of the Gentiles” coming in happens when the great commission is completed. (Matt. 28:16-20)
- After “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” all Israel will be saved. Paul supports this conclusion by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (chapter 59) when a deliverer, a redeemer will come from Zion (the city of God) to banish ungodliness and take away their sins. Most people believe that this event is when Christ comes back for the “millennium reign.” Our part in this is to fulfill the great commission to the ends of the earth, keeping in mind that God is not finished with the people of Israel. He will do a great work in them and with them in the future (which tells us there will be a nation and people of Israel that will endure).
Understand this mercy
As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
- Israel has become enemies of God by rejecting the gospel. God used their rejection of the gospel to include the gentiles in the covenant family of faith.
- They are still a chosen “elect” people because God chose them through the faith of their forefathers (Abraham / David).
- God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. Once He gives you a gift and a calling, He does not take them back. It is true of Israel and it is true to you. We have the responsibility and opportunity to use them. We will also give Him an account for them. Do not forsake your calling or bury your gifts.
Rom 11:30-32 ESV
Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
- All have been given over to disobedience so God can have mercy on all. God shows His character of mercy (not giving us what we deserve) to all people, both Jew and non-Jew alike. Salvation does not depend upon our goodness, but on His mercy. (Rom 9:16-17 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.)
- After taking 11 chapters to explain all of these things to us Paul, breaks out in a psalm of praise to God in reflection upon all these things.
Understand this majesty
Rom 11:33-36 ESV
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
- Paul praises God because of the incredible abundance of His wisdom and knowledge. God’s knowledge and wisdom are so great that we can’t comprehend or know it all. It is beyond us. The way in which He does things and the judgments He comes to are inscrutable – incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable – and they are true, right and good.
- No one can fully know the mind of the Lord. No one can give him advice or counsel Him. No one can give Him anything that He does not possess already.
- He is the source, He is the means, and He is purpose for all things.
- Understanding His majesty should invoke an “awe” of Him. We should praise Him, honor Him, worship Him, love Him and fear Him. Understanding His majesty helps us to know who He is, and knowing who He is informs our prayers, our hearts and our living.
- Understanding how God has worked in the past according to His covenant to Israel and understanding how God is working now based on that covenant should give us a heightened respect for the people of Israel and an urgency to fulfill the great commission so that the next stage of the plan of God is fulfilled.
- Understanding how God has given all over to disobedience so that He can display His mercy on us all should give us a theological understanding that salvation depends solely on the mercy of God and not on our goodness. This should help us to call on Him for mercy and rest in His mercy.
- Understanding how great the majesty of God is should evoke in us reverent worship of Him, and trust for Him in His ways and in His judgments. Choose to live in this way.
- Prayer People and Pray
Questions for the week ahead
- How will what you heard today impact your thinking?
- How will what you heard today impact your living?