Lesson 82: "This Is My Covenant. . .I Shall Take Away Their Sins." (Romans 11:27)

Romans 11:1-36

Welcome to lesson # 82.   Paul's Missionary Journey Epistles.   If you have your Bible open to the right place, it is open to Rom. Ch. 11. This, as you are supposed to know by now; is a continuation of Paul's discussion in ch. 9-10 concerning Israel, i.e. Paul's kinsmen in the flesh and their rejection of the gospel. Paul desired that his epople might be saved. He prayed for their salvation; he said in the first verse of c. ten. But because of jealousies against the Gentiles and because of their ignorance of God's righteousness and because of then-   desire to   continue   in   the   old schoolmaster (called the law of Moses) the Jews, as a class people, were being lost on a wholesale scale. It tore Paul up, just to think about it. Paul knew the value of one soul.    He wanted to encourage his Gentile brethren in the roman church to encourage and assist in teaching and saving the Jews, hi ch. 10, Paul made the point that righteousness was based upon faith in the Lord Jesus; believing that God "raised him from the dead." (10.9).    Salvation requires obeying the gospel (10:16). The Jews had heard the word, it was even in their mouth (10:8); but they were simply a disobedient and   gainsaying   people   (10:21).      Lest   someone misunderstand and conclude Paul was teaching that God had simply cast off the Jewish people and did not love them any longer; Paul, by using the same technique he has used so skillfully many times before in this book; went about dispelling that notion. At the beginning of ch. 11, he first stated a false thesis or argument in the form of a question, as if to draw a false conclusion. He then objected vigorously (as usual with this technique), he objected with a strong denial. Then, he presented arguments for correcting that false notion.   Are you ready? We're going to read the first ten verses. Please read with me!
"I say then, Hath god cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the Scriptures saith of Elijah? Now he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine alters; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then its no more grace: otherwise work is no more work What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway."
O.K., we're going to try to move just a little faster in this chapter. I'm sure you can handle it. The chapter seems long; but, there are several of these arguments and illustrations that are lengthy. We have already talked about the question in v. 1. Paul, in essence said, if it were true that God had cast off the Jews; then it would apply to Paul also. Paul, being a jew would thus be lost. But, in v.2, Paul stated the correct form: "God hath not cast away his people." Then in v. 2-3-4, Paul went back to 1 Kings ch. 19 to illustrate his case (using a bit of history that every Jew, knew very well). It was not a matter of no Jews being saved; a few believed and were being saved. But, Paul made the point that just as Israel had seldom ever in its history flourished in obedience, (just like at the time of Elijah), the same was true even at the time Paul wrote to the Romans. It was a matter of the Jews rejecting God. Then, in v. 6ff, to explain the present situation (the same argument Paul has presented over and over in Romans); Paul again here presents what he had taught before about grace -vs-works.
Then in v.ll, Paul using that same question technique (we talked about back in v.l), set up another question. This time: "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall?" In other words: did God bring about a situation that would cause all future generations to be lost? And then as usual, Paul protests strongly, with: :God forbid," i.e. absolutely not. The coming of the messiah, Jesus Christ, that the Jews didn't accept, resulted in the Jews (Paul's kinsmen in general) being provoked to jealousy.   But, that same Jesus brought salvation to the Gentiles hi the sense that the Gentiles were not equal to the Jews and were not required to be proselyted or adopted as Jews as in former times. One of the very things that angered the Jews and apparently caused them to reject Jesus was, on the other hand, a great boon of enticement to the Gentiles. So, Paul in v. 14 said to the Gentiles, that he would like to provoke to emulation his kinsmen and, thus, save some of them. What a blessing: that the Gentiles had been brought in; but, just think: if the Jews could now be saved! It would be like: "life from the dead" (v.l5), i.e. saving that which would otherwise be eternally lost. Then in v. 16-24, Paul illustrated his point with the phenomenon of grafting fruit trees, we would say.   "Graff' is spelled G_R_A_F F is the translation I have. We usually spell it G-R-A-F-T, today. Have you ever seen a tree grafted? The process is used widely still today. A limb or twig is removed from one tree and grafted into another. The tender branch then thrives and matures receiving its nourishment from another set of roots. But, notice, one branch is cut off to leave a place for the new graft. Paul used the olive tree to illustrate; probably because they were familiar with grafting olive trees.   Farmers still find great advantage in this process of grafting, which we won't get into. But, it is verified here, the Romans understood this process, even back in the days of Paul. And, Paul saw in this process a similarity in common with the situation as it existed between his Jewish kinsmen and the Gentiles. Look at v.20! "Because of unbelief [i.e. of the Jews] they were broken off',   hi other words, leaving a place on the rootstock for the Gentiles to be grafted-in is the idea. Notice now, by their own doings, the Jews were broken off. Paul did not say God done this to the Jews, they cannot blame God. The Jews severed themselves, you see. Paul referred to the Gentiles as a wild olive tree. Now, let's make a couple more observations about Paul's illustration and I'll leave it with you. First, in v. 18, Paul cautioned the Gentiles not to boast, brag or gloat at the expense of the Jews.   The same calamity could befall the Gentiles. There's a great lesson that for us. Secondly, v.23, if the Jews would believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour; repented, confessed and were baptized for the remission of sins, "God is able to graff them in again." I.e. God will accept them back at any time, if they will only obey. O.K., the rest is up to you. Let's read some more, beginning in v.25, We'll read down through v.32. Here we go, Rom. Ch. 11:25.

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written., There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away then- sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sake. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, ye have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For god hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."

Alright, ifyou'll roll back to v.25, let's see what we can do!   Remember now, Paul was writing to the church at Rome, predominantly Gentiles.   Paul here (v.25) said in effect; I want to tell yOou something brethren, "lest ye should be wise in your own conceits", i.e. Paul is saying: let me give you a different perspective on this. His word "mystery", probably comes somewhere , close to the idea of a revelation. Paul is saying, don't let your acceptance of the gospel and the Jews' rejection of the gospel go to you head and cause you to be so conceited as to think God has simply marked the Jews off and accepted the Gentiles in their place. That is not true.   God still loves the Jews, just as much as the Gentiles. McGarvey and Pendleton point out that the phrase "in part" (middle of v.25) modifies Israel and not "blindness." As I read this in the KJV, it sounds as if it should limit blindness to partial blindness; which they say is NOT the idea. So it's one of those places we need to be careful. In other words, Paul is talking about only a portion of Israel or the "remnant" idea (back in v. 5). This only applied to a remnant of the Jews; but that remnant was totally blinded, in that they misunderstood the gospel and, thus, totally rejected God as a result. But, to be saved they must open their eyes, understand and obey the gospel. Paul's mystery to the Gentiles can be summed up something like this. There was a time when the Gentiles rejected God in that they too, did not obey God, i.e. in times past when the Jews were given favor as a result. But, now to equalize things, God has reversed the situation. The Jews have rejected god and the Gentiles are grafted-in or favored as a result. But, part of God's plan was simply that the Gentiles should NOW protect and preserve the gospel, i.e. maintain covenant relationship with God while the Jews have by their own hardness fallen into disfavor.    The Jews maintained covenant relationship back when the Gentiles rejected; thus protecting and preserving an ultimate opportunity that the Gentiles might be saved. Therefore, god expects the Gentiles to do so the same for the Jews, while the Jews have, likewise, NOW lapsed into a period of disobedience. Look at v. 28 a moment, "As concerning the gospel, they {i.e. the Jews] are enemies for you sakes {i.e. the Gentiles]." Bad relations existed and the Jews would not accept the gospel, partly at least through just plain jealousy. They were provoked to jealousy by a not-people.   Do you remember that" (10:19)? Take the time to re-read Paul's quote from Moses, there (10:19. However the other side of the coin here in v. 28 is that this is a human view; it's not God's view. In contrast to that, "as touching the election, they [e.e. the Jews] are beloved for the father's sake." Then in v. 29, Paul said in essence: God doesn't make mistakes.   "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance," i.e. God doesn't have to learn better and then change his mind like men so often do. If you get the drift. V. 30-32-32 restates this. "For as ye [i.e. the Gentiles] in times past have not believed God, ye have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also [ i.e. the Jews] NOW not believed., that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." As I said, it undoubtedly turns out to be an equalizing process in terms of God's election which we talked about before. However, that election process, remember does not keep individuals from obeying; it undoubtedly, (as I understand it,) has to do with God's dealing with the masses. Now, some way or another we skipped over v. 26-27. This is a quote that Paul tossed in from Isa. 59:20-21; obviously a messianic prophecy. The Delivers (notice the capital letter) has a reference to Jesus, of course. The word "Zion", we have said before, is an older reference to Jerusalem or the place from which Jesus gave his law or covenant in contrast to Mt. Sinai, i.e. the geographic place from which the Mosaic covenant went forth. V. 27 makes the distinction between these two covenants. In the old covenant we ;have said before, sins were rolled forward and more sacrifices were offered each year. But, those sacrifices could not take away sins (Heb. 10:3-4). However, in the sacrifice Jesus made; sins are taken away, according to v. 27 here in our text, AND this agrees, of course, with all other scriptures on this point. For example, Heb. 8:11, which is a quote and a commentary on Jeremiah's prophecy concerning this thought. Now I presume, that Paul was by this quote making reference to God's election process (we have mentioned before) and as it relates to the Gentiles mystery (v. 25); this was foretold or alluded to in the scripture here quoted, i.e. Isa. 59: 20-21 which Paul quoted here in v. 26-27.

O.K.., we have four more verses left, v. 33-36. Let's read the rest of the chapter. Are you ready" "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath know2 the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." It seems to me, in the verses we just read; Paul marveled at the insight of God, the election of God, as herein discussed, and the mystery or revelation that had just been given to the Gentiles through Paul, beginning in v.25, and how all things work together for good. It is beyond the comprehension of man. Boggled by this thought and the lack of words to communicate it explicitly; the apostle broke into an esthetic statement of praise and tribute to God. He would have loved to have seen his kinsman obey the gospel and be saved. But, it was not from lack of concern, planning and care on the part of God, that his fellow countrymen were being lost. Paul's statement, the words he used and the simplicity with which he stated these thoughts are so logical and genuine; I'm afraid anything I might say would detract, rather than explain. Please notice in the KJV, v. 33 contains two exclamation marks. V.34-35 are a grand total of three questions. One translation, give V.35 like this: "Who has loaned something to God, so that God needs to pay him back?" These are all quotations from the O.T., I trust you suspected. V. 34 comes from Isa. 40:13 and Jer. 23:18. Then v. 35 comes from Job 41:11. The thought in v. 36 are the words of Paul. With these words, the apostle, so fittingly brings that great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart for his straying kinsmen, with which he started this section, back in 9:2 to a climax, which seems to say: please help my Jewish brethren. To the readers of this epistle in Rome, Paul's sobering crescendo in ch. 8, along with his implied appeal for help with his own nation must have sharpened their anticipation for the opportunity to shake hands with the apostle to the Gentiles. Chapter 12 is coming up! Have a good day.

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