Today's Devotions

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Showcase:Dealing with Pride

  • Everlasting Love: U2 video +

    Everlasting Love by U2 The amazingly wonderful way that love from God opens up ones life and the power of Read More
  • The Weakness of My Motivations +

    What motivates me? Often it is pleasure—reading a good book, skiing, playing with the kids, sex, even work. I enjoy Read More
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Don  Carson;psalm+29

ROMANS 11 HAS BEEN UNDERSTOOD in mutually contradictory ways. There is not space here to list them, let alone evaluate them. I shall simply lay out the flow of Paul's argument as I see it.

(1) Does Paul's argument in Romans 9–10 mean that God has utterly abandoned "his people," that is, the Israelites? Paul pens a hearty "No way!"—"By no means!" (Rom. 11:1). The first bit of counter-evidence (Rom. 11:1–6) is that Paul himself is a Jew, a Benjamite at that (one of the two tribes that did not break away from the Davidic dynasty after the death of Solomon). In other words, one cannot say that God has cast away the Israelites if Israelites are still being saved. Moreover, it never was the case that all Israelites demonstrated transforming grace. For instance, when Elijah, in a desperate depression, thought he was the only one left, the Lord informed him that he had reserved seven thousand loyal Israelites who had never succumbed to Baal worship (1 Kings 19:4, 10, 18; see also the October 16 meditation). So likewise in Paul's time and in ours: God has preserved a "remnant" of Jews who have proved faithful to God's ongoing self-disclosure. From God's perspective, it is a remnant "chosen by grace," and therefore not grounded in something as feeble as works (Rom. 11:5–6).

(2) But if the nation as a whole, in line with scriptural prophecies, stumbled so badly (Rom. 11:7–10), does this mean there is no hope for them, that they are "beyond recovery? Not at all!" (Rom. 11:11). For in the sweep of God's redeeming purposes, the substantial hardening of the Jews has been the trigger that has spread the Gospel to the Gentiles—and "if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles," and "if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world," then "how much greater riches will their fullness bring," and "what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:12, 15). This sounds very much as if Paul envisages a major swing still future to his own day. In the providence of God, the "rejection" of much of Israel has meant much grace for the Gentiles; the "acceptance" of much of Israel will mean even more grace for the world. Paul envisages a major turning to Jesus on the part of his fellow Jews, a turning that will issue in still greater gospel outreach worldwide.

(3) Paul draws some practical lessons for his Gentile Christian readers, using an analogy of a tree with branches broken off and grafted on (Rom. 11:17–25). But the culminating high point of his argument is his acclamation of the unfathomable wisdom and knowledge of God in bringing about this spectacular result (Rom. 11:33–36).

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Canticle of the Turning by Gary Daigle, Rory Cooney & Theresa Donohoo +

    1. My soul cries out with a joyful shoutthat the God of my heart is great,And my spirit sings of Read More
  • Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle +

    Through the eyes of men it seems Read More
  • First by Lauren Daigle +

    Before I bring my need Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Holy as God is Holy +

    As Eugene Peterson says, the book of Leviticus shows how God brings everything into his holy presence and transforms it Read More
  • Jeremiah: The Importance of Repentance +

    As Eugene Peterson has noted, Jeremiah is used by God to call the people of Israel to repentance. Read More
  • Balaam: What Happens When You Try To Strong-Arm God +

    In Numbers, the surrounding nations watch as God pours out blessing and good fortune over and over on the Israelites. Read More
  • Born of Water: A sign of our new creation in Christ +

    Baptism is like a wedding vow. Read More
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