Monday, December 28, 2020

Romans 11th chapter

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Dear Romans class, 11th letter Conclusion of Romans

Some of you have requested that I send out the overhead that I used in class last Monday evening. So here it is. My outline is based on my perceived paragraph structure of 14-. Remember the paragraph structure we have in the various translations is not inspired. I see paragraphs 14-18 & 1- & 0- and underlined are the main thoughts that I suggest Paul is dealing with. If you check the popular translations such as NKJV, NIV, NASV, NLT you will see that none of them agrees with my paragraph structure but then none of them agrees with each other either!

Romans 14-

14-18 Is God just in how He chooses?

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Yes, of course, and our faith is the basis of His choice for…...

15 For consider why He had mercy with Moses it was Moses' faith & prayer

16 So then God is just in showing mercy

17 For consider why He hardened Pharaoh it was Pharaoh's lack of faith

18 So then God is just in hardening

1- Does our cooperation with God matter?

Absolutely, For Faith (ie our cooperation) actually determines….

1- What the Potter makes…….

And Faith determines just who is the ….

4- The Remnant surviving Judgment.

0- What then is the Grand Conclusion? Faith Rules!!

Only those who have faith attain righteousness (ie are saved)!

We covered a lot of ground Monday evening we first reconsidered 'The Potter' of Jeremiah 18 and then we flew through the Assyrian Crisis (refer to the prophets chart) both as it concerned Hosea and the Northern Kingdom and Isaiah and the Southern Kingdom. We saw how Paul's argument concerning 'God's choice of faith' is further enhanced and understood by these fantastic OT events, particularly in regards the work of the potter and the security of the remnant.

Just a few summary thoughts from our time together last Monday evening…..

I really think that in the paragraph of 1- Paul is countering the tendency of the Jew to be angry at God for

1) not rewarding the Jew with 'national' salvation as God's people and also for

) accepting and saving Gentiles who pursued God's will 'so little' (ie the 11th hour workers of Mat 016).

I think the Jew is now tempted to say something like, 'If this is what God is like then …Why should we try and please Him? What's the point of it all?' Paul now argues to convince the Jew, the Gentile and us that His plan is really wonderful and our effort and our cooperation in God's work really matters. And that the Jew should not be disappointed with the generosity of God extended to the Gentiles. He extends the same generosity to Israel. The sour attitude like voiced in vs 1 produces tragic results just as we see it has in the Jewish nation that to this very day rejects the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah they simply will not believe (have faith) in Him. They persist in rejecting God's plan.

Yes, our cooperation of faith is vital to God's work and accomplishment of His will. He does not work apart from us. First, we saw this with the Potter in Jeremiah 18. The point of the potter is that the response and cooperation of the clay was in the end the determining factor in what the Potter made on His wheel. This points to the necessity of our obedience of faith. (Remember that this is the very purpose of Paul writing to the Romans and the purpose of his apostleship Rom 15.) How we respond to God makes all the difference in how He is able to work in our lives. Remember that we already learned this principle in Romans 6-8. Sanctification (ie what the potter is making) is an issue of faith and obedience (Rom 6) and not our own effort and work (Rom 7). It is our faith in Him that releases His power and accomplishes His work in our lives (Rom 8). This is how He conforms and forms us into His very own image (Rom 88-) - the ultimate goal of the Potter and His wheel. This is true for both nations and individuals for this is the nature of God and how He works with man. Individually we are each one lump and He is making one vessel of each lump. Nationally we are one lump, the Jews are one lump, etc and He is making one vessel of each. The point is, the faith and obedience of the lump determines whether He makes a vessel of Honor or a vessel of Dishonor.

Further, we looked briefly at the two words 'prepared' in vs and . We noted….

'He endures with much patience vessels of wrath(being) prepared (passive voice) for destruction'

'He makes known glory on vessels of mercy, which He prepared (active voice) for glory'

The two words 'prepared' in these two verses are exactly the same English word BUT they are not from the same Greek words. Neither are these the same Greek verb forms (the first is a participle & the second is a simple verb) and neither are they the same tense (the first is perfect and the second is aorist) and neither the same voice (the first is passive or middle and the second is active). Among all these distinctions, one of the most important differences between the two words prepared is the 'voice'. Verse says 'He is patiently enduring (active voice) something being prepared (passive or middle voice ie prepared by themselves or others). Whereas vs says, 'He prepared for glory (active voice He is doing the work) the vessels of mercy.' The first 'prepared' speaking of destruction is passive or middle voice and the second 'prepared' speaking of mercy and glory is active voice. In other words, clearly God is not the one preparing vessels of wrath for destruction God is simply enduring them as they are being prepared by others. The middle voice would suggest that they are preparing themselves or one another which is exactly what we saw with Pharaoh and exactly what we see concerning God's wrath in the beginning of Romans 'God's wrath is being revealed' Rom 118 …..'He gives them over, He gives them over, He gives them over…to themselves and their sin!' Rom 14,6,8. Contrasting in the active voice suggests He is preparing vessels of mercy for glory as they give themselves over to Him. Practically this means that if we trust and obey Him then He makes of us vessels for glory. But if a man, like Pharaoh, or even a nation as a whole will not trust and obey Him then He gives that one over to what he or they choose. And God patiently endures and even contributes to that one's hardness while still using that one for His glory though ultimately dedicated to destruction. God is certainly doing the molding and forming in both cases but what He molds depends on the faith of 'the clay'. This is an awesome truth one that certainly demands our full attention. Are we trusting God to do His 'glorious' work in us, in our families, in our nation?

Now there is a slight shift in thinking. In vs 4 Paul cleverly includes the Gentiles for the first time in his argument of Ch . In doing so Paul expands his reader's thinking from 'Not all Israel is Israel' to 'Some of the Gentiles are Israel' If Paul is indeed directing much of his argument in Ch to readers that are unbelieving Israelites then at this point I suspect they are about ready to lynch Paul. We, as Gentiles, may never really appreciate the racial hatred that existed between Jew and Gentile and therefore cannot fully appreciate the argument of these verses. I don't even think the black white conflict of the early 1th century in America really comes close to the racial hatred in Paul's day. Paul is absolutely brilliant in how he now proves that God has always welcomed the Gentiles into His kingdom.

To prove this Paul quotes from Hosea. Hosea was the last voice of God before Israel fell to Assyria and essentially ceased as a nation (see our prophet's chart). You know the story. Hosea shares the testimony of his agony in Ch 1- that his beloved wife, Gomer became a harlot can you imagine this happening to you or to your son? And adding to his agony Hosea had children of harlotry. His own children were born during the time Gomer was a harlot. Two boys and a girl just reading the names he gave his children in Hosea chapter 1 we can see his pain. The names of the last two children are particularly revealing Lo-ruhamah no compassion and Lo-ammi not my people. And to add to the agony Gomer had other children of her harlotry that is children of other men. God asked Hosea the prophet to experience this incredible pain in order to share God's own heartbreak and thus effectively speak to Israel which Hosea did in Chapters 4-14. But there is a bright side to this awful story Hosea's wife returns and the family is reunited even the children that were not his own. … 'say to your sisters "Ruhamah"-obtained compassion'. Remember Hosea had only one daughter of his own but here we see there were daughters (plural) upon whom Hosea has compassion. He renames his children Ammi my children and Ruhamah compassion.

And there is corresponding bright side to the awful story of God casting His own people out of their land and thus 'divorcing them' and eliminating their nation. He will again welcome those individuals who trust Him as Lord God, those who 'come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness' Hos 5. But not only those who are of Israel (this I am convinced is the point Paul is making) but to those "in the place where it was said 'Not my People' there they shall be sons of the living God". In other words, even children of illegitimate birth (Gentiles) in a strange land (Assyria) who were formerly 'not loved' and not 'my people' … "there, in that place, where it was said to them, 'You are not My people, There they shall be called sons of the living God." Not because they were Israelites nor because they were converted to Judaism in Judea this speaks clearly of Gentiles becoming sons of the Living God! Right there in Assyria. This is what the message of Hosea means and this is exactly why Paul quotes Hosea 110 and in Romans 5-6. Again, as we previously saw in Rom 6-1 the Jews erred because they did not understand their own Scriptures. If they had they would have embraced God by faith just like Abraham did (Rom 6-1) and would have reached out to the Gentile nations just like God did (14-).

And Paul is not quite through, he has one more important point to make. That is it is only the Remnant who will be saved only a few of the whole. That Remnant we now understand from vs 4-6 consists of both Jew and Gentile. This Remnant is the True Israel Paul previously spoke of in 6. To make this point Paul continues with the Assyrian crisis but now takes the lesson from the southern Kingdom Judah and the prophet Isaiah. The events we now consider in Kings 15-16, Chron 8 and Isaiah 6-1 were happening about the same time Hosea was experiencing his heartbreak. God was working in Israel, Judah and Assyria.

There had been 60-70 years of relatively good years in Judah under the preceding 'good' kings Amaziah, Ahaziah (Uzziah) and Jotham but now Ahaz is king and 'he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God' Kings 16. Therefore God raised up enemies Rezin king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah to make a confederacy against Ahaz. God was attempting to turn Ahaz's heart to Himself. Pekah and Rezin planned to remove Ahaz and put a Syrian on David's throne. Ahaz and all Judah are scared to death Isaiah 7 and Isaiah is sent to Ahaz with a message.. 'take care, be calm and do not fear…. these two smoking wicks they shall not stand'. BUT a second message to Ahaz in 7…. "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." It should have been a 'no brainer' to Ahaz and Judah that God would not let a Syrian assume David's throne for the Messiah was to come through David's lineage and sit on his throne that is precisely why the 'sign' that God gives Ahaz has to do with the Messiah vs "a virgin shall bear a son'. Also, this is precisely why the following prophetic messages in 7 and 111 clearly identify the Messiah with David's lineage and throne. Tragically Ahaz does not heed the sign, and does not stand firm in faith. He does not listen to Isaiah and trust God. Therefore, Pekah and Rezin slay 10,000 of Judah in one day and take another 00,000 into captivity all because Ahaz the King of Judah would not believe. God never intended these atrocities to happen but they did happen all because the King would not have faith in the Lord God.

In the previous chapter of Isaiah 6 we see the beginning of Isaiah's ministry approximately 16 years before this encounter with Ahaz in ch 7. Isaiah is converted and offers himself for service and God gives him the charge and burden of preaching for 50 years to a people, to Judah, who will not listen. However, there is some hope in his difficult ministry for Isaiah is told that there would be a remnant though the land would be utterly forsaken Isaiah 61. Isaiah embraces his calling and difficult ministry of preaching to hard hearts and even names his firstborn 'the remnant shall return.' Again we see a prophet who had to 'live the message' and share the heartbeat and heartbreak of his God. Isaiah lived and ministered in hope. As Isaiah prophesies in Is 7-1 to the events of Ahaz's unfaithfulness and Judah's partial defeat we read of the remnant that would return. But as is often the case with OT prophecy, as the prophet addresses the contemporary issue he raises his eyes and sees a distant vision of the Messiah's 1st or nd coming. (read the prophet section of the Hermeneutic book concerning double fulfillment) In the midst of these events Isaiah gives us some of the most incredible prophecies of the Messiah including;

714 a virgin shall be with child

88-10 Immanuel…God is with us

6 A Child shall be born to us, a son shall be given to us.

111 A shoot shall spring from the stem of Jesse

In the midst of these prophecies of the contemporary issue in Judah and the future coming Messiah Isaiah speaks of the remnant and the verses Paul quotes in Rom 7- "And Isaiah cries…Isaiah 100-. …A remnant shall return to God…though your people , O Israel, be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant shall return…a destruction, a complete destruction is determined and decreed the Lord Himself will execute….ie only the remnant shall be saved. If we turn to the end of the story in Isaiah 1116-16 we see the remnant shall be those who say "Behold God is my salvation , I will trust and not be afraid. For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation." Who then is the remnant? ….Those who trust God, have faith and say 'God is my salvation, I will trust Him'. Though Ahaz would not stand firm in faith and be saved, the remnant would. The remnant would trust God for salvation. And so it is today there is a remnant who will exercise faith in Him and trust Him for salvation.

It is interesting that both texts that Paul quotes Hosea 1- and Isaiah 7-1 both have a similar verse. Both say… "though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea" then Hosea says 'it is those in that place where it is said to them, 'You are not my people, it will be said to them, 'You are the sons of the living God.' And Isaiah says, "For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea" then Isaiah says, "only a remnant will return and survive the destruction." Thus by comparing both texts which are both quoted in Romans we see that the remnant consists of both Gentiles who were not His people (from Hosea) and Jews who were of His people (from Isaiah). As Hosea says, it is those who were not My people but 'come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness' Hosea 5 . And as Isaiah says, it is those who say "Behold God is my salvation , I will trust and not be afraid. For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation." Both prophets in their own way identify the remnant as those of the Gentiles and Jews who have faith those who trust God and return to Him and cling to Him for salvation. Paul now concludes this thought in the final paragraph of Romans verses 0- and applies it to all. It is those who have faith who attain righteousness and are saved. They are true Israel, they are the remnant.

How brief was that review of so much OT Scripture! Of course, we could have spent weeks studying these wonderful chapters of the Old Testament but we will have to leave that to you and the Holy Spirit. Please take or make time to study these truths for yourself. But I hope that the brief comments above help us see how Paul reinforces that truth he makes in Romans 1-8 and now in particular in Romans that salvation was, is and shall ever be by faith. This has always been God's plan for saving people and always will be whether Jew or Gentile.

Well, we have finally finished Romans and will soon begin Romans 10. As promised, next Monday night will be our question and answer time. Let's have a lively loving open discussion about these hard and controversial issues of the sovereignty of God and free will of man. Can they as Spurgeon suggests, "Be friends?" Or will such an effort, as Wiersbe suggests "Make us lose our minds?" Before next Monday's meeting, it may be helpful to review the rules of fighting or contending for the faith see Jude , 0- and notice carefully the words prayer, love and mercy! Certainly we will not answer all your questions satisfactorily on Monday evening. But I think it will be helpful for us to voice the questions and at least attempt to answer them. If the question time does not take all our evening we will press on into Chapter 10. Give it a read and begin to take a look at the OT references in Deuteronomy that Paul uses. (Boy, are we getting an OT 'workout'!)

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