Romans 9–11, Lesson 16. One Explanation of Why
Jews Were Not Becoming Christians.
Key Notes: Short and extended outlines of Romans 9–11.
After Paul finished the basic outline of salvation, an obvious question emerged. If God saves people, why aren’t all the Jews saved? They are God’s chosen people. Their salvation should be 95% complete and a demonstration to the world. God promised Abraham that his descendents would be as numerous as the dust of the ground (Gen. 13:16), as the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:5) or as the sands of the seashore .(Gen. 22:17). About 6000 had become believers in the first part of Acts. That was a miracle. But since there was a constituency of two or more million, something must have gone wrong. Paul explains. We will outline these three chapters and come back to more detailed study later. There are many weighty issues to study.
Statistics is a new scientific discipline, but the contrast between the few and the many, the remnant and the left-behind, goes back to 700BC with Isaiah 40:10–17. God protected 7000 from Baal worship during Elijah's time. Gideon fought with 300 out of 32,000 volunteers. (Judg.7:1-). Does statistics apply in this study?
2. I am the only Christian in our family ( one of 38) but what about my unsaved relatives? That is a question some of us ask. Paul starts out his discussion here because he was fiercely devoted to his own people.
3. What is spiritual hardening and how does it happen?
4. How do we reconcile God’s sovereignty and our responsibility? Are both represented here?
5. Can we have God's mercy without justice?
6. How can the Law direct us toward salvation and still be an obstacle to it?
7. Is there any place for Israel as a nation in the modern world?
When the class balked at this lesson, I offered them the opportnity make a salvation plan of their own. Since this text upsets many if not most people, try to devise a better scenario, a finer and fairer religion than God has revealed. Then study what Paul teaches.
Short Outline of Rom.9–11:
Salvation is under God’s sovereign grace. 9:1–26
Salvation is Israel’s responsibility. 9:27–10:21
God uses Israel’s resistance to save the Gentiles. 11:1–24
God will eventually save all of Israel. 11:25–36
Extended outline of Rom. 9–11
9:1–3 Paul would cheerfully accept being cursed by God if Israel could be saved.
9:4–5 Israel has seven components of spiritual knowledge and experience, an overwhelming advantage, but without notable spiritual success.
9:6–13 God’s word did not fail. He simply does not choose everyone.
Biological Israel is not equal to the children of Abraham.
God chose Isaac but not Ishmael.
God chose Jacob but not Esau.
9:14–18 Does partiality /selectivity imply injustice?
No. God chooses to have mercy on some but not all. It is not a man’s will or exertion that determines mercy. Pharaoh was put up to show God’s mercy to Israel and to demonstrate God’s power to the world.
9:19–26 Can God find fault, then?
He has all the power—true. The clay may not argue with the potter.
God demonstrates His mercy and judgment together. Without contrast, the eye sees nothing. Mercy without judgment is not seen as mercy at all.
God is also in the business of rejuvenating the spiritually dead, the “not My people”.
9:27–33 Israel failed to believe because they stumbled over Christ. Still a remnant will be saved.
10:1–13 Israel’s zeal for God was real but wrong-headed. They tried to put their own righteousness in place of God’s. Moses said they must live by the Law, but also by the word of faith.
The word of faith for the believer is simple: confess aloud that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
10:14–17 Evangelism is crucial.
10:18–21 But Israel did hear. The gospel reached wherever the Jews assembled. (The invitation is still out there.) But Israel was disobedient and the Gentiles were receptive.
11:1–10 God has not rejected the Jews. Paul was a Jew. During the worst of times under Elijah, God had 7000 devoted followers. The Remnant survived. The rest were hardened. God gave them a spirit of sleepiness.
11:11–36 Israel’s sin has been grace for the Gentiles. They were broken off so the Gentiles could be grafted in. (Gentiles, be warned.) In time, all Israel will be saved.
Who can understand God’s mind?
Who can give Him His due?
From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things.