God’s Plan for Israel (Romans 11:25-26)
Paul refers to the future of Israel as a mystery. The entire section is built on the framework of a series of events in salvation history. These events involve God using Jews and gentiles to accomplish his plan of salvation. Paul revisits the point he made in 11:7-10, namely that God has chosen to harden some Israelites to the truth of the Gospel. But, this hardening is only “partial.” Elect Israelites—what Paul calls a “remnant” will be saved (Rom 11:5).
Does he mean every Jew? There are several viewpoints about the meaning of these verses. All Israel being saved could refer to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews at the end of history. Another view is that “all Israel” is referring to a remnant of ethnic Jews who are saved both in Paul’s day and throughout history. He implies also that Jews in his own day will be grafted in if they believe (Romans 11:23). He might even be implying that both would happen. Whatever God’s plan, He is not done with Israel, and makes it clear that there is an elect within their numbers.
Paul cites an Old Testament passage (Is. 59:20-21 that speaks of a deliverer that will “take away their sins”. Paul is seeing Jesus in this O T passage. It is clear that Israel’s redemption will com only through belief in Jesus. This redemption is spiritual, not national or political as many Jews believed.
God made promises to their forefathers that he intends to keep, but it doesn’t mean they will be saved because of their ethnicity. God’s plan for Israel reminds us to trust His wisdom over our own. We see in Romans 11:33-36 Paul compares the shallowness of man with God’s wisdom.
Paul begins to lay out practical application in this chapter. He points out that theology has implications for our life. It will change the way we think about ourselves, our place in life, our purpose for being. There is a lot more in the Christian life than just how we stand with God. God calls us to reflect his glory, to live for Him.
The well-known verses Romans 12:1–2 issue the basic call for a transformed life. They stand as a heading over all of Romans 12:1–15:13. In Romans 12:3–13:14, Paul tackles several general aspects of that transformed life.
“Body” in Paul’s teaching refers not to a part of the human being but to the whole person in relationship to the world. It includes our thoughts, our emotions, and our wills. How are we to take on the values of this new age to which we belong as Christians? By renewing of our mind. See Eph. 4:21–25.
Thus, we are called to engage in the lifelong process of changing the way we think, and by changing the way we think, we change the way we live. As Paul indicates at the end of verse 2, the person
transformed by the renewing of the mind is able to discern and put
into practice the will of God.
- Be Seriously Committed in every segment of your life: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice”
- Be Visibly Distinct: “Do not be conformed to this world”
- Be Radically Changed: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind”
Notice the priority Paul puts on the mind as the driving force of change, as opposed to the will. In essence, Paul is saying we need to be “re-programmed” in the way we think; we need a whole new worldview.
In Romans 12:3-8, Paul addresses who we are in the community of believers. He teaches a covenental dimension, involvement in the church community. He calls us to use our gifts for the community.
How do you discover your spiritual gifts? – Scriptural study – Prayer-What are you passionate about?-What are you good at? (make sure to ask others-friends, pastors, elders) Seek counsel of those around you, ask “what am I good at?”
Paul’s emphasis in this context is on the fact that Christians are unavoidably tied to each other in that one body, the church. We must view ourselves not as isolated individuals but as parts of a whole.
Marks of a True Believer Romans 12:9-21
Paul here shifts his tone in the letter. He focuses on how a true Christian will be seen.
There were 3 areas in the Roman world how Christian were seen: personal behavior, how they relate to each other in the body,and how they deal with the world when they were persecuted.
- Christians are Genuine: “Let love be genuine” (v.9a)
“They[unbelievers]will hardly believe a man that seemeth not to believe himself. If one bid your unfor your lives because abear or enemy is at your backs,and yet does not mend his own pace,you will be tempted to think he is but in jest,and therer eally is no danger as he alleges.” –Richard Baxter
In the Bible, love is a matter of the will. We determine to love. And true love will be directed to the good and will shun evil.
- Christians are Zealous:“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit”(v.11) Christian life is marked by energy and passion for the things of God!
- Christians are Persevering:“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant n prayer”(v.12)
Relation to Other Believers (v.10, 13, 15-16)
- Love and Honor One Another(v.10,16)
- Meet Each Other’s Needs (v.13)
- “Hospitality”is repeatedly put forth in Scripture as the mark of a Christian (means more than inviting folks for dinner, but helping others)
- Share Each Other’s Burdens (v.15) emotional or spiritual needs
Behavior in Relation to Enemies (v.14, 17-21)
- Do Not Repay Anyone for Evil(v.17a,19). Paul recognizes the reality of enemies and assumes that evil will be done to you
- Actively do Good to Your Enemies(v.14,20-21) Paul assumes this will be a difficulty for you, he also says God will take vengeance. enemy-Your goodness can convict your enemy of sin and lead them to Christ
Mat 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
It’s one thing to not retaliate, it’s another to do good!
A final word from Doug Moo,” Paul calls on us to continue doing good even when under the pressure of persecution. Indeed, we should seek to live at peace with everyone (v. 18). However, Paul’s qualification, “if it is possible,” reminds us that peace with others sometimes will not be possible. Paul would not have us compromise our morals or our integrity for the sake of peace. Non-Christians sometimes simply will not be reconciled or satisfied with anything less than a moral capitulation on our part.”1Encountering the Book of Romans, Douglas Moo
- 1Encountering the Book of Romans, Douglas Moo