Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 9, Rom 11-13

Today's readings are Rom 11-13. Tomorrow's are Rom 14-16.

In Rom 9, we saw the sovereignty of God in His election. In Rom 10, we see Israel's failure to respond in righteousness, calling her "disobedient and obstinate". Therein is the uneasy tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. So, what becomes of Israel? Are they doomed by their disobedience or saved as His chosen people?

Paul prepares us for Rom 11 by mentioning Isaiah's remnant in Rom 9:27-29. Keeping in mind that "not all who are descended from Israel are Israel," it becomes clear that most of disobedient Israel will be punished while some will be saved. Paul, himself is evidence of this. The remnant Paul speaks of is chosen by the grace of God. No one is saved solely because they are Jewish nor does being Jewish guarantee salvation. Only the ones God has chosen are saved. Some of Israel, the ones who reject Jesus Christ, will suffer the consequences for their sins. The one’s who are the recipients of God’s grace can be identified by their acknowledgment of Christ as Lord and Savior. Or, as in Old Testament times, the ones who trusted God for a coming redeemer (Heb 11). But salvation is not limited to the remnant of Israel. The measure of salvation is neither nationality nor ethnicity, but Jesus Christ. Of course, we’ve seen hints of this all along. Rahab, Ruth, Caleb and others were Gentiles that were grafted (adopted) into God’s family. The saved Gentiles will be grafted into the original "tree" of God's people. The wayward remnant of Israel will be re-grafted back into the same "tree".

There is much debate over what this means and how it will look as we approach the end of time. Some believe Israel, as a nation, is lost. Some believe all of Israel will be saved. Some think the modern church has taken the place of Israel. There are too many references to the church and Israel in the apocalyptic (end times) books of the Bible to think Israel has been replaced by the church. Furthermore, this would make God's original decrees over Israel null and void, something that would make God's promises unreliable. Paul's teaching on a remnant of Israel, chosen by God, eventually united with the church and taken into glory resolves much of the difficulty with this very complicated passage.

With the criteria for salvation established in Christ alone, Rom 12 begins detailing what it means to live in a way that demonstrates that salvation and puts God on display in the life of a Christian. The evidence of our transformation is in the exercising of our spiritual gifts. Christians are to live together, using their gifts in love as the body of Christ (the church). That love is to be worked out in all relationships under all circumstances. Our love for each other, and for the lost, will be the outward evidence of our inner transformation.

We see that Christians are to honor and obey civil government, which is ordained by God, in Rom 13. While God is the supreme authority, we are to conform to civil laws and ordinances insofar as they do not contradict the Scriptures, pray for and respect our leaders, pay our taxes and be models of good citizens. The unregenerate world rebels against authority. We are called to be set apart from the world and exemplars of humble, quiet, godly living.

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