Text: Romans 11:7-16
Theme: Israel has fallen away but they are not without hope.
Key verses: “So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have–the ones God has chosen–but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, ‘God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear’ (v. 7-8). Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves (v. 11). “I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who are dead!” (v. 13-15).
What I believe God said to me: Dwayne, frankly it’s hard for me to say anything to you when your mind is still reeling from your own sinful thoughts and actions. You must die to yourself every single day. You can never settle for “That’s just how I am.” Just how you are is how you should come to me. However, once you come to me and follow me, you can’t stay just as you were. You must be being conformed into the image of my dear Son. You can’t stay the way you were in your sinful flesh. You are a new creature made righteous by my Spirit in you. So act like it. Now, regarding this passage, notice that Paul is speaking the Israel as a nation. He is not referring to individual people who are Israelites. In fact he said he wants to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so he “might save some of them.” This is a very important clue to the understanding of this “situation” with the Jews (and also with the doctrine of election). Paul wasn’t content thinking they had all fallen and had no hope. He knew better because Paul knew my character. He knew I love my people and want them to be saved. Paul was determined to do all he could to “save some of them.” What does that sound like? It would seem that Paul believed certain Jews would come to me, that I had not categorically rejected them and that he would offer my salvation to any and all who would listen. His words could certainly lead one to think that. And then notice one more thing Paul says. He mentioned their “acceptance.” Why would he use such a term or expression? If their salvation has nothing whatsoever to do with them why would they have the option to “accept” salvation? This is a stronger indication that one’s salvation is not only dependent on my drawing them, but also on their accepting my free gift of grace. I know this is a lot for you to take in and comprehend. And since you are hearing me now and filtering my Word through your limited human understanding, be careful not assume that “I” God am really saying all of this. You must continue to study to show yourself approved before me, as a workman that does not need to be ashamed. Thousands of godly, smart, wise, well-studied and well-meaning saints have carefully poured over my written Word and drawn differing conclusions about free will vs. grace and election. You do not have it all figured out by a long shot. Keep learning. Stay humble and teachable. Know what you know, but admit what you don’t. And by all means, tell everyone you can about my salvation to save some of them.
What I said to God: Thank You, my Lord, for speaking so directly to my spirit today. I know I haven’t heard every word perfectly from you. I don’t assume what I have written to be the final “word” from God on anything. Your written Word, the Bible, is Your final Word. All we can do as Your children is search the Scriptures for in them we will find eternal life and hope and help. In them we will get to know the God of the Bible and the God who made the universe. You are the God who loved me enough to send Your only Son to die for my sins–those I have already committed and those I have yet to commit. Oh what a Savior! Thank You that we can choose salvation. Thank You there is hope for “whosoever will” to come to Your fountain and find cleansing and freedom.