Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
The Word Speaks Louder Than Actions
We?ve been talking about Israel. There are many believe that God has turned His back on those who were His people. I believe Romans 9-11 provide proof that this is not the case. Paul was so concerned about his brethren that if would have become accursed if they would come to faith. He continues that concern here in chapters 10-11 and gives us some insight into how Israel got cut off from God, how we were grafted in, and how God treats us just like Israel?once they come to God in faith, they come home.
1 ? 4
Being zealous doesn?t make you right. There are a lot of people in this world who make powerful arguments through the zeal they show for their position. But the strength of an argument comes not from the force of its delivery but the truth of its assumption. The Jews assumed that God would always be pleased with and accept them because they were God?s people. But God had always designed righteousness to come from faith, not obedience (eg: Abraham).
When we deal with people who are really strong in their opinion opposing God, we do not need to match them shout for shout or zeal for zeal ? Jehovah?s Witnesses are some of the most motivated and zealous people that exist, but they are very wrong in their theology. What matters is what works, not what sounds good.
Notice that in reality, the Jews wanted to have self be number one. They rejected God?s righteousness through Jesus and sought ?to establish their own.? We like to be God but we can?t in practice. And that?s the ultimate reality everyone has to grasp.
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness because we are no longer justified by following the law, but by faith in Jesus. It doesn?t mean the law goes away, it is fulfilled in Jesus, who by giving us His life, makes us transformed into law fulfillers too.
5 ? 7
Under the law if you wanted to be counted as righteous you had to fulfill every single commandment. James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
The idea here is that we, as humans, can do nothing to save ourselves or even participate in the saving process. Jesus did it all for us singlehandedly.
8 ? 13
In other words, you don?t have to go to heaven or to Hades to find salvation?it is always right there. I know this is a somewhat silly analogy, but in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had to go all over Oz and fight witches and flying monkeys to earn the right to go home. When it was all said and done, the good witch (I can?t remember which compass point she belonged to) told her she always had the power, just by clicking the heels of her shoes. With us, our salvation is very near, and it comes by our affirming from the heart two things: 1) That Jesus is Lord and 2) that through his life, death, burial, and resurrection, has cleansed our sins and given us eternal life. Jesus saved us, Jesus rules us and the universe. It is trust and reliance, and it is confession, first to God, perhaps, then to others. To ?confess? means ?to say the same thing.? Jesus said in Matthew 10:32 if you confess Him here, He will confess you in heaven! You cannot be a completely closet Christian. If you have never acknowledged your faith to anyone else I would question whether you are really saved.
?No distinction between Jew and Greek? God?s special relationship with Israel continues, but now it has been broadened to include us. More on that in a moment.
14 ? 17
All of us who have made this affirmation and confession have done so on the witness of those who saw the events of the gospel, wrote them down, and others brought these writings through the ages. Those who believed told others about it and so the gospel passes on. Jesus, before He ascended to heaven said ?As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.? (John 20:21). It?s all about 1) a relationship with God and 2) bringing others into that relationship by being transformed to being like God and then used to further the good news.
And though we use our words, it is really ?the word of Christ? ? the power of the gospel ? that saves. Remember Romans 1:16 ?I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.? As we?ve already said, though, not everyone will receive this message.
18 ? 21
Essentially the Jews could make two arguments that: 1) They didn?t hear the gospel or 2) That they didn?t understand. By this time Paul had spent 20 years taking the gospel and carefully explaining it all over his known world. Yes, God would make the Jews angry and jealous that stinking Gentiles would get salvation, and that people who knew nothing of Yahweh would be welcomed into His arms. But as it has been through much of their history, the Jews were ?disobedient and contrary? (vs 21). So now it comes up, a controversial subject about the future of the Jewish nation and the Jewish people.
11:1 ? 6
?I?m a Jew,? Paul says, ?and I responded.? Not all Israel will be saved, just as not all of the Gentiles can make that confession of faith. He uses the example of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Elijah has seen a tremendous victory against Baal but runs away from Jezebel and claims he is the only faithful one left. God tells him otherwise. God always seems to have that faithful remnant (2 Kings 19, for example). Again, it is those whom God ?foreknew? (vs 2) who would respond.
We are chosen, not by what we do, but what God has done?his grace, unmerited favor. He did it all.
7 ? 10
Israel wanted God?s acceptance, but by their obedience to the law. When God wouldn?t accept them that way (because ?all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?) they became hardened in their hearts. It really is all about letting go of self-pride and acknowledging we are helpless, but God is helpful.
11 ? 12
The fact that the Jews rejected the gospel is a chief reason why Paul took it to the Gentiles. Acts 13:46-47 \"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you.? Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.?
Though as a nation they rejected, those that did respond?wow. And there will come a time when the nation will respond and many Jews will turn to Jesus.
Zech 12:10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
13 ? 16
Paul speaks to us Gentiles and our part in God?s story. He was sent by God to us (Acts 9). The purpose for the gospel going to us (in part) was to arouse the Jews to jealousy and hopefully wake them to their need for salvation through Jesus. In verse 1 Paul also uses the word ?rejection? but it is a different Greek word. God has not abandoned his people (vs 1), but God ?put them aside? so the gospel could come to us. The Jews ?cast aside? the gospel so we could receive it. So when Jews come to Jesus it is as if those who were ?set aside? ? ?dead? so to speak ? have come back to life.
By using two illustrations, Paul shows that the part affects the whole, and the whole affects the part. If the ?firstfruits? or Jews coming to Jesus is good, so there is hope that salvation will spread to the nation. If the foundation of justification by faith is good, so that will spread to the natural branches from Abraham?s root, which are the Jews.
17 ? 24
The Jews were broken off not so we could replace them, but so that our opportunity for salvation would become apparent. Paul is, I believe, not talking about individuals here but groups. Salvation comes through trust and reliance on Jesus. The Jews rejected that so they were ?set aside? for a time. But if Gentiles, who have been grafted into the tree of faith arrogantly assume they are somehow ?owed? salvation and don?t come on the same basis of faith, or like the Jews try to earn salvation, they too are ?broken off?? the same way the Jews are. It doesn?t seem that apostasy is in view here, but how God is working salvation to Jews and Gentiles. And, as I?ve said, since the Jews were given every advantage and should have recognized Jesus right away?once they do acknowledge Him as the Messiah, it is even more ?natural? for them to be grafted in once again. We were adopted, when a Jew comes to faith they come home again. By the way, unbelief is something you have to ?persist? or ?continue? in (vs 22). Unbelief takes feeding.
25 ? 32
Here is the key. We as Gentiles shouldn?t get so proud?like God didn?t like the Jews anymore and now He likes us. What?s happening is that it was always God?s plan for the Jews as a group to not recognize Jesus so salvation could spread to the world. But it is ?partial? and it is temporary. When the ?fullness of the Gentiles? as come in ? that number that we don?t know, but God does, then I believe God will yank the church out of the world in the Rapture, and it will set up a seven year period in which at first the Jews are deceived by a ?replacement? Christ, then come to Jesus in droves. ?All Israel? doesn?t mean every person, just like not every Gentile is saved. But as a nation they will turn. What a glorious time that will be!
God still loves His people. They are ?enemies? for now, but God called them a long time ago?those gifts and callings are not going to be taken away.
33 ? 36
God is so smart in doing it this way. He brings about a people to carry His Word and to birth His Messiah?but since that people turned away in disobedience, He could reach out to us Gentiles who were always disobedient and bring us to His life. Even though the Jews had advantages, in the end, God makes us all equal and all have to come to Him in the same way.
Do you have zeal, but not according to knowledge? 10:2 Listen to the Word
Do your feet bring good news? 10:15 Be a part of God?s story