Summary: Continuation of the study of the Book of Romans
Book of Romans
Romans 11:29 – 11:36
By Rev. James May
Last week we learned that God has not given up on saving Israel. His promises are true, his covenants never fail and there will come a day when Israel will repent, recognize that Jesus is their Messiah and many will turn to him and be Born Again. Revival will come to Israel and God will be with the Jews showing his power through them just as he did in the Old Testament. This was God’s promise to Abraham and to David; that there will be a remnant of the Jews that will be a part of the family of God in Heaven right along with the Bride of Christ, which is the church.
Now we will continue with verse 29. This is an often quoted verse, and a verse that is often pulled out of context and used to preach messages that may, or may not be, fully supported by the true meaning of the scripture.
Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Quite often we hear this verse quoted, and I have done so myself, to support the idea that when we are called by God and given a mission or a work to do for the cause of Christ. There is some truth to that since we will all have to answer to God for our faithfulness and commitment to the work set before us. In that manner, there is no doubt that we will be judged for our obedience.
But this isn’t the root, or true meaning of what Paul writes here.
That word "gifts" doesn’t refer to the gifts of natural things such as life, health, strength, riches, and honor to whom honor is due. Yes, God does give these but he also takes them away at times.
All we need to do to see this is look at the fact that God was sorry that he had made man in the beginning and even sent a flood to destroy the life that he had given. Also there were the kings of Israel, like Saul, who had God’s anointing and honor but lost it through disobedience.
So life itself, honor, strength and any natural gift can be taken away, and God will sometimes be forced through the disobedience of men to remove the calling and the gifts that he has bestowed in the beginning.
Although God knew that men would fail, and that much pain and suffering would be the result, it was his love for man, and desire to give every man a chance to obtain the blessings, that caused him to choose to allow them the free will to either do right and be blessed or do wrong and suffer the consequences. After all, what kind of God would he be if he never gave men a chance to choose whether to serve him faithfully.
Understand this: God makes no mistakes. He has nothing to “repent” of. All things that God does is for good and will lead men to a path of holiness, righteousness and victory of sin. He has set the course of all things, and his set course is always to bring men into a place of blessing and success in life. But by man’s own choices, the plan of God can be altered greatly for his life. It’s not God that has to repent of doing anything, but it’s man who forces God to do what he had not planned to do because of God’s righteousness and man’s sin.
Also, the gifts and calling of God in this verse do not refer to the, gifts of the Spirit, or the call of men to works of ministry in the church. These can be taken away as well.
Matthew 25:29 gives us the Parable of the Talents where the unfaithful servant who was given a talent to invest in the Master’s business, had his talent taken away and given to another servant who had wisely invested his talents and brought gain to the Master’s house.
Does not God sometimes lift his calling from an unfaithful, disobedient servant? Ministers fall, losing their calling and their ministry because of sin. Christians lose their positions and are removed from service in the kingdom because of sin. This wasn’t God’s chosen path, but it’s the path they have made for themselves.
Sometimes, as pastors, we are forced to deal with certain issues and people in the church that are a danger to the church. Some people might have a calling and even work under an anointing for a while, but at some point, they become either cold in their relationship with God or they get entangled in unethical or immoral activity. As a result they destroy their own ministry and the church leadership is forced to take disciplinary procedures. This wasn’t God’s chosen path for them, but it’s the path that they chose to take and now there are consequences. The gift and calling are taken away and God moves that gift and calling to someone else.