Summary: God’s faithfulness
December 12, 2010
The book of Romans has leveled anyone’s hopes of self-righteousness. The Gentiles have suppressed the knowledge of God, and the Jews have rejected Him by trying to be righteous on their own. The whole world is guilty before Him, and no mouth will be able to open on the Day of Judgment (1-3).
But God made His righteousness known when He displayed His wrath on His Son at the cross (3). Anyone who believes is justified (4), and they will receive all the benefits that come with it (5). We’ll still struggle with sin, but we know that we’ll have no condemnation before Him because we’re in Christ Jesus, and because He works all things together for our good that we might be conformed to the image of His Son, and nothing at all can separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus! (6-8).
So, naturally the question arises: if we have such confidence, then what can be said about the nation of Israel? Didn’t they too hope for salvation, and didn’t God end up rejecting them? Weren’t they trusting in the love of God as well?
Ah! But not all Israel is Israel. Many were born to Abraham, but it’s the sons of the promise who are chosen and who will receive justification because of God’s love for them (9).
These were called and heard the word of Christ which resulted in faith and salvation. The rest were hardened, and their eyes were darkened (10-11).
We ended last week saying:
What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8just as it is written, "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY." 9And David says, "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. 10"LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER."
So the question arises:
11I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?
Since God has given the Israelites a spirit of stupor and blind eyes and deaf ears, can we say that they’ve fallen to the point that they won’t get back up?
May it never be!
No way! But why then have they stumbled?
But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
God revealed Himself to the Jews all throughout the Old Testament, but they rejected just as He said they would. Then He turned His attention to the Gentiles for the purpose of making the Jews consider what they had lost.
12Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
This word for “fulfillment” is used in Mark 8:20 when it’s said that the food baskets used to feed the 4,000 were “full of fragments.” In this sense, the seven baskets reached the fullness of what they could carry.
It’s used again in this chapter in verse 25: “a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
So it says: if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment [or fullness] be!
If salvation (the riches of His grace, Col. 1:27), has come to the Gentiles because of the failure of the Jews, then how much greater will the riches be shown to be when the Jews believe?
God is gracious in saving the Gentiles, and we see even more graciousness when He saves the Jews.
13But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles.
The KJV says, “for I am speaking to you who are Gentiles.” He’s just told us that the Jews’ failure is riches for the world—“and here’s the proof: I’m speaking to you, Gentiles.”
Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
He’s bringing attention to the salvation of the Gentiles to make the Jews rethink their rejection of the Messiah. This word for “magnify” is the same word used in Matthew 5:16 when Jesus tells us to let our lights shine before men that they will see them and “glorify” God in heaven.
15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
The Jews rejected, but the world accepted because they were chosen by God. And if the world accepts and is saved, then the chosen Jews can accept and be saved!
How is this possible?