THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS : ITS TEXT,
STRUCTURE AND TESTIMONY
Australian Bible Church Study
For more, especially on Part I,
you may also wish to see TOWER 3 (Romans 6 esp.), The Biblical Workman Chs. 2-5 (Romans 1-3) Possess Your Possessions 9, Ch. 6 (Romans 4-8),
The Biblical Workman 2, (Romans 4-8).
For Romans Chapter Headings, use
1) Romans 1:1-7 Synopsis: The Scene so Far in History.
2) Romans 1:8-15 The Scene so Far, in Apostolic Commission.
3) Romans 1:16-17 The Power, Purpose and Centre of the Commission.
4) Romans 1:18-21 The Divine Wrath at the Hollowness
of Self-Deceiving Man.
A Listing: Stages of Deterioration - the Text
5) Romans 1:22-28 The Specific, Pathetic Pathology of a Godless Theology.
6) Romans 1:29-32 The Spreading, Spiritual Plague in Many Dimensions.
7) Romans 1:32 The Self-Congratulation of those who
Defy Life and Deserve Death: culminating in
the imperious or petulant imperviousness,
the shunning of shame,
in an almost stunningly rampant rebelliousness.
B Areas of Defilement - its Coverage
a) Romans 1:20-23 - Re God.
b) Romans 1:24-27 - Re themselves physically.
c) Romans 1:-28-31 Re themselves morally, personally, socially, spirituallyn
cf. II Timothy 3:1-8.
PRE-VIEW of Section 2
For convenience, the following pre-view of Section II
is provided below.
This primarily relates to Romans 2, but extends in principle to 3:19.
Divine judgment is "according to truth" (2:2) that "all the world may become guilty before God" (3:19). The divine principles of holiness are ruptured with relish or other principles provided with self-assertion, stifling anyone's self-appointed come-back code.
ROMANS STUDY NOTES
TO ROMANS 5:21
THIS RELATES IN ADDITION TO A REVIEW OF ROMANS 2:12-16,
1) We have before covered Paul's universal condemnation of unbelief whether of Jew or Gentile, noting some of the excursions people make that help their guilt not at all.
2) In Romans 2:12-16, we reach a fascinating path on the way to the exposure of the total guilt of our human race. In this, it is noted that moral inventions and contentions, even within the heart and conscience, whether rationalisations, or realisations of the psyche, do not clear anybody, whatever may be the excusings or accusings of their own thoughts within them. In the end it is reality that counts, in the day when God will judge all according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Romans 2:16).
The bar is not moved because of blither, blather or brightness, for the knowledge of God Himself is the beginning of understanding, and it is His divine provisions morally and spiritually which alone atone.
This matter intense in Romans 2:12-16, is so important that we will look at further ingredients in it. Strife with the conscience may indeed come from partly ingrained morals which though they may speak to the deaf, may shout to the foolish, whose minds are astray. Varied ideas do not stand when subjected to divine order, justice and truth, but move in the sphere, intended or not, of suppression, civil, social, personal, intended or rote! There is no escape for any in the day of judgment, in, of or for themselves. Man is not his own saviour; it is salvation that he needs, and of this He is the only exponent (Isaiah 43:10, cf. Acts 4:11-12). What then, says the apostle: SIN WITHOUT LAW, PERISH WITHOUT LAW; SIN IN THE LAW, BE JUDGED BY THE LAW.
3) Having then noted the nominalism, the formalism of imagining that the external (but of course significant rite in the Old Testament - Genesis 17:1-11, Paul roundly declares that sign of circumcision does not in itself save anyone, nor does empty judgmentalism, but rather being circumcised in heart, changed and charged anew in spirit, purged and pardoned: this is the necessity. Forms make impact but regeneration (by faith) makes people of God.
He even asserts categorically this essence: a Jew is not a mere racial unit, but
one who is inwardly so (Romans 2:29). This does not disestablish the promise to
the nation (Genesis 17:7-8) concerning the divine selection of its site for
service, Canaan in the way defined; but it does make it clear that in the end,
the faith from the first is the criterion of any enduring relationship with God.
Indeed, in Chapter 3, the apostle is moved to ask what advantage there is in
Jew ? There are, he declares, many, chiefly their receiving from God and passing on to this whole world what the God and Maker of it has to say, through the prophets. That is a vast and crucial contribution at the hand of God, and it was through the Jewish people..
Are then Jews any better ? Hardly, for as Psalm 14 shows (Romans 3:10-18 cites it), there is utter divorce from the actual path and ways of God among the thoughts and paths of mankind, in whom there is neither salvation nor escape, nor ground for it, nor hope. The ONLY ones acceptable in this melee are those whom God deems the righteous, and these are they who have already been rescued and brought home (cf. Psalm 32. Without saving faith there is no way for any man or woman or child, in the end, as from the first in God's foreknowledge, to be found.
There is nothing else or other.
5) Every mouth then will "be stopped" (Romans 3:18 has declared this conclusion): the lawless in their separation from God, those on the other hand, of the law prone to trusting in their failure to know God, instead relying on forms or names or whatever personal 'god' or value system appeals practically. It is as if God should be relegated to the post of onlooker, or provider of scenes only. Law as Saviour, even that does not work, for it is the means of gaining acute knowledge of sin, not of escaping its judgments! Romans 7 stresses this.
6) In Romans 3:21ff., we come to the solution for salvation. It lies not in what man proposes, but how God disposes. Since it is He who demands justice and hence judgment, then He took the ultimate step of love and prescient purpose - that in terms of what He had known from before the beginning as His plan (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.). This was - and is - , the plan of salvation. He would step into the bodily format of mankind, even its bodily clothing, even through a virgin (Matthew 1, Isaiah 7) and AS man - God as man, the eternal Word of God sent as man, that eternal expression of God (Colossians 2:9), do what? This: take on Himself, what was coming to and due to mankind.
This was nothing less than redemption, made personally not in money (I Peter 1:18-19), but in His own blood as God-man (Acts 20:28). This means that the righteousness of God Himself descends on and comes to the personal account of ALL WHO BELIEVE and so receive from the abundance of the offer, so vast that the measurement of the love is shown in this, that in all the WORLD, ANYONE may believe, be received, be rescued, and not just some from a select group (John 3:16).
THIS, as the apostle John there says, is for the WORLD, effectual for anyone in it, offered to it ALL, not to a segment merely. It is this extravagant extremity which is the measure of the divine love, so that what is not reached is statedly because of something else for which some have preference - John 3:19. Despite the light coming as in John 3, the profound extremity of the uninhibited and expansive divine love shown, for many darkness prevailed; for heaven is not for compulsive conscripts but for those both foreknown before creation and called.
The restraint of God in His intense desire (Colossians 1:19). in that He foregoes some whose hearts spurn Him, is both beautiful and amazing (Isaiah 48:15ff.); but the free offer is not empty, spurious, or vainglorious, misleading or a mere spectacular presentation. On the contrary, as HE says, so it is. His love is both lively and wise.
Before the fall and indeed the creation, before sin corrupted corrosively, HE knew who freely were His, being in that image of God which is no mere butt of forced love, but of found love.
7) Paul in his main code words in Romans 3:21ff., is picking up what is said elsewhere, but it is all implicit. It is wonderful that "in His forbearance God had passed over the sins which were previously committed." This meant that in His foreknowledge, as explained, the saving provision of the cross of Christ is applicable retrospectively and prospectively in a way only the supernatural and omniscient God could possibly achieve.
This illustrates the point that when the unbelievers tell us about many things that this and that could not have happened, because it is not normal, that is merely begging the question. The earth without God is not only not normal, it is not even possible since nothing comes to nothing and we are no nothings. If there were no God, what God does could not happen., This is true; but it is also quite irrelevant!
Paul at once challenges many. These things being do, where then is boasting!
(Romans 3:27ff.). The point is positive: a person is justified by faith and not
by the deeds of the law. Jew or Gentile, it is the same. But
Is this to trivialise the law ? (Romans 3:31), or does it set it aside, as if without function ?. On the contrary, it is to establish the law, Paul protests. The law had a vital preliminary function: to focus, feature and demarcate the reality and profundity of sin! It was an instrument and by faith Abraham was delivered from its pervasive character as are we who believe in the Saviour now.
9) It was for one as for all: but here is this great example, presented with great promises, Abraham. How again was he delivered ? It was by a pure faith, believing in, and relying altogether and practically on God, relating by His promises, relentlessly "hoping against hope", not doubting the promises made from the divine premises, the God of heaven and earth, the Almighty, whether for the land to come to his race, or for the faith to come to this world in whatever measure, a faith to become a profound blessing throughout the entirety of our globe (Genesis 12).
It did not depend on anything but the believing reception of God's gift (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6), and this like a pearl of great price, overcame darkness with light, weakness with strength and guilt with a righteous gift which God accounted to him, in the very divine dynamic of acceptance (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:6). So must we receive the gift of God through the Saviour now come, and add nothing to it as the ground of salvation (Romans 4:23-25)..
To add to it is to take away its purity, sufficiency and turn a power into a mere poultice. Even the Covenant signal, circumcision, was required of Abraham after God counted Abraham's faith, for righteousness. Such was the accounting. Action came before confirmation, operation preceded form, so that Abraham is a double expression: speaking to the Gentile believer beyond the sign, and to the Jew with it as only a sign, not the substance (Romans 4:1-5).
Paul is moved now to cite Psalm 32, where King David is seen blessing God, why ? It is so blessed of the Lord NOT TO IMPUTE SIN! You do not have to earn the key to heaven, just as you are not to worship it or its prongs. It is the Giver you worship, and this means the Father who sent His only begotten Son, the Son who so willingly came (Psalm 40) and the Spirit who has wrought the incarnation (Luke 1:35).
10) Indeed in that place, Paul declares this: It is so imputed to us, yes JUST AS to Abraham, if we believe in Him who has gone so far in our time, as to do this: to raise up Jesus from the dead. The faith in Him who predicted the Saviour from the first (Genesis 3:15), having now expanded it and fulfilled this great work (foretold often, as in Isaiah 49-55), is He in whom trust must be placed. In Him is the reality of faith tested in this central divine wonder covering the whole vulnerability, guilt and horror for man... through faith in none other than this same God.
11) It is God who holds everything in mind, what is current, the past, things to come and gives "life to the dead, and calls those things which do not exist as though they did"; and before this one and only God (4:20), Abraham "did not waver at the promises of God, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God."
12) Indeed, as we who believe should be, he was "fully convinced that what He had promised, He was able to perform," as in Romans 4:21. The focus is Christ who was "delivered up for our offences, and raised up for our justification," as in Romans 4:25. Reflecting, one realises that Abraham had to be willing to give up his son to GIVE UP his precious son and heir, in faith (Hebrews 11:17-19, Genesis 15), but it was after all only to receive as a gift a ram which he could instead sacrifice). So we give up our life, only to fulfil it (Matthew 10:39).
13) In Romans 5, you have an ebullience of comfort, grace and fortification in the reception of salvation, since though sin abounded in Adam and those following, grace much more abounded in Christ and His work. You have exposed the foundations in foreknowledge and its kindly ally, predestination in Romans 8:23-30, but here in Romans 5 as if a prelude, a brilliant focus on the depth of the gracious and decisive intervention of God in an offer which once taken as presented in the Gospel of greater grace, provides inseparable, compassionate, understanding, all-comprehensive against all.
Together with this, there is an extended comparison of the sins and results of Adam's folly and God's supervening saving grace in Christ. The "much more" ascending order of assurances of salvation kept by the power of God for one and for all whose heart repented and trusted in His offer, starting v. 6 is a wonder of exposition and a brio of reassurance. To commence this glorious garden of grace Chapter, Romans 5:1-5 gives a prelude of the character forming, spirit ennobling and enabling work of God during adversity, for His children, a stimulus through spiritual discernment, to the heights of blessed understanding that stirs ascending hope, which Paul then expounds with the blessed suddenness of an electric shock in his "how much more" series of 5:6ff..
ROMANS 6-12 BIBLE STUDIES
with some reference to 13-16
This Set: Application of Principles Shown in Romans 1-5
For Romans Chapter headings, use this link.
PART 3 Bible Studies on Romans
Is then the whole things a closed circuit ?
Yes, in its wholeness, wisdom and completeness.
Romans 6-12 examines aspects and applications.
A) ROMANS 6
circuit'? a fashioning conceived in immensity, accomplished by propensity,
established in stability ? Yes, again, it is that, magnificently simple in outcome (like steering a rocket ship, once granted all the work done to MAKE the steering possible and direct), and simply magnificent (like being able to steer at all and know where you are going, in an image, the moon, in spiritual reality, back under the painfully obtained amnesty of your Maker, now indeed your Saviour).
It is in this sense, also, immensely simple, and simply immense, incorporating nothing less than God Himself, in human form, not only informing man of what he needs to know, but accomplishing something far better than reformation: salvation, so that those becoming His own, may even become friends of God.
Such is indeed the position of those who received Him and His divine offer and opportunity positively.
Yes, it is all
this; but now in Romans 6 and succeeding Chapters, Paul proceeds to show
personal, theological and practical aspects, after the manner of going from a
(comparatively) low power microscope, to a high power version. You see more, but
of the same thing from different angles. In more detail - TO ROMANS 6 then.
1) WHAT IT MEANS
Do you REALISE what it MEANS to be in and of Christ ? That is the aspect to the point in Romans 6, and it uses images to show relationship between Him and those He has saved. First, it is like being buried with Him in baptism, second like being planted in the ground with Him, in establishment in the base and thirdly, it is like being crucified WITH Him, in achievement of the transformation to come when conversion is completed, itself like a resurrection after the rigors and rigours are past, and blessed consequences accrue. Such is the introduction to the meaning of these great events, to Him, for us, in their relationship.
On the baptism
image, see Matthew 20:22-23, this in terms of a wholehearted entry into the
trials and challenges, life and confrontations of really being a disciple of
Christ, convicted, converted, redeemed. On the planting image, see Isaiah 61:3,
and on the crucified together with Him, see Galatians 2:20. See also Matthew
15:13, on 'planting' by the Father and bearing fruit accordingly.
2) HOW IT FUNCTIONS
It is transmutation - as with Christ in His death, to awake on earth with HIS life, the imprint, the prototype, the example and the dynamic supplied, directive, protective and filled with pardon on impeccable grounds. Wrought by His Spirit, it is taught by His word (cf. Romans 8:10-13). is wordHis word His
As HE left, God-man, His life on this earth voluntarily, so we also yield ourselves to a death, not only of autonomy, but of wilfulness, self-centredness and self-belief, having something - Someone - far better on whom to rely for our grounding, as those found and equipped from above. Instead, then, there is a divine trust, trust in the affinity of divinity as in Isaiah 50:10!
Now let us focus more on Romans 6:7-14: He who is
dead has been freed from sin.
Death finished with Him in its own way, as He bore in anguish its penalty on guilt, now so diversified and multiplied as Saviour; and He finished with death, breaking its power once and for all, in the resurrection (cf. Hosea 13:14). Thus He removed all claims of justice, and ground for judgment by justification vicariously, substitute in sacrifice for sin, for each one of His people (Romans 8:32, cf. Isaiah 53:1-6).
Hence we are urged to realise the new reality, and to keep ourselves from serving - like a surrendering slave, or even squandering life on sin, abandoning liberty (Romans 6:11-14).
yourselves to God as being alive from the dead...",
"alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It is like the army call, 'Present arms!' Deadened to sin, despising its polluted mortality, alive to God inspired by His immortality is the order of the day, in effect (cf. Romans 11:33-36)..It is not an arising to bedraggled shivering, but to disciplined issuance into eternal life (Romans 6:22).
As often in imagery, we must avoid getting the form and forgetting the point! Thus it is not buried with baptism, but buried IN baptism. The thrust of the passage is quite other than that of spatial movement, but rather with mortal challenge leading to death. As seen in Matthew 20:20ff., the term for 'baptism' may be used most broadly, and in this case it is in a sequence referring to a hard, challenging series of events to come, with a unitary significance, listed even in reverse order as not a sequence (burial first before crucifixion). This James and John are willing to face. It is rather like our own idiom, 'baptism of fire,' which of course is not especially watery but may be deadly!
Thus as you enter into the functional realities of spiritual life in Christ, from outside it, at the very outset you have a burial with Christ: what He did voluntarily, you follow, being surrendered as He to death, so you to your new Lord and life's master. When you are proceeding, it is like being planted, as He was, that is taken right out of life and landed in death, while for you it is a basis for growth and a enlivening foundation, being enveloped in what stirs growth, continually at its base. He however, killed in vicarious sacrifice, had it as a basis for the resurrection of the body.
The whole transmutation is spiritually governed by God Himself so that any plant not planted by the Father will be uprooted: there is a vital reality which neither pretence nor home-made substitutes or ways will replace (Matthew 15:13); and the trees, if that be the planting, will be in fact trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3), for as the root and the Planter, so the fruit, whether abundant in display or more meagre. The arising is to dynamic, not drips.
Being crucified with Christ, so clearly expressed in Galatians 2:20, means that your former passions and preferences being yielded, they also meet dismissal in kind, unworthy, spiritually condemned, while you arise through the power of the Spirit which raised Christ from the dead, even in 'your mortal bodies' (Romans 8:11) to a form of life so diverse from what went before, as to compare, yes even with a resurrection. It is a freedom for a new life which is so frankly different, as to be in its change and impact like a resurrection from the dead. The items are expressive of events with vital, applied power.
Thus this series of three transformational images must be understood. It is not about how many inches deep must be the planting, or how far apart the arms of the cross, or how placed the burial site, or the format for baptism, this being here preoccupation with the peripheral. It has a meaning which has nothing to do with any spatial configuration, of or in the items. The point was entry into eternal life having as a spiritual qualification, resemblance to a burial, initial action in it like a planting, with growth scope attached and change in what is desired. In this way, it is like a crucifixion of former things, ready for a resurrection in terms of the new. Actual bodily resurrection consummates the plan (Romans 1:4, 6:5, 10:9, I Corinthians 15:42) when its due time comes.
In summary, your transforming entry into Christ resembles His burial in its challenge, impact and first effect, it being a participation in that burial; your situation in Christ thus resembles a planting for foundation, stability and growth, while your experience of sanctification resembles not in its mordancy but its crush, His crucifixion, in the supplanting of the carnal with the spiritual, of the dynamics of the flesh with the presence of the Spirit in the regenerated soul.
In these highly diverse images in Romans 6:1-8, we gain a translation of aspects of His atonement into aspects of our salvation. Don't forget to translate. In Romans 6:9-14 exposed is the impact on and in life of such a work by Christ, in the partial parallels. The emphasis is not sacramental but sacrificial, paralleling phases of His departure from this life, with phases of our entering into it.
It is like the army call, 'Present arms!' Deadened to sin, despising its polluted mortality, alive to God inspired by His immortality is the order of the day, in effect (cf. Romans 11:33-36)..
3) FREELY FORMED FRUIT OR WOEFUL WAGES
We move to Romans 6:15-23.Through faith you have transferred allegiance, faith in Christ, and in effect, faith affects not only what and whom you serve, but the heart to do so. You WERE free from the rule of righteousness, but now you serve God in righteousness. What a staggering transformation, alignment and how radical a result! Now you are free from the rule of sin. It is like sowing, for there is fruit - wages of sin in condign contribution not only of but in death, or free gift of God, eternal life through the Person and work of Christ - cf. Romans 8:29ff..
brief notations of main themes in the following Chapters, 7-12 at first.
B) ROMANS 7
What happens if there is calamity, or sudden set back ?
Here is depicted what is close to the equivalent of a power failure in
C) ROMANS 8
To the above question, now comes the short answer. Paul extends the scope of his coverage, past the special, to the general answer in terms of victorious living by the power of the Spirit, the latter itself impossible to be absent from the Christian heart (Romans 8:8), and with special ministrations in prayer (Romans 8:26) and the chiming spirit of adoption within the Christian (Romans 8:17), like church bells ringing in the beauty of a Summer's evening. To be sure, having illustrated what spiritual calamity is like in Romans 7, and proceeding to refute this as relevant to the aided actualities of spiritual life as portrayed in Romans 8:1-8, Paul is claiming no perfection (cf. II Corinthians 1! in parallel with I John 1:1:7-8), but something that has a certain kind of loveliness, like our Spring, which though it may have cool days, is nothing like Winter, categorically different.
There may be weakness in a reconstituted, regenerated person, but not servility to sin, there may be CAT (clear air turbulence), but this is not the norm of air travel. The depiction of total spiritual listlessness and failure traces, in terms of Romans 7 to 8, a pathology as a premiss,but not as the promise! The actualities, though far from perfection, do not work by defection but protection.
The apostle, then proceeds in Romans 8:18ff., to seeing things first in universal and chronological perspective, the universe groaning as it awaits the termination of curse, and then to the apostolic treatment of the circuit of salvation, foreknowledge, predestination, call, justification, glorification, starting in the pre-temporal and ending in the wonders of eternal life (Romans 8:28-30). Once set within this circuit, as if in a magnetic field, one is subscribed to all of it, for there is no brigandage (cf. Aspects of the Glory of the God of all Grace, Ch. 6). .
Not only does entry into it start before our time process was, but nothing can break it once this begins. Justification is an easy index to being in it, where Christ who ALONE is the appointed divine emissary, paid the price and faith receives it with pardon in peace (Philippians 4:7). This leaves NOTHING for us to add in salvation, for faith seizes the exemption from judgment provided, and grace permits, yes encourages it (cf. Isaiah 32:17).
Thus the apostle is moved to pronounce this salvation series, right back before the eternity-time interface, for time itself in our type of system, is a creation (Romans 8:39). His word at the close of the Chapter, on the inseparability of the love of God from the Christian is inspiring, a parallel to Ephesians 3:14-21. So the love of God, it is this which completes the emphatic phases of this magnificent Chapter 8 of Romans: pouring from God is its motive and its mastery.
D) ROMANS 9 and "What if ..."
As the apostle returns to the special issue of Israel and the Gentiles, we find that the Jewish calamity is not of merely episodic kind, but has meaning over a long and varied set of circumstances, conditions and outcomes; and that it is under the express supervision in the very mind of God. It involves predestination as in Romans 8:29ff., but also and before that, divine foreknowledge, not of what is to come, in this case, but of affairs of the heart, for nothing is ordered without understanding. It is necessary as we traverse this scene gof basic principles and knowledge, to give weight to the phrase, what if, in Romans 9:22.
To be sure, Paul is declaring, God is entire sovereign and does not bargain principles, but that being said, the Lord shows great patience and fairness, His actions weighed and judicious, and is in no way arbitrary. We are to realise likewise, the use made of this Israel failure in this, that it was the occasion for the vast movement of the divine revelation with power and speed to the entire realm of the Gentile peoples.
While Israel at its own failure, still languished, the Gentiles had the very acme of opportunity! Such was in the plan of God as the apostle shows to be abundantly attested, as he draws on the vast coverage of this aspect, by the earlier prophets of Israel. How Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, longs for the ithe eyes of those in his own land to open, and their restoration! His desire is that the Gentiles may stir the Jewish people to inherit their own heritage, and return to the Lord.
E) ROMANS 10
Israel still spiritually slumbers, though to them were given the oracles - the prophetic word TO Israel (not only FOR Israel) showing well and clearly the way they should go.
Romans 10:3 sums it up: "being ignorant of God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have no submitted to the righteousness of God." Is it not folly to stride into the presence of God as a prince, an equal requiring nothing of His proferred redemption...but what is it if you despise it ? It is Christ and not another who is "the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes." HE redeemed from the grave, ransomed, destroyed condemnation through the power of surrendered life, vicarious death and triumphant grace (cf. Ephesians 2:1-6), and there only lies acceptability for man: by receiving the GIFT of Christ's ransom.
The case is not mixed, the Gospel is not
absent, the word is not forgotten, but sin still needs to be forgiven by the
transformation of saving grace and procurement of God. There is no excuse but
there is an ignoring of the stark realities of the case. God declares to Israel:
"All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary
F) ROMANS 11
But God has better and promised things in store, and does not forget.
Indeed, even at the national level they will come back. - the definition of the term 'Israel' does not change in Romans 11, just as in many instances in the prophets of old, foretelling that just as He brought down Israel for its idolatry, injustice, violence and false gods, so He would build them again (Jeremiah 31:28) in their place, with a very prodigy of grace.
They with their unique history made them a unique and easily recognised people. Indeed, as in Ezekiel 36-37 and Jeremiah 33, we have the forecast of a vast return to Israel of its people, culminating in the return of the Messiah, after vicious challenges to their restoration and even to their very continuance! (as in Jeremiah 33:24). The same spirit of international assault on them as then is visible now, and it stays their deliverance until the divinely 'set time' (Psalm 102) comes! It looks yet as a nation without a future, but this is not so (Jeremiah 29:11, 30:11, 31:28).
God indeed is the very master not only of grace, but of delicious surprises. Just as in Romans 2, we see the apostle inspired to write of the whole world being guilty before God, like a funeral oration before its burial (Romans 3:19), while in Romans 3 we find the utterly effective gift of grace alone, without works as the divine donation to the race which had just seemed without hope!
It is given more than hoped for (Romans 10:4ff.), it is more than ever before, this redemption through a personally incarnated, sacrificially effective Saviour. NOW the parallel, to Romans 2-3, found in Roman 10-11. and this time, it is a specific to the Jews, the apparently desolated people, landless, without site or sight, apparently about to have another funeral oration, as it were, for their burial. Imagine, a people who nationally murdered their Lord in the very midst of a prodigious and agonising work of payment by grace on His part, to redeem many and fulfil all promises with power. That is in the end of Romans 10. Their condemnation is made inescapable in that Chapter of Romans, and then in the beginning of Romans 11, we find the concept of the elect, those individually and intimated chosen, of the Lord, foreknown.
Are then to find only a token relic ? Is that to be all for Israel, great in divine promises (such as Genesis 17:7-8), but splattered in result. Is that to be all! Certainly not.
It does nevertheless begins to have this appearance, as we move into Romans 11 and through it early section. Grace and work as means to salvation are extensively, immensely and absolutely contrasted (as in 11:6), and the almost passionate negation of the Lord's offer by Israel is attested from Isaiah 65:1ff., seeming to introduce the final NON-requiem for a spiritually stultified nation.
Yet it is all foregone and ready to be forgotten. There is a way on and out, a sweeping work of grace like a benevolent eagle swooping to deliver a gift. There is a startling and transforming fact coming for Israel, stunning in its wonder, transformatory in its effect. No, says Paul, there is something else, new. Listen, he challenges.
God does not wish us to be "ignorant" of these, His plans (as in Romans 11:25ff.). They are no less than this. They are for the coming inspiration, restoration and transformation of this unique people, like a branch cut off, then later regrafted into an olive tree, the place of faith. Its whole integrity is restored, the promises fulfilled, its place re-assigned; but ONLY in the tree of faith, now flowering with the Gospel itself for everyone and anyone, body or entity involved. Here is a tree even better than knowledge, it is that of salvation and into this, Israel is to be re-grafted.
The definition of 'Israel' does not change during Romans 11 in heady confusion; but it is preserved in coherence. Thus at last "all Israel will be saved!" (Romans 11:26). This coming back has two parts, one that of some Jews who come to Christ, from time to time, as at the outset, as shown for example in Acts 2, and then at last the mounting onrush back home and to the Lord of glory of great masses in a suddenly re-constituted nation.
Just as we are aware the comparative trickle such as in the days of the apostles and those then won, so we must know of the coming torrent, the sudden onset of their return to the Lord and then to the assigned site of the nation and its post in the divine promises to Abraham and through the prophets. What then ? At this crisis point, however it will be to, for and in Christ, whose dismissal by them led to their own (Micah 5:1-3) by Him; and their King will be He, the Messiah Himself for all the earth as promised to Abraham and foreshadowed, way back in Genesis 3:15, which indeed is called the protoevangelium.
The restorative rush back to Israel's land has now begun; their change awaits.
So Jew and Gentile, each group affording many in reconciliation to God, jointly will praise the God who called them, who harbours both together now in one Gospel (cf. Galatians1 and 3): for there is no other name nor is there any other way (as in Acts 4:11-12): indeed this provides not only opportunity but necessity, even equipped with ransom, for Jew and to Gentile alike. Paul, stricken with awe at this outcome alike for Jew and Gentile believers, then exclaims at this marvellous fusion in faith from the majesty of the Lord and the profundity of His wisdom (Romans 11:29-36), concluding thus:
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things:
to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
G) ROMANS 12
The apostle then moves to the general nature of dedication, devotion and faithfulness (such as He for His part is to show to Israel), for individual Christians. He beseeches all to
"present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
Also in sharp focus is the stability in the truth, with constant orientation (Romans 12:2), and the serviceable reception of diversified gifts by the body of Christian people, enabling specialised compositions of service and attainment the more readily. Indeed, he warns us to be watchful in the way we work and gives inter-personal advice, not unlike some of the exhortations found in the book of Proverbs.
ROMANS 13-16 is the final phase, dealing with challenging and personal issues, and as the book of Romans draws to a close (Romans 16:17), the apostle emphasises the need to separate from those causing divisions contrary to what has been taught by the apostolic group. Indeed, as to the short message, it is: "Avoid them!" Do not admix. It would be like dealing intimately and happily with known spies while being a member of a national diplomatic corps or spy agency designed to protect from such.
THAT MAY BE USEFUL FOR ROMANS 1-12
1) THE DECLARATION AND APPLICATION OF THE GOSPEL TO ALL THE WORLD
2) THE REMOVAL OF FLIMSY FANTASIES
3) STARING AT THE CENTRE OF THE FAITH
4) THE FULFILMENT OF FAITH FROM ABRAHAM TO THE PRESENT
5) THE IRRESISTIBLE KEEPING POWER AND MORE ABOUNDING GRACE OF GOD
6) COMPREHENSION AND CUTTING OFF OF CONTENTIOUS CAVILS
7) INSISTENCE ON WAGES
8) EXPLANATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
a) The Domain of the Spirit
b) The Dynamic of Curse and Cure
c) The Decisiveness of Predestination Fulfilling Foreknowledge
d) The Privilege and Spiritual Passion of Divine Love
9) MOVING TO ISRAEL: A PERIOD OF FORFEITURE WITHOUT FAITH
10) HOW TO BE RIGHTEOUSLY WRONG (and Finding the Door with Awe)
RESTORATION, REALISATION, REUNION AND REJOICING
of Israel with...
a) Its Lord
b) Its land and inheritance of promise (11:25-29, 15:8, 59:17-21),
believers as one (11:30-33)
12) DISPOSITION OF ALL THE SAVED TO SERVE