Monday, March 04, 2024

2024.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 11:28–32

Read Romans 11:28–32

Questions from the Scripture text: What are Israel toward God (Romans 11:28)? On account of rejecting what? For whose sake has this happened? But what are they, also, on account of election? For whose sake? What have come from this election (Romans 11:29)? What can’t be done with these gifts and calling? What had the apostle’s readers previously been (Romans 11:30)? What have they now obtained? Through what happening to the Israelites? What has happened to many elect Israelites now (Romans 11:31)? But what may they also obtain? Through what happening to elect Gentiles? What has God done to all whom He is saving (Romans 11:32)? In order that His salvation can come by having what upon all (verse 32)?

Why have even elect Israelites been hardened? Romans 11:28–32 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God ordains that all whom He is saving would be shut up in disobedience so that He might have mercy upon all. 

What is going on with Israel? This passage directs our attention to what God’s dealings with men shows about the God Who is dealing with them.

Free, irrevocable electionRomans 11:28-29. In these verses, the apostle is hearkening back to Deuteronomy 7:6–8, in which God explains why He loves Israel. The wonderful, divine logic of the gospel is that He loves them… because He loves them! And, in this love, He has made irrevocable promises to their fathers. The current hardening of Israel is no obstacle to God’s love, because there was nothing good in them to start with! So, if we do not love Israel, then our hearts are not tracking with the Lord’s. But if we do not rightly acknowledge that, corporately speaking, their rejection of Him has made them His enemies with respect to the gospel, then our assessment of them is not tracking with the Lord’s. We must hold to both. But, more important than that, is that we be impressed with the God Whose covenant commitments unto elect descendants cannot be put of by generations of unbelief.

Riches of mercyRomans 11:30-31. What has happened with elect Gentiles? They were shut up in disobedience so that they might be shown mercy. What has happened with many elect Israelites? They also have now been disobedient that they may yet obtain mercy. The Gentiles obtain it through the partial hardening of Israel. And the others obtain it through the mercy that was shown to the Gentiles. But the point in the history of all of God’s dealings is that He is showing mercy to these disobedient people. Every stage and every age of the history of God’s redeeming is a stage in which He is showing the riches of His glory in mercy (cf. Romans 2:4, Romans 9:23, Romans 10:12, Romans 11:12).

Righteous sovereignty over depravityRomans 11:32. Finally, when we see disobedience, we are to see something over which God is sovereign, and that is the perfect canvas upon which to display His mercy. Every single one whom He has saved, since the fall, starts out shut up in disobedience. Every reader of Paul’s letter, every reader of this devotional, has begun in that way. This is the only way that He saves! His salvation only ever comes by mercy. And we mustn’t write off anyone for their current state of disobedience. They are perfect candidates to become displays of God’s glory in mercy!

How should you assess the Jews, now, corporately? But how should you feel toward them? In what condition did you come into the world? What has God done for you? Why would He do this? How should you respond to that? Who else is in that condition now? What may you hope for them?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You for Your glory, displayed in the mercy of Your saving sinners. In righteousness, You shut us all up in disobedience. And for all who are saved, it is only ever by Your mercy. So, give us to see Your glory in our salvation and to aim for it in others’ salvation we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP130 “LORD, from the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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