Moving From Theology to Doxology {Romans 11}

12:00 AM

Have you ever wondered if God was really real? Or if the Bible was true? More personally, have you ever doubted God’s love for you? Was there ever a time where you felt forgotten and forsaken by God?

If you’ve ever wondered about any or all of the above questions I have just two words for you that will prove not only the legitimacy of  God’s word, but also His love for His people. Just two words, and they are:The Jews. History has proven that God keeps His promises despite our failures, and we only need to look at the Jewish nation to prove it!

Paul, in Romans 11 shares three truths about God and His people: 
  1. God’s People Are Chosen By God’s Grace (11:1-10)
  1. God’s Grace Should Keep His People Humble (11:11-32)
  1. God’s People Should Glory In Their God (11:33-36)
God’s People Are Chosen By God’s Grace (11:1-10)
Paul begins chapter 11 by making it clear to his readers that God has not rejected the nation of Israel, it’s Israel that has rejected Him! I love how he chooses to set himself up as the example of that, “For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul is pointing out that if God can save a hardhearted man like himself He can save anyone! Don’t you just love that? There’s hope for everyone!

Paul also gives a second illustration to demonstrate that God hasn’t rejected Israel in 11:2b-4. Here Paul reminds them how Elijah felt as though he was all that was left of God’s faithful in his day, But  God assured him that He had kept a remnant of 7000 and again, Paul points out that a remnant still exists demonstrating that God has not abandoned His plan for the nation.

Often times today, some of us may feel alone and discouraged, for we are living in dark times, and people are rejecting God all around us, but the good news is that we are not alone. If you ever tend to think this way, be encouraged—God is still on the throne and still working! 

The second point Paul seeks to make is: 
God’s Grace Should Keep His People Humble (11:11-32)
God has a present and future plan for Israel AND the Gentiles. Israel’s rejection of Christ Jesus has made it possible for Gentiles (that’s us) to be included in God’s family. Hallelujah!! We have profited from Israel’s failure to follow after their Messiah! And this gracious invitation ought to humble us and cause us to rejoice! In 11:11-15 Paul writes, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles,  I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” 
The obvious question from 11:7-10 is: If Israel has rejected Christ, is their rejection final? And Paul answers emphatically, “May it never be!” Israel’s failure is not final. There is still a future for Israel. Paul calls it their “fulfillment” (11:12) and their “acceptance” (11:15). Today, Israel is fallen spiritually, but when Christ returns the nation will rise again! And until that time there is hope for all nations to come to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord!!

Notice here in 11:28-29: “From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  It's clear we owe the Jews A LOT! For now, and for our sake they stand as enemies of the gospel, but God has chosen Israel and He loves His people, and one day He will make all things right!

Reading all of this, one can easily understand why Paul is overcome and can’t help but turn his theology lesson into a doxology in the third and final part of chapter 11!
God’s People Should Glory In Their God (11:33-36)
After eleven chapters of Paul focusing on writing down theology (which is the study of the nature of God), it is as though Paul can’t contain himself any longer and bursts into praise when he grasped God’s plan for the future. Paul is quite simply overwhelmed and in awe of God and can’t help but to close this portion of his letter with praise, or what is formally know as a doxology.  Take a look at Romans 11:33-36:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Wow! This is where I want to park and spend the rest of my post! The verses Paul quotes here (found in all CAPs) are from the Book of Job. It is believed that Job lived before Abraham, therefore even before Abraham, man recognized just how awesome our God is!

Let’s take a minute to break down the last verse. For...

From Him: Everything, which means everything; right down to your next breath comes from Him.
Through Him: All things are done through Him. He gives us the strength and abilities we need to do all things. Even Jesus admitted. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself…” and neither can we.
To Him are all things. He receives the credit and glory for everything!
To Him be the glory forever: God receives all the glory for all eternity!
Amen: So be it! And to that I’d like to add a Hallelujah!

I liken this verse to a picture of a triangle:

Our God kept His promises to Israel despite Israel’s constant failures to keep theirs, and He will keep His promises to us as well. This chapter ought to comfort and assure all of us because it clearly demonstrates His unconditional love and acceptance towards His people. He is our covenant-keeping God who will be forever faithful! What still boggles my mind when reading all of this is how anyone would still say, “no” to a love like His?

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