He then asks the big and provacative questions in chapter 11. First verses 1-2 - "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew... Paul resolves the dilemma of his people's destiny by stating it is part of the plan...God gave his people a spirit of stupor, blinding them to what God is doing. It's this blinding that is the reason for their disobedience and rejection of God's good news. But this rejection is what allows the Gentiles to enter into the picture, to receive salvation!
Now what do we do with the big question he raises a few verses later: "Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?" (11:11-12). Obviously when Paul says "they", he's not talking about the "called ones" here, for he has already identified the called ones as the faithful remnant which will be saved. (11:4-5) "They" are the fallen ones who have stumbled...who have rejected the good news.
It's a provocative question because up to this point his argument seems pretty clear, that the unfaithful...those who stumbled by rejecting...those who did not receive the promise...those who are not part of the faithful remnant....they are those same who do not belong to Israel, even though they may be physically descended from Israel. And remember, "only a remnant shall be saved." (9:27)
So which is it? Is unfaithful Israel destined for wrath, not to be included as recipients of salvation, as he suggests in chaps. 9 an 10? Or are they able to be recovered? Paul's question, "Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?" suggest he's moving in that direction of recovery. Why else would he ask the question? And he answers that question with, "NOT AT ALL!"
That's odd! He's just made the case that they are objects of wrath, not true Israel, not part of the faithful remnant, non recipients of the promise....all because of their lack of faith, demonstrated in their rejection of Christ. Sounds like they're going straight to hell, if you ask me. But Paul says NOT AT ALL! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
Very strange indeed!
Paul develops his argument further in a concluding remark that makes clear God's plan. God can and does accomplish His purposes even when we, in our freedom, say NO! to God. In fact, God takes that NO!, turns it on its head, and uses it to bring about our salvation. Who could imagine that the greatest "NO!" we could ever raise to God...crucifying the only Son...could be taken by God and used to bless and save us? In our very act of treachery and rebellion against God, crucifying his Son, God is not frustrated. He takes our disobedience into Himself, and blesses us.
Paul's concluding words which underscore this,"Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound *everyone* over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them *all*." (Romans 11:30-32)
NOTE: I've posted this as a separate thread on Bible Chat, so that I remain cyberly-correct with you.
Tis now moved to a more appropriate section.
My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16
"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)
The best I can do is describe what I believe.
I believe that accepting the gift of salvation requires genuine remorse for one's sin. I don't believe it's as simple as saying, "I don't want to go to Hell, so I accept the way out.". A person can have NO remorse whatsoever and not want to go to Hell.
I absolutely believe that after a person goes past a certain point, their conscience DIES. I just don't see how a person who's gone past that point can get saved. I'm NOT saying that person's sin is too big for Jesus to wash away. It's not the AMOUNT of sin. It's the lack of remorse and the lack of CAPACITY for remorse.
This ISN'T the same as a belief in predestination, like taught by Calvinism.
Last edited by gringo300; Mar 29th 2011 at 01:27 AM. Reason: fixed typo
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. - John 8:36
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