To God be the Glory Forever, Amen
Romans 11:25-36 (Pastor Heo)
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 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. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
We saw four witnesses as proof that God has a plan for Israel:
- Paul himself
- The Gentiles
- The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc)
- The dough – the first part – is the symbol of the patriarchs.
- The root of the tree (from last week) – is the symbol of Israel.
Last word of v. 28 = “patriarchs”
“28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,”
Today, we have the final witness / proof. This is the last and best witness: God himself – the very character and work of God.
God is dealing with his people Israel. Who is God? How is God? What are his characteristics? Here I’ll share 6 things with you about God.
6 Characteristics of God
#1: God’s Timing
In this world, everything that happens, happens according to God’s time: Ecc 3:1 “There is a time for everything; a season for everything under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die, a time to love, a time to hate, a time to eat, a time to speak, etc..”
“25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part _until_ the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
All that has happened to Israel is a part of the plan for Israel. God knows what he is doing and what is happening.
The “hardness” in the middle here is spiritual blindness of Israel – but this is not total, nor final. It is partial and temporary. Until “the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” v. 12 – there is a fullness for Israel and also for the Gentiles.
Today, individual Jewish people are being saved, but this present era is primarily a time when God is visiting the Gentiles and building his church. When this present age has run its course and the full number of the Gentiles has come in – then at that time, God will take action and deal with Israel again.
This verse is one of several “until” verses in the Bible (this means God’s timing).
- Ps 110:10 “The Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies…”
- Matt “You cannot see me until you say ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord'”
- Luke “Israel will be trampled on until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
- Matt 24:14 “The gospel will be preached in ALL nations and THEN the end will come.” (This is God’s timing)
#2: God’s Promise
This is very important.
“26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. (Isaiah 59:20-21 – last two verses)
Jacob is the old name of “Israel” – this means a descendant from the nation of Israel. Jesus Christ comes as deliverer, redeemer, Savior.
This is the first and only mention of Jesus’ coming in the book of Romans.
- “so, all Israel will be saved.” (so = “in this way / by this method”)
- “all Israel” doesn’t mean ALL Jews who’ve ever lived, but it means, the majority of Israel who are alive when Jesus comes again.
- 2,000 years ago, when Jesus came, the majority of Israel did NOT recognize nor receive Jesus. Only a few did.
- Next, when Jesus comes again, the OPPOSITE will happen. The majority of Israel will finally recognize and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
John 1:10 “He was in the world even though the world was made through him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, but his own did not receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
#3: God’s Covenant
“27 And this is my _covenant_ with them when I take away their sins. 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as _election_ is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,”
This is a continuation of Isaiah 59, but we need to read Isaiah 60 to get the full picture of the glory of Zion. Isaiah 60:1 “Arise and shine!”
- The emphasis in this sentence is God’s covenant (absolute, unbreakable promise).
- This does not mean elite – ism, nor perfection, but it means sovereign grace. God did not choose them for their goodness.
- If Israel was not chosen by God based on their merit,
- likewise, they cannot be rejected by God based on their sinfulness.
v. 28 means the Jewish people are now “enemies” toward believing Gentiles due to their attitude toward the gospel. But, in the eyes of God, they are loved due to God’s covenant with the patriarchs.
#4 God’s Nature
What is God like? What are his qualities and attributes?
“29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
(this is the shortest verse in this section but the most important)
- Irrevocable = conclusive, final, cannot be broken / revoked
- God’s gifts = salvation (the gift of gifts)
Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Good News Bible = “God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses.”
- Malachi 3 “I am the Lord, I never change.”
- Numbers “God is not a man that he should lie.” (God is not a son of man that he should repent. Does he speak and not act? No. Does he promise and not keep his promise? No.)
- Romans 3:3 “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith cancel God’s faithfulness? Certainly not! Let God be true!”
If you know and understand who God is, he is unchangeable and we can be certain of our salvation.
#5: God’s Mercy
“30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,”
We need God’s mercy. That’s why chp 12 begins with “I urge you brothers, in the view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices. Do not follow the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
“I need God’s mercy.” x4
“30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received _mercy_ (x1) as a result of their disobedience,31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive _mercy_ (x2) as a result of God’s _mercy_ (x3) to you.32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have _mercy_ (x4) on them all.”
Final purpose: That God may have mercy on them all.
Yes, we are also one of this “all.”
- Through the disobedience of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.
- Likewise, through the salvation of the Gentiles, Israel will come to know and love Jesus.
- This is an obligation of the Gentiles – to provoke Israel to jealousy.
God has included all human beings (Jews and Gentiles) in being able to experience the mercy of God. There is no difference in salvation.
- When Adam sinned, all humanity (including us) sinned in Adam.
Romans “There is no one righteous, not even one. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- If you say, “I’m not a sinner” then you don’t need mercy from God.
- That’s why we must confess “I’m a sinner” – so that we may repent and receive mercy.
In God’s original plan, the Jews would be the source of blessing to the Gentiles. God chose the Jews that the Gentiles might be saved. What is the first covenant given to Abraham? Genesis 12:3 “All people on earth will be blessed through you.”
The tragedy was that Israel became exclusive and failed to share this truth with the Gentiles (their mission). But God did not fail in his plan.
In a large crowd, it is humbling to look around and think, “Everyone needs a Savior.” But until we truly experience God’s mercy in our lives, it is unlikely we’ll feel that others need to experience it as well.
- God’s timing
- God’s promise
- God’s covenant
- God’s nature
- God’s mercy
- God’s wisdom
#6 God’s wisdom & knowledge
“33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Having contemplated God’s great plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, the only thing Paul could do is sing a song of rejoicing.
- Theology becomes Doxology
- Theology becomes Worship
God is too wise to make plans that will not be fulfilled. This has two meanings – applied literally to all Israel, and applied spiritually to all people.
When Israel comes into their fullness, they will recognize him, receive him, be reconciled, be received, it will look like a resurrection.
In our story, God’s purpose for the salvation of the world is beyond our understanding. This is beyond our tracing out.
Who can say, “I’m God’s counselor”? Who gave to God before he gave to us? All we have came from him originally. (Doxology)
Col 1:15-17 “By Jesus Christ all things were created – things on heaven and earth – visible, invisible, thrones, rulers, powers, authorities – all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”
God has a purpose for your/my life. What is this purpose? Remember, a life without a purpose given by God is like a ship without a rudder – it’s a directionless activity.
The purpose of God’s salvation through his mercy and grace:
That we may share this blessing of salvation with others, making Jesus Lord, to the glory of God.