Saturday, 13 May 2017

In Romans 9-11...

1. I don't think Paul was arguing that God is the direct agent in some individuals not getting saved. But many who read Romans 9-11 think he was directly stating that! I'm not convinced he was.

2. I think Paul was probably just explaining that his Gospel (as he'd just finished explaining it, in chapters 1-8), and the fact that many Jews were missing out on salvation (because they sought it through the Law instead of through faith in Jesus), did not mean there was unrighteousness with God. It wasn't unrighteous of God to have set-up the nation of Israel for His purposes in the first place; and it wasn't unrighteous of God to offer salvation freely by His grace to all (regardless of ethnicity) and on the basis of faith (rather than the Law) - even if it meant unbelievers missed out - even if they were Jews. 

3. Paul argued that this very outcome had been predicted by the Prophets all along. So it wasn't like God's promise had failed. He cites prophecies about the "remnant" for example. And about "hardening" and "blinding" happening to some.

4. All the way through chapters 9-11, it seems to me that Paul is defending the premise he'd already made (in chapters 1-8) - that salvation is by grace through faith without the deeds of the law. 

5. He's already established (in chapters 1-8) how and why it happens that some individuals receive salvation and others do not. It had everything to do with following conscience, hearing and believing the Gospel, with a heart of obedient faith. Chapters 9-11 don't state anything about God being the direct agent in some people not being like that. 
6. In order to defend God's righteousness in having set up the nation of Israel only to later see many of them missing out, Paul uses illustrations from the OT, of God choosing individuals and nations for certain purposes. It was the same with natural Israel, Paul argued. Paul was defending the Gospel as being the valid fulfilment of the promised salvation which Israel had been the custodians of. 

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