WAS GOD UNJUST IN REJECTING ISRAEL AND GOING TO THE GENTILES WITH THE GOSPEL? This is the theme of Romans 9-11. In Chapter 9 Paul shows his love for Israel, his people, even though they obstinately refused to accept Christ. In Vs. 22 he speaks of them as vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. This means that they had fitted themselves to destruction but God’s mercy and longsuffering is still extended to those who will accept the gospel. Chapter 10 shows that the Jews had substituted their own righteousness for God’s righteousness. There is no substitute for belief in Christ. Chapter 11 shows the fact that God did not cast away his people but that they forsook Him. The goodness or the severity of God is meted out on the basis of the individual. Development of strong obedient faith in Christ causes his goodness to be extended, while unbelief causes his severe punishment to be extended. 1. Israel was the chosen nation of God but his choosing them hinged on the faith and obedience of Abraham. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Heb. 11:8). This family and nation that arose from his seed were continued as the chosen nation through faith and obedience to the law God had given them as well. 2. Intermingled with the physical promises of the land that flowed with milk and honey, were the spiritual promises of a Messiah to save their souls. When this Messiah came beginning with Herod the Great, continuing with the religious leaders of the day, and finally the crowd was convinced to reject and crucify him. They rejected the very Savior whom they had given to the world. He came from the very seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16). God had decreed that the Savior should be for all the world. Since God loved and had provided for the world it was only right that He should turn his chosen Apostles to the Gentiles who showed a desire to be saved. So Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius to tell them that “God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34,35). Cornelius’ house accepted the gospel. When the Gentiles at Antioch at Iconium learned that they could have the gospel, “they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48). The word “ordained” here means they were disposed to accept the gospel and thus have the eternal life offered. 3. God will still save the Israelite who accepts Christ. The gospel was always preached first to the Jew and all who heard and accepted, (as Paul, Timothy, Lois, Eunice and a host of others had), were saved. It is a matter of faith and obedience to the Jew just like to the gentile. God has not cast away his people (Rom. 11:1). As a nation Israel had cast away God by rejecting Christ. Jesus pointed out that they would not accept Him so their house was left to them desolate (Mat. 23:37-39). 4. The promises of God to Abraham terminate or conclude in Spiritual Israel. Spiritual Israel are those who walk after the rule of God, which is the gospel of God. These would be Christians (Gal. 6:16). Christians are the “seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). They became such when they by faith in Christ were baptized into Christ and put on Christ (Gal. 3:26-28). 5. As a nation of people Jews can expect nothing of a spiritual nature unless they accept the gospel of Christ. The premillenial theory of another dispensation for the Jew to accept Christ is wrong. All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3). The Christian age lasts until the end of the world (Mat. 28:19, 20). Jews and Gentiles live out their lives and meet the appointment of death after which they face the judgment (Heb. 9:27). There is no dispensation of grace in the future for any one. We all face the judgment and an eternity of either regrets or happiness according to our disposition toward the gospel of Christ. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29). The conclusion is: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” (Rom. 11:22).
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