Saturday, April 14, 2012

Romans 11:30-36 – Rebellion, mercy, wisdom, and glory.

30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

[In verse 30, Paul once more reminds us that the Jews are the chosen people. When God was calling and working primarily through the Jews, he was calling them to be separate from our ancestors who followed all kinds of idolatry. But because of their disbelief and their rebelliousness, God showed mercy to the Gentiles, offering them salvation evidenced by the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:34-46, Acts 11:17). This is a pivotal moment in the Text when we as Gentiles gain access to God's mercy.

But when God once again turns His mercy back to the Jews as we have discussed the past two weeks, they will receive the same salvation, the same grace, through the same atonement of Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

Verse 32 harkens back to many other statements in Romans regarding the judgment of sin. Since the Jews chose, disobedience God has committed them to the path they chose. In Galatians 4:22, Paul also writes, "But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Christ". Remember the addictive nature of sin, lies beget lies, anger more anger, violence becomes a way of life; we are imprisoned by disobedience and without Christ's mercy, we would remain imprisoned. The purpose of the Law was to reveal our sinful nature; we must now look to Christ and His mercy to free us from our sin.]

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

[In moments of weakness we sometime question God, and those in rebellion frequently question God; but we are all unequipped for the answers. In terms of predestination we emphasized the foreknowledge of God, but timeless knowledge is just one feature of God's wisdom. In terms of strategic thinking we are playing tic-tac-toe while God is playing three dimensional chess.]

34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?"

[When trying to understand the sovereignty of God, the thing to keep in mind is all of His actions reflect His attributes. Even when you can't completely understand the mind of God, the time you invest looking will give you glimpses of His glory.

Isaiah 40 says "Behold your God" as if pointing to a painting or sculpture by one of the great masters. But what that chapter describes is the wisdom of God, and how he reveals it, even in little bits, to us.

Jeremiah 23 says "who has stood in the counsel of the Lord", and the chapter is speaking about false prophets, people who will replace the Word of God with the 'wisdom' of man.

While it may seem a sully choice people trade the Glory of God for all kinds of worthless things.]

35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?"

[In Job 41, after Job has finally gotten frustrated enough to question God, He answers Job by telling of all the things that are under His control; declaring "Everything under heaven is Mine". Does God owe anything to anyone? In reality everything, including us, belongs to Him.]

36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

[The things made by God reflect his nature and character, which means they reflect His Glory. The Psalmist said "All creation declares the Glory of God" and Romans has told us creation demonstrated His eternity (an ancient creation), His power (a vast creation), and his authority (a well ordered creation). But what about people, we see lots of people who do not seem to give Glory to God.

You see, in his perfect plan even the rebellious, disobedient, and disbelieving will reveal his perfect justice, when they are judged. And those who trust in the Lord will reveal His mercy. But all will combine to reveal His glory.]

  1. How do react to the idea that God has a wisdom that you can never fully understand?
  2. Do you praise God for the decisions He's made in your life, even those you might identify as negative or bad?
  3. How can we give glory to God in every aspect of our life?

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