An Expository Study of Romans
Chapters 9 through 14
Christianity Through the Epistles of Paul
The apostle Paul, called and trained by Jesus Christ
as apostle to the Gentiles, was the very one responsible for
the spreading of Christianity to the world outside Judaism. What started
out in the eyes of the Rabbis as an offshoot sect of Judaism, the sect
of the Nazarenes, ended up as a major world religion-Christianity.
The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of Jesus through the Holy Spirit,
was almost solely responsible for this mushroom type growth in Christianity
through his teaching, both verbal and his letters. Without those precious
letters we would know very little or nothing of this mans greatness
as a Christian leader and teacher. Countless Christian revivals down
through the centuries owe their very existence and success to the epistles
of Paul, which had their beginnings in people being transformed spiritually
set afireby the Holy Spirit as a direct result of reading Pauls
epistles, particularly the book of Romans. Do you wish to be spiritually
transformed, enlivened? Do you wish to transform your congregationmaking
your membership become spiritually alivevibrant, radiant Christians?
Then read this series of expository studies about the apostle Pauls
letters, and then apply them, to yourself, and to your congregation.
Then watch the growth!
Chapters 9,10 & 11:
The Perplexities of The Gospel,
What About Israel? Why Are Some
People Saved and Some Are Not?
Romans 9:1-5. "I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying,
my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--I have great sorrow and
unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were
cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of
my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons;
theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the
temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from
them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever
Abraham took the very same unselfish attitude toward Lot and also the
sinful inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was not concerned for himself
but for others who were less deserving. Genesis 13:5-12. "Now Lot, who
was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But
the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their
possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And
quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The
Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, 'Let's not have any quarreling between you and
me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the
whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll
go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left.' Lot looked
up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the
garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before
the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the
whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted
company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the
cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom."
Abram was content to let Lot choose, and Lot chose what appeared to be
the more fertile ground, leaving Abram with the rough hill country of
Canaan. In Genesis 14 Abram risks life and limb to rescue Lot and all
his possessions by taking on an invading Assyrian army at night. In Genesis
18 Abram actually argued with the Lord in an attempt to save the cities
of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. Do you ever get tired of serving
those who don't return your love? Moses did. But what was Moses overall
attitude toward those who constantly resisted his leadership under the
Lord? In Exodus 32 we find Moses up on the Mountain of God for forty
days. The children of Israel, impatient as ever, started worshipping
a golden calf and reveling in a wild orgy. Moses came back in the middle
of all this, so angry that he smashed the two tablets with the Ten Commandments
written on them. God was angry too. But Moses pleaded for their forgiveness.
Moses' plea to the Lord can be found in verses 31-32, which states, "So
Moses went back to the Lord and said, 'Oh, what a great sin these people
have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please
forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have
Another one of God's servants exemplifying this unselfish attitude was
Nehemiah. Nehemiah 1:1-5. "The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In
the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel
of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some men, and
I questioned him about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and
also about Jerusalem. They said to me, 'Those who survived the exile
and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall
of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.'
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For days I mourned and
fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." Nehemiah is a cup bearer
to the king [of the Persian Empire], a pretty plush job. He was willing
to give all this up. His attitude can be seen in his prayer to God found
in Nehemiah 1:5-11. Nehemiah interceded for others. Nehemiah 1:5-11. "Then
I said: 'O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps
his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let
your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant
is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of
Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's
house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward
you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your
servant Moses. Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses,
saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled
people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and
bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.' They
are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your mighty hand.
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant
and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.
Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence
of this man [the king of the Persian Empire].' I was cupbearer to the
Paul's life was one long journey, going from community to community,
country to country, sharing the gospel and wonder of God's love for mankind.
His attitude for the Jews who wanted him dead can be seen in Romans 9:1-5.
Understand the depth of love Abram, Moses, Nehemiah and Paul had for
people who were not necessarily deserving of it. Jesus died on the Cross
for this evil world, not to condemn it, but to save it. All these people,
Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, and all the Prophets and David, had the heart
of God in them. Paul had this same heart in him. If you're tired or complacent
you don't have God in your heart [the way He needs to be].
Romans 9:6-18. "It is not as if God's word had failed. For not all
who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants
are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac
that your offspring will be reckoned.' [Gen. 21:12] In other words, it
is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children
of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. For this was
how the promise was stated: 'At the appointed time I will return, and
Sarah will have a son. Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one
and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born
or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election
might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, 'The older
will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau
I hated.' What shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to
Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion
on whom I have compassion.'
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's
mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this purpose,
that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed
in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy,
and he hardens whom he wants to harden."
Vs.6: The name Israel Paul is using in verse 6 means governed
by God in Hebrew. Paul is saying that not all Israel is Israel. i.e.
Not all Israel is governed by God. Not everyone who is called a Christian
is a Christian [Matthew 7:21-23; Mark 7:6-8].
Vs. 14: How is verse 14 unfair? How can God hate Esau. Because God knows
the future. He knew Esau would live for the flesh. He has perfect foreknowledge.
God's answer, verse 15, is "I will have mercy on whomever I will have
Vs. 16-18: The first ten times Pharaoh hardened his own heart by the
way the Hebrew reads in Exodus. Then the eleventh time the Hebrew translation
indicates that God set and made permanent that hardening.
Romans 9:19-29. "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still
blame us? For who resists his will? [sort of a Calvinist approach in
this question, isn't it? i.e. It's all cut in stone anyway, so why try.
Paul's answer to this logic follows] But who are you, O man, to talk
back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did
you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out
of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore
with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects
of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--even us, who he
also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he
says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and
I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," and "It will
happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not
my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'"
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites
be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will be saved. For the Lord
will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality [Isaiah
10:22-23]." It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants, we would have been like Sodom, we would have
been like Gomorrah. [Isaiah 1:9]."
The lesson here: God is very Sovereign, but is also of great love and
Romans 9:30-33. "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did
not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by
faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained
it. Why not? Because they persued it not by faith but as it were by works.
They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that
makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to
shame [Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]."
That was the conclusion to Romans 9. It is by faith, not works of obedience
to the law without faith, that saves us. And that faith is the faith
of Christ in us and not our own human faith.
Verse 1, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God
for the Israelites is that they may be saved." Pauls' attitude
toward those who hurt him and wronged him, those of his own race is
exemplified in this first verse of chapter 10. He prays for their salvation.
Instead of giving in to the desire to pound them he prays for them.
And he prays for their salvation. God put a huge desire in Paul's heart
for his people's salvation. The desire turned into a constant prayer.
Paul understood that his witness would not be effective unless it was
backed by prayer. John Bunyon said, "You can do more after you have prayed
but you can not do more than pray until you have prayed."
Look at the effectiveness of Paul's ministry in the conversion of whole
Churches of Gentiles across the Roman empire. Prayer changes things. What
we learn here is that prayer must accompany the proclamation of the gospel,
for it to touch hearts. We tend to think that we can get so much
more done in the flesh than we can get done in prayer. Many times we
save prayer for an act of desperation, after we have done all we can--when
we've gone for the first, second and third diagnosis, and the doctor
says "It's in the hands of God now."
We were created for fellowship with our heavenly Father, and we can't
understand how to live effectively for him, what he wants us to do--without
that fellowship with him. Prayer, simply stated, "is talking to God like
you would talk to a friend." Throw away your past ideas of prayer.
Many Christians believe they can work for God without having been with
God in prayer. To live without waiting on the Lord is to embrace humanism
and to wrap it in Christian trappings. The humanist lives as if he was
God and sadly, a lot of Christians are living that way.
God wants to hear about the daily challenges you face during the day.
He cares. He's interested, and as you quiet down in prayer, you start
to get direction from him.
When we pray we acknowledge that we need God, and that there is an invisible
war going on. Prayer keeps you aware that there is a God and that he
loves you. Ordinarily the flesh recoils from prayer, so that many Christians
are prayerless Christians. But we have a God that is intimately interested
in our lives. He cares and cares and cares so much about us.
We should pray, "Direct me Lord, I want my service to be directed by
you." Prayer is not a bummer. Prayer changes things because prayer opens
doors. Look at Colosians 4:2, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful
and thankful." Paul says pray with thanksgiving. Christians are people
who should cultivate thanksgiving. Pray for open doors--a door for the
gospel--that it will spread. Once the door opens, we should pray that
the gospel spreads quickly. II Thessalonians 3:1.
"Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread
rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." Spiritual power and
victory are linked to prayer. Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still
because he needed more time to achieve a military victory. He knew that
prayer transcends natural laws. If Einstein or Steven Hawking were to
put it in their language, prayer transcends time and space, it functions
outside time & space, because God is outside time and space. He dwells
in eternity, he inhabits eternity. He created the space/time continuum
and has total control of it whenever he chooses. God has the ability
to control everything. Spiritual victory and power are linked to prayer.
Acts 4:23-31. "On their release, Peter and John went back to their own
people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to
them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer
to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made heaven and earth and the
sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the
mouth of your servant, our father David: "Why do the nations rage and
the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and
the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed
One [Psalm 2:1-2]." Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with
the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against
your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power
and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their
threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
Stretch out your hand and heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.' After they had prayed,
the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled
with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." God shakes
things up when you pray.
Another example of the power of prayer to enable the preaching of the
gospel is found in Acts 16:16-34. "Once when we were going to the place
of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she
predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners
by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting,
'These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the
way to be saved.' She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became
so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, 'In the name
of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!' At that moment the
spirit left her.
When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making
money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the
marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates
and said, 'These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar
by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.'
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates
ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely
flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to
guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the
inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the other prisoners were listening to them [kind of hard not to listen.
A captive audience at midnight when everyone is trying to sleep!] Suddenly
there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison
were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's
chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors
open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought
the prisoners had escaped. [This became the jailer's worst nightmare.
This is the jailer that beat Paul and Silas. Roman law stated that if
one prisoner escaped the jailer paid with his own life. This earthquake
and Paul's Christianity shook up this jailer's life. Look at what took
place next.] But Paul shouted, 'Don't harm yourself! We are all here!'
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul
and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do
to be saved?'
They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you
and your household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to
all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took
them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family
were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal
before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in
God--he and his whole family."
As you can see, prayer can arrange things in a certain way so that people
are boxed in, and brings them face to face with the issues of life. And
it's all because someone is praying for them--just as Paul and Silas
were praying for this jailer.
The effective fervent prayer of a righteous person does much. God moves
heavenly armies into place in answer to some of our prayers. Elisha had
been giving the movements of the king of Syria, his army and chariots,
to the king of Israel, telling the king whatever God told him to. It
was God passing military intelligence to the king of Israel through Elisha.
The king of Syria didn't know how Elisha was finding out these things
but set out to capture Elisha and stop him. This is an interesting story
of the kind of power and spirit military force God surrounds us with
at the beck and call of our prayers. Let's pick it up in verse 12 of
II Kings 6. "And one of his servants said, 'None, my lord, O king; but
Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words
you speak in your bedroom.' So he said, 'Go and see where he is, that
I may send and get him.' And it was told him, saying, 'Surely he is in
Dothan.' Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there,
and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant
of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding
the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, 'Alas,
my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those
who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha
prayed, and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then
the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the
mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So
when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said,
'Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.' And He struck them with
blindness according to the word of Elisha. Now Elisha said to them, 'This
is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you
to the man whom you seek.' But he led them to Samaria [the capital of
Israel where the king's army was based]. So it was, when they had come
to Samaria, that Elisha said, 'Lord, open the eyes of these men, that
they may see.' And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there
they were, inside Samaria!" (II Kings 6:12-20.)
You know, if the Church [and I dare say, the collective Church, the body
of Christ] fully understood the power of prayer, nothing would be impossible
for her. Listen to what Andrew Murray says, "We must begin to believe
that God in the mystery of prayer has entrusted us with a force that
can move the heavenly world and bring its' power down to earth." God
must wonder why we pray so little. Listen to what the former missionary
to India, Dr. Wesley Duall had to say about prayer.
"Prayer is a form of spiritual bombing to saturate any area before God's
army of witnesses begins their advance. Prayer is the barrage to drive
back the demon hosts who are determined to stop the triumph of Christ.
Prayer is the invincible force to break down every opposing wall and
open every iron gate, and fast closed door. Prayer penetrates every curtain
of darkness, crumbles every bastion of darkness. Prayer demolishes every
fortress of hell. Prayer is the all-conquering invincible weapon of the
army of God."
If some of you couples with problems would start praying together you'd
need less counseling together. If families would pray together they would
stay together. There's power in prayer. Why is it any surprise then that
Satan attacks us during our prayer time? Prayer is our weapon, not talk,
not meetings, not boards, not counseling...prayer is where the power
Again, why is it any surprise then that Satan attacks our prayer time?
And he gives men especially a repulsion to prayer--men are just scared
to death to pray. Why? Because Satan knows, 'the righteous fervent prayer
of a righteous man avails much.' 'So keep em off their knees at all costs.'
'Make em embarrassed'--that's Satan's reasoning. Because when people
pray the kingdom of darkness starts shaking. Prayer is the power behind
ministry. You see great churches and ministries--they're not great. But
what might be great is the prayer-force behind them.
William Carrie is known as the father of modern missions and God used
him in mighty ways to bring the gospel to India. [Families, by the way,
kill any of their members who try to become Christians in India.] People
credit Carrie with a lot--but do you know what? It wasn't Carrie, and
he knew that. What a lot of people don't know is that he had a bedridden
sister who prayed for him for fifty years. She was paralyzed. All she
could do was lie in bed and pray. That's all she could do. It got the
job done. Without prayer the Church is nothing, just sickly and dying.
Many of us get so busy for God that we don't spend any time with God
anymore. But prayer's power is not limited to time or natural law. Remember
what Samuel Chadwick said, "The one concern of the devil is to keep the
saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless
work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom,
but trembles when we pray."
Remember the example of Moses, Aaron and Hur on the mountain top praying
for the victory of Israel over the Amalekites. There are two levels here.
1) What is happening on the Mount of Prayer, 2) determines the outcome
in the valley. Why do you fail in your Christian life? Because you have
ceased to pray. Pray on. [This is a word for word transcript taken from
a sermon by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, Phoenix,
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is
that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are
zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they
did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish
their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the
end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who
believes." Many people are religiously sincere, but sincerely wrong.
You can be sincerely wrong. The people in Waco Texas were sincere
and they had a zeal for God, so much so that they would shoot themselves
in the head and then burn themselves up. Now that's zeal for God if
I've ever seen zeal, but it was wrong. They were sincere, but sincerely
wrong. Now before they got that weird they were still sincere. Before
they got so weird and socially unacceptable, nobody would say "they're
wrong!" Everybody would say, "Oh they're sincere, leave them be." But
wrong thinking will lead you to wrong living. We see people today who
are religiously sincere. They go by two's, they knock on our doors
and they hope to earn heaven by the hours they turn in. They hope that
by what they're doing they'll be right with God, and nobody's ever
been made right with God by what they do.
The first thing that enters your mind when you realize that you're not
right with God is that you think, "I'll do something, I'll make
God a promise, I won't do that again." God must laugh! What you do on
the outside can't earn God's favor, but the first thing we think when
we realize we're not right with God is "What can I do?" This goes
back to Adam and Eve our original parents. After they sinned, suddenly
they realized they were naked. All of a sudden they felt very naked and
exposed. They did what God said was wrong. They knew it was wrong, they
felt guilt, they felt shame--they felt naked before God who's Holy. Ever
have "Naked" dreams where you are in front of a bunch of people
and you're doing your thing, giving the business presentation?? Every
preacher understands this dream because they've all had it at least once.
It's a preacher's nightmare. Everyone's had it at least once, every pastor
I've ever known. You're standing up here and you're in your shorts, hopefully.
Adam and Eve had this type of feeling of nakedness, so they looked around
and you know they must have been in a panic--they couldn't be thinking
straight--because the leaf they picked, the leaves they picked to sew
together were figleaves! Those are the prickliest, scratchiest leaves
on earth. And then God provided something better for them. It says in
Genesis 3:21 "the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife
and clothed them." Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the
Lord, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation." God is in
the business of covering up our shame and our nakedness. God is showing
us how foolish it is for us to try to cover ourselves--how absolutely
absurd it is for us to do something to try to get ourselves out
of this mess. There is NOTHING we can do, he's got to do it for
us. He provided the skins for them. He probably had to sacrifice a little
animal, probably a little lamb, in order to give them covering. And so
he gave us his Son, Jesus Christ, so that we might have covering.
Romans 10 is a beautiful picture of the simplicity of salvation. Do you
think it's hard to be saved? If you do you've been exposed to religion--you
haven't been exposed to a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you think
it's hard, listen up, because I've some good news for you. Someone has
said, and it is well said,
"There are only two kinds of religions, one may be spelled "do", the
religion of DO, "DO this, DO that, DON'T DO that, you'd better DO this." And
the other religion can be spelledD-O-N-E. Christianity
is a religion that is based on something that is DONE, it's not a religion
based on what we have to DO. The emphasis of Christianity is not what
you have to do. The sad thing is that there's people all over the country,
and that's what they're getting preached to them. "DO" for God. That's
not the emphasis of the Word of God, the emphasis of the Bible is what
God's done for you, because God's smart, and that's an understatement.
He knows that once we get a grip on what he's done for us--we'll do like
crazy for him. It's true.
People don't understand that. They look out and they think, "These people
need to be told what to DO!--You need to get out there and you need to
hammer 'em, man. Tell 'em what to DO!" No, you need to tell them what
God has DONE. Otherwise you might as well be a part of every cult or
false religion that guilt trips people into everything. Christianity
is not an eternal guilt trip, it's a grace trip. It is a grace experience.
The gospel is not about something I do, it is about something Jesus has done.
Sincere people are sincerely wrong, verse 3 says, 'when they go about
to establish their own righteousness, and not subjecting themselves to
the righteousness of God--because Christ is the end of law keeping for
You can not be saved by doing good things. By going to church, by being
baptized, by being sprinkled, by being confirmed, by taking Holy Communion,
by going to the temple, or by anything else you might think of--you cannot
be saved by those things. Look at Galatians 2 and listen to what the
same guy, the apostle Paul, has to say on the same subject--the simplicity
of salvation. Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by
the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Even we have believed
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not
by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be
justified. Now look at Galatians 3:10: "For as many as are of the works
of the law are under a curse: for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone
who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of
the law, to do them.'" Do you want to come under the law--the old
covenant law of God? Then you had better DO everything
the law demands.
It's funny how people will take parts of the law [old covenant law of
God], put people under them, and ignore whole other parts. One of the
big things we had to do was keeping the Sabbath [this minister grew up
in the 7th Day Adventist Church], Saturday. Now that's in the law [of
Moses]. If you keep the law you'd better keep the Sabbath--but you know,
we didn't keep the Sabbath the way you're supposed to keep it. The Bible
says that if you light a fire on the Sabbath you should be stoned to
death. I know many Sabbaths we lit fires in the fireplace. And you can't
cook, no preparation of meals on the Sabbath. "Well, that's legalism" you
might say. No brother, that's Bible. That's the way the Sabbath was meant
to be kept. The Bible says if you're going to be under law, you'd better
do it all--because if you don't you're under a curse.
There are two ways to be saved in the Bible: 1) One is to get this righteousness
you need. You need rightness with God to inherit Eternal life in the
kingdom of God. But we are born wrong. We need to somehow be made
right. And you've got to find this rightness you need. And one way is
the Law. But the problem is that if you put yourself under law you have
to do it all because the only way you can be saved is by
perfectly doing the law, all of it. So if you've already messed up, you
can't be saved by lawkeeping, because you have to have a perfect sinless
record. [There's only one man other than Jesus Christ who came close
to having a sinless record. It was Job, and by all appearances he was
sinless, until God pointed out that he was self-righteous! Oops.]
2) The only other way to be saved is by faith--you get the rightness
by faith. That's too easy! Yes! That's the whole thing. This is so easy
that people stumble over it. People think it's hard to be a Christian.
That it's hard to be saved.
Let's look at Romans 10:5, "Moses describes in this way the righteousness
that is by the law: 'The man who does these things will live by them.'" In
other words if you can keep the law you could live and have eternal life.
But if you can't keep the law you can't be saved, if you're going to
try to be saved by lawkeeping. Salvation is so simple and so close. And
you know, we need to communicate that when we talk to people about Jesus.
You have to let 'em know that this is simple. Salvation is so near to
us all. It's not like you have to climb a ladder to get near heaven.
Trying to be saved by good living is impossible. The only way to be saved
is by what Jesus has done for you, and you can get into that so simply.
It's so close. Verse 6-10, "But the righteousness that is by faith
says: 'Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? (that is
to bring Christ down) or Who will descend into the deep? (that is to
bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near
you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith
we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,
and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture
says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' For there
is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all
and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the
name of the Lord will be saved [Joel 2:32]." Verse 6 says you don't
have to ascend up to heaven to get Jesus to bring him down--as if somehow
you have to climb to heaven to get Jesus--to gain access to him. And
then again you don't have to debase yourself thinking 'I'll lay on a
bed of nails. I'll walk on hot coals of fire. I'll do penance, I'll light
candles, I'll give money, I'll buy a window for the Church.' No, you
don't have to descend into this kind of abyss either. ('That is, to bring
Christ up from the dead.') No, salvation is not a long journey you have
to get on and maybe find him. But what does it say? Verse 8, 'The word
is near you.' The word of salvation is so close to you he says, 'How
close? 'It's in your' what? 'Mouth'--and where? 'and in your heart.'
That is the word of faith that we are preaching. What does verse 9 say? "That
if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your
heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For
with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth
he confesses resulting in salvation." Salvation is so near it is in your
mouth and in your heart--and if you'll just confess that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead--you will
be saved. That is so incredible!
Ultimately, the Bible says, the whole world, everyone who has ever lived,
will be forced, at the Judgment Throne of God, to confess that 'Jesus
is Lord.' Philippeans 2 says 'that at the name of Jesus every knee shall
bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father.' The day is coming when you will have to confess--"Jesus
is Lord." [and this fellowship teaches, "you may not want to say it at
this point, but you'll be forced to say it, and then you will be sent
to hell." A few other fundamentalist Christian fellowships believe that
last scenario isn't so, but at this time of the Great White Throne Judgment
the rest of unsaved mankind's opportunity for salvation will come to
them. This study will not be delving into the secondary beliefs of any
Christian group, fellowship or denomination beyond briefly mentioning
what they believe in. The focus is on the primary knowledge of the gospel
of Christ. Salvation in Jesus Christ and how we attain it in the here
and now for us is primary knowledge of salvation. What happens
to the "unsaved dead" is secondary knowledge of salvation. One group,
the majority of Christians, believe the "going straight to hell" scenario,
the other group believe in the "they're given their first opportunity
for salvation in Christ" scenario. But as long as believers believe the
primary knowledge and Jesus lives in them by the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit (John 14), which Jesus does for us, we will be saved.]
Salvation by confessing belief in Jesus Christ as Lord (Messiah) is not
just a matter of saying the words. It's not some magic formula that you
say. It's not mouthing the words. Again, that would be a work you do.
It's not going through a ceremony. It's not knowing in your head that
saves you, it's believing in your heart--because when you believe in
your heart something, it extends all the way through your life, doesn't
it? How many of us know that we should be eating differently than we
are? Be honest. But knowing those things doesn't change us, because it's
not here in your heart, it's merely headknowledge. But when you get the
bad news from the doctor that unless you change your diet you're going
to croak--all of a sudden, it's 'buy the juicer! Get those carrots, man!
We're going to take the vitamins! No fat in this diet, man! I'm going
to live on rice crackers now!' But you know, until something happens
to you which forces what's in your head down to your heart and you act
on it, it doesn't matter what's up here in your head. Many people in
this world know Christianity in their heads, but don't know it in their
hearts. Jesus talked of this type of Christian in Matthew 7:21-22 which
states, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom
of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in
your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" If
your don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ it's all useless
head knowledge. Let's look at John 5:11, "And this is the testimony:
that God has given us eternal life in His Son. He who has the Son has
life; he who doesn't have the Son does not have life. These things I
have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you
may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe
in the name of the Son of God." O.K., this is like simplicity, isn't
it? How do you know that you're saved? Very simple--do you have Jesus? "He
who has the Son has life." Now this is a real encouragement to those
who are always wondering "I'm I saved?" Salvation, again, is not what
you do, salvation is based on what He (Jesus) has done for you. Do you
have Him? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If you
don't, you don't have life. If you do have Jesus, you do have life. 'Are
you willing to stake your whole hope for eternal life on what I've done
for you?" Jesus asks. If you are, then that's real saving belief.
Verse 11, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame [Isa.
28:16]." The original Greek in this verse is very strong, using a
double negative. More accurately rendered, it states, "Whoever believes
in Him will never, no never be disappointed."
You're never going to be embarrassed. Everybody else will disappoint
you, but Jesus won't.
Verses 12-13, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the
same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for,
'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved [Joel 2:32]." Now
the question you have to ask is "Have I called on the name of the Lord?" Have
you ever called upon the name of the Lord? "We know, I thought what my
parents did for me would save me (infant baptism). No, the Bible says
'If you want to be saved you have to call upon the name of the Lord.'
One of the last things Jesus says to us is in the book of Revelation.
"Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me." Get
the picture. He's on the outside of your life, knocking on the door of
your life. And he says, "If anyone will hear my voice." So he's also
calling your name. "Joe, Sue, Mary, Pete, Mike, Bill, Beth, Mark, Julie,
Tom, Teresa or whatever your name is--it's me, Jesus. Open up, I've got
something for you. I've got life, I've got peace, I've got forgiveness
of your sins here for you. Open up." Jesus is basically saying 'If anyone
hears My voice and opens the door I'll come in and I'll be their friend
forever.' This is incredible! But you've got to ask him into your life.
You've got to open the door. He's not going to bash down the door into
your life to give you salvation. It's your choice. Have you called upon
the name of the Lord? Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your life
and save you from your sins? If you haven't, you're not saved.
It says, "calls on the name of the Lord." If you've done something else
besides calling, I don't know, you're on thin ice. When he says 'calling
on God,' he means asking God to come in because God is a gentleman, the
Lord Jesus is a gentleman, he won't break down the door. He respects
your will. You can invite him into your life.
And you know, when you come to Jesus Christ, things change. What a wonderful
transformation takes place. Whoever will call on the name of the Lord
will be saved. You can thank God for one word, "Whoever." Your sins will
all be forgiven. That is why he died on the cross. God put all your ugliness,
all your sins and all the wrong things you've done on Jesus. He was punished
and died the way you should be punished and die, but God didn't want
to punish you. Jesus wanted to take your place. He's bought the whole
world and everyone in it with his blood (John 3:16). That's what the
cross is all about, and he was buried and he rose again and your sins
were forgiven. And he purchased eternal life for you and he's waiting
for you to receive it.
How do you call on the name of the Lord? We should pray something like
this aloud to Jesus. "Lord Jesus I know I need you. I've been wrong Lord.
Please forgive me of my sins. Please come into my life, and give me a
new beginning. I believe that you died for me, and that you rose again
from the dead. I'm calling on you right now Jesus. Please save me. And
I believe that you accept me, just like I am. Come into my life now and
change me I pray. In Jesus name, Amen."
Now Paul put a plug in for those that bring the gospel, for people cannot
call on the name of the Lord if no one brings them the gospel--the good
news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Romans 10:14-15. "How, then,
can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they
believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear
without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they
are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who
bring good news! [Isa. 52:7]'"
Paul goes on to raise another question, which gets us into the subject
matter of Romans 11. Romans 10:16-21. "But not all the Israelites
accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our
message? [Isa. 53:1]' Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they
not hear? Of course they did: 'Their voice has gone out into all the
earth, their words to the ends of the world. [Psalm 19:4]' Again I ask:
Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, 'I will make you envious
by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that
has no understanding. [Deut. 32:21]' And Isaiah boldly says, 'I was found
by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not
ask for me. [Isa.65:1]' But concerning Israel he says, 'All day long
I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. [Isa.
Romans 11:1-10. "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. Don't
you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he
appealed to God against Israel: 'Lord, they have killed your prophets
and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying
to kill me' [I Kings 19:10,14]? And what was God's answer to him? 'I
have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to
Baal. [I Kings 19:18]' So, too, at the present time there is a remnant
chosen by grace. and if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it
were, grace would no longer be grace.
What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the
elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: 'God gave them
a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that
they could not hear, to this very day [Deut. 29:10].' And David says:
'May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution
for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs
be bent forever [Psalm 69:22-23].'"
So has God rejected the nation of Israel and cast her aside because of
her rejection of him? Does Israel still have a right to the promises
he gave her thousands of years ago? Is the Christian Church now Israel?
Does God have a future plan for the nation of Israel? The answers to
these questions are given to us in Romans chapter eleven.
Let's look at Romans 11:1. "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."
Now this would be a perfect place to say, 'All right dear Romans, I want
you to know that God has rejected Israel, the nation of Israel is cast
off and the Church is now Israel.' Why doesn't he say that? Instead he
says in the clearest possible ways, "God has not rejected Israel." "No
way, may it never be." One of the strongest ways the Greeks could express
a negative was to use a double negative, which they do here in this sentence,
which is translated "No way, may it never be." And then he says, "If
God is through with Israel then I couldn't be saved because he said I
really am an Israelite, of the tribe of Benjamin, and yet God saved me
so God must not be done with the nation of Israel. They're not under
a curse, they're still God's people or I couldn't be saved.' He also
said in verse 2, just to emphasize it, "God has not rejected his people,
whom he foreknew." Look at verse 11, "Again I ask: Did they stumble so
as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression,
salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious."
Look at verse 28, 'From the standpoint of the gospel they are your enemies.
They fought you.' Read the book of Acts. They fought the apostle Paul
every step of the way. But from the standpoint of God's choice they are
what? "Beloved for the sake of the fathers." Why? "for the gifts and
the calling of God are irrevocable." Did he call them his people? Yes.
You mean you're telling me that after all they have done, rejecting the
Lord, crucifying Christ--God is going to have something to do with them?
Let's go back a step. Who crucified Christ? You know Jews for centuries
have been called Christ-killers by Christians, ignorant Christians. Who
crucified Christ? The Romans did. Well if you're going to call anybody
Christ-killers, call Italians Christ-killers, right? The Jews didn't
crucify him. They did say, "Let him be crucified." But it was the Gentiles
who had a part in crucifying Christ. So you can't call them Christ-killers
unless you want to be called a Christ-killer also. So they have rejected
the Lord, yes. So they have fought the gospel, yes. So they blasphemed
the name of our blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, yes. But does that mean that
God would cast them off? NO! Why? Because to begin with this whole deal
God made with Abraham was not based on how Abraham would perform. It
was based upon how well God would perform his promises.
If you go back to Genesis 15 you'll see the incident there. This is where
the Israelites started. God came to Abraham, and said, "Hay Abe, I'm
going to make out of you a mighty nation." He told him that in Genesis
12. By chapter 15 Abraham still didn't have any children. He was wondering,
'Well God said my descendants would be like the sand of the sea and the
stars of the heaven--they'd be innumerable. And I don't even have one
son yet. I mean, shouldn't we just have one to get this thing going,
Lord? There's a lot of stars out there. There's a lot of grains of sand
to catch up with.' He said, 'It looks to me Lord like the only heir I
have is my slave, my good buddy and slave Eliazer of Damascus. Is he
going to inherit everything?' 'I made you a promise, I'll fulfill my
end of the deal.' 'So Abraham believed God, and it was counted towards
him as righteousness.' We're told in verse 6 that God said, 'Let's finalize
this agreement, that I will make of you a great nation, I will give you
the promised land, and the Messiah will come through you and save the
world and of his kingdom and rule there shall be no end. So let's seal
And in these days they didn't sign on the dotted line. They had a very
risky business they performed. They would take a couple of animals, sacrifice
the animals, cutting them in two. They would lay the animals out and
make a path out of the animals. They'd cut a cow in two, push it apart,
make a pathway, cut a goat in two and make the pathway a little longer,
take other animals and they would have this pathway of butchered animals
literally cut it two. Then the two partners in the agreement would walk
back-to-back. They would walk through one way with one of the partners
saying "I agree to abide by this covenant and I agree to do my part,
this, this, this and this." And they'd walk back the other way and the
other partner would say it. "I agree to do my part which is this, this,
this, and this." and then they would both say, "and if I do not do my
part, you may cut me in two, just like we've cut these animals in two."
Well, needless to say there weren't many of those agreements made, right?
You were serious when you signed on the dotted line, because it meant
you could be torn in two. And so God proceeds to make this agreement
with Abram. Verse 9, "So he said to him, 'bring me a three year old heifer
and a three year old female goat and a three year old ram, and a turtle
dove and a young pigeon.' And he brought all these and cut them in two,
and laid each half opposite the other." He didn't cut the birds" (Well,
you know you cut a bird in two and all you get is feathers everywhere). "And
the birds of pray came down on the carcasses and Abraham drove them away." Now
verse 12, significant, "When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell
upon Abram. And behold a terror and a great darkness fell upon him. And
God said [while he was in this deep God-induced sleep], 'Abram, your
descendants are going to be many for number, go and become slaves in
a foreign land. But after 400 years I will bring them out of that land
and put them back in the promised land. And they will remove all the
inhabitants of the promised land, and I will give them that land forever." And
that's what God said. Verse 17, "And when it came about, when the sun
had set that it was very dark, behold there appeared a smoking oven and
a flaming torch [shades of Revelation 5] which passed between the pieces.
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your descendants,
to your seed I have given this land, from the Nile River to as far as
the Great River the River Euphrates."
He also said, 'I've also given you all the inhabitants of the land and
you can kick them out.' So God made this agreement with Abram. And remember
what I told you about this type of agreement, that both parties were
supposed to go through the cut in two animals, both parties were supposed
to state their part of the agreement, and then upon penalty of being
torn in two if they broke their end of the agreement?
God goes through, the smoking flaming torch representing the Lord. God
is saying, 'If I don't do what I have said, you can tear me in two.'
But where's Abram? Abram's flat on his back, incapacitated by this sleep
that God put upon him. Why? Why isn't Abraham walking through there?
Why isn't Abraham doing his part!? God is saying, 'Abe, I don't want
you walking through there because I know you couldn't do your part. I
know you'd bring a curse upon yourself. Abraham, everything that I'm
promising I will do based upon My faithfulness, not yours.' And that's
the beginning of the story of the Israelites. And because of this promise
God is also promising to the Israelites, 'I will do for them what I've
promised based upon my faithfulness and not theirs.' And that's the Abrahamic
covenant. That's the promise to Abraham. It's called the everlasting
covenant in the Scripture.
And so if you say, "Well, how can God still have Israel as his chosen
nation after they have rejected him?' Well you have to know this promise
wasn't based upon their works anyway. If you go back to Romans 11:2 "He
says, 'God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Or do you not
know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads
with God about Israel." And this is what Elijah said, "Lord, they have
killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left,
and they are trying to kill me [I Kings 19:10,14]." And actually Elijah
was complaining, saying, 'Lord, I thought there always was supposed to
be faithful people in the nation of Israel?' But what is the Divine response
to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bowed
a knee to Baal." "In the same way then, there has also come to be at
the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if
it is by grace"--if God's choice of Israel is by grace--"then it is no
longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans
God chose Israel not because they were a great people, not because they
were the best looking people, not because they were the holiest people,
or the most numerous people. He chose them because he wanted to give
somebody something they didn't deserve. And he looked around for an undeserving
people and he saw Abram, and he said, 'Abram, I'm going to give you what
you don't deserve. I'm going to do this, this, this and this for you.'
It was by grace. Now you have been saved in the same way, by grace.
The formula for our salvation is not grace, plus works equals salvation.
Now that is what a lot of religions teach. That's what a lot of cults
teach. In fact I guarantee you every cult teaches that. The Bible doesn't
give the equation that way at all. The Bible says grace plus nothing
equals salvation. But some will say, "But wait a minute, you've got to
have faith." But don't you remember that even saving faith is not from
you, it's the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you are
saved in faith, and that faith not of yourself, it's a gift of God, not
of works, lest any man should boast." You can put faith in the equation
if you want, but it's part of grace. So say grace plus faith equals salvation.
That's great. But faith is no big work you do, it's just believing and
trusting in God. [And that comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit who dwells
Now because grace means getting what you don't deserve, (unmerited favor
is what grace means) it makes no sense at all to say, "We're saved by
grace plus something that we do." If grace means you don't deserve it
in the first place, then how can you do something to deserve it? The
point is, if you're going to be saved by grace, then you're going to
have to be saved by grace alone. If you're going to be saved by works,
you have to be saved by works alone. You can't mix the two, they're like
oil and vinegar. They do not mix, there's a separation there.
How are you trying to obtain eternal life? By works or by grace? I hope
it's by grace. A lot of people have the idea that our life is like this: "Jesus
died on the cross, and on the cross he made a tremendous down payment
on our eternal future, our eternal home, and now if we will just accept
this deal, man, the down payment has been made, no cash down to mortgage.
Just come as you are. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line and
guarantee you'll make the payment every month. And it's low interest,
too.' And that's the view a lot of people have of how to be saved. Jesus
paid the down payment, and now it's just up to me to pay God's easy payments.
The only problem is, what if you get behind a payment or two? Well that's
when you come to Church and they start talking to you and say 'All right,
you're going to lose this house, God's going to foreclose on you, unless
you catch up on your payments. Unless you do what you're supposed to
do God will close the books on you. You're going to be out of here! Pay
God what you own him!" That's not the gospel, that's not the Good News
of Christianity. The Good News of Christianity is this: "Jesus paid it
all, he paid everything on the cross, he bought the whole house! No hidden
costs, he paid for it all! And it's free and it's a gift and it's yours
for the believing, the accepting, for the receiving." Isn't that good
news?! So it's got to be grace. If it's grace plus works it's no longer
So God has promised the land of Israel to Israel forever. There will
always be a nation of Israel. You may say, "Yes, but look at what they've
done, they've rejected Jesus, they've wandered from him, they've put
him down. I just can't believe he has any room in his heart for them." But
you've got to understand, God knew they were going to reject Messiah
when he chose them. This is no surprise to God. Right here in Romans
11:8-9 he quotes the prophet that says God would give them "a spirit
of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could
not hear to this very day." He quoted David's prophecy "that their table
would become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution
to them." Read Isaiah 53. God predicted that his nation, his chosen nation
Israel would reject the Messiah, would despise the Messiah, would pierce
him through, would put him to death and that he would rise again from
the dead. That was all predicted. This didn't catch God by surprise.
The stoning of Steven didn't change God's mind about Israel. Why in Deuteronomy
chapters 4 and 28 the Lord predicts that his people would be cast out
of the land because of their idolatry and the abominations that they
would commit. He saw that. Nothing takes God by surprise. He sees the
future as well as you see the present, better than you see the present.
In spite of all this God will not forsake the nation of Israel. Yes,
presently Israel is being disciplined by God. God said that he would
scatter his people over the entire face of the earth, that they would
go into all the different nations of the world. But he said, in the last
days he would bring them back into their land. And it says he would bring
them back into their land in their own unbelief.
Why should we care about what happens to Israel? Well, if God says adios
to Israel, we have no hope. If God permanently casts off and spits out
Israel, then what keeps God from spitting you out of his mouth? Because
if God doesn't keep his promise to Israel, how can you trust God to keep
his promise to you? You can't, can you? If he breaks one promise, he's
going to break them all. God's integrity, God's faithfulness, and your
ability to trust in him is all based on what we're studying right now.
Let's go to Jeremiah 30-33. This is all talking about a good word which
the Lord is speaking to Israel about what he is going to do for them
in the last days. He's saying, "I know you're in captivity now in Babylon"--that's
the context. But he goes on to say, 'I'm going to bring you out of captivity,
and then he jumps forward into what hes going to do in the last
days. And it's very clear that much of what he's saying here is not talking
about the years right after the Babylonian captivity, he is talking about
the years yet in the future.
Jeremiah 30:1-9. "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
'Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying, 'Write in a book for yourself
all the words that I have spoken to you. 'For behold, the days are coming,'
says the Lord, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel
and Judah [the ten tribes of Israel were deported out of Palestine in
721-718 B.C. by the Assyrian Empire, and foreigners were moved into Samaria
in their place. The kingdom of Judah lived just south of Samaria with
Jerusalem as their capital. The Babylonians carried them away a little
over 100 years later from 604 to 585 B.C.],' says the Lord. 'And I will
cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they
shall possess it.'
Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah.
'For thus says the Lord: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear,
and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with
child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman
in labor? And all faces are pale? Alas! For that day is great, so that
none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall
be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day,' says the
Lord of hosts, 'that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst
your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve
the Lord their God. And David their king, whom I will raise up for
them." This is describing the tribulation time, the last three and
a half years before the Millennium begins, the time of Jacob's trouble,
the time of Jacob's distress. This is obviously about the future because
God is saying, "I will resurrect David and put him on the throne and
he will reign during the Millennium. So God says, before the end of time
I will bring back my people Israel into their land.
Let's look at Jeremiah 31:35. "Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun
for a light by day, and the ordinance of the moon and the stars for a
light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its' waves roar (the Lord of
hosts is his name): If those ordinances depart from before me ["if this
fixed order departs from before me"
another translation has it]," that is, if the sun would stop coming up
and the moon go off its course and there would be no longer any tides, "then
the seed [offspring] of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before
God is saying, "I made a promise to Israel and I'm going to keep my word,
because I'm God and I don't lie. I do not lie." Numbers 23:19. "God is
not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.
Has he said and will he not do it? Has he spoken and will not make it
good?" I Samuel 15:29 says,
"Also the glory of Israel will not lie or change his mind, for he is
not a man that he should change his mind." So God is not going to change
his promise that he made to Israel. He promised to keep them a nation
forever. He's going to do it. He says, 'For all they've done, I'll still
keep them a people before me, my people forever.' Jeremiah 32:37. "Behold
I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in my
anger, in my fury, and in my great wrath; I will bring them back to this
place, and I will cause them to dwell safely." This is talking about
the last days. "They shall be my people and I will be their God: Then
I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever
for the good of them and their children after them."
Let's also look at Jeremiah 33:19-26. Again the Lord is declaring he
is going to keep the nation of Israel before him forever. He will never
reject the nation of Israel. They are his chosen nation. "And the word
of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: 'If you can
break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that
there will not be day and night in their season, then my covenant may
also be broken with David my servant, so that he shall not have a son
to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers." [And
his descendant right now is on the throne, his name is Jesus, the son
of David, and he's going to reign forever.] "As the host of heaven cannot
be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the
descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me. [So
even the Levitical priesthood will serve the Lord again, under the priesthood
of Melchizedek, obviously. Have you ever wondered about that 1000 year
period spoken of as the Millennium. The Old Testament prophecies are
loaded with beautiful prophecies about that time of peace and prosperity
for all, under the gentle rulership of the Messiah, Jesus.] Moreover
the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 'Have you not considered
what these people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the Lord
has chosen [the House of Israel and the House of Judah], he has also
cast them off? [Even way back then during the Babylonian captivity, people
were saying that Israel and Judah had been permanently cast off by God,
permanently rejected. God is now about to take issue with these false
rumors being spoken by non-Israelites, Gentiles.] Thus they have despised
my people, as if they should no more be a nation before them. Thus says
the Lord: 'If my covenant is not with the day and night, and if I have
not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away
the descendants of Jacob [Israel] and David my servant, so that I will
not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return,
and will have mercy on them.'"
So I guess it's pretty clear from the Word of God from the New Testament
in Romans 11 to the Old Testament in Jeremiah that God has not rejected
his people. As Romans 11 says, "Has God rejected his people? May it never
be! NO way! Did they stumble so as to fall? No, may it never be. Oh,
they are enemies of the gospel now, but for the sake of the fathers [patriarchs,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] they are beloved of God."
The Church is not Israel, the Church is the Church. The Church is the
distinct bride of Christ.
So what are the implications of all this? First of all, if God does away
with Israel, what makes you think he won't do away with the Church some
day? If God just makes promises and then brakes them because we aren't
good enough, well then we're in trouble. I mean it would be one thing
if the promise was based on our obedience, but the promise to Abraham,
Abraham slept through. It was not based on anything he did. It was based
on God's faithfulness. So if you say that God is through with Israel,
then you are basing your belief in God's unfaithfulness. God is not done
with Israel. [Judah, one of the tribes of Israel, is occupying the promised
land right now!] And there is more to come in regards to the nation of
Israel in the future. We serve a covenant-keeping God (Psalm 11:4-5).
[pp. 12-26, Word for word transcript, Pastor J. Mark Martin, Calvary
Community Church, Phoenix, Arizona.]
Romans 11:7-32. "What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not
obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: 'God
gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so
that they could not hear, to this very day [Deut. 29:4; Isa. 29:10].' And
David says: 'May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block
and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever [Psalm 69:22-23].'
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? 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 fullness bring!
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own
people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation
of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If
the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole
batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the
branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have
been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap
from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider
this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will
say then, 'Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.' Granted.
But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.
Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural
branches, he will not spare you either.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those
who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.
Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief,
they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. [How?
All these Israelites whom Paul was writing about died in their unbelief.
These verses have confounded and mystified many Christian fellowships
for centuries--but not others.] After all, if you were cut out of an
olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted
into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural
branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
All Israel Will Be Saved
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you
may not be conceited [the other time Paul uses this phrase is to describe a
major resurrection from the dead]: Israel has experienced a hardening in part
until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be
saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness
away from Jacob. And this is my covenant when I take away their sins [Isa.
59:20-21; Jer. 31:33-34].'
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, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. 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 ALL MEN over to disobedience so that
he may have mercy on THEM ALL."