Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Romans Bible Study Preview 9:22-33; 10:1-4

This is the off-week primer for the Romans Bible Study.

Our passage for next week's lesson is Romans 9:22-33 and 10:1-4.

Here is the text of Scripture with some thoughts for you to consider:

22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What 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— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

This is Paul's conclusion, God's purpose in election, to answer number 1 of 3 that Paul gives to the question, "Why aren't the Jews being saved?" And it's not the politically-correct answer, but it's the primary Biblical answer. But Paul doesn't dwell on election; he moves on to consider that even the Gentiles are included in God's choice of who to save.

25As 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," 26and, "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.' "

Read Hosea 1 and 2 and notice that Paul is applying a text that addresses Israel to Gentiles.

27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28For the Lord will carry out His sentence on earth with speed and finality." 29It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."

Now Paul shifts back to focus on the Jews; God has chosen a remnant of them. Had He not elected to save some, the entire nation (group of people) would have been as well off as Sodom and Gommorah. Compare Jeremiah 23 and Lamentations 4.

30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

What is the difference between "obtaining" and "attaining"?

32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33As 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."

Here is the text of 1 Peter 2:4-10:

4As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," 8and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Who is Peter writing to (see v1 of 1 Peter)? What does he say in v8b that resembles Paul earlier teaching? Notice how Peter remarks that both Christ and God's elect are chosen. Rejoice in the truth found in v9-10 of this passage.

1Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

Why does Paul pray to God for the salvation of the Israelites? God actually brings people from darkness to light. Consider how He did that with you, and pray for someone you want God to save.

2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

The Jews are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Notice that there is a right way to be in fellowship with God. Mere sincerity is of little value. God works in the hearts of His people, but His path to the heart is through the mind. His method of communication with His people is through a massive volume of several literary genres written in different cultures and addressed to different peoples. Has your heart been reached through your mind? While we don't necessarily see the zeal of Jews today, we certainly see the zeal of Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons through their bold door-to-door evangelism. Be in prayer that we would be as zealous as they are, and that our zealousness would be based on the truth of God's Word alone, the pathway to knowledge.

4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Surprisingly, this verse is one of the most disputed in all the New Testament. What does this verse mean to you?

Hope to see you next week for the study.

No comments: