The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
35. A Sure Protection
11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 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?
15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Never be put to shame
In the first 10 verses of this chapter, Paul prays for the salvation of his fellow Israelites and explains that true righteousness comes only from accepting the word of God and believing it. A person demonstrates that salvation is true when he confesses his belief with his mouth, thus revealing the fullness of his heart. Now Paul explains the process by which people are saved and demonstrates why no one can say the Jews never had a fair chance.
1. In verse 11 Paul quotes Isaiah 28:16. In Isaiah 28:14-16, God was warning apostate Israel that they were lying to themselves by rationalizing their worship of false gods. What was God's promise to Israel, and how is Paul explaining that promise's fulfillment in verses 11-12? (see Isaiah 28:14-16; Romans 9:33)
2. In verse 13 Paul again quotes from Joel 2, this time verse 32. What time period or event is Joel describing in his prophecy in Joel 2:28-32? (see Acts 2:36-41; Romans 11:11-24; Galatians 3:26-29)
3. The fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32 also fulfilled Moses' wish in Numbers 11:29. Read Numbers 11:4-35. What did the manna represent, and what was the basic, essential sin of Israel in demanding meat to eat?
4. In Numbers 11:24-29, God gifts 70 elders with the Holy Spirit to set them apart for leadership in Israel. Two of the seventy did not obey Moses' call to congregate at the tabernacle, yet God gifted them as well. Joshua's reaction and Moses' response echo Paul's experience recorded in Philippians 1:15-18. What do we learn from these incidents about human motives and God's call and sovereignty?
5. In verse 14 Paul returns to his original context: his discussion of Israel's unbelief. He addresses the possible argument that Jews never had a fair opportunity to understand and respond to the gospel. To answer this argument, Paul begins by presenting four rhetorical questions that outline (in reverse order) the way people hear the gospel. What are these four steps?
6. In verse 15 Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7: "How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news!" What is the original source of this metaphor, and what was its immediate application when Isaiah first wrote it? (Keep in mind that Isaiah wrote his book during the flourishing of Assyria during which that nation ultimately invaded both Israel and Judah. Much of Isaiah's message foretold the eventual capture and release of Israel and Judah by Babylon.) (see 2 Samuel 18:19-26; Isaiah 51:11-12; 52:7-9; 40:9-11)
7. The metaphor of the feet of one bringing good tidings occurs repeatedly in the Old Testament to refer to various times of God's deliverance of His people. Isaiah 52:7 looks ahead to God's deliverance from Babylonian exile; Nahum 1:15 uses the metaphor to foretell Israel's deliverance from Assyrian invasion. What deliverance does Paul use the metaphor to describe in Romans 10:15?
8. In the context of Romans 10, whose feet bear the good tidings? (see also Ephesians 6:15) In the context of God's sovereignty, which Paul discusses in chapter 9, where does preaching fit into the picture? (see Matthew 28:18-20; Isaiah 49:5-6; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; 14:21)
9. Count how many direct references to the Old Testament Paul uses in the first 14 verses of this chapter. Comment on the relationship of the New Testament to the Old Testament.
10. What bondage has God called you from, and how did you finally "hear" the good tidings of promised freedom?
11. What is the shape of God's call to you to preach and deliver the good news? What fears or mixed motives divide your heart and inhibit your full surrender to the work you do for God?
12. Ask God to show you your self-protective or self-promoting character
traits that minimize your effectiveness for Him. Ask Him to do in you the
work He knows needs to be done and to help you to trust Him and to be faithful.
Thank Him for what He is doing in you, and ask Him to glorify Himself through
you. Praise Him for calling you to be His child; praise Jesus for bearing
your sin and pain, and praise the Holy Spirit for making your heart alive.
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