The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
39. Riches From Loss
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.
12 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!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry
14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 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.
Paul has been explaining the fact of and the results of God's divine hardening of Israel. Now he begins to explain that God's rejection is not permanent but is for the purpose of saving the Gentiles and of drawing Israel herself to repentance.
1. Even though Paul has been quoting Psalms that demonstrate the divine nature of Israel's hardening, he clarifies that their rejection is not total or permanent. What is the transgression Israel has committed that has resulted in their stumbling and rejection? (see Matthew11:22-24, 30-32; 27:20-25; Acts 5:17-18, 27-28)
2. Why would Paul hope to make Israel envious-how would anything positive be accomplished by stimulating them to a reaction generally considered to be a sin? (see also v. 14, 10:19; 1 Corinthians 10:32-33; 1 Thessalonians. 2:16)
3. What are the "riches for the world" that resulted from Israel's transgression? (see Acts 13:42-48; 18:6)
4. In verse 12 Paul uses a parallelism when he discusses Israel's "transgression" and their "loss". What actually is the "loss" they experience?
5. What are the "riches for the Gentiles" and for the "world" that result from Israel's transgression? (see verse 25
6. What attitude underlay the Jew's transgression, and why was Israel's rejection necessary for the riches of salvation to go to the Gentiles? (see Acts 13:46; Romans 2: 17-24; 2:9-10; Hebrews 10:28-31; Matthew 21:33-44; Acts 18:6; Acts 22:19-22; 26:19-23; 28: 23-28; Romans 11:30-31)
7. What is significant about Paul's metaphor of God's rejection of the Jews being the reconciliation of the world, and their acceptance being life from the dead? (see Romans 5:10; Luke 15:24, 32; Ephesians 2:1-5; 5:13-14; 1 Timothy 5:5-6)
8. What is significant about Paul's mention of the "firstfruits" in verse 16, and to what or whom does this metaphor of "firstfruits" and "the whole batch" refer? (see Numbers 15:17-21; Leviticus 23:9-11; 15-17; Romans 11:28)
9. The second part of verse 16 is a parallelism with the first part. Using the metaphor of the firstfruits and the whole batch as a guide, to what do the "root" and the "branches" refer?
10. When Paul says, "The whole batch is holy," does he mean all Jews will be saved, or does he mean something else? (see verses 4-5; Romans 3:1-4; 11:28-32)
11. Has your understanding of Israel's role in God's plan changed, and if so, how? How do you see your own role in relationship to Israel?
12. Praise God for calling you and pouring out His riches on you. Ask Him to reveal what He wants you to know about Israel and your relationship to Israel. Praise Him for His faithfulness that never leaves His promises unfulfilled. Thank Him that He will complete the work He began in you,
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