The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
42. God's Mercy On All
28 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,
29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,
31 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.
32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
Paul continues his explanation of Israel's hardening and of God's ultimate faithfulness to His promises regardless of humans' unfaithfulness.
1. In verse 28, what does Paul mean when he says that the Jews "are enemies on your [the Gentile believers] account"? (see v. 11; 5:10; Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:3-4)
2. Verses 28-29 say that God loves Israel "on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." What does it mean that God loves Israel "on account of the patriarchs"? (see v. 16; Deuteronomy 7:8; 10:15; Romans 9:5)
3. Many of us learned that Israel has lost the blessings God promised because of her apostasy. The promises were conditional, we learned, and were based on "Blessings for obedience". What are the gifts and the call that Paul here says are irrevocable, and why are they irrevocable? (see Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Ephesians 4:1, 4; Romans s4:1-4; 16-17; Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; Hebrews 7:20-21; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6)
4. In verse 30 Paul identifies the Gentiles as "you who at one time were disobedient to God". What factors contributed to the Gentiles' historical position of being considered more "disobedient" than the Jews, and what kept them separated from the Israelite's chosen status? (see Ephesians 2:1-2; 11-12; 14-16; Romans 1:18-20; 24, 26, 28; Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:1-5)
5. What was God's purpose in creating Israel and keeping them separate from the Gentiles during the centuries before Christ's incarnation? (see John 4:21-22; Isaiah 2:3; Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5; 15:8-9)
6. How did Israel's disobedience result in mercy for the Gentiles? (see Romans 2:5-11; 25-27; 3:9-10; 19-20; 27-31; 4:14-15; Matthew 21:23-44; Matthew 8:10-12)
7. In verse 31-32 Paul says that just as the Gentiles had been bound to disobedience and were now receiving mercy, so God had now turned the Israelites over to disobedience so that they might also receive mercy. What is the significance of God turning the Jews over to hardening and disobedience during the time the Gentiles came to flourish in Christ, and what might God be trying to demonstrate to humanity through this apparent reversal of position? (see Romans 3:9-18; 2 Chronicles 6:36-40; Psalm 106:6; Romans 5:12-13; Galatians 3:22)
8. What might God's purpose be in purposefully binding "all men over to disobedience" instead of simply extending mercy to humanity without driving home the depths of their disobedience and sin? Why "rub our noses" in our rebellion? (see Romans 3:23; Romans 1:18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28; 2:1; Ephesians 2:3-5; 4:17-19; Isaiah 30:15; Luke 5:31-32; 24:46-47; Acts 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9)
9. What is your reaction to the Biblical assertion that God's promises to Israel are irrevocable?
10. Most of us were taught that God's promises to Israel were conditional, and Israel didn't keep their conditions so they lost their blessings. At this point, how do you see Israel's relationship to God and His promises?
11. Of what sin or rebellion is God convicting you that you need to repent and surrender to Him?
12. Ask God to teach you what you need to know about yourself and your
own life. Ask Him to change in you what needs changing and to help you surrender
to Him your fear and denial of truth. Ask Him to change your hardened heart
by His mercy into a heart of flesh protected and nurtured by His Spirit.
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