Sunday, February 5, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Romans 11-12
Paul continues His exposition regarding the grace of God (His unmerited favor) extended to all sinners, both Jew and Gentile in Romans 11. Noting the failure of the Jews to accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah opened the Gospel of salvation to the Gentiles (11:11), Paul argues the Jews should be provoked to jealousy when they observe in Gentile believers the spiritual riches of God’s grace (11:11-14).
The olive tree (11:17- 24), a symbol of Israel in the scriptures (Jeremiah 11:16-17; Hosea 14:4-6), is a familiar allegory illustrating the Jews unique covenant relationship with God. The roots of the olive tree are symbols of God’s covenant promises with Israel and the branches of the tree the Jews.
Those Jews who rejected Christ are said to be branches “broken off” (11:17), making room for the branches of the “wild olive tree” (i.e. Gentiles) to be grafted into the good olive tree and thus sharing in God’s promise of salvation. Paul reminds his readers that, in the same way Israel was chosen by God as an act of His grace, Gentile believers have nothing for which to boast of their salvation apart from God’s grace (11:18-24).
For nearly 2,000 years, Israel as a nation has been cut off and spiritually blind (11:7) and the Gentiles have been benefactors of God’s grace unto salvation through Christ. This time, described as “fulness of the Gentiles” (11:25), will be followed by a season when the Jews will turn to Christ as their Redeemer (11:26-27).
Having stated the wonder of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, Paul states three things God requires…our bodies, minds, and will (Romans 12:1-2).
Romans 12:1 – “I beseech [exhort] you therefore, brethren, by [because of] the mercies of God, that ye present [sacrifice] your bodies [will; whole life] a living sacrifice, holy [pure; blameless], acceptable [pleasing] unto God, which is your reasonable service [service to God]. 2 And be not conformed [fashion; shaped] to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind [thoughts; feelings], that ye may prove [test] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
In closing, I invite you to notice three adjectives Paul used to describe God’s will for your life:
- God’s will is “good”…good in character and morally good.
- God’s will is “acceptable”, meaning pleasing.
- God’s will is “perfect”, meaning complete (12:2b).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith