Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not repeating Israel's mistake

Steve Motyer commenting on Romans 9:19:24 writes:

Can Paul reconcile his viewpoint with the teaching of the Old Testament? his 'objectors' answered with an emphatic 'No!' But he was no mean Bible student; and in the next section he seeks to show that the present situation accords with the way god has always dealt with his people. He rejects his opponents' essentially sentimental interpretation of the Old Testament and the covenant with Israel, which regarded God as a constitutional monarch, simply signing all the bills sent to him and unquestioningly underwriting Israel's existence. No, insists Paul, he is an executive monarch, managing his people as he wills within the framework of his promises even if this means making decisions hard for his subjects to understand.

(my italics, p. 65f, Israel in the plan of God: Light on today's debate, 1989, Leicester: IVP [criminally out of print])

Later in the letter Paul writes:

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (Rom 11:17-22)

I don't know about you but as a gentile Christian I can easily see myself (and the gentile church) falling exactly like Israel did (Try replacing OT with NT, and Israel for church, in the first quote).

However I want to acknowledge my executive monarch, not a rubber stamping projection of my own desires.

From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (11:36)


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