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A Final Farewell

Romans has 2 main parts.  Like other of Paul’s epistles, the first half is theological and the second half is practical.  Ephesians is like this: Chapters 1-3 are theological, and Chapters 4-6 are practical.  Colossians is also like this: Chapters 1-2 are theological, and Chapters 3-4 are practical.  Romans is like this: Chapters 1-8 are theological.  They cover salvation in all of its aspects: sin (1:1-3:20); justification (3:21-5:21); sanctification (6:1-7:25) and eternal security (8:1-39).  The second half is practical:  it deals with how Israel (9:1-11:36) and the Church will live out God’s salvation.

Both parts glorify the incomparable God.  The first half glorifies God for doing the unthinkable.  It was unthinkable for One Who is perfect to give Himself completely for those who deserve nothing but His wrath!  Paul expresses this in Romans 5:7-8. On rare occasions, one will die for a righteous man; on others one may consider dying for someone he likes.  But God gives Himself for criminals:  that is unthinkable! God died for sinners, and He did so to show the unthinkability and incomparability of His saving love.

The second half of Romans glorifies the God of the impossible.  When believers contemplate doing something for God, they often exclaim: “that is impossible!”  It is impossible, humanly speaking, to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength.  It is impossible to love one’s neighbor as oneself.  It is impossible to love one’s enemies (Matthew 5:44).  But that is God’s business: He does the impossible through sinners! He is in the business of working righteousness through them.  He is in the business of making them holy.  He is in the business of doing the unthinkable through those who are otherwise impossible!  This is what Moses argued when God threatened to wipe out Israel at Kadesh-Barnea.  Moses said, “they will say, ‘because the LORD could not bring this people into the land . . . therefore He slaughtered them’” (Numbers 14:16).  In other words, if You destroy Israel, You will not be the God of the impossible; You admit that You cannot make Israel holy.  However, God can and will.  He does the impossible through sinners: He works righteousness through them.

God will ultimately save Israel.  This is Paul’s thrust in Romans Chapters 9-11.  No one will ultimately be able to say that God could not do the impossible through Israel, that He could not make them holy and righteous.  He can and He will.   Paul says that God’s promises, gifts and calling of Israel are “irrevocable” (11:29).  Paul takes pains to explain the future of the nation Israel (Chs. 9-11) because the glory of God is at stake.  God will work the unthinkable through those who are otherwise impossible.  He will do it through the Church now (Chapters 12-16), and through the nation Israel in the future (Chapters 9-11).

Love and praise God Who has done the unthinkable, and does the impossible!

Sun, Oct 18, 2015

A Final Farewell