Paul has gone to great lengths to argue that there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in sin or in salvation. As both Jew and Gentile have been together in the prison of their disobedience, so they will be together in the freedom of God’s mercy. Paul anticipates a future for Israel, not as a nation but as a restored people of God in Christ through faith.
The preaching of the gospel has divide Israel into two groups: a minority (the “remnant”), who have obtained salvation, and the majority, who have been hardened. Paul now asks whether this situation is permanent. God’s rejection of Israel is not his last word. He has brought about that rejection in order to further his plan for salvation history. This plan initially is bringing salvation to the Gentiles, but it ultimately is intended to “bounce back” and benefit Israel as well.
God has not rejected Israel. For in his election of Israel, God has chosen individuals within Israel. He has reserved a remnant for Himself. Paul makes a beautiful connection between God’s election and God’s grace. Both from a human perspective is unfair but from a God perspective, it is undeserving. It is God freely acting and choosing.
God has sent a constant stream of prophets and apostles proclaiming God’s purpose and inviting Israel to respond. Yet, Israel failed to believe, as they heard and understood the message. In God’s grace, He has made himself known to people who were not looking or asking for Him.
Israel in their false pursuit was so busy to obtain a righteousness that was based on works in upholding the demands of the law that they failed to see a righteousness that was freely offered to them by faith in the person and work of Christ. Yet God has made this righteousness readily available to all. One does not have to ascend into heaven to obtain it, not does one have to go down into the abyss to obtain it. It is near us, it is in our mouths and hearts.
God is at work in history to create a people for himself, by calling Jews and Gentiles to himself. We never will fully understand the ways of God in moving history along to its intended goal, but we can trust that God is just because He acts for His glory and God is free to use His creatures as He wills.
From the beginning of the letter to the Church in Rome, Paul wanted to prove that the gospel of God is good news sent by the God of the Old Testament, and thus good news that was promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Indeed, for Paul there can be no good news in Christ unless what God has done in Christ is part of one master plan that the Old Testament reveals to us. It is for this reason that Paul talks about Israel’s role in light of the good news of Christ.
Christians are not guaranteed immunity to temptation, tragedy, difficulty or even suffering, we are promised victory over them. God’s pledge is not that suffering will never afflict us, but that it will never separate us from His love. We can celebrate the security we have in Christ, because God has worked for us in Christ and God’s love for us in Christ.
In our present time of waiting and expecting suffering, hoping for future glory, God provides for all that we need in our time of waiting. God has acted and it assures us that God has a plan that He is unfolding, a plan that will provide fully for our future glory. Our assurance of the gospel is that God is sovereign in saving sinners.
The future glory is the climax in God’s plan both for his people and for his creation. Since we have not reached that climax, we must eagerly and patiently wait for it. We learn that the gospel is both personal and cosmic. It is important that our understanding of the gospel take the shape of the Scriptures epic vision of God’s redemptive plan.
God has made us His children through the work of His Spirit. As a result, we rejoice now in being able to call God “Father.” However, we also rejoice in knowing that God, having adopted us, has also made us His heirs. We can therefore look forward to the future with confidence.
We are encouraged by being reminded of all that God has done for us, and all that God will do for us. We are secure in Him and have a certain hope for the future. Yet our security must not breed complacency. We must not sit back and rest, thinking that God has taken care of it all. While we can proclaim the “life” that the Spirit has won for us, we will never experience that life unless we are growing in holiness.
The law is holy, and the commandments is holy, just, and good. The law is not responsible for sin or death. Even though the law is good, the law is also weak, since it does not have the power to save us. It can be a moral guide, but is has no saving power. It is holy, but it is unable to make us holy.
Two things threaten our hope for final salvation, sin and the law. What Paul is teaching us is that as believers we have been released from the bondage of the law, because we have died with Christ and are no longer under the law. But what does this mean in practice and how should we view the Mosaic Law as Christians?
Knowing our relationship to sin as Christians and believing it to be true, we need to present ourselves to God for His service and then allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by following the revealed will of God, with His help. If the Spirit is not transforming us, we either do not have the Spirit living within us (are unsaved), or He is there but we prefer to live life on our own.
Since we, as Christian have been set free from the domination of sin, how can we continue to live as if sin is still in charge? We have been released from the dominance of the power of sin through our union with Christ. Only by constantly looking to the cross, where we consider ourselves who really have died to sin and been made alive in Christ will we be able to live out the new status God has given us.
When Paul speaks of salvation, he speaks in terms of the future. For the Christian we are saved, but not yet. Our salvation is not complete. By comparing and contrasting Adam and Christ, Paul is showing believers that we can have assurance in our salvation based on the superior work of Jesus Christ. If we are confident, that sin has brought death and untold devastation into the world. We can be even more confident that the grace of God in Christ that justifies us will also save us from God’s wrath in judgment.
Since we have been declared righteous (justified) by grace, in Christ and through faith the results of that new status relates to the past, present and future salvation. We have peace with God because of our past forgiveness. We stand in grace in our present privilege and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God in our future inheritance. Yet despite these wonderful blessings, we will still face afflictions.
The blessing and the promise did not come to Abraham through obedience, but God’s declaration of Abraham being right with God through faith. God’s law makes demands which we transgress, and so incur wrath, but God’s grace makes promises which we believe, and so receive blessings. It was not Abraham’s faith that was strong that justified Him, but it was the object of Abraham’s faith that was strong that justified Him.
Since we have been justified by grace alone, in Christ alone and through faith alone, it brings about humility, unites believers and leads to holy living. God has always justified by faith as we see evidence in the life of Abraham and confirmed by David.