Monday, December 29, 2008

McAulay's Jesus

Jesus by James McAuley

Touching Ezekiel, his workman’s hand
Kindled the thick and thorny characters
And seraphim that seemed a thousand eyes
Flying leopards, wheels, and basilisks,
Creatures of power and judgement, soared
From his finger-point, emblazoning the skies.


Then turning from his book he rose and walked
Among the stones and beasts and flowers of earth;
They turned their muted faces to their Lord,
Their real faces, seen by God alone;
And people moved before him undisguised:
He thrust his speech among them like a sword.


And when a dove came to his hand,
He knew that hell was opening behind its wings.
He thanked the messenger and let it go;
Spoke to the dust, the fishes and the twelve
As if they understood him equally,
And told them nothing that they wished to know.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Newsletter 2008

You will find this family summary here. (I don't know where all the little question marks come from - that's MS Word for you.) If you are a glutton for punishment, all the past ones are here.

Romans - the central spine

Paul's Letter to Rome - the questions on their own

The table shows a 10-fold structure - 10 'What then'; 10 'By no means'; 7 'what shall we say' and 4 'I ask then'. (Well, 11 fold here). Was Paul counting on his fingers?

The structure should agree with the grammatical structure shown by the deliberate features in the epistle.

I highlighted 27 questions through the numbering - I do not yet know if I have hit the high points of the argument. There is a serious tension in Paul - his love of Torah and his statement that it is fulfilled. He refuses to say that the covenant with Israel has been replaced, yet he does not allow the pride of having been chosen to undo the reality of completion in Christ for all.





Summary of the 27
[1] 13.1: Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?[1a]
The value of Circumcision
[2]
3: What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
By no means!The faith of the Chosen
[3]
5: But if our wickedness serves to show the justice of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? By no means!Argument against grace


For then how could God judge the world? [3a]



7: But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?[3b]



8: And why not do evil that good may come?[3c]

[4] 2

9: What then? Are we Jews any better off?


The value of Circumcision
[5]
27:Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded.
No boasting
[6]
On what principle? On the principle of works?[6a]
Life is not by 'status'
[7]
29: Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also?[7a]
God is One
[8]

31: Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?

By no means! How to establish Torah
[9] 3 4.1: What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
Does faith agree with the evidence in Torah itself?


3: For what does the scripture say?[9a]
Yes
[10]
9: Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised?
Is Torah inclusive?


We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. 10: How then was it reckoned to him?[10a] Was it before or after he had been circumcised?[10b]
Yes


5...

[11] 46.1: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?By no means!We, now including Jew and Gentile


How can we who died to sin still live in it?[11a]



3: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?[11b]

[12]515: What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!obedience without relationship is sin


16: Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?[12a]





21: But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed?[12b]



[13]
7.1: Do you not know, brethren -- for I am speaking to those who know the law -- that the law is binding on a person only during a person's life?
Having died, the law is no longer binding
[14] 6

7: What then shall we say? That the law is sin?

By no means!the Law is not sin
[15]

13: Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?

By no means!The good Law brought wrath, not death


24: Wretched human that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?[15a]



[16] 7 8.31: What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?
Confidence in the Extreme


32: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?[16a] 33: Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?[16b] It is God who justifies; 34: who is to condemn?[16c] Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? [16d] 35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?[16e] Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?[16f]








[17]8

9.14: What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part?

By no means! Is this Justice? Yes
[18]
19: You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?[18a]" 20: But who are you, a human, to answer back to God?[18b] Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?[18c]" 21: Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?[18d] 22: What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23: in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, 24: even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?[18e]
Fault cannot be found in God - there is patience and humility in God's wrath.
[19]930: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31: but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32: Why?
Election and Torah
[20]
10.8: But what does it say?
Confession and the word of faith
[21]
14: But how are people to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? [21a] And how are they to hear without a preacher? [21b] 15: And how can people preach unless they are sent? [21c] As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
Evangelism in time (there is no time and there is all time)
[22]
18: But I ask, have they not heard?
All have heard
[23]
19: Again I ask, did Israel not understand?
They will be provoked to understanding
[24]
11.1: I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?[24a] By no means!Remnant
[25]10 7: What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought.
Faith and status
[26]
11: So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means!Not the end

[27]


15: For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
the end
This series on Romans begins here

G. Personal Greetings

16 [G. Personal greetings Joanna instead of Junia - certainly NOT Junias (male) is from a suggestion by Bauckham. The phrases in Christ and in the Lord though often repeated here do not seem to be rhetorically significant.]

1: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae, 2: that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well.
3: Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4: who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I but also all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks;
5: greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ.
6: Greet Mary, who has worked hard among you.
7: Greet Andronicus and Joanna, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners; they are people of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
8: Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
9: Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys.
10: Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.
11: Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus.
12: Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
13: Greet Rufus, eminent in the Lord, also his mother and mine.
14: Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brethren who are with them.
15: Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
16: Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

17: [an aside] I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. 18: For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19: For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; 20: then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

21: Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you;
so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
22: I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23: Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

25: Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages 26: but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- 27: to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

This series on Romans begins here
see also Essays on Romans (2002)

F. Travel plans - reprise

[F. Travel plans again]

14: I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15: But on some points
I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder,
because of the grace given me by God 16:
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God,
so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17: In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18: For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19: by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ, 20: thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another person's foundation, 21: but as it is written, "They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him."

22: This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23: But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24: I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be sped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little. 25: At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem with aid for the saints. 26: For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem; 27: they were pleased to do it, and indeed they are in debt to them, for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28: When therefore I have completed this, and have delivered to them what has been raised, I shall go on by way of you to Spain; 29: and I know that when I come to you I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ.

30: I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31: that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32: so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33: The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

This series on Romans begins here

E.3 Judgment continued

15

1: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves;
2: let each of us please our neighbor for their good, to edify them.
3: For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written,
"The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me."
4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction,
that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
5: May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to have the same mind towards one another,
in accord with Christ Jesus,
6: that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7: Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

8: For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9: and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
"Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name";
10: and again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people";
11: and again, "Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him";
12: and further Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come,
he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope."
13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

This series on Romans begins here

E.3 Consequences - judgment reprise

14 [E.3 Judgment again]

1: As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome such, but not for disputes over opinions.
2: One believes that a person may eat anything, while the weak eats only vegetables.
3: Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains,
and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed each.
4: Who are you to pass judgment on the servants of another?
It is before their own master that each one stands or falls.
And they will be upheld, for the Master is able to make each one stand.
5: One person esteems one day as better than another, while another human esteems all days alike.
Let each individual mind be fully convinced.
6: One who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.
One also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since that one gives thanks to God;
while one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
7: None of us lives to self, and none of us dies to self.
8: If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord;
so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.
9: For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10: Why do you pass judgment on your brother?
Or you, why do you despise your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
11: for it is written,
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God."
12: So each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13: Then let us no more pass judgment on one another,
but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
14: I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself;
but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean.
15: If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.
Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
16: So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
17: For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
18: he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by humanity.
19: Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20: Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.
Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what someone eats;
21: it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
22: The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God;
happy is the one who has no reason to judge self for what one approves.
23: But the one who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because one does not act from faith;
for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

This series on Romans begins here

E.2 Consequences continued

13 [E.2 Nanos considers this to be submission to synagogue authorities, not to the emperor - necessarily. Note the four types of authority (inconsistently translated in RSV) and the four types of payment in chiastic order. The unity of the assembly of Jews, proselytes, and gentiles in Christ is what is in Paul's mind.]

1: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2: Therefore one who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed,
and those who resist will incur judgment.
3: For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
Would you have no respect (phobos) of the one who is in authority?
Then do what is good, and you will receive approval,
4: for that one is God's minister for your good.
But if you do wrong, be afraid, for that one does not bear the sword in vain;
the same is the minister of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.
5: Therefore one must be subject,
not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6: For the same reason you also pay taxes,
for the authorities are servants of God, attending to this very thing.
7: Pay all of them their dues,
taxes to whom taxes are due,
revenue to whom revenue is due,
respect to whom respect is due,
honor to whom honor is due.

8: Owe no one anything, except to love one another;
for one who loves one's neighbor has fulfilled the law.
9: The commandments,
"You shall not commit adultery,
You shall not kill,
You shall not steal,
You shall not covet," and any other commandment,
are summed up in this sentence,
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
10: Love does no wrong to a neighbor;
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11: Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep.
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
12: the night is far gone, the day is at hand.
Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
13: let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day,
not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.
14: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

This series on Romans begins here

E.1 Consequences

12 [E.1 The practical consequences of the thesis - as in all the epistles, the advice for living which follows from the gospel]

1: I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2: Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3: For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned you.

4: For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5: so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us:
if prophecy, according to the proportion to the faith; 7:
if service, in the serving;
or the teaching, in the teaching; 8:
or the one exhorting, in the exhortation;
the sharing, in simplicity;
the leadership, in diligence;
the showing of mercy, in cheerfulness.

9: Love is without pretence [ Listen to the sound of the string of participles as above- (Barrett suggests a Semitic source - Dunn a hurried summary) like an outline of things he had said before (to the Corinthians).]
hating evil
holding fast to good
10: being devoted to one another with brotherly affection
preferring one another in honor
11: not lazy in zeal
being on fire with the Spirit
serving the Lord
12: rejoicing in hope
showing endurance in affliction
persisting in prayer
13: contributing to the needs of the saints
practicing hospitality.
14: Bless those who persecute you
bless and do not curse.
15: To rejoice with those who rejoice,
To weep with those who weep.
16: Minding the same thing toward one another
not being haughty
but associating with the lowly.
Do not be wise in your own conceits.
17: Not repaying evil for evil to anyone
but taking thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
18: If possible, so far as it depends upon you, seeking peace with all.
19: not avenging yourselves, beloved, but give place to wrath;
for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
20: But, "if your enemy is hungry, feed such a one;
if your enemy is thirsty, give such a one drink;
for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon such a head."
21: Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.

This series on Romans begins here

D.4 God is Righteous

9 [D.4 Having come this far, Paul must account for the difficulty of the obedience of faith - he returns to the question of his own people. The white on purple type face is used to note Paul's personal sections.]

1: I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2: that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3: For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race. 4: They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5: to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.

6: But it is not as though the word of God had failed.
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
7: and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but
"Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."
8: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God,
but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants.
9: For this is what the promise said,
"About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son."
10: And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11: though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, 12: she was told, "The elder will serve the younger." 13: As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

[Now Paul returns to the troubling question of God's loyalty to the covenant of Torah]

14: What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part?[17] By no means!

15: For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
16: So it depends not upon human will or exertion, but upon God's mercy. 17: For the scripture says to Pharaoh,
"I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."
18: So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.

19: You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault?[18] For who can resist his will?[18a]"
20: But who are you, a human, to answer back to God?
[18b]
Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?
[18c]"
21: Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
[18d]
22: What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23: in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, 24: even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?[18e] 25: As indeed he says in Hose'a,
"Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'my beloved.'"
26: "And in the very place where it was said to them,
'You are not my people,' they will be called 'children of the living God.'"
27: And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
only a remnant of them will be saved;
28: for the Lord will execute his sentence upon the earth with rigor and dispatch."
29: And as Isaiah predicted,
"If the Lord of hosts had not left us children, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah."

30: What shall we say, then?
That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith;
31: but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law.
32: Why?
[19]
Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works.
They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33: as it is written,
"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble,
a rock that will make them fall;
and anyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."
10.1: Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2: I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened.
3: For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God,
and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

[This is the same argument as chapters 1&2 - failure to see God's righteousness]

4: For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified.

5: Moses writes that the one who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it.
6: But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart,
"Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7: or
"Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8: But what does it say?
[20]
The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach);
9: because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10: For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the lips and so is saved.

11: The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame."

12: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him.

13: For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
14: But how are people to call upon him in whom they have not believed?

[21] And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
[21a]
And how are they to hear without a preacher?
[21b]
15: And how can people preach unless they are sent?
[21c]
As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!"
16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says,
"Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
17: So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.
18: But I ask, have they not heard?
[22] Indeed they have; for
"Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."
19: Again I ask, did Israel not understand?
[23]
First Moses says,
"I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry."
20: Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
"I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
21: But of Israel he says,
"All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

11 [D.9 Q 24-27 The completely explored thesis]

1: I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means![24]

I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2: God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Eli'jah, how he pleads with God against Israel?[24a]
3: "Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have demolished thy altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life (psyche)."
4: But what is God's reply to him?
"I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Ba'al."
5: So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
7: What then?
[25] Israel failed to obtain what it sought.
The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
8: as it is written,
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day."
9: And David says,
"Let their table become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a retribution for them;
10: let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs for ever."

11: So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall?[26] By no means!

But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12: Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! 13: Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14: in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.

15: For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?[27]

[Finally he has to be satisfied with hope - the same hope that he invites the Gentiles into as promised in the ancient Scriptures. We must then determine if this hope is 'religious', 'political', convenient, a means to power, or a means of vulnerability and self-giving -].
16: If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump;
and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17: But if some of the branches were broken off, and you,
a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree,
18: do not boast over the branches. If you do boast,
remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.
19: You will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
20: That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief,
but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.
21: For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

22: 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. 23: And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24: For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

25: Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, 26: and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
"The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob";
27: "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

28: As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.
29: For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
30: Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,
31: so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy.
32: For God has consigned all humans to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.

[Doxology] 33: O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34: "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"
35: "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"
36: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.

This series on Romans begins here

D.3 continued, Spirit and flesh; creation and hope

8 [Consequences of his confidence in Jesus Christ and his faithfulness]
1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
3: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin offering, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4: in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5: For those according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
6: To set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
7: For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot;
8: and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9: But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
10: But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin,
your spirits are alive because of righteousness.11: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.
12: So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh -- 13: for if you live according to the flesh you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.
14: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received the spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16: it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17: and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
[Creation and hope]
18: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
20: for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will
but by the will of him who subjected it in hope;
21: because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay
and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22: We know that the whole creation
has been groaning in travail together until now;
23: and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as children, the redemption of our bodies.
24: For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

25: But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.
27: And he who searches the hearts of all knows what is the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him,
who are called according to his purpose.
29: For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.
30: And those whom he predestined he also called;
and those whom he called he also justified;
and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31: What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?[16]
32: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?
[16a]
33: Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?
[16b]
It is God who justifies; 34: who is to condemn?
[16c]
Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead,
who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?
[16d]
35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
[16e]
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
[16f]
36: As it is written,
"For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38: For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39: nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This series on Romans begins here