Malachi 2:10-16 Gods Covenant and the Marriage Covenan

Malachi 2:10-16

Gods Covenant and the Marriage Covenant

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Malachi, chapter 2. As always, if you do not have or own a Bible, please help yourself to one from the back table as our gift to you.

This week we are looking at a much smaller chunk of the Malachi than we have over the last two weeks. Malachi was written during, but towards the end of the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. We see some of the same issues pop up here in Malachi has Ezra and Nehemiah addressed in their books.

And this section today was written because Israel was failing to follow what God had made clear to them regarding marriage. They have been breaking Gods commands in to explicit ways. First, we will look at in verses 10-12, they have been taking women for wives that had been off limits to them. Second, in verses 13-16, that had been divorcing their wives, against what God had been telling them.

But we are also going to look at the relationship between Gods covenant with his people, those who belong to him, those whom have been saved by grace, through faith, and the covenant of marriage that God has given to mankind as a gift and as a way to see His goodness and His love. Now, this is not your typical sermon on marriage. This is not 7 ways to have a great Marriage or anything like that. This is about God, his love, his covenant with his bride, his people, the church, you and I.

So, now we are going to go ahead and read our passage for this week, Malachi 2:10-16. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Malachi, chapter 2, verses 10- 16. God, speaking through his prophet, says:

 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant[e] of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?[f] And what was the one God[g] seeking?[h] Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[i] in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her,[j] says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers[k] his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

All right, so we start off, brieflyy, with something so simple, yet so foundational that it needs to be repeated and retaught and reminded of time and time again. God is our Father. He is the Father of All Believers, He is the creator of all, If you are not a believer, a Christian, you are not considered a child of God because you are not an heir to the Kingdom, a co heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)

And as our Father, he is faithful in his Word to all. He has establish a covenant with his Children, summarized and represented by Israel in the Old Testament and summarized and represented by the Church in the New Testament. He has established a covenant of grace, by which he saves his children, offers forgiveness of their sins. He works in us to change us from death to life and to change our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

And as we see throughout the scriptures and throughout history, God gives us ways to see greater truths. He has given us examples, types and shadows to help us better understand Gods truths. In this case, we see that God gave us the gift of marriage, in part, to help us understand and to see Gods covenant with us. He has given us this gift to help us relate to it and as an example to follow.

I want to touch on real quick, some of the difficulties we have when we read through the Old Testament. I think we can all be honest here right? The Old Testament is not as easy to read through and apply accurately as the New Testament. We tend to make one of two mistakes, or sometimes both actually.

The first tendency we can fall into is that we can over spiritualize what we are reading. We remove the historical reality of the stories in the Old Testament. We forget that these were real live people, in real live circumstances. Nothing has context and the only meaning of the text is allegorical for today, for modern day believers. It ends up being less, “What does Gods Word say?” and more, “What is God revealing to me individually, for my individual life?”

The second mistake we make, the second tendency we fall into is the over moralizing of the text. It puts the context back, but removes God as its author in this sense. It has no types, shadows or looking forward to Jesus Christ or the Church, but is essentially a guide book, a bunch of examples of good and bad, of right and wrong. It ignores the fact that the Bible is one unified book, with one unified story, the story of Gods redemption plan of us. It ignores that God has been pointing toward the coming Messiah and Savior since the beginning of the Bible, with the first prophecy of Jesus being in Genesis 3.

Both of those, on their own are wrong. The Old Testament is both of those and it is so much more than that. These are real, literal people, in real, literal events. The Old Testament is God telling a story, His Story, through real life history, The people and the stories are just as real as you and I sitting here.

And so our challenge is, as we read through the sections of the Old testament is to balance those two things, not  over spiritualize it and to not over moralize it, but to read the Truth of Gods Word and to pull out what God has intended to share with us.

One of the biggest themes in Malachi, one of the biggest things He has intended to communicate with us is showing how Israel has broken the covenant that was established between God and Israel. And as God is pointing this out to them, he is reminding them of who He is. In Malachi 1:2, He makes it clear,  I have loved you,” says the Lord. He has loved them and has been faithful and He has kept His end of the covenant. He is a God of His Word.

But in Malachi 2, verses 10-12, we see that Israel has broken their end of the covenant. You dont have to read much of the Old Testament to Israel breaking their covenant one way or another. In this instance, Israel breaks their Covenant with the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God if Israel, the God of the Bible, they break their covenant by marrying foreign women.

Now, to clarify what the issue is here, we can point to most obviously the book of Ruth to see that it is not simply the fact that these foreign women were born somewhere outside of Israel that is the issue. This is not about nationality, ethnicity or anything else like that. What the issue here is that the women that the Israelites were marrying were worshipping foreign gods. They were not within, but were outside of the covenant with God. They were not following or worshipping the True God of Israel.

We are reminded that Malachi was a later contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah. Coing at the end of their ministries, Malachi has seen what Ezra and Nehemiah have had to deal with. We saw specifically, but not limited to Ezra 9 & 10, and in Nehemiah 13 that they too had to deal with the Jewish exiles returning to Jerusalem with foreign wives and marrying foreign wives once they have returned as well.

Some of them had multiple wives as well. We see that this unbiblical practice went all the way back to Genesis 4. Genesis 4:19, it records that Lamech took two wives, the first instance of polygamy in the Bible. Unfortunately, it would not be the last, as we see even otherwise Godly men such as Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon having multiple, and in some cases, many wives.

As we bring these things together, I want to read the first few verses of the 10 commandments as recorded in Exodus chapter 20. Verses 1-3 read:

 And God spoke all these words, saying,

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

There is One, True God, and there is only One True God. God created marriage to mirror this point, that we are to marry one person, and only one person. One man, one woman. And that we are intended to marry only someone who worships the One True God, as we do.

This principal continues on and is shown that it applies to us today by showing up in the New Testament as well. We see this in 2 Corinthians 6:14, where Paul writes: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. And while thats not the limit for what it means, this is, in part, referring to having the same spiritual views as the one that we will marry.

RC Sproul gives us some insight as to why, saying, “Intimacy at its deepest dimension is impossible when the partners are not united in faith.”

Our faith should be the foundation of your entire identity. It should the foundation of who you are. And if you dont and/or cant share that with your spouse then you wont be able to have the deepest connection that God has desired for you.

And in this, we see the parallels between Gods covenant and relationship with us and with the covenant and intention of marriage. God doesnt want us to have a casual relationship with him. He doesnt want us to like him. He doesnt want us to come to him only when its convenient or when we are in trouble. He wants all of us all the time. And thats how we are supposed to be with our spouses as well.

Now, does this mean that two non believers cant be married and have a happy, a faithful, and a long lasting marriage? Does that mean that a believer and a non believer cant be married and have a happy, faithful, and long lasting marriage? Of Course not! As many of you can attest, either personally or by those who are close to you, family, friends and the like.

We see all around us, through Gods common grace, that people can have a happy, successful marriage without both being completely and solely focused on Christ. But its not how God intended it. Just like if Someone says they are a Christian, but never reads their Bible. The intimacy in the relationship will never be able to be as deep and as complete as its supposed to be.

And so we worship One God, the True God and we are intended to become one with someone we can share that worship with. Now, scripture also addresses how to respond if we find ourselves in a situation which was not the intended ideal. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, starting in the middle of verse 12:

if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you[b] to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

If you are married, you are married. Dont throw away what you have to try and go back in time. God uses all things for good, more specifically, for his glory. Romans 8:28 Paul says here that we are never to give up hope that an unbelieving spouse may come to know the LORD, whether partly or mostly from our lives we are living, loving and living with them, modeling the love of Christ and the dedication to Christ that we are to have.

God hates divorce. We are to worship only the One True God and we are to marry one our one spouse. One God enters into a covenant with us and we are to enter into a covenant with only one partner. Gods covenant is never ending. The Jesus storybook Bible calls it an Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Once we are in covenant with Him, we are sealed into that covenant with the Holy Spirit. That covenant is salvation. Salvation from the consequences of our sin, from the failure to keep our end of the covenant, from failing to live up to the perfect and Holy Standard that One true and perfect God has set. That salvation is by grace alone. The vehicle that grace is poured out is by faith alone. The object of that faith is in Jesus Christ alone.

Once the Holy Spirit has sealed us in the covenant with God, it is forever. It is unbreakable and it is permanent. In the same way, as a shadow of that covenant, our marriage covenants are intended to be unending, unbroken and full of grace being given to sinners.

Romans 5:8 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And we see teachings and directions about how to model that love to our spouses. One such example is Ephesians 5:22-33:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Again, we see that Marriage was an incredible gift that God has given to us. In Genesis 2:24, God says:  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh Men, you and your wife are one flesh. Women, you and your husband are one flesh. We are to love and serve each other in the manner that Christ has loved and served us.

You may have often heard that marriage is designed not to make us happy, but to make us Holy. And that is true, and its true because marriage is designed to help us to see God more clearly. It is designed for us lean on God more intensely, more dependently, because those things Paul just listed in Ephesians 5, we cant do those with out the help of God. Marriage is designed to remind us of Gods love, his service and his sacrifice.

Marriage is designed to be the human equivalent of the covenant that God has established with his people, his church, his bride. Exodus 34:6 & 7 is one of my favorite parts where God speaks his covenant, saying to Moses:

The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands,[a] forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,

Marriage is not always easy. Fights will take place. Arguments, disagreements, misunderstandings… Both parties of a marriage are still sinners and they are now thrown in super close proximity to each other. Those faults and sins will manifest themselves and often.

With God, only one side is sinful. Thats our side. Our sin will manifest itself and often. We will misunderstand God. We will argue with God. We will walk away or puch him away. But he will never leave. He will never forsake us. He will never abandon or break his covenant with us and that deserves our full and everlasting praise and thanks.

I also love the way that John Piper sums up this passage, writing:

He is the God of Israel. The fellowship may be broken. There may be exile and separation. There may be anger and tears. But when whole story is told, the sum of the matter is Isaiah 54:4–8:

Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

God will never nullify his marriage to the elect. Christ will never forsake his bride, the church. He is a covenant maker and a covenant keeper. And that is the meaning of marriage.

Lets Pray

Romans 11 All Gods People are One

Editor’s Note: This week did not get a chance to get spell checked. WordPress changed some things in regards to how type up your post and I haven’t had time to fool around with it and find the spell check button. Please forgive the spelling errors. Thank you

Romans11:1-32

Good morning! Please turn with me in your bibles to
Romans chapter 11. And this week we return through our series going
through the book of Romans, Pauls letter to the churches in Rome. If
you do not have a Bible, please help yourself to one from our back
table as our gift to you.

As I have been reading through Romans as a whole and
chapter 11 specifically, one of the things that jumps out to me is
the reminder that It is not just the single verses or small passages
of scripture that need to be taken in context. But longer passages
including entire chapters, when we read them, we need to make sure
that we are looking at those passages in the context of what the
author, both human and divine, is writing.

Remember that Paul did not write this letter with verse
numbers or with Chapter breaks. He wrote this as a letter. It is a
flow of thought. Romans especially is systematic and organized and
there are parts where he changes the directions of his thought
process, but he wrote it as a letter and we have to remember that as
we read it.

So, we need to remember that, as we read Romans 11,
that it is not divoreced from what Paul was writing in chapters 9 &
10, and its also not divorced from the previous 8 chapters before
that. And especially the last few chapters, but a main theme
throughout this letter has to have an impact on how we read this
chapter.

Paul
starts off in Romans chapter 1, verse 16 talking about this main
theme, saying: For
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek.

The
Gospel and only the Gospel brings salvation. And the Gospel is
available to all, Jews first, but now to the Gentiles as well. Thats
you and me.

And
There is no distinction now between us. We see in Romans 3, verses
22-24:  the
righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who
believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his
grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

All
have sinned. None are worthy. All who come to Christ and bear His
righteousness thorough the grace of God, given through our faith in
Christ, All who do that are justified, or declare righteous. No
matter who, no matter what, no matter your background, ethnicity,
your sins. All.

Justlast chapter, chapter 10, Paul again, remphasises this, writing inverse 11-13:  Forthe Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be putto shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew andGreek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on allwho call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of theLord will be saved.” Andthen in verse 17, faithcomes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

And
so, it was with that contextual background that Paul dives in and
writes Chapter 11. I wanted to break this chapter chapter up a bit.
Its a long chapter. I even gave Dave the verses and was going to stop
with v 24, but the closer we got to Sunday morning, the more I felt
it needed to be read in its entirety, partly for the reasons I
already mentioned, the need for full context. So, we will see if we
teach through the whole chapter, but I am going to read Romans
Chapter 11, and I am writing out of the English Standard Version.
Please, if you have your Bible follow along in yours, whatever
version that may be.

Paul
writes:

I
ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am
an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,[
a]
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
Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they
have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I
alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s
reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have
not bowed the knee to Baal.” 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? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained
it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

God
gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that
would not see
    and ears that would not
hear,
down to this very day.”

9 And
David says,

Let
their table become a snare and a trap,
    a
stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes
be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and
bend their backs forever.”

11 So
I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means!
Rather, 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[
b]
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 somehow 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? 16 If the dough
offered as firstfruits 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, although a wild
olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the
nourishing root[
c]
of the olive tree, 18 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. 19 Then 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 through
faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 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 they,
if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for
God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were 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, the
natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

25 Lest
you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of
this mystery, brothers:[
d]
a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the
Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way 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 for your sake. But as regards
election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For
the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as
you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy
because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been
disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may
now[
e]
receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience,
that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh,
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
forever. Amen.

So
there are a few things that Paul touches on in here but there is one
main, unifying theme in what Paul writes here, in language that lends
itself to confusion and is often misunderstood, he says in verse 26,
In
this way, All Israel will be saved.”

And
that right there is why we need to take things in the whole of
context. The context of the chapter, the context of the letter, the
context of the other letters of Paul, the entire Bible.

In
this way, All Israel will be saved. Which begs the question, who is
Israel that Paul is referring to here? And essentially, historically,
there have been three main opinions on this.

Before
sharing what these three options are, I want to reitterate something
I said at the beginning of us going through Romans chapter 9.

This
is a chapter that many people see different sides of various
theological fences and dont often see how the other sides can come to
their conclusion. In that regard, this is a worrisome chapter to
preach through. I may, as we go through this chapter, I may upset
some of you. I may teach or preach what I see as the plain meaning of
the text and it may go against what you see and believe as the plain
meaning to the text. Here’s the thing, that’s ok.

I’m
not going to not preach and teach what the Bible says in fear of
upsetting some of you. And I hope you aren’t going to just take what
I say from up here as Gospel without pouring over the scriptures
yourself. There are things in the Bible that we can disagree on.

Wherever
you end up after going through Romans11, the one thing I ask is that
you read in context. Remember the context and recognize your own
presuppositions, which we all have. Thats all I ask.

So,
Who is Israel that Paul refers to here? Who is Israel, whom all will
be saved? The three historic options boil down to this. First, Paul
is referring to all ethnic Jews, all the physical seed of Jacob, also
known as Israel. And yet, just a few chapters previously, in Romans
9:6-8: For
not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,

7 and
not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but
“Through Isaac shall your offspring 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 counted as offspring.

This
shows that the term Israel can mean something other than the Ethnic,
physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Option Number 2 is
that Israel refers to the physical nation or country-state of Israel.
This is the nation of Israel of the Old Testament. This is Israel who
conquered and was conquered. This is the nation of Israel, made up of
the 12 tribes that fractured into Judah and Israel, both of whom were
conquered, captured and exiled. This is the current nation of Israel
that was created in the aftermath of World War 2.

However,
much of the nation of Israel is largely secular. They are not, as a
nation, observing the Jewish religion. They are not walking with God,
instead they are, if not functional atheists, then placing there
future on their ethnic identity, much like option number 1.

The
third option, the one that I see in the Bible is that in verse 26
here, All of Israel referes to All believers, both Jewish and
Gentiles. Again, starting from Pauls own writings, in Romans 9, that
the children of the promise are Abrahams offspring, to whom the
promises of Israel are made. Paul says it as well in Galatians 3,
verses 7-9: Know
then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

8 And
the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[
c]
the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham,
saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

9 So
then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man
of faith.

The
Bible makes it clear that the Old Testament, that Jesus is the
fulfillment of the Old Testament, meaning that all of the Old
Testament is shadows, types and foreshadowings of Jesus. This
includes Israel. Galatians 6:16 refers to Jesus as the Israel of God.
The promises made to Israel in the Old Testament were fulfilled in
Christ and the punishment and curses on Israel were poured out on
Christ. As one Pastor explained, The Church has not replaced Israel,
the church is the expansion of Israel. Since Jesus is the true
Israel, all who belong to Christ, and ONLY those who belong to
Christ, belong to Israel.

Now,
lets stop for a moment and ask, why am I spending time on this? Why
is this important. Again, this is not something that you all may
agree on. For me, this gets at the very heart who God is. And it is
consistant with who God is and what he has revealed to us.

We
see here in chapter 11, the idea of the olive tree, representing the
Jewish people and the wild trees being grafted in, representing the
gentiles. We, you and I are here because God choose to unite Jews and
gentiles, to make us all one in Christ. Again, all those who are in
Christ and Only those who are in Christ. There is no difference in
our standing, in our rightousness, in our salvation. There is no Jew
nor greek.

This,
again, can be misubderstood. In this world, in our workd and our
society, there are jews and greeks, there are males and females,
there are rich and poor, there are distinctions. We are all
individuals and God has created us this way. He determined your
ethnicity. He determined your sex, whether you are male or female. He
determined where and when you were born and all those things. But
none of those things can affect our salvation. None of those things
can affect whether we are saved.

I
referenced Romans 1:16 earlier. For
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek.
Paul
has alternately spent his time writing both to the Jews that, Yes,
the Gentiles are included in the Kingdom of Heaven. He calls it the
mystery of the Gospel on numerous occasions, because to the Jewish
people at the time, it would not make any sense to them that God
would choose to include the gentiles, especially when there were
plenty of Jewish people still around. But Paul alternates that with
his words to the Gentiles that No, the church has not replaced
Israel. Both are called by God. There are the elect in both, there
are believers predestined and foreknown by God in both groups and
more accurately and to the point, there are not two groups. There is
only one, those who are in Christ.

To
me, this is a call, an appeal and an example of the kind of unity
that God wants from us. When one tree gets grafted in another, they
are not two trees, but they are now one tree. Yes, one was fisrt then
the other, but they are one tree. In a marriage, a husband and wife
come togethere and the bible says they are now One Flesh. If you are
married you are not two individuals living life along side each
other, you are united, you are one. When we are brought in the
Christ and receive from him our salvation, He is inseperable from us.

And
ths how he calls us to be. Insepperable. United. Not uniform, not
Stepford, but united. There is no super Christians. There are no
varsity or JV christians. There are only Christians, Christ
followers.

The
other part of this, for me, is that God knows all things, from before
he created time. There are no surprises. He didnt just happen to be
surprised that the Old Testament Nation of Israel rejected him over
and over. He didnt then come up with a plan B. There was no spite and
thought process that, If they are going to reject me then I have to
come up with a plan B. This was Gods plan from the beginning. God is
unchanging. The theological term is immutable.

His
plan from the beginning of time was to save you and I from our sins.
We are not replacing anyone, nor are we second best. We are a part of
Gods redemptive plan. That should be both an encouragment and a
comfort to us. And especially as we get close to Christmas, when Gods
redemptive plan got put into affect. Jesus, the Son of God, being
born, still God, but now, also, man, a little baby boy. Before this
plan was put into action, before the beginning of time, when this
plan was initially hatched, by God the Father, God the Son and God
the Holy Spirit, at that point in time. Gos picked you and I to be a
part of his people. He picked you and I to be a part of his
redemptive plan and he picked you and I to be with him in perfect
eternity future.

What
A God. What Love. What foreknowledge. What foreplanning,
predetination. What a blessing he is. What a gift he is.

And
this is all the sulmination of these first 11 chapters of Romans. I
said earlier that Pual didnt write these letters with chapter breaks,
and thats true. But there are points in his letters where there is a
clear and purposeful shift. This could be in theme, or in subject or
as some have broken up Pauls letters, first half is theology, second
half is application. And we see one of those shifts between Chapters
11 and 12. So the end of chapter 11 here really is the climax of what
Paul has been writing.

And
what that means is that these last few verses, verses 33-36, which we
are going to look at next week, instead of division or confusion or
anything along those lines, the first 11 chapters of Romans should
bring us to worship and awe of God. He is good, He is just. He is
Love. He is holy. And while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Worship, praise, glory and Honor to God.

And
unity and grace to each other. Again, we can disagree on what certain
parts of what Paul writes means, including who ALL Israel is as we
looked at today. We can disagree on that and still be fellow brithers
and sisters in Christ. We can disagree and still show each other love
and mercy and grace. We can disagree on this and still be united
under the cross and the death and resurrection of our saviour Jesus
Christ.

If
Pauls writings do not lead us to this, then we are reading them wrong
and we need to repent and search our hearts for the love and
forgiveness for each other that Christ first showed us.

Lets
Pray.

Sources:





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