Joey Chive13 March 2009 at 6:16pmPosts: 180 (0 today)Status: offline
Romans 11:7-10 by Joe La Bianca
What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: ?God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.? And David says: ?May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.?
Paul says in Rom. 11:7 that physical Israel did not obtain right standing with God but the elect did. The elect are those God selected according to grace. God chooses people to be saved when God?s terms of salvation are met. Who are the saved and what are God?s terms of salvation? Believers are the saved and God?s terms are faith and grace. If someone believes in God?s grace, then that believer is said ?to be chosen?. Man?s free will is involved with God?s terms of salvation and implicitly, with God?s election. Man must volunteer His faith in order to take part in God?s grace, so election according to grace has within it man?s free will. The freedom to believe is an essential part of election.
Paul distinguishes Israel from the elect. He perceives them as different.
Rom. 11:7 is absolute proof that Israel is not the chosen people apart from faith in Jesus. Otherwise, Paul would not have said, ?What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did.? Israel and the elect are two different things. Israel is not the elect, for the elect are those who have been chosen according to their faith in Jesus Christ. Everybody else is hardened. God hardens people who will not believe in Jesus. So, in a way, since people won?t believe, they harden themselves. Israel searched for God through works, and so Romans says that Israel demanded God. The Greek for ?sought so earnestly? can also be translated, ?to demand?. Legalists try to demand salvation from God. They believe they really deserve to be saved because of their works. This is the stumbling stone because they thought they walked the walk when in reality they fell. People can never come upon salvation by works, no matter how they crave salvation. If you want to be saved without Christ, you will only be blinded. God will blind you because he said that only believers can have salvation. You blind yourself because you refuse Christ who calls. This is what happened to Israel and much of the legalistic church.
Because God established the conditions whereby we must be saved, it is said that God blinds people and deafens people when they do not submit to those conditions. But really, people are to blame for their own disbelief. Israel refused Jesus, so God put them to sleep, so to speak. Israel rejected their Messiah, so God shut their eyes to real sight and closed their ears to real sound. Jesus is the true reality. But if anyone turns to the Lord, the veil of blindness is taken away, II Cor. 13:16. So the Jews are blinded as long as they disbelieve, and they are restored to sight when they turn to the Lord. There are those who say that God irrevocably blinds people against their will. This sort of Calvinism is both unscriptural and unholy.
The Jews thank God for bread from the earth and fruit from the vine. But without Jesus in their lives, blessings become curses. So let their table become a snare, if Israel will not believe in the reason for their very existence, Jesus. If Jesus Christ was never to come into the world, there would be no Israel. It is because of Jesus the Savior that God called Abraham. Jesus is the reason why God brought Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. The Holy Land is only holy because God would appear there, in a body. Without faith in Jesus, the land of flowing milk and honey becomes a haunt for owls. At the end of the day, a trick was played on Israel. Israel stepped on a trap-stick, a bent sapling used for a snare. All this is because Israel did not know the time of their visitation, when God in the form of a man came to them.
Those who do not trust Jesus will be cast into outer darkness and suffer the penalty of everlasting hell. This awful truth is for both Jew and Gentile. Do you want to be afflicted forever? Do you desire to be cast out of God?s house, into the lake of fire? If not, then simply believe the good news. God did everything He could to keep us from this fate. All have sinned and fallen short of what God wants. Instead of giving up on us, God came to earth and fulfilled the law of Moses for us. God fulfilled His own requirements Himself, for us. The wages of sin is death. Instead of paying out death to us, the Son of Man died in our place on the cross. Jesus took the penalty of all our sin as the spotless, sinless sacrifice for sin. Then He rose from the dead on the third day to give this life to all who believe the news. If you believe this story, you have life, goodness, and freedom from guilt, imputed to us in grace, by the Blesser of nations, families, and individuals.