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The Bible Teacher's Commentary
Every Bible book including Romans has its specialized purposes. The Book of Romans was designed to lay a solid foundation for our Christian faith. If the foundation is built right, then the whole building (the Christian life) can be strong. Here in 9-16, we review the last two parts to the Book of Romans, The World (9-11) and The Service (12-16).
An Extensive Summary of Romans 9-16 is the third of three parts summarizing the Book of Romans discussing sections Romans 9-11 and 12-16.
Paul writes chapters 9-11 because of the critical need to Biblically establish how God's redemptive plan encompasses not only the Jews but also the nations (Gentiles). Just as the teaching of justification by faith has raised many questions (6-8), so does this plan to reach the Gentiles. Did God make a mistake? Is God unfaithful to the Jews? How do the Jews fit into God's comprehensive program?
Through an intricate argument of election Paul shows how God's treatment of the children of God consistent with the many promises given in His Word many years ago. There is no surprise. After this, he steps back and establishes that God can choose to bestow His grace on any that He desires. Grace is not deserved but by definition a voluntary extension of kindness. This is God's prerogative as Maker. God is just and faithful to those He called.
"But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel" (Romans 9:6).
Paul does not stop here, however. He continues on and proves through the Old Testament how the Lord has also elected many Gentiles to come to know Him through faith in Christ (9:24-33). Paul has a tender heart for the Jews but testifies to the truth, "For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). This offer is open to all including the Gentiles (10:15-21). If the Jews reject Christ, it shows that they do not have the necessary faith for salvation.
Paul closes this section in chapter 11 by establishing four truths about God's redemptive plan: God has not rejected the chosen Israelites; greater blessings will be upon the Jews who follow Christ; Gentiles are being grafted onto the olive tree and all Israel will be saved including many, many non-Jews.
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33).
The rebellion of the Jewish people could never frustrate God's eternal redemptive plan. God has not made any mistakes or major changes but simply carried out His awesome eternal plan of salvation through which He displays His great wisdom and compassion and gains all glory!
With the believer's relationship with God being restored (chapters 1-11), the apostle continues on to the end of the book (chapters 12-16) step by step directing the believer to right living (i.e. Righteousness). In chapter 12, after he challenged God's people to fully dedicate their lives to God, he went on and shared the obligations of a righteous lifestyle among God's people (think of Jesus' two greatest commandments).
In Romans 13 he clearly turns his exhortations to right living with their contacts in the world. He discusses their relationship with the government (13:1-7) as well as general admonitions (13:8-14).
In chapter 14 the apostle begins to treat a specific issue that has come up as a thorn between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. General principles were given in chapters 12-13, but they need to be contextualized to be effective. In Romans 14 Paul specifically gives them instruction what love and humility look like in this one given situation.
These chapters are not about what is morally right or wrong but on how to work together with those from differing viewpoints and cultural values. He continues dealing with interrelationships between Jew and Gentile in chapter 15. The practice of love thoroughly carried out brings glory to God who has called both Jews and Gentiles who form the one people of God.
After sharing how God has led him to work with Gentiles and his specific reason for delay in going to Rome, Paul now shares how he plans to stop over in Rome in order to reach Spain. Paul was very knowledgeable of the churches there in Rome and showed his great affection for those in Rome. Paul was committed to the community of God's people composed both of Jews and non-Jews.
This is God's mystery revealed (16:25), His kingdom here on earth. Although the church has many weaknesses, just as God loved His people, so they are to devotedly give themselves to God's people to further expand the kingdom of God.
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