sermon: The Doctrine of Israel (Part Nine): Romans 11

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 23-May-20; Sermon #1545; 77 minutes

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Paul poses two rhetorical questions in Romans 11, namely, (1.) Has God discarded Israel for all time? and (2.) Is there a future context in which God will graft the vast majority of physical Israel (the natural olive branches) into the Covenant people of Abraham? The people of physical Israel, relying on their covenantal position of specialness, came to feel they had a pass to sin. When God permitted their captivity and subsequent release from bondage in Babylonia, Israel tried to make righteousness an outward matter, which they ultimately expressed in the minutia of the oral law, thereby trusting in self-righteousness rather than in the grace of God. Because Israel chose to reject His guidance (to repent and believe), God cut them off for non-compliance to His Covenant. This displacement is not forever, but temporary, essentially fixable. God will rectify the condition of Israel in His own time. In the meantime, God has established another remnant, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), consisting of physical Israelites and gentiles, kindling a kind of jealous zeal on the part of physical Israel for inclusion into the Olive Plant—the Covenant with Abraham, perhaps during the second resurrection (Ezekiel 33). God, by turning darkness into light—lemons into lemonade—is truly a God of eu-catastophe.

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