Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8 - Romans 11

Today's reading in our daily plan is Romans 11. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today's chapter is challenging to understand and apply, but don't worry, Romans is about to get easier! Here is an overview of the meaning of this chapter:
    • God has not rejected the Jews. There is a remnant that have stayed true to God through grace, not works.
    • Unfortunately, the rest have rejected God. However, they are not beyond recovery. God is gracious and patient with everyone.
    • Gentiles (non-Jews) who trust in Jesus are described as branches grafted into an olive tree. Olive and grape growers in the Mediterranean region commonly use grafting to improve their fruit. A weak branch is grafted to a sturdy root. The idea of this analogy is that previously they had been weak when they didn't know God, but now they are growing wild and strong in their faith. However, they shouldn't be arrogant about this.
    • Paul says that "all Israel will be saved." Bible scholars interpret this in several different ways. Some believe it means that the nation of Israel will be preserved, which it has been. Some think it may mean that eventually the Jews will turn to Jesus and back to God. Others think Paul is not referring to the Israel that follows in the blood-line of Abraham, but instead the "Israel" who follows in the faith of Abraham. All are interesting and valid view points.
    • The chapter ends with a great expression of wonder at God’s wisdom.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The key factor with God is our belief. The Jews believed, then stopped, and were "cut off." The Gentiles didn't believe, then did, and so were "grafted on." The most important thing in your life is faith in God through Jesus. We need to do everything we can to continue to build up and live out our faith.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • This chapter concludes Paul's theological statement that makes up the first eleven chapters of Romans. From this point on, he will be much more practical. This order is intentional, strategic, and important for us. A part of living life right is having right theology. The way we think impacts the way we live. This is part of the reason it's so important for us to consistently read the Bible and show up at church. The more "right stuff" we put in our heads, the more we'll see it come out in the way we live our lives.