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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Romans 11:11-15 – The Conversion of Israel will bring blessings

At the moment, there are several political and financial crises facing the nations of the world, and it looks as if such problems are always around in one way or another. Nevertheless our rulers talk of the wealth that we should and could possess as a nation. The fact that we do not have it means that either we have lost it or we are waiting to see if it will yet come our way. Our situation, whichever it is, reminds us that our promised riches are all uncertain. In contrast, the kingdom of God has secure promises about its wealth, and Paul here writes about the riches that God has given and will yet give to his kingdom.
First, Paul says that the Gentile members of the kingdom of God are rich because of the salvation that they have received from God. The apostle has described those riches in the first eight chapters of this letter – justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification. He also says that the way by which the Gentiles came into possession of those riches was through the failure of Israel to realise the privileges they had been given. Israel rejected the Messiah and therefore the blessings of the Messianic kingdom have come to us Gentiles.
Second, Paul writes that in the future the kingdom will become even wealthier when the Jews as a race are converted. He had mentioned at the beginning of chapter 11 that a remnant of Jews had become believers in Jesus. Here he now writes that a time will come when the race will be converted to Jesus. Paul states that their recovery will be so great it will be as if God’s kingdom experienced a resurrection. He indicates that whatever size of blessing had been known before, there is a truly great one yet to come when the Jewish race is converted to the Messiah.
Paul’s words here should remind us of two important outlooks. One is that the future of God’s kingdom is bright, no matter how dismal it may seem in some places. Of course, this wonderful prospect should stimulate our prayer lives and the future conversion of Israel should be a permanent petition in our intercessions. After all, there is nothing to beat praying for what is guaranteed by God, especially petitions that God rejoices to hear.

The second detail that Paul’s words here emphasise is that the wealth of the kingdom is all about people. In earthly kingdoms, the wealth is separate from the subjects, but in the kingdom of God, in all its periods, the wealth is converted sinners.

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