Our Inscrutable God
As we come to the end of Romans 11, we not only conclude our immediate study in this chapter of God’s plan for Israel as it relates to our salvation; but in these first 11 chapters we conclude the most exhaustive and complete study of God’s plan of salvation found anywhere in Scripture; unless it would be Ephesians 1-3 which is rich in the doctrine of salvation.
If you are still without understanding and assurance of your salvation, I encourage you to go back to the beginning of this series; and with your Bible opened to Romans, read through these studies again asking God to give you a clear understanding and assurance of your own salvation.
Remember, our recognition and confession of our sinful condition before God and our rejection or acceptance of Christ as our Saviour from sin, determines our eternal destiny in Heaven or in Hell.
Now in Romans 11:33-36 we conclude this section of the book with a doxology of praise to God for all we have learned, some of it perhaps too deep for any of us to fully comprehend.
I. THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD
1. The wrath of God
That wrath is described in Romans chapter 1. All are born sinners and are described in this chapter. Until we understand our fallen state and God’s wrath on our sin; we have no desire nor ability to move on to understand the love of God. John 3:36 explains the two categories of people who end up in Heaven or in Hell: those sinners who refuse to recognize their fallen condition and continue to reject Christ, continue under the wrath of God. Those sinners who have seen their fallen condition and reached out in faith to Christ to save them are regenerated and made fit for Heaven. Each of us stands this very moment in one of those categories. Which is it for you?
2. The Love of God
The song writer describes the love of God as an ocean, far greater and deeper than anyone can fathom or explain or understand. Think of it! God, reaching down in His love to a world who hates Him and reviles Him and providing our salvation by sending His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, into this world to be hated and despised and eventually crucified on a cross, thus paying the death penalty which each of us who deserved to suffer in Hell fire for eternity.
Thank God, He rose from the dead on the third day and is in Heaven today, willing and ready to save anyone who puts his trust in Christ’s blood sacrifice onCalvary’s cross. That, according to Romans 5:8 is the way God shows His love to us as sinners. You and I must take our place as sinners and receive that love by faith, or suffer the eternal consequences in Hell.
3. Justification by Faith Alone
Romans 3:21-5:21 clearly teaches God’s plan of salvation, through faith in Christ alone. Our own works, including our efforts to try to keep God’s holy laws do not save us, nor add even one ounce of righteousness to our account. Observing religious ceremonies, including baptism and partaking of the Eucharist, that is, the Lord’s Supper, do not help us gain Heaven. Read Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, and Romans 3-5. You must grasp and rest in this truth of justification by faith alone apart from any works of self-righteousness, before you are saved and ready to learn more about the Christian life.
4. Our Sanctification through our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
Once we’ve come to the place of saving faith and rest in the sacrifice of Christ’s shed blood for our sins, then and only then are we ready to progress in an understanding of the truths that enable us to experience victory over sin, and grow and mature in the Christian Faith.
The basics of these sanctifying truths are found in Romans 6-8. If you struggle with victory over sin, I encourage you to review the previous studies covering these chapters.
5. The on-going sinful desires of the Old Nature
All of us, regardless of how long we have been Christians, struggle with sinful desires. Why does God not remove the temptations of Satan and our old sinful nature when we are saved? Romans 7 teaches us that God does not presently remove Christians from the temptations of this world of sin nor deliver us from our sin-loving flesh natures. Instead, God gives us as Christians His overcoming power to live victorious lives in the midst of the sin all around us. In Heaven we will be delivered from the very presence of sin forever; but not until then.
6. The power to live out the righteousness of God’s Law
That’s the theme of Romans 8. That power to live victoriously over sin is the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit as we stay surrendered to Christ.
7. The dual truths of God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.
How and why God chose us to salvation from before the foundation of the earth and yet how and why we are given the responsibility to choose to receive or reject Christ are both true facts, and yet mysteries beyond our full comprehension.
8. How God hardens our hearts and yet man hardens his own heart.
That again is a mystery Paul discusses in Romans 9. But more than a mystery, Read the sober warning in Hebrews 3:7-19 to Christians to guard our hearts from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
9. The Fall and Restoration of Israel and how the Gentiles are blessed through Israel‘s Fall.
This is a great mystery and theme of both the Old and New Testament, which Paul explains in Romans 9-11
II. HOW DO WE RESPOND TO SOME OF THESE DIFFICULT TRUTHS OF SCRIPTURE?
Are we so brash and foolish as to think that we have a full and complete understanding of God’s sovereignty and all of His ways?
Or do we, as the unbelievers, rebel at His ways?
Or do we reverently humble ourselves, knowing that our understanding is finite and limited, and bow in reverent praise and submission to all His ways which are beyond our ability to fully understand in this life. Read Romans 11:33-36. and simply worship Him and give Him praise for His inscrutable ways.
Take time to read through the wonderful doctrine of salvation as it is found in Ephesians 1-3. Note also how Paul ends his explanation of these wonderful truths by bowing his knees to God breaking once again into a doxology of praise to God in3:14-21 for these wonderful truths that are almost beyond our power to fully grasp.
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