Friday, June 14, 2013

Romans 11:17-24

Read Romans 11:17-24 carefully and pay attention to what Paul is saying. Compare what he is saying here to what he writes in Romans 2:25-29 and Romans 9:6-8. Who are the branches that were broken off? Unbelieving Israel. Why were they broken off? Because of their unbelief. Who are the branches that remain? Believing Israel. Why do they remain? Because of their faith. Who are the wild branches? Gentiles. Into what are the wild branches grafted? Believing Israel. Why were they grafted in? Because of their faith. Into what will the natural branches that were broken off be grafted? Believing Israel.

According to Romans 2:25-29, the branches that were broken off are not true Jews: “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly.” Therefore, logically, the remaining branches are true Jews: “He is a Jew who is one inwardly.” In Philippians 3:3, Paul said that we—Christians—are the real circumcision. Why? Because we have been circumcised of the heart, just as Moses commanded them to be (Deut. 10:16). According to Romans 9:6-8, the branches that were broken off do not belong to Israel: “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Therefore, logically, the remaining branches belong to Israel. In Galatians 6:16, Paul called the church “the Israel of God.

Although Dispensationalists want to deny this, Paul’s words are as clear as day. Paul has just divided national Israel in two—believing Israel and unbelieving Israel, of which he says they are not true Jews nor do they belong to Israel. He states in Romans 11:5 that at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. He states in verse 7 that the elect of Israel obtained what Israel sought but the rest were hardened. He says that if the broken off branches do not continue in their unbelief they will be grafted back in. Into what? Into believing Israel, which will make them true Jews belonging to true Israel.

Galatians 4:28 says, “And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.” All Christians—Jew or Gentile—are children of the promise. Romans 4:13-16 says, “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” All those who believe—Jew or Gentile—are Abraham’s offspring.

John the Baptist said, “Do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3:9-10). Likewise, John records, “They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. … You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.’” (John 8:39-42, 44).

These words attest to what Paul was saying in Romans chapters 2 and 9. Just because you are an ethnical Jew does not make you a true Jew, Paul said in chapter 2. Just because you are physically descended from Abraham and Israel does not make you part of true Israel, Paul said in chapter 9.

In Romans 4:13, 9:8, and Galatians 4:28, Paul speaks in regard to the “promise.” What promise? Well, Galatians 3:16, 27-29 say: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ. … For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” This passage teaches us:
  1. Abrahamic promises were made to Abraham and his seed (v.16).
  2. His seed is Christ (v.16).
  3. And his seed is all who belong to Christ (v.29).
  4. Therefore, the promises belong to Christ and to all who are His (v.29). 
Ergo, this is not "Replacement Theology," it is "Expansion Theology." The Old Testament prophesied of the Gentile inclusion in several passages (Gen. 10; 12:1-3; Isa. 19:16-25; 42:6; 60:10-14; Hos. 1:10; Amos 9:11-12, cf. Rom. 9:26; Zech. 14:16), predicting God’s work of taking from among the Gentiles a people for Himself. So if the Old Testament prophesied about the Gentile inclusion, and Romans 11:17-24 describes that inclusion, then we must logically conclude that the true Israel is the true church and the true church is the true Israel. For God has only one people that make up one body who were baptized by one Spirit. The church does not replace Israel; the church has always been true Israel, and true Israel has always been the church. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek” (Rom. 10:12). There is no longer Jew or Gentile because God has broken down the dividing wall and made of the two one new person (Eph. 2:11-19). There are not two plans of redemption and two ways of receiving salvation. You are either in Christ Jesus or you are not. There is salvation by no other means and in no other name. Anything beyond this is heresy!

See In This Way All Israel Will Be Saved for a dealing with Romans 11:25-27.