Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Goodness of God in salvation

Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in

God's Goodness put on display in Romans 11
Romans 9,10 and 11 functions as the mighty Himilayan range of the book of Romans.  From the foothills of Romans 1-8 we are suddenly taken up the vertical wall of Romans 9.  It is in Romans 10 that we come to a landing, before preparing to ascend up the majestic peak of Romans 11.  It is at Romans 11:33-36 that we see the summit of the mighty mountain and get a majestic overview of redemptive history in the most sweeping series of verses in Romans.  Like an Everest in this Himilayan range, Romans 11 details for us the Goodness of God in His continuing saga of the current redeeming of the Gentiles and the future plan He has to redeem Israel. 

God's goodness is the chief attribute that runs through Romans 11:25-32.  It reveals to us how the goodness of God is the beginning and ending of His plan of salvation.  For you reading this today - I want to briefly explore how the All-Goodness of God provides the backdrop for this sweeping summary of God's salvation.

God's All-Goodness unfolds His plan of salvation in the following way:

God's Goodness in Christ: salvation's Savior. Rom 11:25-29

God's Goodness in still wanting to save Israel is vitally connected as to why He is aiming to save Gentiles now.  But through Whom has He expressed His Good intentions? In Romans 11:26-27 he tells us: "just as it is written, 'The deliver will come from Zion'".  Now this set of verses is pointing to the second coming of Jesus Christ, when at His return the nation of Israel will be saved.  Primarily this is the focus of Paul's remarks.  However we must remember that his focus on Israel is also to remind the Gentiles of what Jesus accomplished in His first coming. 

Where would you and I be without God's Goodness extended to us in Christ?  What would had happened if Christ had not come the first time?  We would have no hope of salvation.  Romans 11:22 reminds the reader of the "kindness and severity" of God as the basis of salvation to those who believe. It is this same "kindness, severity and goodness" of God spoken of back in Romans 2:4 that leads sinners to repentance.   If God had decided to forsake His plan for Israel, He would had forsaken His intent on sending Jesus the first time, which would spell condemnation. 

I'm glad God doesn't give up on those whom He aims to redeem.  When no one was seeking Him, when everyone was choosing ungodliness, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)  As in the case of Israel, His chosen people, His choice for them still stands.  His aim to redeem them cannot be frustrated nor revoked. (Romans 11:29).  Every Christian ought to be thankful that God never gave up in pursuing them.  Every Christian ought to thank the Lord that before they began to love Jesus, He first loved them. (1 John 4:19)  As Paul also reminds us in Galatians 4:9a "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God..."

Its due to God's Goodness in Christ that salvation has a Savior. With the accomplishment of Christ we see the second way in which God's Goodness unfolds the plan of salvation.... 

God's Goodness in mercy is salvation's activity. Rom 11:30-32
Four times we see God's mercy mentioned in Romans 11:30-32 -
"For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all."

Notice how God's plan for Israel is intertwined in His extending the mercy of salvation in this current age.  Grace is God giving to you and I what we don't deserve.  Mercy is God not giving to us what you and I do deserve.  Like Israel, the Gentiles also deserved judgment.  Yet God in His goodness, by sending salvation's Savior, Jesus Christ, accomplished salvation's activity - mercy.  This act of mercy is applied to all who believe through the calling and convicting of the Spirit of God. (John 16:8-11) 

Conclusion: God's All-Goodness gave us salvation's Savior and extends to sinners salvation's activity of mercy
It is because of God's goodness in Christ and show of mercy to Jew and Gentile that Paul breaks out in the fountain of praise in Romans 11:33-36. The All-Goodness of God is at the heart of who God is, since it was His own good pleasure that moved Him to send Christ and show mercy in the first place.  If salvation had anything to do with me, I would had never known the Savior nor God's mercy.  The sinner is owed nothing by God - except justice.  The kind intention of God in sending Christ and showing mercy originated with God's goodness.  Praise be to God for His All-Goodness. 

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