At this point, I’ve not answered all the questions and certainly haven’t solved all the disagreements between Calvinists and Arminians. That’s not been the goal. The goal is to learn what Paul has to teach us in Rom 9 – 11, and I’ve learned a lot and hope the readers have as well.
I’ve learned that —
- Israel was a critically important step in God’s redemptive plan. And I’ve learned that God’s promises to Israel remain true today. But those promises are conditioned on faith in Jesus, and most Jews today are not believers.
- Although God loves the Jewish people, he considers rejection of Jesus just as damning as Baal worship.
- Also, God brings his blessing to his people through Jesus, not the force of arms. God had little patience with the Jews who sought to bring the blessings of God by overthrowing the Romans. They should have sought God’s blessings through his Messiah, instead.
- The many promises in the Old Testament about the blessings to come when God’s people are returned to the Promised Land are realized in Jesus. We live in a not-yet/already time, when the Kingdom is here but not fully here, and so the promises remain true — so that we’ll enjoy the blessings of God in full at the Eschaton (the end of time).
- We do not fully enjoy those blessings today. We may even suffer martyrdom for the sake of the Kingdom, and yet the blessings are coming true. In fact, we can see human progress — human rights, improved medicine, greater freedom, as blessings from God that are but a foretaste of the blessings yet to come. (Kuyper has this right.)
- “Call” and “election” in Rom 8 – 10 is about the flow of history and God’s redemptive plan coming to fruition. God elected the Jews, and yet most rejected his Messiah and so became enemies of God. And yet God’s promise remains available to the Jews to once again be part of God’s Israel, through faith.
- God elected those with faith in the Messiah, and this election will be successful. The re-formed Israel will not be reduced to a mere remnant, but will remain secure in God’s promises forever. This newly realized Israel isn’t destined to rebellion and becoming a mere remnant like the original Israel.
- Indeed, the true Israel will be glorified, by being in God’s presence forever. This true Israel will consist of those with faith in the Messiah to come, before Jesus, and with faith in the Messiah who has come, after Jesus.
- We Christians cannot look down on those who believed in a Messiah who’d not yet come, and we must realize that their scriptures are our scriptures. Their promises are our promises. Indeed, we are not part of a new dispensation. We are part of the realization of God’s covenants with Abraham and Moses.
- God’s work through Abraham and Moses is the root of the olive tree. Jesus himself is the shoot growing from the stump of the olive tree. And we Gentiles have been grafted into the tree. And we would remain wild shoots, destined for fire, but for being added to the root. We are not the root.
- Indeed, much of the Christian dismissal of the Old Testament is the product of an anti-Semitism that infected much of New Testament scholarship in the preceding centuries. God did not supersede a Jewish Israel with a Gentile church. Rather, he added the Gentile Christians to his Jewish family. And he brought us in by grace, through faith, because it’s the only way it could have happened.
- We’ve been made Jews, because we’ve been added to Jesus, a Jew. We should not despise our kinsmen or our “roots.” They are now our roots.