Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Romans 4-5

In chapter nine, Paul tells them that he has "great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart" for the Jews that are "cut off" from Christ. They were adopted by God, they received the law and the covenants and theirs is the "human ancestry of Christ." But God's word hasn't failed, because "not all who descended from Israel are Israel," nor are they all Abraham's children, but the children of the promise are Abraham's children, those through the line of Isaac, and then through Jacob. But none of this makes God unjust, he tells them - it does not depend on man's desire or effort but on God's mercy. He suggests that God, as the creator, has the right to use the creation as he chooses, and that maybe some of those destroyed were specifically "prepared for destruction" to "make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory."

In chapter ten, he tells them that "my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved," but that they must have faith, because "the righteousness that is by the law" cannot save them. Then in chapter eleven, he makes it clear that God did not reject "his people." After all, he tells them, "I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin." The Israelites are not fallen "beyond recovery" but "because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious." He tells that though his ministry has been to the Gentiles, "I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them." He compares the Romans to a wild olive branch which has been grafted onto the root of a tree. But he tells them no to be arrogant, but afraid, "for if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either." He quotes Isaiah and expresses a believe that "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." He closes the chapter with a prayer to God's glory.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • This is tough to summarize. It's fairly dense theology, with some repetitiveness, but repetitiveness with subtle differences.
  • As I noted the other day, it's easy to see why this is the first epistle in the book. This is very rich, and, for the most part, not limited to any specific problems, but filled with theology, theodicy and praise that is applicable or relevant to all believers.

Proverbs 29:15-27

More on the power of the tongue - "Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

"The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy; he is put under oath and dare not testify." - A more modern take - "three can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

Proverbs 29:15-27 (New International Version)

15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;
he will bring delight to your soul.

18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.

19 A servant cannot be corrected by mere words;
though he understands, he will not respond.

20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

21 If a man pampers his servant from youth,
he will bring grief [a] in the end.

22 An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

23 A man's pride brings him low,
but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

24 The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy;
he is put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
the wicked detest the upright.

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