May 2, 2021

The Triumph of Grace


The ancient Romans had an interesting tradition called triumphal entry for the army commander who won a military victory. People would gather in Rome, and they would flood the streets and squares where the army would pass, and then the army would triumphantly march through the city to the main square and receive various awards… As they walked they displayed their might, they captured enemy and all sorts of trophies. People came just to see, to rejoice and congratulate them… Even until this day, in Rome there is an arch of Titus, who won the Jewish war and destroyed Jerusalem, of which the Bible foretold!

In (Rom. 11), the apostle Paul summarizes his explanation of all the different aspect and doctrines concerning salvation, and at the very end, he arranges the grand finally, the triumphal parade of grace! He gathers in this chapter everything he has taught about grace up to this point, gives a summary, and invites us to come, watch and simply enjoy the triumphal parade of grace (an undeserved gift). We don’t need to do anything today, just look and rejoice at the victory of grace! 5 reasons for the triumph of grace!

I. Grace is patient (God did not reject His people) (vv. 1-2a)

The basis for this statement is that Paul himself is an Israelite; in other words, God has not yet done with ethnic Israel. 

It was interesting for me to observe that Paul, to strengthen his argument, gives his personal example and testimony…

The stronges argument against accusing God of not being faithful is personal testimony. When God is accused of something, the strongest argument in support of God is you and I, and the church!

When was the last time you used your own example in a theological debate? If people tell you, God rejected people and me. Would you answer, “no, look at me, God has not rejected humanity!”? Grace is patient.

II. Grace is personal (God knows his people in advance) (v. 2b)

Knowing the people ahead of time is an argument against the idea that God has rejected His people. He knew them!

What does it mean?

(Amos 3:2) “You only have I known of all the families of the earth;” This knowledge can be explained as God’s choosing of Israel.

The same word was already encountered in 8:29 – foreknowledge. It is about entering into a covenant, into a commitment, or certain obligations on the part of God. Before a person was even born and made decisions. This knowledge is like getting married. 

Why is it important to explain? It is because some people think that this is simple knowledge in advance. If so, then this verse cannot be explained. Following the logic that God knows in advance, he means simple knowledge of the what people will choose, then here in 11:2 one can get an impression that God knew in advance only what Israel would do, and has no clue what other nations will do…

III. Grace is hidden (God keeps the remnant) (vv. 2c-5)

What story are we talking about? A unique confrontation takes place on Mount Carmel – 850 false prophets and Elijah. Where did so many prophets/ministers of pagan God (idols) come from in Israel? It is due to the king Ahab and his pagan wife Jezebel, who ruled over Israel! And she was a pagan wife that led Ahab into idolatry (1 Kng. 16:29-33; 18:4; 19:1-3… v. 18). Outwardly, this was not known to anyone! It was a complete surprise. The fact that God points out to Elijah that the hearts of 7,000 had genuine faith!

(v. 5 – so is now) Why? (v. 4) – For His sake, God keeps the remnant! (v. 5) So in the present time… God keeps a remnant by grace for His own sake! For His own glory!!!!

Why such a conclusion?

(1 Kng. 19:18) – I will leave… the point is not that they stayed alive… or survived the difficult time, but that they did not worship idols! In other words, the emphasis is on God’s act that produces faithfulness, faith, endurance.

For the most part, this action of God’s grace is not noticeable, not visible! It is difficult to trace it! God will reveal in due time! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see it clearly… it is there ☺

IV. Grace is selective (God elects by grace) (vv. 5-6)

(vv. 5-6) If God kept a remnant in Israel in that they remained faithful, then this speaks of God’s election (v. 5) – by the election of grace! So, in our time, those who remain faithful, have a living faith, present the same picture as in the time of Elijah. And it may not even be immediately visible! But, grace works in a unique way!

To highlight value of this phenomenon, he specifies in (v. 6) that this grace in the faithfulness and faith of some has nothing to do with the merits of these people – not from works!!!

Here again, we need to pay attention to the contrast between grace and works!

Either or! Paul builds a contrast and includes absolutely everything that a person can do or undertake, in the past, present and future. It is very difficult to see and trace God’s grace, but from time to time, He opens our eyes and we see this miracle. Not on the basis of our merits and deeds, but based on His mercy and grace!

Why is this important to note? Paul explains that only in this position, grace is grace. Grace is and undeserved gift. 

And here (vv, 7-10) – the bitterness of others! Talking about it, now will emphasize grace!

V. Grace is earnest (warning) (vv. 7-10)

Wherever grace is presented, there is also almost immediately a warning followed to those who do not accept grace. They are warned that they don’t have any excuses, since their rejection is rooted in them and not in God!

To better understand how this process of hardening the hearts of Israel took place, you need to look at the texts that Paul quotes explaining the doctrine of grace. Paul quotes Torah (5 books of Moses), prophets (Isaiah) and wisdom or poetry (Psalm). Thus, showing that the entire OT speaks about it!

(v. 8) A quote from Deut. And Isaiah!

(Deut. 29:4) – vv. 1-4 is the natural state of affairs. The Egyptians also reacted in the same way to those plagues. They weren’t worse than others. All people, according to their position before God, are sinful, and as a result, they cannot see God’s hand in their lives! It takes grace to see this! And the way in which God awakens this ability is through the preaching of the Word, in this case, through a warning! It is grace to you if God is speaking to you today saying that you should repent! (Deut. 29:29)!!! Mystery… revealed for the purpose!

(Is. 29:10) – context (vv. 9-14) – it turns out this text explains even better (Rom. 11:7) – they outwardly tried to please God, but inside their heart was corrupted!

(vv. 9-10) – quoted from (Ps. 69:22-23)

Psalm 69 is overall is very interesting – because when it speaks of the rejection of Israel, it speaks of the suffering of Messiah! The talk about the bitterness of Israel, should lead us to Christ!!

(Ps. 69:9) – zeal for your house consumes me (John 2:17) – when Jesus drove out all those selling in the temple!

(Ps. 69:21) – vinegar that was offered to Christ, when He was dying on the cross! To cleanse God’s temple, He will drink bitterness on the cross (Luke 23:36).

Ps. 69 shows that God’s judgment on Israel took place when they rejected their Messiah; preserving the external temple service, they did it not from the heart.

In other words, talking about Israel’s bitterness is a serious warning not to reject Jesus Christ!

(Ps. 69:22) – why talk about the table and the feast? During the ordinary things of life, when a person is simply satisfied with food, when he does what seems to be the simple things in life. When things that God has given to us so that they point us to Him, and the person begins to take them for granted, then the heart begins to harden against God! Man enjoys things and not his Creator!

When this happens, God allows this heart to roll further into hardness. And it turns out that those who acquire grace receive it not because they are better than others, but undeservedly. And those who  become hardened, they are in this process not because they are worse than others, but because this is the lot of every sinful person (v. 9) – “retribution!” They rightly received this punishment or retribution. 

Summary – God is sovereign in salvation, man is responsible for rejecting the good news, with subsequent retribution!

What does this text mean to us?

If you do not understand everything, you are in the right position (Deut. 29:29) – there are secrets that are not always revealed to us. This should humble you and me (Job 42:1-6) – 77 questions to Job led to the fact that Job realized that he did not know much!!! And what a reaction!

If you have not repented and have not yet received the forgiveness of sins, this does not mean that you have no chance – that is the grace, that not one can claim that he is out of the reach of grace!

Today we remember the sufferings and death of Christ! Is there a connection between what we have studies today and the suffering of Christ?

Yes!!! (Eph. 1:3-7) – the grace of election was visibly revealed to us in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ! Elijah in the OT says – I am alone, there are no believers. God opens his eyes that He has saved 7,000. Today, God opens our eyes to the fact that He acts by pointing to Christ who died for sinners! Every believer will be saved! Everyone who confesses Him as Savior and Lord will receive forgiveness of sins, a clear conscience, a new heart and access to God and eternity with Him!

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