Failure and Faithfulness
June 28, 2020
The past four months of COVID-19 and unrighteous killings and riots have led to many questions, and few answers. Many questions have not just been asked about our political leaders, but also about God. All the questions about God might be summarized by three questions asked by a Christian author three decades ago about God:
- Is God unfair?
- Is God silent?
- Is God hidden?
Those questions might also be summarized by one fundamental question about God: Is God faithful to His promises and Himself? Will He do what He says? That is Paul’s question in Romans 11. The background to that chapter is that Israel failed: the corporate decision by Israel about Jesus Christ was that He was not the Messiah and, even worse, He was an agent of Satan — Mt. 12:23-24. That decision persisted after His death, resurrection, and ascension. When Paul went to a new city in his travels, he would begin by evangelizing the Jews in the Synagogue, and he was repeatedly rejected (Acts 13:46; 14:1-2; 18:6; 19:8-9; 28:28). That Israel persisted in unbelief is also clear in this letter to the Romans (9:1-3; 10:1-3).
If you know your OT, you know that God chose the nation of Israel to be His eternal covenant people. But if Israel has rejected God, then the natural question is, has God failed? Have His promises failed, and is God incompetent to accomplish His plans? That is the issue Paul is addressing in Romans 11; he unequivocally states that God has not failed; the rejection by Israel has not undermined God’s plan, and that God will still redeem the nation of Israel. The passage before us this morning is Romans 11:11-16, which states,
Failure by Israel does not preclude faithfulness by God.
In this passage, Paul provides us with three affirmations of God’s faithfulness to Israel and Himself:
CONTEXT: A reminder of the message of Romans 11
- Israel’s Rejection of God Does Not Invalidate God’s Promise (v. 11a)
- Israel’s Rejection of God Leads to God’s Salvation of Gentiles (vv. 11b, 12a)
- God’s Salvation of Gentiles Leads to God’s Salvation of Israel (vv. 11c, 12b-16)
- God’s Purpose for Being Gracious to Gentiles (v. 11c)
- God’s Rich Faithfulness to Israel (v. 12)
- God’s Remnant Faithfulness to Israel (vv. 13-14)
- God’s Resurrection Faithfulness to Israel (v. 15)
- God’s Faithfulness to Israel, Illustrated (v. 16)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 11:11-16.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.