The Letter to Romans is a very familiar book to all Christians – so what is there to be revealed?
But maybe that’s in fact the issue with Romans. Because we know it so well – or so we think – we skim over entire passages, missing great details. The truth of the matter is, the apostle Paul packed an enormous amount of spiritual wealth in every verse of his letters.
Paul carried a great message, revealed to him by God, that he wanted to share with fellow believers in Rome. This faithful apostle loved Jesus and loved God with all his might. But there is more – he also loved whom God loved. So, he wrote about it to his fellow Romans.
Every word mattered, and his readers knew this. And do we?
That is why we want to challenge you! Or rather, we want to invite you to join us on a #3ChapterChallenge, where we go through Romans 9, 10, and 11, to discover what Paul carried in his heart that mattered so greatly to God.
First: Truth Revealed to Paul
The apostle Paul was a Roman citizen, which came as a surprise to some when he revealed it to the authorities in Acts 22. Most people knew him to be a very zealous Pharisee, Jewish through and through. Because of that, as we learn later, he was also known by two names, Sha’ul (Saul in Hebrew) and Paulos (Paul in Greek).
We first learn of this passionate follower of the Messiah when he was, ironically, the most avid persecutor of believers. He thought that in order to protect Israel, the Jewish people, he needed to cut out all false teachers from the land before their message spread.
In his fight to protect the truth, Paul failed to recognize what is in fact true.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Most of us can probably remember a time when we were so sure of “what we know that we know” that we didn’t bother to check whether we were right.
God literally blinded Paul for a few days, to first speak to him and then give him time to process what he learned.
Next: Revealing the Truth to the Nations
Once his eyes were opened (spiritually and physically), Paul became a powerful servant of God both in the land and abroad. With his history, he had to regain the trust of his Jewish brothers and sisters in faith. And then, the Lord gave him favor with non-Jews as well.
Paul traveled extensively, as we learn from the book of Acts and some of his letters. Despite his ignorance before, he never let his passion for the Kingdom of God wither. His past was not his future. And now, he understood his purpose well – he wanted the world to hear about his Jewish Messiah!
According to history records, Paul visited most of the key cities of the known western world of his day. He taught, inspired, and even mentored people across the Mediterranean basin. That of course included Rome – the diverse capital of the Roman Empire. But he wrote the letter to Romans even before he made the trip.
In his address to the Roman believers, Paul touches on several weighty topics, making his letter very complex. And yet, there seems to be a great purpose in it – to bring clarity and promote unity among believers through the proper understanding of the Gospel.
Paul in Anguish
About halfway through his letter, Paul dives into a subject that is very dear to his heart. He writes an unusual opening, signaling that he is about to talk about something of utmost importance:
“With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it.” (Rom 9:1, NLT)
The following three chapters contain profound theology about God’s sovereignty, choice, and His plan for both Jews and Gentiles. They address questions about God’s chosen people, the role of faith, and how God’s promises to Israel fit into His plan for all nations.
Romans 9-11 uncover deep theological truths that give insight into God’s incredible plan for humanity.
Why are Jewish people God’s chosen people? How does that affect the gentiles? Today’s reader can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the early believers in reconciling the two groups within the Church.
What is Romans 9 About?
In chapter 9 of his letter, Paul writes about the relationship between the Jews and Gentiles in the plan of salvation. He shares his deep concern for the Jewish people who have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah.
Paul mentions the special covenant relationship that the Jewish people have with God, and he emphasizes God’s sovereignty in choosing individuals for salvation. Then, He uses examples from the Old Testament to show that God’s choice is not based on works or human effort but is a result of His divine will.
For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” (Rom 9:15)
It is through God’s grace that His plan of salvation extends beyond the Jewish people to include the Gentiles. Paul explains that God’s mercy and grace are available to all who believe in the Messiah, regardless of their nationality or background.
What is Romans 10 About?
The apostle Paul continues the theme of salvation, faith, and the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan in chapter 10 of Romans. Paul stresses that faith in Jesus is pivotal and he addresses some misconceptions about this fact.
But Paul begins this chapter by expressing his desire for the salvation of his fellow Israelites:
“…The longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” (Rom 10:1)
He then explains that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, thus we are no longer under the burden of trying to fulfill the law’s requirements for righteousness. And salvation is free to all who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead.
This confession and belief, as Paul writes, means there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles when it comes to salvation.
But Paul also brings our attention to a very important part of God’s plan. Namely, it was Israel’s unbelief that paved the way for the inclusion of the Gentiles. Thus, their rejection of the gospel turned into a blessing for the nations.
What is Romans 11 About?
When Paul delves into the concepts of Israel’s future and God’s mercy, he emphatically states that God has not rejected His people Israel. In chapter 11 of Romans, Paul uses the analogy of an olive tree to explain the relationship between Jews and Gentiles.
The tree represents God’s people, with the natural branches being the Jews and the wild branches representing the Gentiles. Some natural branches (Jews) were broken off due to unbelief, while wild branches (Gentiles) were grafted in through faith.
“But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.” (Rom 11:18)
Paul explains that God’s rejection of some Jews opened the door for the inclusion of the Gentiles, and His ultimate purpose is to have mercy on all. Then, he reveals a mystery—that there will come a time when “all Israel will be saved.”
We should imitate Paul in his marvel over God’s wisdom and sovereignty. The apostle acknowledges in his epistle that human understanding is limited, but God’s plan on salvation is perfect. In His mercy, God promises Israel’s restoration and that is a reason for all of us to rejoice.
Do I need Romans revealed to me?
The Letter to Romans is essential for every Christian as it provides deep theological insights, fosters unity, and strengthens faith in God’s character and promises. God’s plan for salvation included both Jews and the nations from the very beginning. It is important that every believer knows that.
A Jewish believer cannot dismiss the promises God gave to the world. Even Abraham knew that after getting into a covenant with God, he was about to become a part of something bigger. All nations would be blessed through his family line! Wow, what a promise.
In the same vein, a gentile believer cannot deny the role of God’s chosen people in His eternal plan. The all-powerful and all-knowing Creator wanted to reveal Himself to the Jews first. And He promised that His love for them would never die out.
The passion of the apostle Paul reflects God’s heart so well. That is why he wrote these transformative chapters – so that through his words his readers could see God’s heart.
Reading Romans Today
Although the Letter to Romans was written in the first century of our era, its message remains relevant today. In fact, it is more than relevant – it awaits its grand fulfillment in this day and age!
God has been using Paul’s words in the lives of many today to further His plans on earth. And it was this letter of Paul’s that brought FIRM’s CEO, Michael Mistretta, to Israel!
With his heart set on the great commission, Michael suddenly realized that God is not asking him to choose between loving Israel and loving the nations. That’s because their future is intertwined.
Through the three chapters, Romans 9-11, God spoke to Michael about His love for His people and the good plans He had for them. Michael knew he had to be a part of it. And so, Romans 9-11 were instrumental to birthing FIRM’s vision of seeing every person in Israel transformed by the love of Jesus.
Romans Revealed: Israel Matters to God
Paul explains that there will be a widespread turning of the Jewish people to faith in the Messiah, leading to their salvation. We are excited for that day, and we want to be a part of what God is doing in Israel.
You are invited to be a part of this – His! – story, too. Today, we want to challenge you to dive into Romans 9-11 and ask God to speak to you along the way.
Romans Revealed: #3ChapterChallenge – Free PDF Download
Romans chapters 9-11 contain profound theology about God’s sovereignty, choice, and His plan for both Jews and Gentiles. The chapters address questions about God’s chosen people, the role of faith, and how God’s promises to Israel fit into His plan for all nations.
Dive into Romans 9-11 for deep insights on God’s sovereignty, salvation plan, and more with this free PDF.
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