God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility II

Scholar Douglas Moo is the Chairman of the (NIV) Translation Committee and is currently a professor at Wheaten College in IL. Moo states that “Romans 10:5-17, “it is clear that man cannot submit to God or know God because of the level of depravity caused by sin. He goes on to state that no one can come into right relationship with God through the law and no one is righteous because of following the law, because one would have to follow every law to the letter without fail because to be guilty of violating one law would cause a person to be guilty of violating the entire law.” The law is to show mankind who God is and what he demands, the failure to keep the law was to prove that we are not God. The temptation for human beings is to be made righteous before God based on our own works or merit, in other-words we wish to be God which is a very dangerous place to be as far as God is concerned.

“Central to the Reformers’ teaching about salvation was their distinction between “law” and “gospel.” “Law” is whatever God commands us to do; “gospel” is what God in his grace gives to us. ” Moo goes on the talk about how the Jews stumbled over Christ and wish to be righteous by their own works of the law, rather than seeing how they continue to fall short of the law which was the laws purpose, to increase the trespass and show the Jews their sinfulness which was meant to point the way to Christ which is the solution to mankind’s fallen nature.

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Romans 5:20 (NIV)

God requires perfection to get into heaven because heaven is Gods home and therefore we must come into His home His way or not at all because nothing defiled shall ever enter into heaven.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb book of life. Revelation 21:27 (NIV)

Believers will either access heaven by the Holy Spirit that resides within their spirit and their soul goes up to heaven in an (intermediate-state) waiting for their resurrected bodies. Also only resurrected bodies and not our Earthly bodies will be granted access into heaven in a twinkling of an eye, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52 (NIV)

“20:12 the dead Probably believers and unbelievers. The believers were already resurrected to the splendors of the Messianic kingdom. Now the unbelievers are summoned. Both will have their lives evaluated by the perfect judge. books were opened Contains the record of their deeds (see Dan 7:10 and note). the book of life See 3:5; 13:8; 17:8. May indicate that believers will be present at this judgment. what was written in the books Refers to their deeds. Believers have the finished work of the Lamb on their behalf to atone for their sins and rectify their shortcomings.”

The Holy spirit is the representative of Christ in which when God looks down he sees perfection, he sees that Jesus Christ was the Propitiation Romans 3:25 25  whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed (from Latin propitiāre) appease to God as a sacrifice;" from propitius,), also called expiation, is the act of appeasing God which is Christ and that is why we enter heaven, how can anyone enter heaven if they are not born again? Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5– Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

The following scripture shows us that we cannot justify ourselves nor make ourselves righteous. Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. “By doing the law perfectly, he activates the promise of life found in Lev. 18:5 Leviticus 18:5 5  So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD. Jesus makes eternal life available for all who believe (vv. 6–13). Again, therefore,
Paul provides evidence that Christ is indeed the “aim” of the law. 4 ” “Galatians 3:11-12 (MSG) Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.” 5 ” When it comes to Jewish people and even some Christians, a false doctrine is being preached of a dual covenant theology, stating that Jews are made righteous by the works of the Law of Moses or because of the promise that God made to Abraham. Moo thinks differently below: Throughout salvation history, faith and doing, “gospel” and “law” have run alongside-by-side. Each is important in our relationship with God. But, as it is fatal to ignore one or the other, it is equally fatal to mix them or to use them for the wrong ends. The OT Israelite who sought to base his or her relationship with God on the law rather than on God’s gracious election in and through the Abrahamic promise arrangement made this mistake.

Similarly, Paul suggests, many Jews in his day are making the same mistake: concentrating on the law to the exclusion of God’s gracious provision in Christ, the “climax” of the law, for their relationship with the Lord. 6 The fact that faith and doing, “gospel” and “law” Moo states that it is fatal to ignore one or the other, reminds me of this scripture from The Apostle Paul. “Romans 9:2-3 2  that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.  3  For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 9:3 could wish myself to be accursed Paul echoes Moses’ prayer in  Exod 32:32 , showing solidarity with his people by wishing to share in their punishment or take the punishment for them. The word anathema, translated as “accursed,” refers to a declaration that something or someone has been set aside for destruction.” Exodus 32:32 “ 32  But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” Why would Paul grieve if the Jews where either justified by works of the law or by the promise God made to Abraham? Paul was in fact stating that he was willing to be cursed in the Lake of Fire for an eternity, cut off from Christ and God so as his Jewish brethren would not have to end up experiencing the 2 nd death at the Great White Throne Judgment for all those who reject Christ.  I would also like to draw your attention to the scripture that I open my testimony with, it explains why I have placed such a personal account of my illnesses, addictions, grosser handicaps including scripture on my website for the world to see. Do you notice how I have underlined first to the Jew in the scripture? So my question is that if the Jews where automatically saved by either the works of the “Law of Moses” or the “Abrahamic Covenant” concerning the Jews; then why is the gospel message in the New Testament directed at Jews first and gentiles second?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16 (NIV)

These few words spoken to Abraham are reiterated frequently in the Bible. Concerning this covenant, several observations are crucial to our understanding of the promised “seed.”
(1) The “seed” of Abraham are both the recipients of God’s blessing and the instruments through whom God’s blessings are passed on to others. Abraham’s seed “be blessed” and will “be a blessing” (verse 2) Israel overemphasized the blessings they would receive, and as a rule, ignored their responsibility to be a blessing to others.
(2) God’s covenant with Abraham promised blessings not only for Jews alone, but for both Jews and Gentiles. God’s promise to Abraham includes descendants (“you,” verse 2) and “all the families of the earth” (verse 3).
(3) Man’s response to Abraham’s “seed” would determine whether they were blessed or cursed by God. Whether they were Abraham’s physical descendants or those of other nations, the Abrahamic covenant promised blessings only to those who bless Abraham’s “seed.” Those who reject the “seed’ will be cursed.
(4) The Abrahamic covenant does not yet make clear that the “seed” of Abraham, which is to be the source of blessing or cursing, is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This will be made clear in the New Testament. God also promised land under the Abrahamic Covenant. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates — Genesis 15:18-21 (MSG) Josh. 20:1–21:45

A Land of Justice and Worship. The designation of six cities of refuge ( ch. 20 ) and 48 Levitical cities (21:1–42) demonstrates the Lord’s concern that the land not only be duly allocated as an inheritance for the tribes ( chs. 13–19 ) but that it be a land where justice prevails and true worship is cultivated. The section ends with yet another proclamation that the Lord has fulfilled all the good promises he made to the house of Israel (21:43–45). “This second section consists of four divine speeches (vv. 7, 9, 13–16, 18–21) involving the land and seed promises confirmed by a divine covenant. Interspersed between the speeches are Abram’s two responses (vv. 8, 10–12) and the covenant ceremony itself (v. 17). 7 “The Holy Spirit is also the one who communicates to God on our behalf because we do not know the will of God prior to being non-believers. Moo states 28 This verse may be in adversative relationship to what comes before it—“we groan, we do not know how to pray, but God is working …”—but is probably continuative: in this time of suffering and expectation (vv. 18–25) the Spirit helps us by interceding for us (vv. 26–27) and, by God’s providence, “all things work together for good.” This sentiment is one that has parallels in both pagan and Jewish literature, 106 and Paul may presume that his readers “know” this to be true because they are familiar with these sayings. It is more likely, however, that Paul assumes they know this because they have come to know God in Christ and experienced the fullness of his grace in their lives.

The translation and interpretation of the sentence are disputed. The first difficulty is the subject. There are three main possibilities.  Moo states that God has a particular purpose for calling believers to be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.

C. E. B. Cranfield (1915) is one of the best-known New Testament scholars in the world. He served as an army chaplain in World War II, a pastor to prisoners of war, and a minister before teaching for 30 years as professor emeritus of theology at the University of Durham in England (1950–1980).

How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together: Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can’t get around. But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the way, not in the way. Romans 9:29 (MSG)

ISRAEL REDUCED TO RELIGION
1–3  10 Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what’s best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time. I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.

4–10  The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story—no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying? The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest.

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Romans 10:1-13 (MSG)

Cranfield reminds us of “the problem of Israel’s rejection of Christ should be heard to the end before anyone attempts to bring about their opinion. We must be sensitive to the horrible memory of the Holocaust that is still alive in the fearful memory of the survivors today. We Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary today must also take into account the horrible anti-Semitism which is still ever present. Cranfield points out that prejudice still exists in the hearts of some people.”

Cranfield explains further about “supporting Israel but not minimizing the wrongs also suffered by Palestinians and he encourages Christians to listen attentively to what these chapters have to say is surely unavoidable. It will be a strenuous adventure. 11 ” Thomas R. Schreiner is an American New Testament scholar. He is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Bethel Theological Seminary and Azusa Pacific University.

Schreiner begins with:
1. “Israel’s Separation from Christ (9:1–5) The structure of this passage can be delineated in three movements. First, Paul emphatically affirms that his heart is filled with pain and anguish (vv. 1–2). Second, the extent of his distress is relayed in his willingness to be cursed for his people Israel (v. 3). Verse 3 also communicates the reason for his grief: his brothers and sisters from Israel are separated from Christ. Third, the privileges of Israel recounted in verses 4–5 indicate that Israel’s exclusion from Christ is surprising. Israel received God’s covenantal promises, and thus their
estrangement from the Messiah is incongruous.” Let’s visit the scripture that is just one that is very key to denounce dual covenant theology, meaning that Jews are automatically saved outside of faith in Christ.

At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites … If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes! Romans 9:1–5 (MSG)

2. “God’s Promise to Israel (9:6–13) The dilemma with reference to Israel has been posed by verses 1–5. Even though they possess the promises of eschatological salvation (vv. 4–5), their unbelief seems to render those promises void, and thus Paul could wish to be banned from Christ himself for the sake of his kindred since his grief at their unbelief is constant (see esp. Murray 1965: 8–9). The resolution of Israel’s fate, however, was not to be secured through Paul’s sacrifice on their behalf. As in the case of Moses (Exod. 32–34) Israel’s future hinged on the covenantal promises of God. Thus Paul affirms: “It is by no means the case that the word of God has fallen.” Despite the unbelief of a majority of ethnic Israel, God’s promise of salvation to Israel has not faltered.”

We must remember that not every Jew in the flesh is a Jew in the spirit, and the responsibility is the same for Jewish people as it is for the gentiles to believe, all must come to a saving faith in Christ to obtain salvation, for anyone who does not bless Abraham’s seed shall be cursed.

Schreiner believes that because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus God has voided only the unbeliever’s promise of salvation because salivation can only occur from a response to the gospel message. Schreiner continues the exegesis of Israel’s Failure to Obtain Righteousness (9:30–10:4) “Paul summarizes the state of affairs from 9:6b–29 and draws a conclusion. Surprisingly, the Gentiles who did not seek right standing with God have received it by faith. By contrast, Israel, which zealously pursued God’s law to have a right relation with him, did not realize their goal. Why has Israel failed? Paul answers this question in verse 32: they pursued the law in the wrong way, “as from works” instead of by faith. Therefore they stumbled over God’s stone (Christ) by failing to believe in him.”

Romans 10:1–4 continues the argument, even though Paul abandons the illustration of the race course. In verse 1 Paul reiterates (cf. 9:3) his desire for Israel’s salvation. He acknowledges that they are zealous for God, but faults them since this zeal is not informed by knowledge why their ignorance is culpable. Israel refuses to submit to God’s saving righteousness for two reasons. First, they lack knowledge about God’s saving righteousness. That this lack of knowledge is not merely the lack of necessary information is communicated in the second reason. Israel rejects God’s saving
righteousness because they desire to erect their own righteousness. An implied proposition (see below) probably connects verses 3–4. Israel should have subjected
themselves to God’s saving righteousness because belief in Christ is the end of using the law to establish one’s own righteousness.

Exegesis and Exposition
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, obtained righteousness, even the righteousness that is by faith, 31 but Israel, which pursued the law for righteousness, did not attain the law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue the law by faith but as from works. They stumbled on the stone of stumbling, 33 just as it is written, “Behold I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 10:1 Brothers and sisters, the desire of my heart and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God, because they were ignorant of the righteousness of God and because they sought to establish their own. 4 For Christ is the end of the law with reference to righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 9:30-4 (MSG)

Schreiner states “the first major movement in defense of the trustworthiness of God’s word is completed. Paul wants to investigate further the implications of what he has just stated, that God has elected many Gentiles unto salvation while choosing only a remnant of Jews. Constitute a statement rather than a question is strengthened by the question why?) at the beginning of verse 32, since this question would most sensibly follow an assertion.

In conclusion I see evidence in Scripture and profound commentaries by some of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars that man is responsible to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ whether you are a Jew or a gentile. When God calls a human being, man must respond to the call or perish eternally.

Bibliography

Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 644) (pp. 649–650) (p. 527) Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Mathews, K. A. (2005). Genesis 11:27–50:26 (Vol. 1B, p. 170). Nashville: Broadman; Holman Publishers.
Cranfield, C. E. B. (1998). On Romans: and other New Testament essays (pp. 76–77). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 534–535). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Source: Genesis University

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