|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Romans 11:28-32 Commentary
|Greek: ametameleta gar ta charismata kai e klesis tou theou.
Amplified: For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]
ESV: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
ICB: God never changes his mind about the people he calls and the things he gives them.
NIV: for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
NKJV: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
NLT: For God's gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.
Phillips: For once they are made, God does not withdraw his gifts of his calling.
Wuest: for the gifts in grace and the calling of God are with respect to a change of mind irrevocable.
Young's Literal: for unrepented of are the gifts and the calling of God;
|FOR THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE: ametameleta gar ta charismata kai e klesis tou theou: (Hosea 13:14)
For - Always pause and ponder this important term of explanation.
In this verse for which explains why they are still beloved of God. The answer is of course that God does not take back His gifts. Once He has made an unconditional promise, He never goes back on it. He gave Israel the special privileges as we studied in Romans 9:4, 5. He called Israel to be His earthly people, separate from the rest of the nations. Nothing can change His purposes.
Calling (2821) (klesis) (Click in depth study) means a call and was used for an invitation to a banquet. In the NT the word is used metaphorically of the call or invitation to come into the kingdom of God with all its privileges. In the present context "klesis" refers to the divine call by which elect Jews are introduced into the privileges of the gospel. God’s invitation (klesis) to man to accept the benefits of His salvation is what this calling is all about.
Louw Nida defines klesis as an "urgent invitation to someone to accept responsibilities for a particular task, implying a new relationship to the one who does the calling; the station in life or social role which one has."
Vine defines klesis as "a calling, is always used in NT of that calling the origin, nature and destiny of which are heavenly (the idea of invitation being implied); it is used especially of God's invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation."
Irrevocable (278) (ametameletos from a = without + metamélomai = change one's mind; regret) means not feeling regret as result of what one has done. The idea is not feeling regret as result of what one has done not regretful, not feeling sorry about. It means that God will not change His mind about what He has promised Israel through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God's gifts and callings are ametameletos or "incapable of being changed, not to be taken back, inflexible" and in 2Cor 7:10 ametameletos speaks "of the beneficial results of repentance with nothing to feel sorry about, leaving no feeling of regret." (Friberg)
BDAG says in the passive sense ametameletos means "not to be regretted, without regret" and the active sense it means "feeling no remorse, having no regret."
This word is first in the Greek placing emphasis on this truth. Literally "irrevocable (are) the gifts and calling of God."
Irrevocable in English = Not possible to revoke; Unalterable. Webster's 1828 adds "Not to be recalled or revoked; that cannot be reversed, repealed or annulled; as an irrevocable decree, sentence, edict or doom; irrevocable fate; an irrevocable promise."
The KJV says "not to be repented of" which is very inadequate. It would have been better translated "without regret". What the apostle is saying here is that when God has given gifts to men and has extended His salvation to them, He never regrets the extension of His grace or changes His mind as having made a mistake because of the behavior of the ones that He saved and gifted. Salvation should never be considered as merely man's decision to follow Christ, but also God's acceptance of the genuineness of that decision and the birth and existence of faith.
The only other NT use is by Paul (no uses in the Septuagint)…
When God calls it is an effectual call and when He gives you a gift it can never be taken back or annulled. The Sovereign God guarantees these things to the elect.
John MacArthur - God’s sovereign election of Israel, like that of individual believers, is unconditional and unchangeable, because it is rooted in His immutable nature and expressed in the unilateral, eternal Abrahamic Covenant (MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Moses testifies that…
In Malachi God testifies…
In Isaiah God says…
|Greek: hosper gar humeis pote epeithesate (2PAAI) to theo nun de eleethete (2PAPI) te touton apeitheia
Amplified: Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained [His] mercy, through their disobedience,
ESV: Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,
ICB: At one time you refused to obey God. But now you have received mercy, because those people refused to obey.
NIV: Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,
NKJV: For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,
NLT: Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the Jews refused his mercy, God was merciful to you instead.
Phillips: Just as in the past you were disobedient to God but have found that mercy which might have been theirs but for their disobedience,
Wuest: For, even as you formerly disbelieved God, yet now have been made recipients of mercy through the occasion of the unbelief of these,
Young's Literal: for as ye also once did not believe in God, and now did find kindness by the unbelief of these:
|FOR JUST AS YOU (Gentiles) ONCE WERE DISOBEDIENT TO GOD: hosper gar humeis pote epeithesate (2PAAI) to theo: (1Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:1,2,12,13,19-21; Colossians 3:7; Titus 3:3-7) (Ro 11:31; 1Corinthians 7:25; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1Timothy 1:18; 1Peter 2:10)
Barclay - Paul is coming to the end of his argument. He has faced a bewildering, and, for a Jew, a heartbreaking situation. Somehow he has had to find an explanation of the fact that God's people rejected his Son when he came into the world. Paul never shut his eyes to that tragic fact, but he found a way in which the whole tragic situation could be fitted into the plan of God. It is true that the Jews rejected Christ; but. as Paul saw it, that rejection happened in order that Christ might be offered to the Gentiles. To maintain the sovereignty of God's purpose, Paul even went the length of saying that it was he himself who hardened the hearts of the Jews in order to open a way to the Gentiles; but, even then, however contradictory it might sound, he still insisted on the personal responsibility of the Jews for their failure to accept God's offer. Paul held fast at one and the same time to divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But now comes the note of hope. His argument is a little complicated… (Romans 11 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)
For - Always pause and ponder this important term of explanation.
Disobedient (544)(apeitheo from a = without + peítho = persuade) literally describes one who refuses to be persuaded and who disbelieves willfully and perversely. Apeitheo in the present context means that these individuals possessed an attitude of unbelief because they deliberately choose to disobey, to consciously resist and rebel against authority and finally manifest an obstinate rejection of the will (truth) of God. Do we not all do this at the moment we commit willful sin?
Once - Denney sees this as a reference to "in the past, Ro 1:18-32." (Romans 11 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Newell - Our Gentile history is summed up in the words "disobedient to God"; our present position in the words: "now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience"; and now Israel nationally have been more disobedient even than the Gentiles (Ed: as alluded to in Ro 11:31 "so these also now have been disobedient"): disobedient to God's Law, to His warning prophets, to His own dear Son, their Messiah, whom they crucified; to the witness of the Spirit through Stephen and the apostles of the resurrection of the Messiah. But at last they will "be shown mercy (Ro 11:31)," a new principle for them! Having proved utterly disobedient, having lost all claim on God, they will at last be met by God on the same great principle of mercy, and mercy alone (Ed: Ro 11:31 = "because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy"). So that in the future age, the Millennium, and on forever, this nation will carry in its heart the two great principles that give God all the glory: First, that they were beloved of Jehovah, who had set His love upon them, the only reason being in Himself. "Because Jehovah loveth you, and because He would keep the oath which He sware unto your fathers" (Deut 7:7,8). Second, the consciousness of their own complete failure: of a history of ingratitude, rebellion, wickedness, idolatry, refusal of instruction and correction, and finally, of despising and rejecting their own Messiah (2Chr 36:14-16; Ps 106:1ff). They will be brokenly conscious forever of being the objects of the absolute uncaused mercy of Jehovah their God! Thus they will be able to trust and rejoice in Jehovah, as the true Church-saint now trusts and rejoices and glories in God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who associated us with His own Son in the same sovereign mercy! It must be carefully marked and deeply pondered, this great account of sovereign mercy, - mercy first to us (Gentiles), and by and by to Israel, -"the MERCIES of God, " by means of which God will win our hearts, "beseeching us" by His apostle, to present our bodies a living sacrifice to Him (Ro 12:1). It is not only that God has dealt with us in grace, -unearned favor; but that He has shown mercy when all was hopeless! We may venture to say that it is only in those who learn to regard themselves as the objects of the Divine mercy, of uncaused Divine compassion, that the deepest foundations for godliness of life will be, or can be, laid (Ed: Read the story of the woman "a sinner" in Luke 7:40-50 which seems to support Newell's premise. Note association of love and obedience in Jn 14:15). (Romans 11 - Newell's Commentary)
BUT NOW HAVE BEEN SHOWN MERCY BECAUSE OF THEIR (the Jew's) DISOBEDIENCE: nun de eleethete (2PAPI) te touton apeitheia:
But now - This is the great Divine Reversal!
But now - 77x in Scripture (not all a divine reversal but a number are, especially those in the NT!) - Gen 30:30; Ex 32:32; Num 11:6; 14:17; Josh 9:12; Jdg 6:13; 20:9; 1 Sam 2:30; 12:10; 13:14; 26:11; 2 Sam 12:23; 13:20; 19:9; 24:10; 1 Kgs 5:4; 2 Kgs 1:14; 3:15; 13:19; 1 Chr 21:8; Ezra 9:8; Neh 6:9; Job 4:5; 12:7; 16:7; 30:1; 42:5; Ps 119:67; Isa 1:21; 16:14; 43:1; 44:1; 64:8; Jer 2:18; 37:20; 40:4; Hag 2:4, 15; Zech 8:11; Mal 1:9; NEW TESTAMENT USES: Luke 16:25; 19:42; 22:36; John 15:22, 24; 16:5; 17:13; Rom 3:21; 6:22; 7:6; 11:30; 15:23, 25; 16:26; 1 Cor 7:14; 12:18, 20; 13:13; 14:6; 15:20; 2 Cor 8:11, 22; Gal 3:25; 4:9; Eph 2:13; 5:8; Phil 2:12; Col 3:8; 1 Thess 3:6; 2 Tim 1:10; Philemon 1:11; Heb 2:8; 8:6; 9:26; 12:26; 1 Pet 2:10, 25
Denney - The past unbelief of the Gentiles (just as you were once disobedient to God) and the mercy they presently enjoy (but now have been shown mercy), the present unbelief ("their disobedience" - cp Ro 11:11, 15, 31) of the Jews and the mercy they are destined to enjoy in the future (they also may now be shown mercy - Ro 11:31)—these things not only correspond to each other, but they are interwoven with each other; they are parts of a system which God controls, and in which every element conditions and is conditioned by all the rest: there is a Divine necessity pervading and controlling all the freedom of men—a Divine purpose mastering all the random activity of human wills; a purpose which is read out by the Apostle in Romans 11:32 : God shut them all up into disobedience that He might have mercy upon them all. (Romans 11 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
MacDonald - The Gentiles were once an untamed, disobedient people, but when Israel spurned the Messiah and the gospel of salvation, God turned to the Gentiles in mercy. (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. . Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Steven Cole - God designs and controls all of history to display the glory of His mercy to sinners. Romans 11:30-32: “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
By repetition Paul sets forth two themes: “Disobedient” (or, “disobedience”) occurs four times. “Mercy” also occurs four times. John Murray (The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans], 2:102, italics his) observes, “It is only in the context of disobedience that mercy has relevance and meaning.” Unless you realize the enormity of your own disobedience and sin, you will not appreciate the greatness of the gift of God’s mercy.
In this sweeping summary of history there is a similarity and a difference (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans [Apollos/Eerdmans], p. 425). Both the Jews and the Gentiles are alike in that both groups were disobedient to God. But the difference is that in God’s design for history, through the Jews’ disobedience, the Gentiles came to experience God’s mercy, but it will be through the Gentiles’ experience of God’s mercy that the Jews will finally come to know His mercy, too.
Morris (ibid., pp. 424-425) also points out that it is significant that Paul does not say, “You were disobedient, but you have become obedient,” but rather, “You have been shown mercy.” He adds, “It is no human achievement of which he speaks, but a divine gift.” God’s mercy is similar to His grace, in that both represent His unmerited favor toward those who deserve His judgment. But the nuance of difference is that grace emphasizes God’s favor in forgiving our sins because we are guilty, whereas mercy emphasizes His compassion on us because we are miserable (R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament [Eerdmans], p. 170). (Stand in Awe)
|Greek: houtos kai houtoi nun epeithesan (3PAAI) to humetero eleei hina kai autoi [nun] eleethosin; (3PAPS)
Amplified: So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you--through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].
ESV: so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
ICB: And now the Jews refuse to obey, because God showed mercy to you. But this happened so that they also can receive mercy from God.
NIV: so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.
NKJV: even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.
NLT: And now, in the same way, the Jews are the rebels, and God's mercy has come to you. But someday they, too, will share in God's mercy.
Phillips: so they, who at the present moment are disobedient, will eventually share the mercy which has been extended to you.
Wuest: thus also these now have disbelieved in order that through the occasion of the mercy which is yours, they themselves also might now become the recipients of mercy,
Young's Literal: so also these now did not believe, that in your kindness they also may find kindness;
|SO THESE (Jews) ALSO NOW HAVE BEEN DISOBEDIENT: houtos kai houtoi nun epeithesan (3PAAI): (Ro 10:16; 11:15,25)
International Children's Bible - "And now the Jews refuse to obey, because God showed mercy to you. But this happened so that they also can receive mercy from God."
Wuest: thus also these (Jews) now have disbelieved in order that through the occasion of the mercy which is yours (Gentiles), they (Jews) themselves also might now become the recipients of mercy,
So these - The Jews.
Disobedient (544) (apeitheo from a = without + peitho = persuade) means literally not to allow one’s self to be persuaded. It describes one who refuses to be persuaded and instead willfully and perversely disbelieves. It conveys an attitude of unbelief and involves deliberate disobedience or conscious resistance to authority. Men, Jews or Gentiles, do not avoid Christ because of insufficient facts but because of proud and unrepentant hearts. Wuest adds this word "speaks of a stubborn, stiff-necked attitude."
Moule - The “mercy of the Gentiles” is the mercy of God in Christ to them, not any mercy of theirs to the Jews.—The statement of this verse is the almost exact converse of that of Romans 11:30. Jewish unbelief was, in a certain sense, the instrumental cause of Gentile salvation; so, in a certain sense, Gentile salvation was the final cause of Jewish unbelief. In the Divine Plan the call of the Gentiles was to hinge upon the unbelief of the Jews when they should reject Messiah; and thus the grand act of Jewish unbelief was, in a guarded sense, “caused” by the promise of the call of the Gentiles. (Romans 11 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)
Hodge - Even so have these (the Jews) now not believed (or, 'now been disobedient'), that through your mercy (the mercy shown to you Gentiles) they also may obtain mercy. Here is an entirely new idea. The apostle has hitherto dwelt upon the unbelief of the Jews as making way for the faith of the Gentiles-the exclusion of the one occasioning the reception of the other; a truth which could yield to generous, believing Gentiles but mingled satisfaction. Now, opening a more cheering prospect, he speaks of the mercy shown to the Gentiles as a means of Israel's recovery, which seems to mean that it will be by the instrumentality of believing Gentiles that Israel as a nation is at length to "look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him," (Zech 12:10) and so to "obtain mercy." (See 2Corinthians 3:15-16.) (Romans 11 - Bible Commentary)
IN ORDER THAT BECAUSE OF THE MERCY SHOWN TO YOU THEY ALSO MAY NOW BE SHOWN MERCY: to humetero eleei hina kai autoi (nun) eleethosin (3PAPS):
Israel’s disobedience will be followed by mercy, when they (the Jews) are provoked to jealousy through the mercy shown to the Gentiles. William Newell on the other hand does not interpret this passage (in order that because… ) as referring to future Jewish jealousy, commenting that "God brings in the principle upon which He will bless Israel when He makes His New Covenant with them at Christ's Second Coming. It seems that we Gentiles are to be to Israel an example of Divine mercy, by which at last they will understandingly see the "heart of mercy" of their God! (Luke 1:78)."
Mercy shown to you - The Gentiles
They also may now be shown mercy - The Jews.
Mercy (1656)(eleos) is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery.
Vincent writes that eleos "emphasizes the misery with which grace deals; hence, peculiarly the sense of human wretchedness coupled with the impulse to relieve it, which issues in gracious ministry. Bengel remarks, “Grace takes away the fault, mercy the misery."
Shown mercy (1653)(eleeo from eleos [word study]) means “to feel sympathy with the misery of another, especially such sympathy which manifests itself in action, less frequently in word.” Describes the general sense of one who has compassion or person on someone in need. It indicates being moved to pity and compassion by tragedy and includes the fear that this could happen to me. To see someone in dire need (including one who may not deserve the misfortune), to have compassion on them, and to give help to remove the need.
|Greek: sunekleisen (3SAAI) gar o theos tous pantas eis apeitheian hina tous pantas eleese. (3SAAS)
Amplified: For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].
ESV: For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
ICB: All people have refused to obey God. God has given them all over to their stubborn ways, so that God can show mercy to all.
NIV: For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
NKJV: For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
NLT: For God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.
Phillips: God has all men penned together in the prison of disobedience, that he may have mercy upon them all.
Wuest: for God included all within the state of unbelief in order that He might have mercy upon all.
Young's Literal: for God did shut up together the whole to unbelief, that to the whole He might do kindness.
|FOR GOD HAS SHUT UP ALL IN DISOBEDIENCE: sunekleisen (3SAAI) gar o theos tous pantas eis apeitheian: (Ro 3:9,22; )
For - Again pause and ponder this important term of explanation.
Shut up (4788) (sugkleio from sun = with + kleio = shut, close) means to shut together with, to shut in on all sides, or to close up together. Sugkleio was used to describe enclosing of fish in a net in (as in Lk 5:6). All mankind is like those entrapped fish for all are caught in God's net which demands perfect righteousness. This truth is similar to Paul's statement in Galatians regarding the effect of the Scripture (Law) (Gal 3:22-23, see study of Galatians 3).
The picture also reminds one of (Romans 3:9-10-note) where "all" (both Jews & Gentiles) are backed into a corner and shown their totally inadequacy for holiness and righteousness before a holy God, Paul recording "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE."
All (pas) signifies no exceptions (cf Ro 5:12-note).
Disobedience (543) (apeitheia from a = without + peítho = persuade) describes an unwillingness to be persuaded. It is a willful unbelief (so not ignorance but obstinacy!). It is interesting that apeitheo is a stronger term than syn. apistía (570), disbelief, unbelief, faithlessness or distrust.
THAT HE MIGHT SHOW MERCY TO ALL: hina tous pantas eleese (3SAAS):
Mercy to all - Paul is not saying all will be saved. Paul is not teaching the heresy of "universalism." One interpretation is that Paul is teaching that God's infinite mercies are available to all who would seek them from Him (but see Steven Cole's interpretation below). Yes, most of mankind will reject God's mercy in the process of fitting or preparing themselves for destruction (Ro 9:22, cp Ro 9:17-18) and they are without excuse.
John MacArthur - Man’s sin, manifested in his willful disobedience, provides a means for God to demonstrate the magnitude and graciousness of His mercy. Were there no disobedience, there would be no need for and there could be no expression of God’s mercy. To reveal Himself as merciful, He permitted sin. He has shut up all—the whole world, Jew and Gentile—in disobedience and unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all who repent of their sin and turn to Him for gracious salvation. By His nature, God is a Savior, as seen in Paul’s uses of the phrase “God and Savior” in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. He could not display that feature of His person without allowing for sin and hell. In His sovereign omnipotence, God has allowed man intellectually, morally, and spiritually to fall into a state of sin to the extent that, on his own, he is unable to be convinced of God’s truth, specifically the truth that he is lost and condemned and that he is powerless in himself to change his condition. God allowed man to fall into sin in order that his only hope would be divine mercy. It must be noted that this saving mercy is shown to all. The perfect, satisfactory work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection has met the demands of the justice and holiness of God, and thereby has removed every barrier to forgiveness for all, and any person who seeks forgiveness and salvation will receive it. As John Brown observed, God’s revelation of mercy in the gospels refers to men as sinners, not as elect sinners. (Romans. Chicago: Moody Press)
MacDonald explains that "When we first read this verse, we might get the idea that God arbitrarily condemned both Jews and Gentiles to unbelief, and that there was nothing they could do about it. But that is not the thought. The unbelief was their own doing. What the verse is saying is this: having found both Jews and Gentiles disobedient, God is pictured as imprisoning them both in that condition, so that there would be no way out for them except on His terms. This disobedience provided scope for God to have mercy on all, both Jews and Gentiles. There is no suggestion here of universal salvation. God has shown mercy to the Gentiles and will yet show mercy to the Jews also, but this does not insure the salvation of everyone. Here it is mercy shown along national lines. George Williams says: God having tested both the Hebrew and the Gentile nations, and both having broken down under the test, He shut them up in unbelief so that, being manifestly without merit, and having by demonstration forfeited all claims and all rights to divine favor, He might, in the unsearchable riches of His grace, have mercy upon them all. (Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Do you recall Paul's declaration in Romans 9:6 "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel (note)."
God had been trying to reach the Jews but for the most part they rejected His Son, the Messiah. Does that mean that God has failed? In this present section of Romans 11, the answer is a categorical "No, God has not failed." Quite to the contrary, He has used Israel's rejection of the Messiah as a means to reach the Gentile world, which He had intended to reach all along. After having shown mercy to the Gentiles, God now uses the very same mercies He has shown to the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous and aware of their rebellion against His Son that they, too, might receive mercy. What keeps anyone from receiving mercy from God? It is a self-righteous, self-confident attitude. "I don't need help. I can handle it myself. I am able to handle all the problems of life on my own. I don't need God." Any individual or nation with that attitude has cut himself off from receiving the mercy of God. So God "has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all."
Steven Cole - To repeat so that you are clear, Paul is not saying (in Ro 11:32) that God will save everyone. Rather, in the context Paul is looking at the broad sweep of history and God’s dealings with the Gentiles and the Jews as groups. He is saying that just as both groups were at various times cut off from God’s mercy because of their disobedience, so both groups will experience His mercy as history unfolds. This does not imply that every individual in each group will be saved, which would contradict what Paul says elsewhere, that some will come under eternal condemnation (2Thes 1:9; 2:12). So “mercy to all” means that just as God is now pouring out His mercy on the Gentiles as a group, so in the future He will pour out His mercy on the Jews as a group. He has designed and He controls all of history to display the glory of His mercy to sinners. (Stand in Awe)
Ray Stedman gives us "an outstanding illustration of this in the fact that… two prominent national figures have remained etched in the public mind as an aftermath of Watergate: Richard Nixon and Charles Colson". Stedman writes that "Charles Colson came to the place where he saw his own rebellion and disobedience to God. He finally came to a place where he was driven to his knees, where he saw that without recognizing it or knowing it, he had been involved in evil things. He began to recognize the extent of it and the control it had in his life. At last he was driven to the place where he openly committed himself to the mercy of God. God changed him. In his book Born Again he tells how God changed him, healed him, delivered him from prison, and sent him out again to have a new life. He is traveling across the country now, telling his story, involved deeply in a great and helpful ministry to prisoners. He is alive (Ed note: Obviously this was written prior to his death on April 22, 1994) and enjoying life to the full. Richard Nixon, on the other hand, has isolated himself in a self-imposed exile in which he refuses to admit he has ever done anything wrong. Tormented with the past, he has become a national pariah, and his life is limited and narrow, crabbed, because he does not yet know of the mercy of God that is available to one who admits disobedience. That is the way God works in history. He is constantly moving in many ways in our individual lives to bring us to an awareness of our self-righteousness and dependence on ourselves. Paul says the Jewish nation has not availed themselves of the righteousness of God. Because they are so determined to establish their own righteousness, they cannot accept the righteousness that comes by faith. That is their problem. (Our Great and Glorious God - Romans 11:25 - 12-1)