Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
August 4, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<516> Thesis: Paul's approach to the question of God's "integrity" is to present "election" as a function of Grace and "judgment" as a function of Justice so that believers do not fall into the trap of "excess". Introduction: Last week we looked into the first part of Romans 11:7 where Paul calls for some kind of theological conclusion concerning his doctrine of salvation by grace. We saw that it was his conclusion that the larger "Israel" was seeking to acquire a right standing before God and, having applied the wrong methodological approach to that desire, failed. But the lesser "Israel", known as "the elect", having accepted the approach of "grace through faith" actually acquired the right standing before God that is fundamental to the experience of "Life". We got no further and did not consider the rest of Paul's conclusion: that "the rest were hardened". This evening we are going to at least begin to look into that issue: the "hardening" of the non-elect or, as Paul identifies them, "the rest". In order to do this, we need to carefully consider Paul's argument. It is his claim that the hardening of "the rest" was "an answer to prayer" (11:9-10). Because Jesus commanded His disciples to "pray for those who despitefully use them" (Matthew 5:44), it is a problem for some to read inspired Scriptural accounts of the saints praying for the destruction of those who despitefully use them. But, as always, it is our task to understand the Scriptures, not bend them to suit our own preferences. Thus, this evening we are going to consider Paul's argument that the hardening of Israel is a legitimate "T"heological activity.