Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
September 1, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<524> Thesis: The roots of the Jewish rejection of Paul consisted of both his "apostleship" and its "direction". Introduction: As we have pointed out multiple times, Paul's argument in Romans 9-11 is focused upon the answers to the question, "Why should I believe Paul's 'Gospel of God' given the fact that Israel, God's elect nation, rejected it?" Another way of asking this question that is even more to the point is this: "Why should I believe in Paul's "God" given the fact that His "election" of Israel has proven to be such a total disappointment?" The objector might even say that Paul's very argument that "Israel's failure shows its lack of legitimacy in the Truth" is itself more of a reflection on his "God's" failure than the nation's. Now, these "problems" came as no surprise to Paul and he did have answers, but they were not to the liking of his kinsmen according to the flesh. The big "answer" consisted of Paul's argument that the antagonism by his opponents arose out of two things: first, that rejecting Paul's "God" on the basis of the present condition of Israel was too short-sighted because it did not take into account the multiple threads of the weave that would produce Messiah's kingdom; and, second, that rejecting Paul's "God" for what appeared to be a breakdown in the "success" of "election" was too generalized because it refused to recognize two sub-theses -- "election" has always been a matter of a minority within a larger group and "election" was not about creating a rosy "big picture". The "elect" have never been able to so dominate the whole that the appearance was that of a successful production of national godliness. This evening we are going to return to one of the major sub-sets of Paul's argument: the fact that God uses His dealings with "others" to produce a longing in oneself for what He does for them, which longing eventually results in the salvation of those outside of the loop.