Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
September 8, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<526> Thesis: We must buy into a certain level of determinism. Introduction: In our last few studies of Romans 11 we have considered Paul's "large picture" view of God's dealings with men as it focused upon the principle of addressing the essence of man's "zeal". The major problem with man's "zeal" is that its core belief is absolutely corrupt. "Zeal", by definition, is "intense commitment". This is illustrated by John 2:17 in its context. But when "zeal" is produced by a false grasp of Reality, the actions it sponsors will be enormously evil. This is illustrated by a comparison of Philippians 3:6 and 1 Timothy 1:15. Thus, if God actually intends to address the essence of man's "zeal", He must use a method that has some hope of effectiveness. God, Paul argues, has settled upon this method: I will establish certain people in Eternal Life to a degree that is sufficient to produce a testimony of blessedness so that those who observe their condition will be challenged to reconsider the "belief" that drives their "zeal". This is what we have seen in our studies thus far and it establishes a necessity upon us to consider whether what we are doing is sufficiently "of Eternal Life" to challenge what others are pursuing. This evening we are going to move into another aspect of Paul's explanation of God's method. It is introduced in 11:16 and consists of his claim that "if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches" (1901 ASV). Our questions are these: what in the world does this mean and how does it contribute to Paul's on-going explanation of the Truth?