“On that day I became a man” -Charles Spurgeon
This morning I got up and made pilgrimage to the site where 17 years ago I became a Calvinist. It was in the wooden gazebo overlooking this lake (creatively named Lake Lago by the community developers) that I finally submitted to the absolute sovereignty of God. It wasn’t a breezy decision. I resisted for months and doggedly searched for a loophole, but finally one day at this spot I prayed something like this, “OK God, fine. You’re God. You decide who lives and who dies. I don’t like it, but I can’t escape it. Who are You?! I feel like I don’t even know You.” In the months and years that followed, of course, absolute sovereignty became the thing that I, as Jonathan Edwards said, most love to ascribe to God.
So since I finally understood Romans 9 while overlooking Lake Lago, I went back there today to study Romans 11. I didn’t have any comparable epiphany. Romans 9 is not difficult to understand, it’s just difficult to accept. But Romans 11 really is difficult to understand.
But I think I made a little headway. I came to the surprising conclusion that the chapter is very much about eschatology and missions.
Romans 11:13-15 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
Romans 11:25 I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
So the application is: Let us pray and labor for the fullness of the Gentiles to come in, for when it does, the hardening will be removed from Israel and then…life from the dead.