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“On that day I became a man” -Charles Spurgeon

June 13, 2007


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. 

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    June 13, 2007 1:24 pm

    Two things struck me as I read this. One, I too uttered words similar to yours; “I don’t like it, but I can’t escape it.” As much as I thought I liked God’s sovereignty, I really liked my will, my choices. But, how much better to rest in God’s hands than in my own understanding. I was reminded once again of that this weekend visiting our church in Becker. So glad God is sovereign and knows what is best for me. Second, I agree that Romans 9 is easy to understand and hard to accept. I have found it is one place where I think the fear of the Lord becomes real to me. Each to I read it, my reverence for the Lord increases. He is the potter – I am the clay. My purpose become clearer and clearer as I meditate on the truths of this passage. Praise be to the potter! “I will call them’my people ‘ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one. Even as I write, my heart is humbled as I contemplate these verses.

  2. gorfchild permalink
    June 13, 2007 5:05 pm


    Thanks for sharing your meditations with us. Truly this is an application of the blogosphere that even I can say Amen to.

    Jason, thanks for your comment as well. I was encouraged by it!

  3. Oddball permalink
    June 14, 2007 9:42 am

    So, the early Church Fathers didn’t merely misundersand Rom. 9, but they willfully distorted it?

  4. June 14, 2007 12:08 pm


  5. Oddball permalink
    June 14, 2007 1:00 pm

    Does this mean that the author of “Against Heresies” was himself a heretic?

  6. June 14, 2007 1:19 pm

    I don’t even know who the author of “Against Heresies” is. I wish you would get over this early church fathers fetish. But no, I don’t regard stubborn willfulness as a heresy, just a sin.

  7. Oddball permalink
    June 14, 2007 3:26 pm

    Why the stridency, Mike?

    Given that greater and godlier minds than ours have debated this matter for millennia, I hesitate to impugn the character of saints in either camp.

  8. June 14, 2007 8:45 pm

    Maybe you’re right. Heck, it feels like you and I have been debating this for millennia. ;-) I guess I get a little impatient.

  9. egana permalink
    June 15, 2007 5:13 pm

    we are gonna do lots of really fun stuff for lots longer than any ol’ millennia…

    these conversations here and now are but light and momentary afflictions…

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