Romans - Lesson 45

Romans 11:16-24

Lesson 45
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Romans 11:16-24

IV. The Defense of the Gospel: the Problem of Israel (9:1–11:36)

A. Introduction: The Tension Between God's Promises and Israel's Plight (9:1-5)

B. Defining the Promise (1): God's Sovereign Election (9:6-29)

C. Understanding Israel's Plight: Christ as the Climax of Salvation History (9:30-10:21)

1. Israel, the Gentiles, and the Righteousness of God (9:30-10:13)

a. The Righteousness of God and the "Law of Righteousness" (9:30-33)

b. The Righteousness of God and "Their Own Righteousness" (10:1-4)

c. Gospel and Law (10:5-13)

2. Israel's Accountability (10:14-21)

D. Summary: Israel, the "Elect," and the "Hardened" (11:1-10)

E. Defining the Promise (2): The Future of Israel (11:11-32)

1. God's Purpose in Israel's Rejection (11:11-15)

2. The Interrelationship of Jews and Gentiles: A Warning to Gentile Believers (11:16-24)

3. The Salvation of "All Israel" (11:25-32)

F. Conclusion: Praise to God in Light of His Awesome Plan (11:33-36)

Class Resources
  • This lesson offers a deep dive into Paul's Letter to the Romans, revealing its pastoral aims, Paul's intentions to visit Spain, Jerusalem, and Rome, and its relevance to early Christian dynamics and theological inquiries about the Law in Christ's time.
  • This lesson offers a fresh view of Paul's theology, focusing on Romans. It emphasizes the first-century context, highlighting Gentile inclusion and unity in Christ, challenging traditional views. Gain insights into Paul's message and its relevance today.
  • Explore the book of Romans for modern faith conflicts: balance tradition with contemporary practices, learn from history, and grasp Paul's ministry and Gospel's complexities.
  • Follow along with Dr. Moo as he begins a thorough review of Romans 1:2-5. You will learn how Paul emphasizes Jesus' earthly life, resurrection, and his appointment as the Son of God in power. This lesson examines the interconnectedness of faith and obedience, underscoring that while faith initiates salvation, genuine faith inherently entails obedience to Christ as Lord, maintaining a balanced Christian life.
  • By delving into Romans 1:16-17, you'll understand the Gospel extends beyond individual salvation, encompassing God's reign over creation and His establishment of justice. The Gospel challenges worldly powers, offering hope and transformation to all who embrace it.
  • Listen along as the class discusses questions and answers revolving around Romans 1:16-17.
  • In Romans 1:18-28, you learn that all people are held accountable by God, having knowledge of Him through natural revelation but some turn away. This passage highlights the manifestation of God's wrath against sin, the exchange of truth for falsehoods, and the absence of excuses for humanity's actions, ultimately emphasizing God's fair judgment.
  • Listen in as the class and Dr. Moo discuss aspects of Romans 1:18-28.
  • The lesson discusses Romans 2:1-11, it highlights the use of the diatribe device and the transition from focusing on Gentiles to Jews. It underscores the Jewish belief in their special status and their potential misunderstanding of God's judgment. The lesson reviews the focus of the text on key themes such as judgment, righteousness, and the relationship between faith and good deeds.
  • In this lesson, you'll review the significance of the Law, notably the Law of Moses, in God's judgment. Paul stresses that mere knowledge of the Law isn't sufficient for righteousness; obedience is key. The primary message is that salvation ultimately relies on God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as human efforts and consciences alone cannot secure salvation. This lesson highlights the importance of understanding these concepts in interactions with people of different religious beliefs.
  • The key takeaway in this lesson is that while being a Jew comes with a great heritage, it doesn't guarantee salvation. Obedience to God's law is crucial, and reliance on religious heritage or rituals won't save you. The lesson emphasizes the universal human condition of being under the power of sin, and people cannot be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the Law or by the works of the Law. Only through faith in Christ are we made righteous.
  • This lesson explores the New Perspective on Paul, emphasizing that the Law was for Jewish covenant status, not just salvation. It promotes a holistic faith view, balancing vertical and horizontal aspects, Spirit-led obedience, and 1st-century Judaism diversity, enriching Pauline teachings in the church.
  • In exploring Romans 3:21-26, you'll gain insights into the relationship between righteousness, faith, and salvation. Paul highlights God's righteousness, which is accessible to all through faith in Jesus Christ. By weaving together themes of righteousness, faith, and inclusivity, Paul challenges conventional Jewish and Gentile perspectives, emphasizing the continuity of God's salvation plan while underscoring the centrality of faith in Christ for all believers.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insights into the potential challenge in translating Romans 3:23-24, particularly the term "all" and its connection to the debate on universalism in evangelicalism. Dr. Moo stresses the importance of coherence in biblical interpretation and explores the themes of God's righteousness, faith, and grace in justification. The lesson reviews the cultural background of redemption, drawing parallels with the Greco-Roman slave market and emphasizing the need to understand both the problem of sin and the Gospel solution.
  • Embarking on this lesson, you'll gain insight into the historical development and contemporary challenges surrounding the doctrine of justification. Through exploring classic Reformation principles and contemporary reassessments, you'll understand the tensions between Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives, particularly regarding the infusion of righteousness and the role of grace.
  • The lesson explores the intricate connection between faith and works, justification, and sanctification in contemporary theological discourse. It delineates divergent views on justification, with scholars like Piper advocating for the preservation of biblical distinctions amidst modern theological trends. The lesson examines key questions regarding the meaning, basis, time, and means of justification.
  • Students in Dr. Moo's class ask multiple questions about justification.
  • By studying Romans 3:27-4:25, you gain insight into Paul's theology, where faith, exemplified by Abraham's righteousness, transcends works and ethnicity, emphasizing the universal scope of salvation through Christ.
  • Hear the questions the students ask regarding Romans 3:27–4:25. And discover Dr. Moo's answers to the questions posed.
  • In Romans 5 – 8, you gain insights into profound theological concepts like justification, identity in Christ, and the tension between present reality and future hope, guiding you to embrace your changed identity and hope for future transformation amidst life's trials.
  • Students as deep questions about Romans 5-8. Hear what Dr. Moo presents as answers to their questions.
  • Through Romans 5:1-11, you'll review the contrast between the Old and New Realms, understanding the essence of living in grace, finding hope amid suffering, and experiencing the assurance of eternal security rooted in Christ's sacrifice and God's love poured into believers' hearts by the Holy Spirit.
  • In Romans 5:12-21, Paul contrasts Adam's sin with Christ's redemptive grace, emphasizing humanity's hope and victory over death through union with Christ, while various interpretations of original sin underscore the universal need for redemption and Christ's pivotal role in restoring humanity to God.
  • Listen to the thorough questions the students ask regarding Romans 5:12-21.
  • The students ask excellent questions of Dr. Moo in this insightful discussion on Romans 6:1-14.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of the theological implications of Christ's death and resurrection as explained in Romans 6. You will explore different interpretations of Paul's language regarding the old self and the new self, considering the implications for the Christian life. Ultimately, you will be challenged to recognize your identity in Christ and to actively live according to that identity, rejecting the slavery of sin and embracing servitude to God.
  • Hear the questions the students ask of Dr. Moo regarding Romans 6:1-23.
  • In diving into Romans 7, you'll explore the Law's role in Christian life. Paul's discourse clarifies the distinction between law and gospel, emphasizing the Torah's significance in understanding divine commandments.

Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.

Please note that the audio mp3 file numbers on downloaded files are two greater than each lecture number beginning with number 15.

This transcript follows the main points of the speaker but is not always word-for-word.

Romans 11:16-24

If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


A. You Must Remain in God: In verse 16, Paul uses an analogy here, if the root is holy so are the branches. This argument is from something small to something large that has an effect on it. Of course, the idea of the root and the branches is what Paul develops in his famous olive tree imagery that comes next. You have the same idea again; you have this tree that sort of represents the people of God and Paul says that some of those branches are broken off, people who sort of belonged to that tree by their own heritage and branches that weren’t native to that tree were grafted in, Gentiles. Paul makes two points: the first is a kind of theological point, if God has grafted in these branches that aren’t part of the tree, surely he can graft natural branches back in again; the second point includes the more pastoral aspect of where he is addressing the Gentiles that God has added into the tree. They are not to boast over the natural branches; don’t become arrogant. Beware of any pride or arrogance, otherwise you may fall. This is where my Arminian friends will start preaching their theology in regards to the following text. This is where Paul seemingly addresses branches that are part of the tree warning them that if they don’t continue in God’s kindness (verse 22) they will instead be cut off. You have a very strict warning to those who are apparently part of the tree, those who have been grafted into the people of God; if you don’t remain in the kindness of God, you can be cut out of the tree. Again, you see how people differ over some of these things. This is not because of obstinacy or because of the traditions that we are locked into but because the Biblical evidence is not clear on one side or the other. This sounds very individualistic as it talks about faith and God’s kindness. I think that it is individuals who believe, not groups. So, I don’t think this is talking cooperate here.


B. The Speech-Act Theory: One of the more important books that try to argue a Calvinist view of security is J. G. Volt’s book. I also remember one such dissertation by Lory Norris who took these warning passages in the New Testament and tried to talk about how they were functioning. She was using something called speech-act theory which is a way of thinking about our language in terms of what we are trying to accomplish with that language. The illustration I use, if I’m reading a book in the evening while sitting in my easy chair and my wife says, ‘honey, the trash can is full.’ I could respond, ‘thanks dear for that information.’ But that is not what her words are trying to accomplish; she has made a statement, not a command. So, what is she trying to accomplish with those words? Obviously, she wants me to empty the trash. This is the idea of speech-act theory; when we talk and say things, we are trying to accomplish things with our words. So Scripture is God’s speech-act to us. My former colleague at Wheaton, Kevin van Houser has written a lot about this. God addresses his people and his words are trying to accomplish things. When we have statements in Scripture, we should always be asking what is God trying to do by that statement? We shouldn’t just think that it was an interesting thing for God to say. What is it trying to accomplish? Norris argued that these warning passages are designed to stir Christians up to be more faithful and obedient. So, leaving the theology aside for the moment, we should recognize what these passages are intended to do. In other words, as a Calvinist, I shouldn’t come to these texts and say, ‘I know that I am secure.’ My first reaction should be to see the warning that God wants me to understand. It is to remind us of how important it is that we stay faithful. This is something that I really to take seriously; not just as a Calvinist to explain it away. So, we always need to be reminded as to what Scripture is trying to accomplish. I am speaking to my own Calvinist brothers and sisters in coming to these kinds of passages not to spend time on what it doesn’t mean, trying to find ways to fit the texts into our theology.


So, we need to let the text speak; let it do it’s work; don’t ignore the theology but neither get hung up on what it is saying and thus miss what God is trying to say to us. I want to avoid saying that it is a mystery or it is both/and, etc. We can end of with a really mushy theology, if I can call it that. God wants us to think through these things that he is saying. I am also convinced that we try to force conclusions in a way that doesn’t do justice to all of Scripture. Now, I know that Paul’s use of mystery is somewhat different than the way we use it.