Here in Revelation 5, we see the Son who willingly humbled Himself in obedience to the Father returning to the greater place of exaltation in the heavenlies. When Christ takes the scroll from the Father’s hand, the four living creatures and the 24 elders are overcome with awe as they behold the glory of the Godhead displayed in the outworking of redemptive history. So they all fall down before the Lamb of God to worship. Their response models what our response should be to Christ.
As Peter moves toward the conclusion of his second letter, he continues to answer the questions being raised by false teachers, particularly questions concerning the timing of Christ’s return. In these thee verses, he bids us to understand God’s perspective of time, to recognize God’s sovereign purpose in bringing about the repentance of His people, and to anticipate the severity of God’s wrath when Christ comes again.
When Peter instructs believers to make our calling and election sure, he is not giving us the responsibility of “signing off” on God’s sovereign work of redemption. God knows with absolute certainty who is saved and who is not because it is His work. Therefore, Peter’s focus here is our assurance of our salvation. We verify our salvation for ourselves by examining ourselves to make sure we are producing biblical fruit. In doing this, we keep ourselves from stumbling and prepare ourselves for the glory of heaven.
In this final sermon on the book of Romans, Pastor Shawn summarizes the entire book in one sermon, providing both reflections on the significance of the doctrine of salvation as well as practical application of the dominant themes.
As we near the end of Romans 11, we see that Israel’s rejection of the gospel was ordained by God so that the gospel would go forth in power among the Gentiles. Thus, in terms of the gospel, they are God’s enemies for our sake. Yet they are also beloved from the standpoint of God’s election. Though Israel has been unfaithful, because of God’s promise to their fathers, His love for them will ultimately be demonstrated and vindicated in their final restoration. This will all take place according to God’s sovereign plan to exalt His mercy in redemption.
On the heels of verse 22, Paul continues to reveal God’s purpose for the salvation of Israel. Through this text, we find that not only is it possible that there will be an ingathering of the Jews in the last days, it is a certainty guaranteed by God Himself. He is able to save all whom He desires, He has appointed the times of redemption, and He will most definitely keep His covenant commitment to Israel.
In Romans 11:1-6, we saw that God has sovereignly maintained a believing remnant in Israel even through her worst times of apostasy. In verses 7-10, we saw that Israel’s rejection was not complete, but only partial. In this sermon on verses 11-16, Paul helps us understand that Israel’s rejection is not final, but only temporary. The rejection of God’s own chosen people has resulted in the Gentiles being reconciled to Him. If we receive this incredible blessing through Israel’s rejection, how much greater will the blessings be when Israel is once again accepted in God’s sight on the basis of their faith in Christ!
There is a right way to seek righteousness and a wrong way to seek righteousness. Unfortunately, the largest portion of Israel chose the wrong way. They misconstrued the purpose of the law and sought to justify themselves before God on the basis of works. In response, God hardened their hearts and made them fit for destruction. Yet, the calling of God is irrevocable, and according to His sovereign purpose, those who were chosen by Him did receive the gift of righteousness.
The final image we were left with in Romans 10 is that of God reaching out in compassion to Israel only to find them stubbornly and defiantly rejecting His offer of salvation. We are thus left with the question: “Will God wash His hands of them?” Paul’s emphatic answer is “May it never be!” Drawing upon his own personal testimony as well as the experience of the prophet Elijah, Paul reasserts that God will secure the remnant he has chosen for Himself among ethnic Israel.
As we reach the end of Romans 9, Paul is wrapping up his very directed discussion of the doctrine of election. There is a shift in these final verses to view the subject from man’s perspective. The only possible explanation that Gentiles, who do not pursue God at all, have attained righteousness is because they believed, and that exercise of faith is a gift of God. The Jews, on the other hand, have pursued righteousness diligently, but because they trust in their works and not in Christ, they have not attained it. Faith, or lack thereof, is the reason Christ is a cornerstone for some and a stone of stumbling to others.