Monday, 28 October 2013
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29
In context, this verse is speaking of Israel’s national election, not individual matters concerning God’s people. The word for “gifts” here, charisma, is also applied to individual gifts throughout the New Testament. Such gifts include the spiritual gifts given by God to his children for the benefit of the church – ministry, wisdom, healing, etc. The term “calling” is likewise used elsewhere when speaking of the calling of individuals; the invitation extended to come and partake of His gift of salvation.
It is true that such gifts and calling may be irrevocable towards the individual, however, this is not the context of Romans 11:29 and so the context should be maintained. It would be a stretch to use this verse as a stand-alone to justify eternal salvation of the believer or the surety of maintaining the gifts which have been bestowed. Rather, such concepts must be found elsewhere to support those tenets. Only if such is the case (and it is) can the wording of Romans 11:29 be applied to individual matters.
Paul has been speaking of the covenantal promises made to Israel. In this, God has spoken and therefore the thing He has promised, He will fulfill. He will never entirely cut Israel off from being a people or from receiving His graces. They have been called and therefore the calling stands, regardless of their conduct.
Life application: Like Israel who continuously failed to live out their calling and yet has never been cast off, we will also at times fail to live out our own calling. However, the Bible fully supports the notion of eternal salvation. Truly, like national Israel, the individual gifts and calling are irrevocable when we are in Christ.
Lord God, the surety I have in Christ is the single most comforting part of my existence. While the world around me is falling apart, when friends turn away from me, as politicians continuously renege on the promises they made – Lord, for everything that is contrary to happiness in my life, I have the joy of being in Christ. He is steadfast, faithful, always true, and fully capable to save me to the end. Hallelujah and Amen.