Thursday, 31 October 2013
For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:32
Again, Paul uses his common conjunction “for” in order to explain the previous two “mercy verses” with this concluding thought before he moves on to his stirring doxology. “For God has committed them all to disobedience” refers to the previous disobedience of the gentiles who now have obtained mercy and the currently-disobedient Jews who will obtain that same mercy.
The word for “has committed” is one which gives the thought of imprisonment. A comparable concept would be fish caught up in a net. God has thus bound both categories of men, Jew and Gentile, so “that He might have mercy on all.” In essence, He imprisons so that He may set free; He binds so that He may release; He confines so that He may lead to broad spaces.
All who come to Christ were first found to be in Adam; all who are forgiven were first under sin; all who are adopted as sons were once orphans. Because of this, each will understand the freedom and privilege which they have been granted. It is through contrast that we learn to discern the differences.
In this thought of committing all to disobedience, it cannot be inferred that this was actively done by God. Rather, from Adam’s free-will choice, all came under condemnation and so all were bound under sin. From that, God had mercy on a select group of people and called them to Himself. Their eventual rejection of Christ was voluntary. At the same time, the gentiles voluntarily streamed to the gospel. Thus the committing of the Jews to disobedience was a self-inflicted imprisonment while at the same time the voluntary choice of the gentile people brought us to God’s mercy.
When an offense is committed, the judge is right in sentencing the criminal, the jailer is right in executing his duties of imprisoning the offender, and the executioner is not guilty when he flips the switch on “Old Sparky” to put those who commit capital crimes to death. In the same manner, God is not to blame when His instructions, which were plain and clear, are violated or ignored.
Moreover, He provides sufficient data for what He expects so that all who are so bound are without excuse when the evidence is presented. One cannot stand before God and use the claim that their sentence is unfair. Not knowing about Jesus doesn’t condemn a person. Being a human being, born of Adam condemns a person. Being presented with Jesus and rejecting Jesus only increases condemnation. And being presented with Jesus and accepting Him frees Adam’s seed from condemnation. Therefore, all are bound under disobedience that God might (not will) have mercy on all.
Life application: A common question, and what is often used as an indictment against God’s fairness, involves those who have never heard the news about Jesus. How can God condemn such a person? Be ready to answer this. Man is “already condemned” according to John 3:18. We need nothing to be separated from God; that already is the case. In His mercy, God sent Jesus. The choice is ours to accept or reject the offer. Ensure they know to choose wisely.
Heavenly Father, how rich and wonderful are the blessings found in Christ. There is freedom from the law, freedom from sin, freedom as a child in Your house. Instead of attempting to please You by my own work, I stand by faith in the work of Christ. I know that in Him, I shall be accepted on that great Day which all men are destined for. Thank You for the freedom only He can provide. Amen.