When I've not been in the New Forest with the team this week, I've been studying Romans 11 with Tom and Ed... awesome stuff - when you take time to study it you can tell why Paul explodes in praise at the end of it. Study it for yourself, and take John Piper along to help you...
"God’s aim in history to stop the mouth of human pride and magnify the greatness of his absolutely free mercy. Jews were prone to boast over Gentiles, so God humbled them by making their disobedience the means of Gentile salvation. And more than that: he humbled them by making their own salvation the fruit of Gentile salvation. By the mercy shown to Gentiles they receive mercy. Jewish boasting is ended. And what about us Gentiles? We are prone to boast over the broken off branches of Israel and brag that their disobedience was for our mercy. True. But then God stops our mouths: by making our mercy a means of theirs and our salvation a stepping stone to theirs. And all Gentile boasting is ended." (John Piper)
Three Piper mp3's to listen to:Romans 9-11 magnify the doctrine of election (quite rightly!) and they do so to silence our boasts, and to show the glories of God's grace.
For God's sake let grace be grace
Pastoral thoughts on the doctrine of election
God's design for history: The glory of his mercy
"[Election] is not mainly a doctrine to be argued about, but a doctrine to be enjoyed. It's not designed for disputes; it's designed for missions. It's not meant to divide people (though it will); it's meant to make them compassionate, kind, humble, meek, and forgiving." (John Piper)