Meanwhile: Our God is a great BIG God (3).
We join Paul in the clouds, glorying in the gospel! Full of joy at the grace of God. But... lets just throw a spanner in the works for a few minutes. You see, its all well and good for God to say – believe my totally secure promise. In fact its brilliant. God calling us to believe his word.
But hasn't this happened before? Wasn't Israel previously secure in the love of God? Has God's word failed for them? Doesn't that mean it might fail for us? From the heights of joy, to the depths of anguish.... V1-5. What a turn around... from 8v39 to 5v2... from the heights of joy to the depths of sorrow. What could possibly turn things so sharply? Anguish so deep that he would give up his salvation to save Israel. He's not saying he can. He made it very clear that Jesus Christ is the one and only person who can give his life to save others.
What he is doing is dropping a hint of Exodus 32 in here. He echoes Moses' cry to let himself be blotted out to save Israel, after the Incident with th Golden Calf. We'll return to that incident in a while because it lies very strongly behind this chapter.
Question is - does Israel's failure to gain salvation mean that God's word has failed? I mean, they had adoption, glory, covenants, law, worship, pormises, patriarchs, and thats before you even remember that Jesus descended from the Jews... genetically speaking. God has given Israel a lot!
So, its fair to ask isn't it – has God's word failed.. Does God's word not do its work? If not then Romans 8v38-39 is not a promise we can cling to. What does he say? No. God's word has not failed. This is emphatic. v6 It is not as though God's word has failed. That, Paul observes, is the wrong conclusion to draw from the vast numbers of unbelieving Jews.
But it remains – they've not believed. Everything else will explain why. As we travel through that I pray that the clouds open to reveal grace afresh... and something fresh of God's glory. Five things to say in chapter 9 and we'll draw out implications along the way...
As Paul writes these things it is tear-stained theology. He is in simultaneously in tears of joy about God's salvation plan, and broken hearted for those who are perishing. We must see the apostles heart as we consider these things. They are hard to swallow in places, but are never cold-academic musing. Paul is 100% heart and 100% mind. And he is evidently carried along by the Spirit of God; no man on his own would write the things Paul writes here.... we wouldn't imagine God to be this big, nor permit ourselves to be so low.