You probably noticed a brief personal note at the beginning of chapter 10: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved..." The "them" he refers to is his fellow Jews, who "have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." "As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers..." is a turning point at the beginning of chapter 12, for it feels like everything that follows, at least through chapter 14, falls under the thesis of his appeal: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." By “the grace given” to him he reminds everyone “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” to “let your love be genuine…bless those who persecute you…if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
In chapter 13 this transformed life, this living sacrifice, commits “every person” to “be subject to the governing authorities…not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” In fact, “Pay to all what is owed to them,” he exhorts: “taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed…owe no one anything, except to love each other…”
In the final chapter Paul dismisses the temptation to judge one another’s adherence to the Law, because again, “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean to anyone who thinks it unclean.” As you read this remember his earlier contention that “…now we are released from the Law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”
Yesterday Paul appealed to Jewish history and writings to support his argument that God can choose whomever He wants to receive His grace. Today, he appeals to the Law itself – which Jesus also did - to affirm that “love is the fulfillment of the Law.” Look for quotes from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy throughout, as Paul appeals both to Gentiles, and especially to Jews, to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Our verse for this week is Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Romans 11 through 14. Now let’s read it!
1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.