Paul often had to deal with Christians who were showing proud attitudes (for example, 1 Corinthians 4:6-7). He would much have preferred to deal with them gently; but often he had to deal with the situation in a firm and strict manner.
Here, he was dealing with a Christian who was speaking proudly against the Jews (Godís special people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Boldly, this Christian dared to protest that he had the right to speak like that about them. He had trusted Christ; they had not. In his opinion, therefore, he had a right relationship with God and they did not.
In reality, this Christianís relationship with God was weaker than he imagined. If his relationship with God was stronger, he would not be speaking so proudly. A person can only become a Christian because of faith (trust in God). In other words, a Christian depends not on himself, but upon God. On the other hand a proud person depends on his own intelligence, strength or skills. Therefore, a proud person trusts himself, and not God.
This particular Christian was arguing that the Jews had lost their relationship with God. It was clear that many of them were not believing God. Without faith (belief and trust in God), it is impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:6). However, this Christian seems to have forgotten Godís kindness, his power and his promises (11:23; 11:26). God has not forgotten his love for the Jews (11:28-29). He is able to bring them back into a right relationship with him. He will carry out his promise to do that, at the time that he has chosen, just before Christís return.
Next part: Unbelief and faith (Romans 11:20)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.