Tuesday, 5 January 2016
What do Gentiles need to learn?
Paul and the Torah,
Lloyd Gaston, Wipf & Stock, 2006, page 150
Lloyd Gaston concludes his thread by considering one final question: What do Gentiles need to learn from what Paul says about Israel?
First of all, that God is faithful to his promises to Israel, that the word of God has not lapsed, that all Israel will be saved, and that this has to do not with human doing or believing but with the grace and mercy of God. They should know this because they have been called into the people of God on exactly the same basis. That is what Paul has to say about Israel (and Gentiles). What he has to say to Gentiles is related to this but expressed in the quite different mode of paraenesis (11:13-25a).
There Gentiles are told that they ought not to think that they have supplanted Jews in God's favour or that the election of Israel, on which their own depends, has in any way been abrogated. That is an important consequence to be drawn from what is said overall in these chapters, but there is a difference between speaking of Israel in God's eyes and speaking of Israel in Gentile eyes, between mystery and exhortation. Failure to recognise this difference and failure to recognise the different mode of address in the olive tree digression has led, I believe, to a distorted understanding of the main point of what Paul wasendeavouring to express in Romans 9-11.