Romans 10; 11
God desires all people to be saved. There are no racial, gender, social, or national barriers—no barriers at all—to the gift of salvation offered by God to those who may receive it by faith.
Bibles, papers, pencils, colored markers or crayons
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. ”Some people are more naturally bent to be Christians than others.” Have you ever heard someone say this? Have you ever felt this way? Share your thoughts with the group.
B. As you listen to others share their ideas, reflect on what you believe is “true” in this statement and what you believe is “false” in this statement.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. Are some people more favorably blessed by God than others? On a sheet of paper, list at least 12 ways people can be categorized by differences (examples: gender, nationality, upbringing). Then circle those that you believe are advantageous to Christians.
B. Thought Questions
Read Romans 10:1-4. What is Paul saying here about salvation? Choose one phrase and try to understand it more deeply.
- “My heart’s desire … for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (v. 1).
- “They are zealous for God … but their zeal is not based on knowledge” (v. 2).
- “They do not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own” (v. 3).
- “They did not submit to God’s righteousness” (v. 3).
- “Christ is the end of the law…” (v. 4).
Read Romans 10:9-13. Many Jews resisted the idea that people who were not of Jewish descent could be saved. Paul makes the argument that anyone can be saved. How does he make this argument?
- He quotes the Old Testament, a book precious to all Jews.
- Salvation comes from confessing Christ and believing in the resurrection.
- Trust in God is the basis of salvation.
- Your national or cultural identity is not the basis of God’s response to your call.
- God responds to any heart that cries out to the Lord.
The question is then raised, “What about Israel? Are they all lost? What is the purpose of the Jews?” Paul responds to these concerns in Romans 11. Read verses 1-10 and look for answers to the questions above.
- God did not reject Israel; Israel rejected God.
- Not all Israel will be lost; there is a faithful remnant.
- Israelites who are faithful are not saved by works but are chosen by grace.
- Seeking salvation through personal effort will never work for anyone.
- Being part of the “elect” comes through faith alone. It has nothing to do with nationality.
Using the analogy of an olive tree, Paul teaches the relationship between Israel and the Gentiles (non-Jews). Read Romans 11:11-24 and consider some of the points Paul makes.
- God used Israel’s failure as a nation to open a door for the gospel to go to the world.
- Even if the Israelites failed, we should still have an appreciation for their role and an interest in their salvation.
- We have much to learn from our Jewish heritage and history.
- Non-Jews can become arrogant and proud by pointing at the mistakes of their Jewish friends.
- People who are “grafted” to this tree of salvation (with roots in Judaism) can just as easily be broken off.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: A friend at work says to you, “God rejected the Jews because they crucified Jesus. I don’t think we should have anything to do with them either!” Based on what you’ve learned in today’s lesson, how would you respond to this anti-Semitic attitude?
Option 2: Using paper and colored markers or crayons, draw a picture of the olive tree illustration Paul uses in Romans 11:11-24. Bring out his concepts on the root (stock), branches grafted in, and branches broken off. Make brief notes on the page to explain your drawing.
Option 3: Paul ends Romans 11 with a doxology of praise to God. Rewrite this passage (verses 33-36) in your own poetic language and share it with the group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Reflect quietly on this question: Do I have prejudices about who God can and cannot save?
B. Share your thoughts about Part A with the group and then pray together for the Lord to give you an open vision of God’s great and broad plan of salvation for everyone.
Next Week's Scripture Focus:
Romans 12; 13