Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 20
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)
- 11:00 AM
because of snow)
- 6:00 PM
Purposes With Israel in the New Testament Age (9)
The Mystery of the Salvation of All Israel [download]
Reading: Isaiah 59
II. The Old
46:1-6; 14:1-7; 32:5-9
Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the sermons
and DVDs of the worship services.
Herman Hoeksema: "Therefore, we must explain the
fulness of the Gentiles in the same way as the fulness of the Jews. The
fulness of something is the full measure of that thing. The fulness of
the Gentiles is that which is filled with Gentiles. But the question is,
what is the measure? The answer is that the measure is God’s election.
When you put the last drop of water in a glass, you have the fulness.
Likewise, when the last of the elect Gentiles is brought in, you have
the fulness of the Gentiles" (Righteous
By Faith Alone, pp. 558-559).
R. C. H. Lenski on Romans 11:25: "The contention
is especially sharp regarding the temporal conjunction ‘until.’ Now it
does at times mean that something lasts ‘until’ a certain time and then
ceases to last, but it is also used with reference to a terminus merely,
and nothing is implied as to what follows that terminus. Here it makes
no difference as to which of these two meanings we prefer. For the
Jewish petrifaction will most certainly cease forever when the fulness
of the Gentiles has come in: the last judgment will then arrive (Matt.
24:14), there will be no more Jews on earth, no more gospel against
which to set hearts of stone, no more salvation to reject with adamant
opposition. The idea that ‘until’ means that the petrifaction will be
converted into softness is untenable."
Herman Ridderbos: "The mystery (Rom. 11:25) is
thus situated in the manner in which this fullness of Israel is to be
saved: in the strange interdependence of the salvation of Israel and
that of the gentiles. Israel, which was chosen from among the gentiles,
must, contrary to every human expectation, first give way to the
gentiles. But as Israel because of its disobedience has become a cause
of salvation for the gentiles, so now the gentiles must provoke Israel
to jealousy. There is thus an interaction. God grants no mercy to Israel
without the gentiles, but neither does he do so to the gentiles without
Israel" (Paul: An Outline of His Theology, pp. 359-360).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
The December CR News
and the sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner (8 January)
are on the back table. A Bible reading programme for 2010 is also
John McAuley has requested and received
membership in the CPRC. We welcome our brother back into our midst.
Standard Bearer subscriptions are due: $25 to
RFPA or £15 to Rev. Stewart.
PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse
Tuesday, 7 PM
- Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans
PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible study will not meet this week but
will resume next week Wednesday, 30 December, 7:45 PM at the manse.
Ladies Bible study sheets on Chapter 3 of
Keeping God's Covenant are available on the back table. We hope
to meet again in the first week in January.
The Council will hold their monthly meeting on
Monday, 4 January, 7:30 PM at the manse.
Martyn McGeown completes his internship on
January 1. He will be in Lynden, Washington, 4-18 January, while Rev. R.
Hanko visits family in Michigan.
Building Update: Almost all the windows are now
fitted and the aluminium, seamless guttering has also been fitted. The
plasterers have started and will be staying until the inside of the
building is completed.
Lectures in Limerick:
15 January - "Dispensationalism: An Unbiblical View of the End of the
World" (Prof. Dykstra)
February - topic to be decided
March - "The Real St. Patrick"
Offerings: General Fund: £589.70. Donations:
£200 (building fund).
Website Additions: 1 German translation and 2
Indonesian links (to the Belgic Confession and the Canons of
Dordt) have been added.
PRC News: Rev. Eriks (Hudsonville, MI) declined the call to
Trinity PRC. Rev. Key (Hull, IA) declined the call to Holland. Byron
Center PRC called Rev. Eriks.
O. Palmer Robertson: "‘And
so all Israel shall be saved’ (Rom. 11:26a). The question under
consideration is whether ethnic Israel has a future that will be
different from that which Israel experiences during the gospel era. Jews
have been saved and will continue to be saved throughout the present
dispensation. The question is whether verse 26 speaks of a distinctive
conversion activity of God in ethnic Israel immediately prior to, or in
conjunction with, the return of Christ.
First of all, common misconceptions of this verse
must be removed. The passage is often read as though it were saying,
then all Israel shall be saved.’ The phrase kai houtos
[‘and so’] is interpreted as though it possessed a primarily temporal
significance: hardening has happened to part of Israel ‘until’ the
fullness of the Gentiles has come in; but then, after that, all
Israel shall be saved.
Such a rendering of kai houtos [‘and so’]
obviously answers the question at hand in favor of a distinctive future
for ethnic Israel. The present ‘hardening’ contrasts sharply with a
However, the phrase kai houtos [‘and so’]
simply does not mean ‘and then.’ Instead, it means ‘and in this manner’
or ‘and in this way.’ Of the approximately 205 times in which the word
houtos [‘so’] occurs in the New Testament, not once does it have a
temporal significance. Paul easily enough could have said kai tote,
‘and then.’ But instead he says quite specifically kai houtos,
‘and in this manner.’ A dramatic recoloring of Romans 11:26 emerges as a
result of this more precise rendering of Paul’s actual words: ‘And in
this manner all Israel shall be saved.’ In such a manner, by such a
process, thus, by this means, in the way described, Israel shall be
By the phrase kai houtos in Romans 11:26, Paul does not look
into the future beyond ‘the fullness of the Gentiles.’ Instead, he looks
into the past. He recalls the fantastic processes of salvation among the
Jewish people as he has just described them. In accordance with the
pattern outlined in the previous verses of Romans 11, ‘and Israel shall
be saved.’ First the promises and the Messiah were given to Israel. Then
in God’s mysterious plan, Israel rejected its Messiah and was cut off
from its position of distinctive privilege. As a result, the coming of
the Messiah was announced to the Gentiles. The nations then obtained by
faith what Israel could not find by seeking in the strength of their own
flesh. Frustrated over seeing the blessings of their messianic kingdom
heaped on the Gentiles, individual Jews are moved to jealousy.
Consequently, they too repent, believe, and share in the promises
originally made to them. ‘And in this manner’ (kai houtos), by
such a fantastic process which shall continue throughout the present age
‘up to’ (achris hou) the point where the full number of the
Gentiles is brought in, all Israel is saved" (The Israel of God,
This is part 3 of the 35th e-mail from Prof.
Engelsma on justification.
James himself calls attention to the fact that
regarding justification as the legal act of God forgiving his sins and
rendering him righteous Abraham was justified by faith alone, without
good works, that is, that he (James) is not contradicting Paul in Romans
and Galatians. Right in the middle of his impassioned contention with
the antinomian abusers of gracious justification, James quotes Genesis
15:6, the text that figures so importantly in Paul’s doctrine of
justification by faith alone in Romans 4, "Abraham believed God, and it
[i.e., faith] was imputed unto him for righteousness." Long before Isaac
was born and therefore long before Abraham offered his son upon the
altar, which work, James says in verse 21, demonstrated his
justification, Abraham was justified by faith—by faith alone. Faith was
imputed to Abraham for righteousness, faith with regard to faith’s
object, namely, Christ and His righteousness, faith apart from any good
work on Abraham’s part, including the awesome good work of offering his
son on the altar.
James 2 teaches the same truth that Christ had
earlier taught in Luke 7:47 concerning the sinful woman who loved Him,
because He had forgiven her sins, and who anointed His feet with
precious ointment. "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she
loved much." Jesus did not mean that her sins were forgiven, that is,
that she was justified, on the ground of her great love, that is,
good work. But He meant that her great love was proof and evidence of
the forgiveness of her many sins. Her love was demonstration of her
justification. That this is the meaning of Jesus’ word in Luke 7:47 is
put beyond any doubt by the second part of the text: "but to whom little
is forgiven, the same loveth little." In addition, this is the teaching
of the parable of the creditor and the two debtors illustrated by the
behaviour of the sinful woman (vv. 41-42). One who is freely, or
graciously, forgiven a great debt, that is, one who is justified
graciously by faith alone, apart from any works, will show this
justification by loving Christ much.
James does not contradict the gospel of grace in
Romans 3 and 4. But James does teach, and warn, that the gospel of
grace, particularly justification by faith alone, is no occasion for
license. Rather, the full truth of justification is that the justified
sinner will work—will work good works, will work works that are amazing,
will do works of self-sacrifice and help of the true church, will do
works that arise from a faith that trusts the promise of God, even when
that promise seems impossible of fulfilment.
Our good works are not the conditions for
justification, nor the basis of justification, nor the content of
justification, but the fruit of justification.
This has always been the orthodox Protestant and
Reformed explanation of James 2 and its harmony with Romans 3 and 4. In
his commentary on James 2, Calvin wrote that justification by works in
James 2 refers to the "proof [Abraham] gave of his justification." Peter
Martyr Vermigli explained, "Faith justifies our Persons, and good works
justify our Faith."
Cordially in Christ,