July 22, 2007


Romans 11:25 & 16:25


    Two mysteries are revealed in Romans: “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery...that blindness in part is happened to Israel...” (11:25) and “Now to Him Who is of power to establish you according to my gospel, even the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery,,,kept secret since the world began...” (16:25). We must not anticipate revelation as we focus on these two mysteries revealed to Paul and proclaimed during the Acts period.
   The Roman letter divides into four sections yet two divisions: OUTER and INNER: Verses 1:1-5:11 and 9:1-16:24 are the OUTER sections and 5:12-8:39 and 16:25-27 comprise the INNER sections. One “mystery” is revealed in each division as quoted above. The promised, prophesied “gospel of God” begins the OUTER division (1:1-7) and Paul’s unprophesied mystery, “my gospel,” concludes the INNER division, yet it is detailed in the first INNER section, Romans 5:12 – 8:39.
   The documented behavior of Gentiles and Jews concluded that “all have sinned” (3:23). Yet the INNER division begins with “all have sinned” because of one man, (5:12) and exposes a more terrible revelation than “they are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable ...none...does good, no, not one” (3:12). We are drawn back to Adam in Eden to learn that “in my flesh dwells no good thing...” and cry out, “O wretched man that I am..., Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (7:18, 24). No longer is it what we have done, but what we are. From there, two laws compete, yet “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” frees us from “the law of sin and death” (8:2).
   The first section concluded that helpless, ungodly, enemy sinners were “reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” and are now “saved by His life having “received the reconciliation!” “Because of this,” the INNER division considers two men: the first Adam and last Adam, the first Man and the Second Man, the one disobedience of one and the one righteous-ness of the Other. The grace that included all in Adam is the same grace that includes “all in Christ.” “Shall not as the offence so also be the free gift?” “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift comes upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18)!

Ivan L. Burgener