K:JNWTS 30/3 (December 2015): 24-43
Jewett recognizes individual elements in Romans 9 that are exegetically incisive and stimulate biblical-theological reflection. One of these is his comment that Paul's prayer to be accursed for his brethren reminds us of the prayer of Moses to be accursed in exchange for the nation (Exod. 32:31-33). He also strongly argues that "Christ, who is God overall" (Rom. 9:5) is Paul's affirmation of the deity of Christ! This shows Jewett's honesty to let the evidence point where it may.
Another of Jewett's insights is that Paul's reference to "glory" (Rom. 9:4) looks back to the glorification of God's church in Rom. 8:18, 30. And we might add that the adoption (Rom. 9:4) harkens back to the adoption of the sons of God of the new age (Rom. 8:15, 23). Respecting the future, Paul speaks of Christ's church as those who look forward to eschatological glory, the adoption of sons. It is this glory and adoption (now semi-realized) that Paul says was promised to Israel. It was promised to Israel by anticipation. The gifts and calling of God given her in previous redemptive history (Rom. 9:4) anticipated the future. In this way, the future was promised to her.
We might expand on this. First in broad strokes, Paul has spoken of the new age in Christ's Spirit (Rom. 8) surpassing the age of the law (Rom. 7). (See our discussion in part 1 of this review and the "but now" of Rom. 8:1.) As we suggested in part 1 of this review, this distinction between the two eras is tied to the greater manifestation of justification in the new era (Rom. 8:1 with 8: 31-39). Justification is more fully manifested in that those things once considered covenantal curses for God's people (8:35) are so no longer (Rom. 8:31, "who can be against us"). All of this is because of Christ's resurrection and the "newness" of this age of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6).
We can now extend this in an eschatological direction. This greater manifestation of justification brought with it a greater outpouring of the Spirit. Intertestamental Judaism (following the OT prophets) saw the eschatological age being supremely the age of the Spirit. Thus, we believe Paul considered this present age of the Spirit (in relative contrast to the age of the law, Rom. 8:2, 14-15) to be semi-eschatological.
Paul's theme of adoption in Rom. 9:4 further underscores the semi-eschatological nature of the now time. It does so by its connection to the new exodus. As we have seen, for Paul, the interconnected themes of glory and adoption (Rom. 9:4) implies that the eschatological promises of adoption (Rom. 8:15, 23) belonged to Israel. That is, God promised Israel that she would participate in the future eschatological adoption through an eschatological exodus. Yes, these promises of adoption were put in terms of a new exodus. Remember that God called Israel "my son" in the first exodus; so in the future they will be called sons of the living God (Rom. 9:26). This is the fulfillment of Hosea's prophecy of a future eschatological exodus (Hosea 1:10, 2:23) in which he will once again bring her into the wilderness (Hosea 2:14) and speak kindly to her. And thus, Paul speaks of God's present semi-eschatological mercy in the words of the first exodus (Rom. 9:15-18).
Thus, the quandary of Rom. 9:4 might be considered in this light (by way of anticipation); if the new exodus has come why is Israel not participating in it? The answer: not all who are of Israel according to the flesh are of Israel according to the Spirit. Not all who are descendent from Abraham are his true sons. Thus, they are not all God's sons. And only those chosen by God will receive adoption in the Spirit.
Only those who are true sons will participate in the true exodus. In our view, the theme of election (to sonship) that runs throughout chapter 9 is not simply a rehearsal of the general doctrine of election. It is more than that. Every instance of election that Paul rehearses in Rom. 9:6-18 anticipated the new exodus. That is, the elections of the patriarchal period and the first exodus looked forward to the greater manifestation of election found in the new exodus. That which was supernatural in the old era anticipated the greater manifestation of supernaturalism in the new. The old was fulfilled in the new.
Unfortunately, Jewett does not develop Rom. 9 in terms of the arrival of the new exodus. In our opinion, he misses the centrality of the coming of the new exodus in Christ. And it is this new exodus that brings the election of Jew and Gentile alike. They alike will be called "sons of the living God" (Rom. 9:24).
As a result Jewett misses how the OT patriarchal narrative embodies and anticipates the future eschatological exodus. That is, the electing mercy of this new exodus fulfills the elections of the patriarchal period and the first exodus. As we see it, Paul does not simply present these OT cases of election as examples reinforcing present election. More profoundly for Paul, these elections anticipated (redemptive-historically) the election of Jew and Gentile together in Christ. As a result, the fulfillment of the present time surpasses its former anticipations.
How then does the present time surpass the former administrations? The key is found in their fulfillment. It is in the equal calling of Jew and Gentile alike that Paul highlights in Rom. 9:24. This synchronizes historically with the calling of Christ's resurrection (Rom. 4:17 with 4:24-25), which we believe lies behind it. The resurrection of Christ was the greatest revelation of supernaturalism in redemptive history. So also, the new exodus more fully reveals God's supernatural calling of sinners in Christ. While the elections of the former era were manifested in the call of the Spirit, they still took place mainly among the earthly descendents of Abraham. (The first exodus itself focused its election on Abraham's physical descendents). But in the new age, the supernatural work of calling is revealed even more powerfully in that election now takes place completely irrespective of the flesh. That is, on a regular basis, election shows no favoritism to the physical descendents of Abraham. Thus, none need become Jews outwardly in order to participate in the blessings of the new age. In this way, Romans 9 is a test case in how Paul interpreted the OT in terms of anticipation and fulfillment.
This fits with the theme of the justification of God's name that we discussed in part 1 of this review. NT scholars have pointed out that this chapter has elements that remind us of a theodicy, the justification of God. We suggest something similar here, but with this modification. Theodicy is often thought to be a response to the problem of evil. While, the justification of God deals with the question of God's faithfulness to his promises of redemption, something grander is behind it. Prior to this (and apart from sin) nature already revealed an eschatological goal to history (Rom. 1:18-32). It was this goal that humanity rebelled against, bringing sin and judgment. Only then were the promises of redemption necessary if God were to bring sinners into this forfeited eschatological blessedness.
Thus, the glorification of God's name as an eschatological goal already existed before evil was in the world. This was the "glory" which humanity ultimately rebelled against in Adam (Rom. 2:7; 1:23; 5:12, 16). This would have eventually meant the judgment of all (1:32; 5:16) had not God freely chosen to save an elect people, bringing them to eschatological blessedness. In the former era of redemptive history, God chose to have his people among the seed of Abraham--nation of Israel. That nation was his visible church and so he made promises to them of redemption and the coming eschatological kingdom. The question now before Paul is, if everyone in Israel is not coming to Christ, has God been untrue to his promises to save Israel? Has God kept his eschatological promises? Thus, Paul states that "it is not as though the word of God has failed" (9:6). Paul then rehearses patriarchal elections to argue that at the present time (as before), God has not chosen everyone among the physical seed of Abraham. Thus, if some Jews reject Christ, this is not an indication that God's eschatological promises have failed. Those who fail to keep their promises are unjust, but God has not failed to keep his promises. He is not unjust. And Paul proves this by the fact that the way his word is fulfilled must be in accordance with the way he has spoken in the past: "For he says to Moses" (9:15); and "for the scripture says to Pharaoh" (9:17). And the word spoken is, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy" (9:15). That is, not everyone among Israel is chosen to salvation. Thus, the fact that only some Jews are coming to Christ is no indication that God has unjustly broken his promises. Instead, God is calling a remnant of Jews now (9:24), and this fulfills his word. In fact, that prophetic word includes the Gentiles as well (9:24).
Paul even shows that God's choice of election is just per se, and not simply because it accords with his word. That is, the word itself is just. This is made most clear in Paul's discussion of the nature of the Creator and the creature (9:19-22), bringing us back to the created order of Rom. 1:18ff. Thus, the justification of God's name and truth is grounded in his revelation in creation and OT redemption. But it is most fully answered in the saving work of Christ, in which both Jew and Gentile are now being called in him (9:22 with 9:23-26). God's right to have patience with vessels of wrath is even revealed in nature (9:20-22). And Paul moves from this right of God to the reason he exercised it redemptive-historically--to be merciful to some of these vessels. The fact that they are from among both Jews and Gentiles emphasizes its purely merciful character, based on no distinguishing marks in the vessels chosen.
The very fact that all of this comes to its apex in the saving work of Christ in the present time indicates that the work of Christ ultimately justifies God's name. That is, the justifying work of Christ justifies the name of God as we have seen earlier in this letter (e.g., see our comments on Rom. 2:24 in part 1 of this review, together with a consideration of Rom. 3:4-6 and 3:25-26).
Let us now put together the theme of the new exodus with the justification of God's name. This connection is found in one of Paul's quotes from the first exodus, now projected into the new exodus: "To demonstrate my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth" (Rom. 9:17). The demonstration of God's power (associated with Christ's resurrection, Rom. 1:16; 4:21, 24) will proclaim God's name in all the earth, thus justifying God's name. It is this new exodus in Christ's resurrection power (in which God calls Jew and Gentile alike) that justifies God's name. It shows that God is faithful to his word. The objector was implying that "God is not faithful to his eschatological word if not all Israel is coming to faith in Christ." But God has overcome this objection in Christ, center of the new exodus. In him, he has fulfilled the prophetic word. That word is fulfilled by Christ's most supreme supernatural resurrection and call in the new exodus. And this supreme call takes place when God justifies both Jews and Gentiles irrespective of fleshly descent. It shows no favoritism toward human descent or effort. It represents God acting freely and willingly in his choice of some for mercy and not others. In it, God's power and God's name alone is glorified in Christ.
In much of this chapter, Paul laid out how this fulfillment was embodied in OT narrative history--how Christ was embodied in that story--how God justified his name there. Yeah, this history participated in the new exodus before the time. That is how it pointed ahead to its greater fulfillment. All this brings the glory (9:23) that was promised Israel from the beginning (9:4), for only in God's final glorification in Christ is she glorified. Thus, eschatology and the justification of God's name in Christ are throughout Romans 9 as they are throughout this epistle.
Jewett sees little of this. Interestingly, he includes the new covenant among the promises made to Israel. This by implication would point in the direction we are suggesting. Further, Jewett comments on the importance of the rhetorical questions in the diatribe of Rom. 9. Unfortunately, however, he does not develop the eschatological justification of God's name, which is semi-realized now in Christ. In fact, he makes a brief comment that suggests he misses the flow of the argument that moves in this direction. That is, he states that the electing distinctions Paul makes are not those within the covenant people, but represent a general divine distinction between God's people and the wicked. We admit that Paul's discussions (of the patriarchal period) look out toward the general distinction between people. In fact, his whole discussion of election is grounded in the prior fact that God has the right to distinguish between sinners per se, a fact that is most fully revealed in the new exodus. However, Paul uses this general distinction between sinners per se as the basis for his argument for God's election within Israel. And this election within Israel thereby looks ahead to the general distinctions between people per se that are especially revealed in the new exodus.
It is only when we get to the semi-eschatological justification of God's name in the new exodus that we find God's electing grace distinguishing within people per se on a consistent basis, that is, amongst Jew and Gentile alike. We find the same in Rom. 4:25-29. The semi-eschatological declaration of God's righteousness effects God's equal covenant union with Jews and Gentiles (3:29). Thus, once we see the equal union of the Gentiles with God, we know that God has justified his name, semi-eschatologically.
On another point, Jewett rightly notes that when Paul speaks of willing or running (9:16) this alludes to the Jew who is trying to keep the law. We would clarify this to say that it also, though not exclusively, alludes to the Jews attempting to obey the law. As we will see in Rom. 9:33-10:12 (also argued by Jewett), many Jews thought they could bring the Messianic kingdom by their obedience to the law. Thus, we think that Paul is anticipating this here. It is not by willing or running that the Jews will bring the new exodus. As a result, such willing and running will not bring that same benefit to them personally. At the same time, if Paul is alluding to the Jews here (without excluding its universal associations), this would reinforce our point that Paul is highlighting God's rejection of many in Israel, those who are only of Israel according to the flesh. That is, he is rejecting those Jews who think that the attainment of the future age and their own participation in it is by works.
While we believe this is Paul's focus in Rom. 9:6-22, we want to emphasize that this election within visible Israel points to an election between various people per se (9:23-24). Just as God calls people out of the Jews, he also calls people out of the Gentiles. He is distinguishing people within the Gentile world by electing grace alone. This implies that God distinguishes between the elect and the reprobate that are among all humanity per se. In other words, the supernatural nature of election and calling discussed in Rom. 9:6-22 is most fully manifested in the election and calling of Rom. 9:23-24. As we have noted, Rom. 9:6-22 is an embodied anticipation of what is more fully manifested in the new exodus (Rom. 9:23-24). The anticipation must have the same essential nature as the fulfillment; otherwise, it would not be an anticipation. Therefore, everything that Rom. 9:6-22 says about the inability of the Jews (before or after the law) is true of the present calling of Gentiles. Salvation is not by any person's willing or running (whether Jew or Gentile), but of God's mercy alone. It thus excludes all human works or effort. They are all excluded as a means of obtaining divine favor.
On the other side of the coin, Jewett accepts that divine hardening is a part of the biblical tradition. But one of his comments may suggest that he believes that the traditional Augustinian view of election and reprobation (as articulated by Gottschalk, Calvin, etc.) is tyrannical. We on the other hand, believe that all we have suggested on this chapter supports that view. The coming of the new exodus is purely by God's supernatural work, not human efforts. Thus, the participation of individuals in that new exodus is completely supernatural. It does not come by human efforts or merits. Paul clearly shows this by teaching that the present calling of Jews and Gentiles is the full manifestation of the election and calling in previous redemptive history. And this is a calling and election that distinguishes one Jew from another and one Gentile from another purely by God's choice and election (9:23-24).
The Augustinian view simply articulates this supernatural character of calling in the life of the individual. In so doing, it does not make God a tyrant who unconditionally damns people who are not worthy of damnation. To make this clear with respect to reprobation, the Augustinian view distinguishes between preterition and damnation. In preterition, God considers all sinners as one mass deserving damnation (Rom. 5:12-21). As such, there is nothing in any one of them which would incline him to show favor to one and not another. Thus, he unconditionally chooses one to salvation and leaves another. Since the choice of the one to salvation is unconditional, it follows that not choosing the other to salvation is also unconditional. That is, leaving the other in a state already deserving damnation is unconditional. For if God were to use some criteria in the ones left as a basis of leaving them in that state, he would find that same sinful criteria in the ones he chose to salvation. Then he would have to leave the ones he chose to salvation in that same damnable state. Thus, in preterition, God leaves some sinners in the state which they deserve (as opposed to choosing them to salvation) unconditionally. However, they are not originally in that state unconditionally. They are in it based on the sin of Adam (Rom. 5:12, 16-18) and their personal sins. Thus, when God finally damns them, he does this on the basis of these sins. That is, he damns them on a condition. In this sense, their damnation is conditional. To sum up, the reprobate are left to be among the damnable unconditionally, but they are damned conditionally.
Jewett does not see this. As we will see in Rom. 11, Jewett believes in a form of universal salvation. He already suggests this on Rom. 9:24-26 when he alludes to Elizabeth Johnson's view that Paul's language includes Gentiles rather than excluding unbelieving Jews. However, if Paul taught (as we will argue) that some are damned (cf. Rom. 2:5, 8-9), then the new exodus implies that God's calling and election must be completely supernatural. It cannot be conditioned on any good choice or action in human beings. This cannot be the case, if its opposite (God's choice of who to leave in a state of damnation) is not also unconditional. Thus, the supreme supernatural character of the new exodus undergirds and supports the Augustinian view of election and reprobation, and cannot be fully grasped when it is denied.
To sum up, the eschatological thrust of Rom. 9: 6-26 supports the Augustinian view of grace and election. This is because eschatology is eminently supernatural. It is brought by God's will and power alone, and it involves the coming of the heavenly, supernatural dimension. When it is semi-realized in the present, this represents the most supreme expression of supernaturalism in the present era. Thus, every anticipation of eschatological grace in the present must have the same nature as its final eschatological expression. Eschatological supernaturalism implies Augustinianism supernaturalism. To put it in terms of Paul's narrative, eschatology is Augustinian supernaturalism come to its own.
Now we will briefly trace out this eschatological thrust from Rom. 9:25-29. Here we find that Paul is still dealing with Israel's rejection. Jewett loosely divides these verses into a chiasm, vv. 25-26 (Gentiles) and vv. 27-29 (Jews), "although both categories are developed in an inclusive manner" (p. 589). However, we would affirm more clearly that following upon vv. 23-24 (dealing with Jews and Gentiles), vv. 25-26 speak of both Jews and Gentiles receiving mercy. The passage is not simply a proof text that Gentiles come in. It reveals (in continuity with 9:15-17) that a new exodus has arrived. This suggests a fulfillment for both Jews and Gentiles. As for the Jews, they have become like the Gentiles, That is, they are "not my people" similar to the way that the nation of Israel was described as "not my people" in the exile. Thus, when the remnant of Jews is saved, they are saved as "not my people". Therefore, their salvation, together with the Gentiles can be described as a salvation in which those who were not my people have become my people, sons of the living God (Rom. 9:25-26).
As a result, vv. 27-29 are not simply the Jews as opposed to the Gentiles of vv. 25-26. Instead, vv. 27-29 describe the Jewish nation as a whole (though Jewett may not deny this reference) and the fact that it only has an elect remnant arising from it. That is, these verses remind us that not all who are of Israel are true Israel (9:6), not only in the past but also in the semi-realized eschatological present.
When it comes to the remnant theme, Jewett believes that the focus is on the positive use of the remnant. Thus, he does not translate the verse as "only the remnant will be saved" (v. 27). Instead, he believes that it positively affirms "the remnant will be saved". We may certainly agree that salvation is a positive thing. However, Jewett (with his Universalist view), may be downplaying the negative side of this electing coin. (Certainly by the end of history in Rom. 11, he denies it altogether). However, if Paul's exposition here continues over the earlier discussion (Rom. 9:6-22), then it suggests something negative too, "they are not all Israel who are from Israel (9:6; emphasis added). Only in this way, can it continue to answer the dilemma we have suggested, if Christ is the Messiah why do not all the Jews believe in him? It is precisely this fact (not all Jews are called) that has brought into question God's faithfulness to his promises (9:6). It is this that Paul has answered with his portrayal of unconditional election in redemptive-history culminating in its full flowering in Christ's calling in the present semi-eschatological age.
In his discussion of Israel's desire to attain righteousness (Rom. 9: 31-32), Jewett rightly critiques E. P. Sanders and Heikki Raisanen. Jewett notes that they wrongly exclude "works" from Israel's error, only making it to mean "not faith in Christ". Here we believe that Jewett is correct. Sanders and Raisanen construct a Paul who only critiqued the Jews for not having faith in Christ. And, on this construal, Paul was not criticizing the Jews for seeking salvation by works. Jewett, on the other hand, gives "works" its obvious denotation. Unfortunately, however, we do not believe he gives "works" their proper connotation. That is, he steps back on what works entailed for Judaism, tipping his hat to Sanders. If asked, did Jews believe they were placing God under obligation by their works? Jewett would answer, "No". However, once Jewett says this, he is assuming that Jews only viewed works within the context of covenant grace. How is this significantly different from Sanders, for whom works functioned within the covenant? That is, if Jewett excludes "merit" (putting God under obligation) from works, then works only function as a gracious covenant badge.
We do believe this is a serious problem for Jewett. At the same time, Jewett does include one function of "works" not highlighted by Sanders. That is, according to Jewett, the Jews believed that their works would usher in the Messianic kingdom. For Jewett this means that Jewish works function within the context of covenant grace to bring the messianic age. That is, Jews believed that their works (even though wrought by God's grace) were God's instrument for bringing the future messianic kingdom. While most of Jewett's quotes on this subject are in the Romans 10 section of his commentary, the issue is also relevant for the whole discussion from Rom. 9:30-10:12. Among other references, Jewett notes Rabbi Levi who stated that "[i]f Israel kept the Sabbath properly even for a single day, the Son of David would come" (p. 627, from Midrash Exod. Rab 25.12.
We believe Jewett is correct to point this out in the context of Paul's discussion of Rom. 9:30-10:12. If this is the case, why can Jewett not see that this entails a Jewish view of merit? According to this view, the Jews could bring the ultimate ground of salvation by their obedience. For Paul, that which brings the messianic kingdom brings the ultimate ground of all salvation. This is a perversion of the Mosaic covenant of grace. In that covenant, Israel's Spirit wrought obedience could never bring the ground of salvation. Israel's Spirit wrought obedience was only a means of God bringing blessing as opposed to curse in the land. This typified the coming of the kingdom by Christ's merits, but it was not meritorious. Types are not the reality. Once one says that Israel's obedience could have brought in the kingdom of God, they are claiming it could have brought in the ground of salvation throughout redemptive history. Thus, if one claims this they are viewing works meritoriously.
There are others who wrongly assert that merit was the ground of Israel's retention of the land. And this is a serious error. Our view that Israel's obedience was the means of retaining the land does not logically lead to their false conclusion that this retention came by merit. However, the Jewish view that Israel's obedience to the law could bring in the kingdom necessarily entails the view that Israel could merit. This is because the coming of the kingdom is the ground of salvation in a way that the retention of the land is not. For Israel's retention of the land was grounded in God's prior justifying grace administered in the Mosaic covenant. This in turn was grounded in the future death and resurrection of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4). But if Israel could bring in the kingdom by her obedience, she would circumvent the death and resurrection of Christ and undermine the ground of all salvation. This Israel could not do.
The Jewish view that Israel could actually bring the kingdom by her obedience was absolutizing the fact that Israel's obedience was a gracious means of her retaining a gracious gift (the land blessings). Jewett does not recognize that Israel absolutized the law in this way, and thus he denies that works (as used by Paul) entails placing God under obligation.
At the same time, we believe that Jewett is on the right track when he points to Israel's belief that she could bring in the messianic age by her obedience to the law. How would we substantiate this claim? We point to Paul's repeated use of the phrase "he who believes in him will not be put to shame" (Rom. 9:33; 10:11), a quotation from Isaiah 28:16. This is a fulfillment of the prophetic promises, a fulfillment in the messianic age. In the messianic age God's people will not be put to shame like they were in Israel's exile. Isaiah is projecting a prophetic reversal of Israel's exilic shame, a reversal that takes place in the messianic age.
And Paul says that age has arrived. Paul makes this plain when he quotes Isaiah. But he also suggests the same when he follows the quote ("whoever believes in him will not be put to shame") with the words "for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches to all who call on him" (Rom. 10:12). This is a clear reference to the present messianic age; for under the Mosaic covenant there was a distinction between Jew and Greek. The Jew was especially set forward as a member of God's visible covenant people. If a Greek was to participate equally, he would need to be circumcised, and both male and female would need to participate in the sacrificial system. That is, they would need to be become Jews. Only with the commencement of Christ's resurrection are Jews and Gentiles equal participants in the worship of God. This is another indication that the promise "he who believes in him will not be put to shame" has its fullest significance in the messianic age. Paul has his eyes on that new reality in Christ.
At the same time, this promise (not being put to shame) is not simply a promise of Gentile inclusion in the messianic age. It is also given to believing Jews in the messianic age. They are given a fuller manifestation of God's justifying verdict than their forefathers. They are not put to shame even in the way that their believing fathers (think of Daniel, Dan. 9:8) were during the exile. God's justifying verdict (which is essentially the same under the Mosaic covenant and the messianic age) is more fully manifested in the messianic age. It is more completely displayed in the present triumph of Christ, in which he is Lord of all, richly blessing all who call on him. The manifestation of his covenant curses in the exile has been reversed in the present time. It has been reversed in Christ's bearing the curse, satisfying it historically, and being raised from the dead. This entails blessing to the nations. Thus, this historical accomplishment is manifested more fully now in the historical experience of God's people. That is why the Jewish Paul can be separated from the land of Israel, and it is not a curse to him. Paul can wander among the nations, suffering hardship, all the while proclaiming more loudly than any OT prophet, "I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
How does this support the idea that Israel was seeking to bring the messianic age by her obedience to the law? It is because Israel was seeking this messianic age of no more shame by works. That which God gave his people in 9:33 (the messianic age of no more shame) is what Israel sought by "works" (9:31-32). A careful look at the movement from Rom. 9:30-33 helps reinforce this point. The phrase "he who believes in him will not be disappointed" refers back to the "righteousness" which the Gentiles attained (9:30). What the Gentiles did not seek "righteousness" (9:30), they have received by not being put to shame (9:33). They received the righteous messianic kingdom. It is this righteousness that the Jews sought by a law of works (9:31-32).
Thus, when Paul says that Israel was pursuing righteousness (the same attained by the Gentiles), we must interpret this to mean that Israel was seeking the righteousness of the messianic age. But unlike believing Gentiles, Israel did not pursue "righteousness" by faith. Instead, they sought it by works, as if they could bring the righteousness of the kingdom by their works. In other words, Israel strove to bring the messianic age (the age of no more shame) into history by her merits.
In accordance with this analysis, we would suggest that Jewett is correct insofar as he points out this element of Israel's orientation. This also shows that E. P. Sanders is shortsighted in focusing attention on "covenantal nomism", which deals with the entrance requirements of individuals in a continuous covenant community. That is, Sanders shortchanges the historical focus of Israel's law obedience in seeking to bring the messianic age. It thus also shortchanges Paul's redemptive historical response in Christ. We believe that this is true not only of Sanders, but also of many of his orthodox opponents. They respond to Sanders by suggesting that Paul's view of individual justification involves the imputation of Christ's righteousness to individuals and is at odds with Israel's meritorious view of personal salvation. While we agree with Sanders's opponents on these points, we believe the question Paul is dealing with is broader. It has a historical, eschatological orientation that further supports the Reformation's teaching on justification. Paul is primarily taking on Israel's view of obedience to the law as the means of bringing the messianic kingdom. In our view (unlike Jewett), we believe this entails Israel's belief that she can merit the coming kingdom by her obedience. And for Paul, this Jewish view would entail the faulty conclusion that one's personal participation in this salvation is also grounded in one's own merits.
Why is this the implication? Because for Paul the salvation of individuals throughout time is grounded in the same event that brings the kingdom. For Paul, this is the Christ event. This is at odds with unbelieving Israel's belief that her merits would be the ground of the coming kingdom. For Paul, this Jewish view would imply that those same merits were the ground of their own personal salvation. For both these things (the coming kingdom and their individual salvation) must have the same ground, either that of grace or works.
At least Jewett recognizes that Israel sought to bring the messianic kingdom by her obedience to the law (though he denies its meritorious nature). Jewett then states (on Rom. 10:6-8) that this Jewish view violates the "Deuteronomic strictures against assuming that divine actions could be manipulated by the righteousness and holiness of the nation" (p. 627). Deuteronomy implies that the Messiah is present; he does not come by the obedience of others to the law.
At the same time, Jewett continues to sow the seeds of his universalism with his comments on Rom. 10:11. According to Jewett, Paul is not teaching that only some have their shame removed. That is, those without shame do not stand over against others who are still ashamed. Jewett then quips that this is not to be interpreted in light of centuries of self-serving theology. How can Jewett say this in the face of Paul's clear argument that the Jews have not attained (9:31) to the status of no more shame (9:33)? Obviously, Paul has left many of the Jews under wrath (9:28-29) and shame (9:33) because that is where they have left themselves by their unbelief. Those who have been delivered from this shame only have this deliverance through the unconditional mercy of God. And they are to desire the salvation of all those outside of Christ as Paul did in his mission (Rom. 10: 14-15; 11:13-14). Instead, it appears that Jewett's exegesis is self-serving, serving his reputation amidst the present establishment of "inclusiveness". In this, he is not really serving those outside of Christ, as their good lies in their salvation, not their pacification. Nor is he serving his true interests which are found in the glory of God.
Now we come to Rom. 10:13-21. Our contention that Rom. 10:11-12 deals most fully with the new age in Christ is further supported by the eschatological associations of Rom. 10:13-21. Verses 12 and 13 help us see this by linking vv. 13-21 with the previous verses. "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord" (v. 13) suggests the transition from v. 12 to vv. 14-21. This phrase refers back to v. 12 where there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. Thus, "whoever" calls--not just Jew, but also Gentile. Then v. 14 contains the hook word "call", asking "How shall they call upon him whom they have not heard?" (Interestingly, Jewett finds synonymous parallelism in vv. 14-15.) Then, starting in v. 15, Paul presents six quotes from the Hebrew Bible, four of which are from Isaiah and have clear eschatological references (Isa. 52:7; 53:1; 65:1, 2). In light of these eschatological quotes, we believe Paul also finds eschatological projections embodied in the other two texts (Ps. 19:4; Deut. 32:21). Paul's first Isaiah quotation is taken from a passage with the words "your God reigns" (Isa. 52:7), which underscores its eschatological associations. Paul does not quote these words, but we are not of the interpretive opinion that he thereby intentionally means to say that this aspect of the quote has not been fulfilled. Instead, as with most authors who quote a short section of another text, he intends to allude to the whole text, even the words he has not quoted. This is not to deny that he intends to emphasize the words he quotes rather than the others not quoted. But he does not intend to take the words quoted out of their context--especially their time reference, here the eschatological future (now semi-realized for Paul). This point is reinforced by the following consideration. Paul claims that what Isaiah foretold was happening now in his own ministry. But what if someone were to object?--"Paul, Isaiah is not referring to your ministry because he is talking about someone preaching that the eschatological reign of God has come, and that still awaits the future." It would be a weak argument if Paul were to reply, well, the eschatological reign has not arrived but Isaiah is still talking about my preaching. Only by believing (as he did) that the eschatological reign had been semi-realized now, could he defend his use of this quotation.
How do these quotes concerning this kingdom age fit with Paul's overall argument in Rom. 9-11? When Paul speaks of Israel's rejection (10:19-21), he is not saying that every Jew has rejected Christ. This is plain from the fact that this preaching has brought salvation to both Jew and Greek (10:12). Thus, these passages suggest that Israel as a whole has rejected Christ. That is, "they did not all heed the glad tidings" (10:16), but some did. Again, that not all Jews have rejected is underscored in 10:21-11:1. After reemphasizing Israel's corporate rejection of Christ (10:21), Paul asks, "God has not rejected his people, has he?" (11:1). Paul then denies this emphatically, noting himself as an example of a Jew who has come.
In this way, Rom. 10:14-21 clearly set us up for Rom. 11. And it does so with one other theme, the inclusion of the Gentiles to make Israel jealous (10:19). This is a significant theme in Rom. 11 (vv. 11, 14) in that it plays a part in the mutual interaction of the salvation of the Jews and the Gentiles. Here again, we see Paul's eschatology at work. For this universal extension of mercy to both Jews and Gentiles can only play itself out in the semi-eschatological age, now arrived in Christ.
When speaking of Israel's election, Jewett states that it is the status (not quality) of Israel's election that is in view. At the same time, he discusses the OT background of God's gracious election. To us, this seems to include the quality of Israel's election. Thus, it seems that both the status and quality of Israel's election is in view.
Jewett claims that the election of Israel here refers to God's election of all in Israel, even those who reject the gospel. He looks back to Rom. 11:25 and 29 and Rom. 9:4-5 for this interpretation. He insightfully sees a connection between the "gifts" of the "gifts and calling of God" (Rom. 11:29) and those benefits given to Israel in Rom. 9:4-5. We do not deny that in light of Rom. 9:4-5, Paul suggests a visible external calling and election of Israel as a whole. However, Paul is clear in Rom. 9 that not all who are of Israel are of Israel (9:6). There is a real internal calling and true eternal election of an elect remnant from the broader nation of Israel. In Rom. 11, the irrevocable gifts and calling of visible Israel (11:29) are fulfilled in the Jewish remnant of those internally called by the Spirit (Rom. 9:24-26).
Jewett, on the other hand, argues for universal Jewish salvation. However, this is clearly against what Paul says earlier in Romans 2:7-8, at least on the actual (and not merely hypothetical) interpretation of that passage (advocated also by Jewett). For Paul says that there will be wrath and indignation on all who do evil, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Thus, wrath will really (and not just hypothetically) come on some Jews. In addition, Paul clearly says that some are prepared for destruction (Rom. 9:22).
These passages from Romans should suffice. However, here we take an aside to note the continuity of the early church on this point. If Paul taught universal Jewish salvation, this was missed by one of his traveling companions, namely, Mark. For Mark claims that Jesus said of Judas Iscariot that it would have been good for him if he had not been born (Mark 14:21, see also Matt. 26:24). This is not consistent with Jewett's claim of universal Jewish salvation for it suggests that Judas will not receive salvation. The passage is so strong that it even implies that Judas did not experience mere non-existence after death (as taught by Jehovah's Witnesses). This is because Jesus is claiming for Judas a torment that extends after death.
We believe this is clear from Jesus'statement about Judas, "it would have been good for him not to have been born". At the very least, logically, Jesus'statement about Judas implies that the evil consequences he is to experience from his betrayal must outweigh the good he experienced in his life. And this could only be said if he were to experience greater evils after death. If he had simply been annihilated at death, the good he had experienced during his life would presumably have outweighed the evil he experienced in death. For this evil would have only been momentary, leading to his non-existence. The non-existent do not exist to experience either good or evil. Thus, a Judas Iscariot who only experiences non-existence at death presumably experienced more goodness than evil. And it was better for him to be born than not be born.
We might then ask if the momentary suffering Judas experienced from visible remorse and hanging himself was worse than all the good he experienced in his life. If these sufferings were only temporal (and were not anticipations of eternal suffering), it seems unlikely. Viewed from this point of view (entailing no further judgment), they were shorter in duration than his many years of receiving rain from heaven, together with gladness (Acts 14:17) even that mixed with sorrows. Thus, to make sense of Jesus'words, we must appeal to the sufferings Judas will experience after death. These torments cannot be metaphorical; therefore, Jesus' description of them as eternal must also be real (Mark 9:47-48) When one offends against an eternal, just and benevolent God, the just consequence is eternal punishment and abandonment. Therefore, the condemnation of Judas disproves the universal salvation of the Jews. Otherwise, Mark taught a different message than the apostle Paul, with whom he traveled. Even those who deny Markan authorship to Mark's gospel must account for its witness to the worldview of early Christianity. This simply provides another testimony to that which is clear from the very epistle of Romans itself (2:7-8; 9:22).
Next, Jewett argues for the absolute salvation of every single Gentile as well as every single Jew. That is, he argues for unrestricted Universalism. He teaches that this is the indisputable conclusion of Paul's statement, "God has turned all over to disobedience in order that he may have mercy on all" (Rom. 11:32). Jewett contends this is indisputable in spite of its difficulties for systematic theology. However, we would claim that this is not only problematic for systematic theology (in which we seek to compare Paul with other NT authors), but it is also problematic for Paul's argument in the epistle to the Romans itself. We have already pointed to Rom. 2:7-8 for some Jews being condemned, but the same passage also teaches that some Gentiles will be condemned. Further, Rom. 9 clearly teaches that Esau and Pharaoh are not chosen for salvation (9:11-13, 17), but prepared for destruction (9:22). How is it that just two chapters later, we are told that Paul's statement about the salvation of all means the absolute universal salvation of every single human being in history? Instead, there is every reason to take this statement clearly in harmony with the letter, that is, to the effect that salvation will extend to people within all nations. That is, God will save all, namely Jews and Gentiles. He will not simply save the Jews nor simply save the Gentiles. Thus, all includes all groups. But this does not mean that he will save every single individual in each of those groups, i.e., every single Jew and every single Gentile. That is an unjustifiable inference from the passage. And it flies directly in the face of the context (Rom. 9-11), in which it is clear that there are those chosen and called out from among the Jews and from among the Gentiles (Rom. 9:23-26). (See further our analysis of Rom. 9 above.)
Some NT scholars will claim that we cannot argue this way, that is, we cannot put together Paul's statements as propositions to determine their consistency. Following Daniel Patte, they believe that Paul's statements represent core convictions that Paul expresses with these statements and our job is to find the core convictions of those statements, not to determine the coherency of the statements themselves. Certainly, Patte and his followers have mythological assumptions with Claude Levi Strauss who lies behind such claims.
We will only note here that if Jewett were to adopt this procedure of interpretation, then he would not be able to appeal to the universal statements in Paul ("all" etc.) to make his own point. For these statements only work together if Paul has some consistency in his argument. However, if consistency is to be sought in these statements (following Jewett), then we (like him) can argue from statements within the letter. That is, there is every reason to consider the consistency of Paul's "all" statements (noted by Jewett) with other statements in Romans, especially those so closely related, as are passages dealing with the nature of judgment and election. Without this procedure, the exegete is left with arbitrary criteria for determining the content of Paul's convictions. And in many cases, this arbitrary criteria leads one to see in Paul a person with the same convictions as those of the exegete (a la Schweitzer's criticism).
Jewett does not profess to follow Patte's method and may even agree with some of our methodological points above. Nonetheless, he does read himself and the modern Ecumenical movement into Paul when he attributes thorough Universalism to the apostle.
What then do we do with "the rest were hardened" (Rom. 11:7), for afterward we are told that they are not hardened to the point of complete abandonment (11:11)? Does this represent a shift from the selection of an elect remnant to the salvation of every single Jewish person in history or at least at some future point in history? Here we believe that Paul is contrasting those elect Jews who are presently regenerated with those who are now hardened, but will yet believe in Christ in the future. That is, he is contrasting present Jewish Christians (11:1-7; not explicitly described as moved to jealously by Gentile conversion) to those future Jews that will be moved to jealousy and salvation by the conversion of the Gentiles (11:11, 14). Does this fit with Paul's mission to go to the Jews first (the first group of Jews coming prior to Gentile conversion) and also to the Gentiles? After this, Paul looks to a secondary fruit of his mission to the Gentiles--that those Jews hardened when they first heard the message of Christ will now come (moved to jealousy). This does not imply that this later group of Jews includes each and every Jew. It certainly could not include those already dead. But neither does it include every single Jew at some future point in history. For after making this rhetorical move, Paul speaks of this secondary goal of his Gentile ministry. That is, "if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them" (11:14; emphasis mine). That is, Paul speaks of his goal of saving some among the hardened Jews, moving them to jealousy by the conversion of the Gentiles. Paul anticipates "some" Jews coming as a result of this, not all. Paul is not simply saying "some" because he thinks some will be saved by his ministry, while all the rest will be saved by the addition of all other ministries to the Gentiles. Certainly Paul does not exclude Jews being converted via other ministries to the Gentiles (though even these would be under his ministry as the apostle to the Gentiles). But he implies that the salvation of "some" Jews (moved to jealously by the conversion of the Gentiles) is all that is sufficient to make up their "acceptance" (11:15) and "life from the dead" (which Jewett rightly sees as the resurrection).
Their acceptance does not await the conversion of every single living Jew at some future point. Only a further conversion of some Jews in the future, who, when added to those presently converted will make up the fullness of the Jews (Rom. 11:12, 15). These also add up to make "all Israel" (11:26). Thus, the "fullness" (Greek, pleroma) of the Jews (11:12) amounts to the elect within Israel at Christ's return. This is parallel to the "fullness" (pleroma) of the Gentiles (11:25), which is made up of all the elect from among the Gentiles, gathered together at Christ's return.
What we have seen so far suggests that Paul is not referring to the conversion of all Israelites living during a particular future period. Further, this view does not fit with the argument we have seen so far in Rom. 9-10, which deals with an elect remnant among Jews and Gentiles. This situation was anticipated in OT narratives (Rom. 9:6-22) and accords with semi-eschatological justification in the now time (Rom. 9:30-10:12).
Nor should we immediately presuppose that this is what is taught in Rom. 11:26. Every other place where Paul and other NT authors quote the OT prophets, they imply that those prophecies have been fulfilled now (at Christ's first coming) and/or not yet--looking to the future eschaton. That is, they do not look to a future (but not yet realized) fulfillment that is to take place on this earth before Christ returns. And this is the way that many implicitly interpret Rom. 11:26-27, using it to refer to a future mass conversion of Jews in this age before Christ returns. Thankfully, Jewett does not go in this direction, but allots the passage to Christ's second coming. And here we agree, though perhaps Christ's first coming should not be excluded. However, then Jewett goes on to describe it as referring to the universal salvation of all Jews without exception at the resurrection. Here we have parted company.
To briefly round out our argument for 11:25-32, we note a few points. First, as noted by other NT scholars, "a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" does not necessarily mean that there will be a time in world history when the hardening in part is removed, leading to the mass conversion of Israel. The "until" sometimes simply emphasizes the state that occurs prior to the point envisioned. It does not focus on something new after this point. Thus, Paul's point would be the partial hardening that remains on Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles. Further, the point envisioned (immediately after the last of the Gentiles is converted) is the second coming of Christ. Israel is hardened in part up to this point, i.e., up to the second coming. This leaves no time for a mass conversion of Jews. If there is any reversal implied after the "until", it is simply that what is then manifest as Israel will no longer be hardened in part. At that time all will be revealed for what it is. There will be no more distinction between visible Israel and the true Israel among them. All Israel will now be identified as all elect Jews and they will all be saved. The promises given to Israel will now find fruition in them.
Second, we suggest that those Jews who are enemies now (11:28) are those who have been hardened (11:7). The gifts and calling of God (11:29) are still theirs collectively in the sense that God promises to save some of them. Thus, we do not believe that 11:28 teaches that every Israelite is eternally beloved by God and will be saved. Instead, within its context, 11:28 should be interpreted in light of the some to be saved (11:14) out of the hardened group (11:7). Also, "all Israel" (coming on the heels of the fullness of the Gentiles, 11:25) should be interpreted in this same way, as the totality of a previous remnant. If so, this same perspective naturally flows into 11:28 as well. In addition, Romans 11:28 must be interpreted in the light of v. 31, which unfolds it. And v. 31 refers to the salvation of some in Israel. This can be seen from the fact that it picks up the argument of 11:11, which deals with the salvation of "some" within Israel (11:14). Therefore, we conclude that Romans 11, consistently interpreted, refers to the salvation of a remnant within Israel, parallel to the salvation of a remnant of the Gentiles. To argue for Universalism from this passage (as Jewett does) amounts to a foreign imposition on this text as well as on the rest of the letter to the Romans.
After making his Universalist claim, Jewett makes a suggestion that can be separated from this claim. He suggests that Paul's statement of the salvation of all (namely Jews and Gentiles) has relation to Paul's proposed Spanish mission. In Jewett's view, Paul is dealing with Jewish and Gentile factions within the church. He is connecting this with the weak and strong in contention in Rom. 14. Here he may be going beyond the evidence. Still, his suggestion is that each group may view the conversion of people from the other group as a threat to their position. That is, the conversion of Jews may increase the Jewish faction in the church and make life more difficult for the Gentiles and vice versa. Paul's argument works against this point of view by showing that the conversion of all serves the benefit of all.
On the last section, Jewett makes a few connections with Greco-Roman literature. First, he notes that the connection between depth and riches ("Oh, the depth of the riches", 11:33) is also found in the story of Odysseus. Second, Jewett explores statements in the Stoics about creation that are similar to Paul's statement "from him and through him and to him are all things".
Jewett makes a theological claim about each of these things in Paul. First, he claims that these "riches" in Paul are the riches of the new age, noting Rom. 2:4, but especially Rom. 9:23; 11:12, 17. Here we think Jewett is correct. We would suggest that Paul is speaking about the eternal riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God that is his from eternity. And God has now invited his people into the fullness of these riches now, semi-eschatologically in Christ.
Second, Jewett thinks that the language "of him, and to him, and through him are all things" refers primarily to redemption (in distinction from the Stoics). We would agree with Jewett on the emphasis, but underscore that Paul has the creation in the background to this revelation of the new creation. The eschatological revelation displayed in creation (Rom. 1) teaches that all things are from God. That is why people are supposed to be thankful. And it reveals that all things are to God--eschatologically. (Idolaters believe that God's gifts are merited by their efforts--through human merit and unto one's own personal glory.). The God-centered eschatological revelation which the nations rejected in nature has now been accomplished and given to them by God's mercy. This reversal of their worship (from the creature to the Creator) must also bring to them a reversal of their perspective on creation; otherwise, they would continue to be the idolaters of Rom. 1. They now recognize that creation comes only by God's gracious gift, and not truly of their merits. And in him (through him), they live and move and have their being (Acts 17:28). As such, it is unto God for his eschatological glory.
The new creation (through redemption) is analogous to the first creation. The new creation (after the fall) is in no sense by merit, but all of God's mercy, through God's grace, and unto God's eschatological glory--in Christ Jesus. In this way, Paul's language in Rom. 11:36 refers both to the first creation and the new creation in Christ.
The flow of Rom. 11 leads us to this conclusion. The salvation and eschatological glory of the saints is not based on human merits or national identity. God shows this in the back and forth manner in which he has mercy on Jews, then Gentiles, then again on Jews. All of this is a revelation of the riches of his grace in the new era, which goes beyond the old with its focus on one nation. Now we have a revelation of riches surpassing the former era, one in which God more fully exalts his grace in Christ and brings universal salvation to the nations, though not Universalism. And he does this by saving an elect remnant in Israel, sending them to the nations, so that he might unite Gentiles to the heavenly riches of the olive tree above. In turn, the riches of the Gentiles lead to eschatological jealousy in the Jews who are now grafted back into that same semi-eschatological tree by grace. In this way, he brings in the eschatological fullness of the Jews and of the Gentiles to the glory of the eschatological Christ, who is God over all (Rom. 9:5).
We might now ask: does Paul see this mimetically reflected in his own apostolic ministry? Does Paul not hope that his present mission to the Gentiles will abound in riches (the collection) to the Jerusalem saints (Rom. 15:25-32), leading to jealousy and further salvation among the Jews? And he brings the offering before going to Spain. Thus, does Paul see this as potentially storing up spiritual riches for his mission to Spain (bringing further riches for the Gentiles)? This simply raises a few questions between the relation of Rom. 11 and Paul's mission to Spain that Jewett continually asks, and adds to it the offering to Jerusalem. There is still room for more thinking on these redemptive-historical issues--more riches to come forth from his word.
"I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship" (Rom. 12:1) Jewett's comments on Romans 12-16 contain numerous and interesting historical observations, insights into the horizontal relationships within the church and connections between these chapters and Paul's plans for a mission to Spain. Jewett also makes some connections between these chapters and the earlier theological content of the epistle, but this is where he mostly falls short. Admittedly, he is not alone among interpreters here. Recognizing how these chapters flow out of the previous material is a difficult matter for interpreters, including the present reviewer.
However, we are given a key that begins to unlock the door in Rom. 12:1. When we recognize the redemptive-historical nature of the mercies of God found earlier in the epistle, we can begin to follow this insight into chapters 12-16. That is, as we have seen, in its most effusive sense, the mercy articulated by Paul is the mercy that has brought the new age of the kingdom of God. This mercy is the greater manifestation of God's mercy found in the new exodus (Rom. 9:15). This is the mercy of God that has brought the semi-eschatological age in redemptive history. It is a greater manifestation of mercy than that displayed during the period of the law. As a result, the suffering that was previously a manifestation of God's anger in Palestine is no longer a manifestation of condemnation for those in Christ (Rom. 8:1, 32ff.?). Thus, Paul may travel throughout the Gentile world, suffer for the gospel, and not be ashamed (Rom. 1:16-17; 9:33; 10:11). This mercy brings the era in which God is the God of Gentiles as well as Jews (Rom. 3:29; 9:23-26). Thus, in the historical accomplishment of Christ's life, death and resurrection, we have gone beyond the former era (Rom. 4:9-25; 5:20-21 with 6:14; 7:5-6 with 8:1 and 8:31-39, etc.). As such, Rom. 12:1 speaks of the mercy that has brought the church more fully into the heavenly places in union with Christ. It is that present manifestation of God's mercy that has given God's people greater access to the heavenly presence of God (Rom. 5:2 seen in light of the greater hope of the new age--expressed in the relative contrast of Rom. 8 to Rom. 7:7-25)--all in king Jesus.
As we see it, both the horizontal and the vertical aspects of this semi-realized eschatology are Paul's presupposition for his exhortations in Rom. 12-16. Jewett helps us with some of the horizontal points at times. And his historical insights can be used to expand these. But only once (to our reckoning) does he touch on the vertical aspects of this eschatological realization in Christ (see his comments on Rom. 15:9-11 on the praise of the church together with the angels in heaven). We believe this vertical aspect of eschatology is critical for interpreting Paul's paranesis, including that in Romans 12-16.
This paranesis begins with Paul's exhortation to give oneself as a living sacrifice. The sacrifice given in Christ (and in union with his sacrifice) takes place in heaven, before the throne of God. It is thus to be "acceptable to God" in Christ. It is "acceptable" in his presence just like his will (v. 2). Its heavenly nature is reinforced by the fact that it is contrasted to being conformed to "this world" (v. 2). In this vertical heavenly union, God brings himself to Christian believers just as they are brought before God. That is, he actively accepts them in Christ. They sup in his house. There they are sacrifices well pleasing to God. God takes pleasure in them.
This may have implications for the horizontal relationships among Christians and for the mission to Spain (as Jewett suggests), but we must first begin with the vertical semi-eschatological relation in Christ. To understand Paul aright, we must start from heaven, in union with Paul's risen Savior and king. When the church finds herself there, as the fulfillment of the prophetic promises, then she understands how to relate to one another and to the world.
If we start from Paul's heavenly perspective, then we can consider Jewett's suggestion that this sacrifice involves self-sacrifice for one another in the Christian church, especially the selfless love of Jew and Gentile for one another in Christ (cf. Rom. 11). Further, Jewett implies that this self-sacrifice is important for the sacrifice that has to be made for the Spanish mission. As all are united together in Christ, they may be united in the cause of sending Paul to Spain.
If these insights are correct, this would help explain (to us) the relationship between Paul's message in Romans and his biography--his mission to Spain. That is, Paul's gospel of the semi-eschatological righteousness of God (presented to the Romans) is intimately tied to his mission to the Gentiles. This would further support our suggestion that when Paul articulates the righteousness of God in Romans he is not simply discussing justification as it has always been imputed to saints, but he is highlighting the greater manifestation of that righteousness that has dawned with the new age in Christ. As a result of this, we have a transcendent inheritance and kingdom not centered in Palestine, but one which everyone throughout the whole world may presently enter by faith in Christ. Paul is thus a living embodiment of that transcendent risen Christ--present to the nations. Through him, they may see and hear Christ, whom Paul simply represents as an ambassador.
Even though we find this transcendent eschatological perspective here, we agree with Jewett that "reasonable" sacrifice is a better option for translation than "spiritual" sacrifice in 12:1. And this is not inconsequential, as it sets up the rest of the chapter in which the saints are to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind". Thus, they are not to "think" more highly of themselves than they ought to think (v. 3). In accordance with this, they are not to adopt a haughty frame of "mind" (v. 16a). Romans 12, verses 3 and 16 are at least thematically related and surround the discussion of the body (vv. 4-8) and several of the exhortations flowing out of that discussion (vv. 9-15). Here Paul exhorts every Christian not to "think more highly of himself than he ought to think" (v. 3) and not to be "haughty in mind" (v. 16). This flows out of Paul's exposition in the previous chapters, coming to a crescendo in Rom. 11:34-36, "For who has known the mind of the Lord?" What everyone has comes from God's grace and thus they give thanks to God, not to themselves. They are to exalt in the grace of God, not in their attainments. It is God who "has allotted to each a measure of faith" (12:3). And Paul places himself in this paradigm. It is only "through the grace given to me" (12:3) that he can say these things.
In this way, Paul and the church are conformed to the humility of Christ, as his body. (The body language should here lead us to Christ--his body, once humiliated and now in heaven). He who had humility of mind exhorts them (through his apostle) to "associate with the lowly" (12:16). The next clause in this verse ("Do not be wise in your own estimation") indicates that we are being reminded of Rom. 12:34, in which no one is wise enough to be God's counselor. Thus, once again, these statements flow out of Paul's exposition in Rom. 1-11.
In other words, this perspective flows from the new heavenly identity they have in Christ. As we noted, Paul implies this from the beginning when he states that the renewing of the mind involves not being conformed to "this world" (v. 2). Christians are united together in heavenly places. And they have been placed there by God's mercy, not by their own merits. Thus, they cannot boast. They are humble servants. They are in the heavenly presence of God, where no one can boast--and that by grace, not by works.
This perspective is strengthened by the historical perspective of eschatology that Paul articulated in these earlier chapters (e.g., Rom. 9:33-10:12). Just as Israel's righteousness could not bring the age of the kingdom, that age did not arrive because of any sinner's merits. That age arrived only because of God's work in Christ. Thus, no one can boast for possessing its blessings. They did not bring them historically; these benefits are merely a gift of mercy.
This humility of self-sacrifice is then the present expression of the heavenly life in the midst of this suffering world. As such, Paul implies that it is union with Christ's self-sacrifice; otherwise, it would not be acceptable to God. In light of that, Paul is not ashamed, as he suffers in union with Christ for the sake of the gospel, giving up himself as an offering unto God.
Christians are to be transformed into this transcendent heavenly perspective, in union with the sufferings of Christ. And perhaps in this way, they are to identify with Paul in his mission to the Gentiles. They are thus encouraged to give of themselves for the Spanish mission. On this latter point, Jewett may have an insight (though more proof may be needed).
At the same time, we think Jewett overstates his point when he claims that this transformation is corporate, not individual. We think he is right to point out that it is not merely individual, a tendency that has lead to an overly introspective approach to this verse. The discussion of the body of Christ (12:4-8) certainly articulates this corporate dimension. However, we do not think it can be divorced from the transformation of the individuals who make up the corporate body. This is made clear by the fact that the body is made up of individuals who use their unique gifts for the building up of the body (12:4-8). Further, only because no individual can boast before God (Rom. 3:19) is it true that members in the church cannot boast one over against the other. And only by the individuals giving up themselves as a living sacrifice, can the corporate body that they make up give itself in service to Paul's mission to Spain.
As noted, Jewett suggests that corporate harmony and love in the church is necessary for their effective support of Paul's mission. This may suggest one reason for his seeking their mutual edification. But we must add a twist here. To our mind, the corporate element is dependent on the vertical and horizontal shift in redemptive history. This is brought out in the fact that all in the church, Jew and Gentile alike, are equal possessors of the heavenly life in Christ. Βy God's mercy, all the church is exalted in Christ as his body (Rom 12:4-5). And thus, the gifts that each individual has are for the building up of the whole body (Rom. 12:5-8). Since every member is exalted in heaven in union with Christ, possessing gifts in him, believers are to treat one another as such. And as such they are to use their gifts in service to them and thus to the whole church. As a result, we believe that the heavenly perspective of Paul in this epistle is fundamental to horizontal relationships in the church. And thus, the "body" must also be Christologically focused. The church is the body because she is united to the risen body of Christ. Here we differ with Jewett, who states that the emphasis of the term "body" is horizontal.
At the same time, we are happy to find Jewett teaching that the language of body here is metaphorical, not realistic. This affirmation is all the more interesting since Jewett seeks to bring Protestants and Roman Catholics (who teach a realistic union) together whenever possible. But perhaps because Jewett thinks the emphasis is on the horizontal, he does not intend to affirm a metaphorical union between Christ and believers (as opposed to a realistic one).
Jewett makes a few salutary remarks about Rom. 12:9-21. He is right to point out that these verses are not just a random set of exhortations. Jewett makes some suggestions about the structure of some of these verses, including a chiasm. We might add that there are two lead words that frame verses 9-21, "evil" and "good". "Evil" is repeated again in the phrase "Never pay back evil for evil" (v. 17), which is expanded in verse 21, "overcome evil with good". This suggests that vv. 9-21 contain two subsections, vv. 9-16 and vv. 17-21. The first section (vv. 9-15), on some readings, also contains a series of couplets, which would further unite them. All this to say that Paul's exhortations are not a random set of moral exhortations, but are arranged together as an expression of the new semi-eschatological life the church now has in Christ.
We also note some individual observations Jewett gives on these verses, the first which does not seem to accord with his purely horizontal eschatology. He recognizes that hope for Paul is focused on the eschaton, not on surviving a particular persecution or something else in this world (12:12). On verse 19, he suggests that leaving place for God's wrath is the opposite of what those in Rom. 1 did, for those in Rom. 1 usurp God's place in (presumably) cursing one another in judgment. This may shed light on Rom. 12:21, "do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good". (Remember "evil" and good" are key words here framing vv. 9-21). Is Paul here showing that the eschatological reversal of Rom. 3-11 has reversed the life of those who once rejected the "good" of glory, honor and immortality (Rom. 2:7, 1: 21, 23) and were "inventors of evil" (1:30)? Instead, they are now to "overcome evil with good" (12:21).
 Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006. 1140pp. Cloth. ISBN: 978-0-8006-6084-0. $90.00.
 This second part is a continuation of Scott F. Sanborn, A Review of Robert Jewett on Romans, Part 1: Romans 1-8, K:JNWTS 29/3 (December 2014):17-42, available here: http://kerux.com/doc/2903A6.asp .
 I have elsewhere referred to this as "semi-eschatological justification" because this manifestation is a new semi-realized manifestation of God's justifying act, given to the believer by faith alone, which justification will be fully manifested at the end of the world. In other words, the present manifestation of justification in the new age is a semi-realized expression of the full manifestation of justification that takes place at the eschaton.
 Paul's argument in Rom. 9:19-22 is grounded in creation (the Creator/creature distinction), even if it also reflects on God's creation of Israel as his own (Isa. 64:7-12). If the later is also involved, then Paul is now (as we certainly think is the case) distinguishing one elect group in Israel from those rejected in Israel.
 It is correct that Rom. 9:15-17 distinguishes the Gentile Pharaoh from the Jewish people (a universal distinction, here between Jew and Gentile), but again Paul places this in an argument that is also meant to show God's right of electing and reprobating whom he will, even among the Jews. It is their hardening (v. 22) that forms the basis of the calling of Jews and Gentiles alike (9:23-24). This discussion therefore has a redemptive-historical thrust that presses to the semi-eschatological exodus.
 This in addition to the fact that Israel's Spirit wrought obedience was (by grace) a means of their continually laying up for themselves treasures in heaven, which they even experienced before the time in their pilgrimage on earth (as it is also in the NT, Matt. 6:20).
 Of course, as noted above, we would emphasize unlike Jewett that this involves Israel's erroneous view that the messianic age comes through Israel's "merit".
 If the reader would like to consider the reviewer's further thoughts on these verses (Rom. 10:1-10), she can see my review of Francis Watson, Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith: A Review, K:JNWTS 26/2 (2011): 8-29, especially pp. 20-26, with the heading Deuteronomy 30:12-14, available here: http://kerux.com/doc/2602A2.asp .