Day 42: A perplexing passage
15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
First of all, does Paul show favoritism?
I’ve always been a little perplexed by the above verses. Paul is talking about the most precious of gifts. He’s talking about salvation and who receives it. This is important, non-trivial stuff right here. But it seems that people born into the fold of God’s people (Jews) will receive it before those were grafted in (Gentiles). Why is Paul, or really, God, showing favoritism to people based on what would have been almost entirely a matter of race?
Questions that stem from different interpretations
Depending on how you read the above verses, you can come away with wildly different meanings. I’ve tried to think through different interpretations, and quite a few questions arise as a result.
- Does God just give the Gentiles whatever salvation is leftover after the Jews get it?
- Does this still apply to Jews and non-Jews today?
- If so, does that mean I’m not getting salvation until second class boards the plane?
- Is Paul’s statement merely a logical outworking of how salvation had to happen? (That is, of course it extended first to Jews, because they were the first ones to find out about Jesus, and so the first ones to receive the gift of salvation.)
- Is it all irrelevant, because even if non-Jews have to wait in line, we still get into heaven?
I’m rather curious to hear what you think. I have come to a tentative conclusion as to what I think Paul means, but I’m far from certain.
If you’re a newcomer you may not have known that this blog is not just a daily devotional about Romans; it’s a memory devotional about Romans. This month we’re focusing on chapter 1, and we’re trying to read the chapter out loud 50 times before we really get started with rote memorization.
Today, I’d encourage you to try and recall the two focus verses above. Once again, try to get as far as you can every hour on the hour from 9-5 or so.