There are many ways we can share the gospel. Some people like to use an outline, a Scripture map, or even a helpful diagram. But evangelism cannot be reduced to a methodology. Paul calls God’s way of drawing people to Himself a “mystery” (v. 25). In Scripture, the word mystery does not mean something inexplicable or hard to fathom. Instead, it refers to that which we cannot know apart from divine revelation.
Israel has experienced “a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (v. 25). We are not surprised that some have rejected Christ. Sin is enough to explain such a response. What troubles many is the implication of God’s involvement in this “hardening.” In verses 7–10. Paul cites Deuteronomy 29:4 and Isaiah 29:10 which speak of God’s judicial hardening of Israel. Yet it is important to note that God’s ultimate purpose in this act of judgment was redemptive. The hardening of Israel meant mercy for the Gentiles. This experience of grace, in turn, was meant to make the Gentiles agents of grace toward Israel (vv. 28–31). Paul summarizes God’s gracious intent: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all” (v. 32).
Although we’ve said that the Greek word translated mystery refers to that which was hidden but now revealed, Paul’s closing doxology in this chapter also shows that there is plenty of mystery in God’s plan of salvation (vv. 33–36). We do not have to understand how divine sovereignty and human responsibility are compatible in order to know that God is merciful.
>> We know enough about God’s mind to confidently offer the hope of the gospel to anyone who will listen. God has made it plain by sending His Son to die for sinners. The message of the gospel is one of grace and salvation. This is true for Jew and Gentile alike.
Father, sometimes we struggle to accept things that are beyond our comprehension. Teach us to be at peace with our incomplete understanding. We trust in your omniscience and goodness.