The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Why Enemies on OUR Account?

I’m still plugging along in my study of Romans, and I have a question for you all. It occurs to me that the following passage might make more sense (to me at least) if we see the Jews as being enemies 'on our account" as meaning something like ‘because of us’ and/or ‘for our sakes’ in the sense that Israel was expecting and hoping for a Messiah to (as Jason would put it) zorch the Gentile world and bring it into subjugation to Israel. They’d been so long subjugated themselves that this would no doubt be an attractive idea to most. But Jesus counseled them to love their enemies and do good to those who treated them badly, scolded them for not setting their light on a lampstand, not being the city set on the hill, etc. He steadfastly resisted being made a king and showed no signs of mounting up to lead them to victory over the Gentile nations (and particularly Rome) around them. He even went so far as to suggest they should submit to Roman rule.

So Israel (or its leaders at least) was offended at such a Messiah – not what they had hoped for or desired and not promising them world-wide dominance at all, at all. Because of His attitude toward the Gentiles (or His lack of ATTITUDE perhaps), He was largely rejected by them and they became enemies for the Gentiles’ sake. Here’s the passage. Please tell me whether you think this interpretation is feasible – especially those of you more familiar with the original languages. I appreciate your help!

And if you have anything else to say about this passage, I’d naturally appreciate hearing that, too.


If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend Jan Bonda’s book “The One Purpose of God” for your study of Romans. I am just about finished it. Jan is a Dutch Reform Pastor who turned to UR and challenged his Reform Tradition with this study of UR from Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Regarding this verse, he sees it like the elder brother being angry with his fathers responce to the younger brother’s return home. The Jews anger or enmity is caused by what they see as God’s compassion on the Gentiles.

Great book!

Hi Cindy,

That’s the way I understand this passage. It revolves around the sovereignty of God. In short, God hardened Israel’s heart so that 1) the Gentiles could more readily participate in the Kingdom of God and 2) so that we might all realize that salvation is truly by grace and that we participate in that grace through faith. Why God chose to do it that way and not another, who knows! Many years ago from my studies I came to recognize that scripture seems to strongly affirm both the sovereignty of God over all and the love of God for all. I thought this created a tension in scripture that I accepted as a mystery, accepting in faith both the foundational principle for Augustinianism and Arminianism. I didn’t realize it at the time but this set me up wonderfully to receive in faith Universalism when I studied scripture concerning Hell, or more correctly, concerning what scripture actually affirms as the punishment of sin and the purpose of judgement.

Thanks for the suggestion, URPilgrim! I keep forgetting that – I have the book and Matt has also reminded me to read it. Duh. I’m about two chapters in. It’s just that I keep buying new books and I’m not a fast reader . . . .

And thanks to you, too, Sherman. :slight_smile: So, do you think that the WAY He hardened their hearts was in fact by His mercy to the Gentiles? In other words, it was their anger over the distinct lack of wrath toward their enemies that caused their hearts to grow hard?