THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION
Larry Ray Hafley
From Illinois: "Rom. 11:13-Would you please explain why Paul says, 'I magnify mine office?' "
The passage and context itself explains why Paul says, "I magnify mine office." "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them" (Rom. 11:13, 14).
In the context of Romans 11, Paul has been discussing in lengthy detail the position of the Jews before God in view of their rejection of the gospel. But lest the Gentile believers think he was ignoring them, he reminds them that he was "the apostle of the Gentiles." In point of fact, the Lord said Paul was his "chosen vessel . . . to bear my name before the Gentiles" (Acts 9:15; cf. 26:17; 2 Tim. 1:11). Far from forgetting the Gentiles, Paul says, "I magnify mine office."
But why, Paul, magnify your office? For two reasons, answers Paul in effect. First, I want to provoke or move my Jewish kinsmen in the flesh unto jealousy. Then, I trust their investigation and consideration of Christ after being provoked by my ministry will lead them to faith in Christ, that is, that I might "save some of them."
The gospel system of justification by faith that Paul preached and the prophets promised was largely accepted by the Gentiles but rejected by the Jews as the book of Acts abundantly demonstrates (Acts 13:26, 4447; 18:4-6; 28:22-28). Paul's "heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel (was) that they might be saved" (Rom. 10:1-3).. But how could this be accomplished seeing they rejected the gospel and would not hear the word of God that produces faith? They would not tolerate the teaching which said Jesus was "delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). How, then, could they be saved? Well, in this condition they could not be. They could not be saved unless they could be led to hear, for "faith cometh by hearing" the word of God. But they had closed their eyes and ears and hardened their hearts to the truth (Matt. 13:15; Jn. 12:37, 38).
So, how can they be moved to hear Paul? In this way, answers Paul, I will magnify my office or ministry to the Gentiles that I may move my Jewish brethren to jealousy and ultimately to salvation. Paul's function or office had the stamp and seal of approval from the Holy Spirit-from the writings of the Old Testament prophets unto the miracles which were worked through him, the evidence was seen. Might not the Jews be moved to look into this accreditation of the Gentiles and see the truth, too? That was Paul's fond hope and fervent prayer.
That same gospel remains today as "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Have you "obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine" and thereby been "made free from sin" (Rom. 6:17, 18)? Have you been "baptized into Jesus Christ," "baptized into his death" (Rom. 6:3)? Have you been "buried with him by baptism into death" and raised to "walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4)? If not, "why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
Truth Magazine XIX: 42, p. 658