Romans 11:28 contains a paradoxical account of the current state of apostate Israel.
- Two different states: Enemies and Beloved
- Two different "standpoints" - the Gospel and Election
- Two different reasons: For your sake (believing Gentiles) and for the Patriarchs' sake
This text, with its two "standpoints" and seemingly contradictory conclusions, is a key support for Biblical paradox. It shows how an inspired writer can reason, under the guidance of the Spirit, to an apparently contradictory result based on different senses, standpoints, grounds, frameworks, or perspectives (Gk. for "standpoint" is KATA). The apparent contradiction between "beloved" and "enemies" is, of course, easily cleared up when we consider God's own command to us: Love your enemies.
So the Holy Spirit has given us a fully explained Biblical paradox, showing us the reasoning and the different senses leading to the apparently contradictory conclusions, and a Scriptural bow tie that pulls the whole thing together as a revelation of God's mercy to His enemies.
II Corinthians 12:7-10 contains several paradoxes.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul is tormented, yet he is also glad and content.
Power is made perfect in weakness.
When I am weak, then I am strong.
Without the understanding that opposites can coexist when understood in different senses, these statements would be absurd. Paul is "tormented" physically, in his flesh. But he is glad as he boasts about his weaknesses and experiences the resulting empowerment in Christ. He is content with weaknesses for the sake of Christ. Yet at the very same time in his flesh he is tormented by a messenger of Satan.
Weakness is an opportunity for power to be revealed.
The experience of weakness becomes the occasion for receiving strength. Thus weakness and strength coexist, but in different senses.
Romans 1:20 contains a paradox.
the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature , have been clearly seen , being understood through what has been made , so that they are without excuse .
Colossians 1:15 contains a paradox.
He is the image
of the invisible God . . .