The Remnant of Israel
11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.”
Gentiles Grafted In
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“It’s you, the outsiders that I’m concerned with now. Because my personal assignment is focused on the so-called outsiders…”Romans 11:13 MSG
The life of Paul is something to consider. Born a Jew among Jews, he was given everything possible as the ladder of religious success was laid out before him. Trained and instructed by the teacher of the day, Gamaliel, he was taught by the cream of the crop. His religious pedigree something most envied. His zeal for God and the Law was a driving force.
When the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and the new movement of God unleashed, his zeal turned to violence. He would do whatever it took to get this stopped. Not only was he present with the first martyr of Stephen by his colleague’s hands, he gave approval. He began a whirlwind persecution of the church and disciples, going into their homes, dragging them out by their hair and throwing them in jail.
Then Jesus confronted him. The very one of whom he was against stepped down from his throne and stopped him dead in his tracks. Paul never got over the grace he was given by his onetime nemesis. It changed the entire direction of his life and calling. He was never the same and the Christian world today isn’t either.
The fascinating thing is God used all of Paul’s background and upbringing to bring the message of Jesus Christ. His knowledge of the Law and Scriptures brought a trump card every single time he engaged in arguments with the religious. He not only had the experience of Jesus, he knew the prophecies and Scriptures pointing the way to Him. But the other most fascinating thing is God called Paul to the outsiders. The Gentiles were never to be considered as worthy of the way and calling of God. It was revolutionary. His forging ahead and reaching the lost Gentiles was something even the fledgling church wrestled with at first.
Paul paid dearly for this calling.
- Who are the outsiders in your world?
- Who are the ones who are overlooked, marginalized, and yes, maybe even people you would hold some kind of preconceived idea about?
There’s a lot of armchair postulation these days. The rhetoric runs rampant about what needs to be done to reach them, how we can rescue or help. That’s all well and good, but where’s the action? Where’s the follow-through? To me, this is where the rub hits and a discounting of such lofty ideas take place. Ideas and opinions are spewed like a faucet turned on full blast. But these same people are doing absolutely nothing. They sit in their comfortable house, throwing things left and right as to what needs to be done, but personally don’t change anything in their own lives to make a difference. They don’t get involved beyond the debating.
Paul looked at the Gentiles as his own personal assignment. But it wasn’t just something he talked about, he got neck-deep involved. And yes, he paid dearly for this. But he was willing to sacrifice whatever he knew as one time ‘good’ which now looked like rubbish, to take the grace He’d been given and pass it on.
Making a difference in the calling we all have doesn’t begin tomorrow, or next year, or somewhere down the road. The calling we have begins Now.
“You cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus if you’re sitting on your butt.”Mark Batterson
Romans 11 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
To me, the most interesting part of Romans 11 starts in verse 25. After outlining the difference again between works and grace, and the stumbling that Israel has had over the years, Paul writes this…
So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Liberator will come from Zion; He will turn away godlessness from Jacob. 27 And this will be My covenant with them when I take away their sins.Romans 11:25-27 HCSB
What does Paul mean here when he says “mystery?”
“Why is what Sha’ul says here a secret truth that was not understood until he explained it? Because one would have expected Israel to be the first nation to be saved. Israel has had advantages enjoyed by no other people (Rom 3:1-2, Rom 9:4-5, the Gospel itself is “to the Jew especially” (Rom 1:16), and God has promised Jewish national salvation (Eze 36:24-36, Mat 23:37-39, Act 1:6-7). Why, then, is he doing the unexpected, making the Gentiles “joint-heirs” (Eph 3:3-9) with the Jews? In order to give the fullest possible demonstration of his love for all humanity and not Jews only.”Jewish New Testament Commentary
Paul directly says that “all Israel will be saved.” Paul not only writes this but then quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah to back it up. This does not mean that literally every Israelite will be saved because they are Jewish. That would be a contradiction of the Gospel’s foundational principle of faith in Jesus. We already know that Jews who are coming to faith in Jesus (Messianic Jews) are being saved, and they were being saved back in Paul’s time as well.
This statement, then, must be in reference to future events. This is why it is a “mystery” revealed. There will be a time in the future when the nation of Israel (specifically their leaders) embrace Jesus as their Messiah and worship Him as their Savior. Paul writes this is a partial hardening, but it is temporary.
I do not believe there is a “special” way that Israel will be saved. Scripture is clear that there is only one way of Salvation. And when the full number of Gentiles has come in, the partial hardening will be removed, and those in Israel who have been blinded will see Christ as their true Savior and Messiah.
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn.Zechariah 12:10 HCSB