Romans 11

rom-11.jpgGreetings!
 

The Remnant of Israel

11     I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

It is important to weave the theme of grace in periodically so we don’t start thinking that we have done anything to earn our salvation.  Grace is the thing that separates Christianity from all other religions and cults, and we shouldn’t forget that for a moment.

7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”

9 And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

This passage reminds me of John 15 where Jesus teaches how He is the vine and we are the branches.  Should we feel smug that some Jews were cut off and we were grafted in?  Of course not.  Our attitude should be one of eternal gratitude. 

Paul is clear that not all Jews were saved by the Old Covenant.  Salvation has always been by faith. 

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

V 33-36 make important points about God’s omnipotence (all knowing nature).  I find many people who dismiss Bible verses as not being from God just because it offends their sensibilities.  Of course, we need to seek to properly understand the verses in context, but once that is done we shouldn’t pick and choose those we like or those we think were inspired.  The Bible claims to speak for God ~3,000 times and that the whole work is his Word.  So it is either right or it isn’t.  We don’t get to pick and choose which parts are inspired (That is called Dalmatian Theology).

What comments or questions do you have on this passage?

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2 Responses

  1. You’re right about people dismissing Bible verses simply because it offends their sensibilities. I’ve been dealing with the subject of people dismissing God because He is working in ways they don’t expect in my blog, http://www.awesomeword.com. People think they know how God will work. And when He works in a way they aren’t expecting, they often refuse to see it.

  2. Hi Neil,

    Neil: Paul is clear that not all Jews were saved by the Old Covenant. Salvation has always been by faith.

    Jim: The saved ones in Romans 11:16-24 are the ones who believe in Christ, the believing/included/partaking branches (both natural [Jewish] and wild [Gentile]) in the believing part of the tree. The unsaved ones are the ones who do not believe in Christ, the unbelieving/excluded natural (Jewish) branches, who comprise the unbelieving part of the tree. The ones in the believing (New Covenant) part of the tree are saved, and the ones who comprise the unbelieving (Old Covenant) part (the unbelieving/excluded natural branches) of the tree are unsaved. These two parts of the tree in 11:16-24 are the two parts of Israel in 11:25, which are the two Israels in 9:6-8 and in 9:31-32 and 11:7-11. Israel did not split into two parts, an unbelieving (Old Covenant) part and a believing (New Covenant) part, until the cross, when Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, shed the Blood of the New Covenant, thus removing sin, and thus initiating God’s New Covenant with the house of Israel, as predicted by Jeremiah. That was when belief in Christ became an issue, and that was when only part of Israel accepted the New Covenant by believing in Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant. There isn’t anything described in 11:16-24 / 11:25 that predates the cross.

    Jim

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