Romans Chapter Eleven

In this chapter Paul sounds a message of hope for Israel by talking about their ultimate restoration into the new purposes of God in Christ. He makes the point that despite Israel’s rejection of the Gospel there is still currently a remnant of Jews who have heard the message and believed (Paul is one of them!).

Paul then warns Christians about becoming arrogant about Israel’s being hardened in heart and written off by God (see also chapter 9 commentary about this process), and says that Christians should have a humble attitude and respect Israel at least if not because they were the first ones as a ‘People of God’ to represent God in the earth. He states that they are only written off, as it were, for a period of time, and that this time will end when the fullness of the number of people that are to be born on this planet eventually, and who are going to believe in God, has arrived. At that appointed time God will send the message of his plan to them again, in such a way that they will be firmly convinced, and then ‘all Israel will be saved’.

Paul finishes his description of this grand scenario by remarking on the ‘unfathomable and unsearchable ways of God’ .

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1 So let me ask you, has God rejected his people? How could he have? Because I am one of them! I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God has not rejected his people which he foreknew. Didn’t you know that the Scripture speaks of Elijah, how he pleaded with God about Israel, saying,

3 Lord they have killed your prophets, and desecrated your altars of sacrifice, and I am left alone and they seek my life.

4 But what was God’s answer to him?

‘I still have seven thousand loyal souls who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.’

5 And so it is now at this present time there is also a remnant of faithful ones that exists amongst them because they have responded to grace.

6  And if it is because of grace then it has nothing to do with their religious observance, otherwise grace isn’t worth it, but if it is about religious observance then it has nothing to do with grace grace, otherwise religious observance is not worth the effort.

7 So what does this mean? It means that Israel has not obtained what it was seeking for, but those of them who responded to grace have obtained it, and the rest have been blinded.

8 (And that is what has been written, ‘God has given them the spirit of slumber, and eyes that cannot see, and hears that cannot hear,’) even to this day.

9 And even David said, ‘Let their solid sturdy table turn into a deceptive and dangerous contraption, and let that be a payback to them.

10. Let their eyes be blinded so they cannot see, and pile an oppressive load on their back forever.

11 So I ask, Have they tripped that they should become totally written off? Not at all. But it means this rather, that they blundered and all of humanity has been put right with God, and this will make them jealous.

12 Now if their blunder means the spiritual wealth of the world, and if their failure means the spiritual success of humanity, how much more will their final recovery mean?

13 For I’m speaking to all mankind now, inasmuch as I am the apostle who has the message to mankind, so I might seem to be enlarging my position,

14 But only because it may be helpful in stimulating Jewish people, of whom I am by birth, so that I may be used to get them right with God.

15 But if their being written off introduces the restoring of life with God to the rest of the world, how much more will the reinstatement of them accomplish – no les than life from the dead!

16 Because if the seed is pure then the whole plant will be pure, and if the root is pure then the branches will be pure.

17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you like a wild olive tree have been grafted in with them, and can be nourished like they can, from the pure root with its health and robustness

18 Then don’t be arrogant to the original branches, because if you are arrogant you’d better remember that you do not sustain the root but the root sustains you.

19 You might say, ‘But the branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’

20 well it was because of unbelief that they were broken off, and you are only actively participating because of your faith. So don’t be arrogant, but be in awe of this.

21 Because if God dealt severely with the natural branches, be careful that he does not have to deal severely with you.

22 So consider therefore both the goodness and severity of God –on those who got it wrong severity. But towards you – goodness, as long as you continue in his goodness, otherwise your branches will be broken off too.

23 On the other hand, if they turn from their unbelief they shall be grafted in again, because God is able to graft them in again.

24 And if you were cut out of a wild olive tree and grafted in unnaturally to a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall those cultivated branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?

25 Because I don’t want you to remain ignorant of this strange enigma, in case you should just be fooling yourselves, that Israel has become blinded in their minds for only a limited time, until the full number of the rest of mankind who will be made right with God through Jesus is reached, and only God knows that number.

26 And then all of Israel will be made right with God; as it has been written, ‘There will come forth a Saviour from Zion who will turn away all ungodliness from Israel’.

27 For this is my covenant with them, that I will remove all sin and guilt from them.

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are hostile to you, but as far as being chosen by God they are beloved by God.

29 Because when God calls and chooses people he does not retract that promise.

30 For in the past you did not believe God but now you have received mercy in the time of their unbelief.

31 Just as these people are the ones now not believing, so that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy.

32 For God has regarded everybody as being in unbelief, so that he can have mercy upon everybody.

33 How unfathomable are the richness of God’s wisdom and knowledge. How unknowable is his skill in making decisions and his skill in carrying them out.

34 For who has ever known how God thinks, and who could ever advise him?

35 Or who has ever given anything to God so that God owes him something


36 For from God and through God and to God are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

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