(Rom_11:22-24) Application of God’s purpose in Israel’s rejection that the Gentiles might be reached.
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Consider the goodness and severity of God: Paul stresses the need to continue in His goodness; not in the sense of a salvation by works, but continuing in God’s grace and goodness to us - a relationship of continual abiding.
The idea of a continual abiding in the “tree” is expressed in Joh_15 by Jesus Himself.
Joh 15:1 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vine dresser.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3 Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
Joh 15:5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.
Joh 15:8 In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; continue in My love.
Joh 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
Joh 15:11 I have spoken these things to you so that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.
Joh 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
God is able to graft them in again: And, if Israel has been “cut off” because of their unbelief, they can be grafted in again if they do not continue in unbelief.
“Evidently some Gentile believers were tempted to think that there was no future for Israel. She had rejected the gospel and it had now passed to the Gentiles; Israel was finished, rejected, cast off. God had chosen them instead. It is this kind of pride that Paul is opposing.” (Morris)
How much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? If the Gentiles seemed to “graft” into God’s “tree” easily, we know it won’t be hard for God to graft the natural branches back into the tree. We can also know that the natural branches will have the potential to bear much fruit.
God’s plan for Israel includes their eventual restoration.
1. (Rom_11:25-27) The promise that all Israel will be saved.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”
Paul’s warning to us that we should not be wise in your own opinion should remind us to take what he says here soberly. Christians must not be ignorant of this mystery.
Blindness in part has happened to Israel: Paul summarizes his point from Rom_11:11-24 is summarized. God’s purpose in allowing hardening in part to come upon Israel is so that the fullness of the Gentiles can come in.
In part has the idea of “temporary”; Israel’s hardness is temporary. “One day the Jews will realize their blindness and folly. They’ll accept Jesus Christ, and the glorious national restoration of these people will bring in the Kingdom Age.” (Smith)
However, when that fullness of the Gentiles has come in, God will once again turn the attention of His plan of the ages specifically on Israel again, so that all Israel will be saved. God’s plan of the ages does not set its attention on everyone equally through all ages.
All Israel will be saved: This all Israel is not spiritual Israel. It isn’t “spiritual Israel” in Rom_11:25, because that Israel is spiritually blind. Therefore, we shouldn’t regard it as spiritual Israel in Rom_11:26.
There is a distinction between national or ethnic Israel and spiritual Israel. Paul makes this clear in Gal_3:7 and other passages. Nevertheless, God still has a purpose and a plan for ethnic Israel, and will bring salvation to them.
Another proof that this is not spiritual Israel is because Paul says this is a mystery - and it is no mystery that spiritual Israel will be saved.
Harrison on all Israel: “It was the view of Calvin, for example, that the entire company of the redeemed, both Jew and Gentile, is intended. But Israel has not been used of Gentiles in these chapters, and it is doubtful that such is the case in any of Paul’s writings.”
“It is impossible to entertain an exegesis which understands Israel here in a different sense from Israel in verse 25.” (Bruce)
Will be saved: This states clearly for us that God is not finished with Israel as a nation or a distinct ethnic group. Though God has turned the focus of His saving mercies away from Israel on to the Gentiles, He will turn it back again.
This simple passage refutes those who insist that God is forever done with Israel as Israel, and that the Church is the New Israel and inherits every promise ever made to national and ethnic Israel of the Old Testament.
We are reminded of the enduring character of the promises made to national and ethnic Israel (Gen_13:15 and Gen_17:7-8). God is not “finished” with Israel, and Israel is not “spiritualized” as the church.
While we do see and rejoice in a continuity of God’s work throughout all His people through all generations, we still see a distinction between Israel and the Church - a distinction that Paul is sensitive to here.
All Israel will be saved: This does not mean there will be a time when every last person of Jewish descent will be saved. Instead, this is a time when Israel as a whole will be a saved people, and when the nation as a whole embraces Jesus Christ as Messiah.
I believe it is those who cling to the Torah and believe in the God of their fathers and worship Him even though they have not recognized His first coming in Jesus.
Even as the apostasy of Israel did not extend to every last Jew, so the salvation of Israel will not extend to every last Jew; Paul is speak of the “mass” of Jews when he says all Israel. “All Israel is a recurring expression in Jewish literature, where it need not mean ‘every Jew without a single exception’, but ‘Israel as a whole.’” (Bruce)
And, when all Israel will be saved, they will be saved through embracing Jesus Christ as Messiah - as unlikely as this seems. They are not saved with some peculiar “Jewish” salvation.
The Bible indicates this is a necessary condition for the return of Jesus Christ (Mat_23:39, Zec_12:10-11). Jesus will not return again until God turns the focus of His saving mercies on Israel again, and Israel responds to God through Jesus Christ.
The Deliverer will come out of Zion: The quotations from Isaiah show that God still has a redeeming work to accomplish with Israel, and that it will not be left undone.
(Rom_11:28-29) God’s love and calling for Israel still endures.
Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Concerning the gospel . . . concerning the election: Even though it seemed that in Paul’s generation the Jews were enemies of God and were against the person and work of Jesus, they are still beloved - if for no other reason, then for the sake of the fathers (the patriarchs of the Old Testament).
Of course, they are loved for more than the sake of the fathers, but that by itself would be enough.
The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable: This is another reason why God hasn’t given up on national and ethnic Israel. This principle, stated by Paul, comforts us far beyond its direct relevance to Israel. It means that God will not give up on us, and He leaves the path to restoration open.
(Rom_11:30-32) Paul cautions the Gentile Christians to remember where they came from and where God has promised to take the Jewish people.
For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
You were once disobedient to God: The Gentile Christians came from disobedience; yet God showed them mercy, in part through the disobedience of Israel.
Obtained mercy through their disobedience: If God could use the disobedience of Israel for the good of Gentiles, He could also use the mercy shown to Gentiles for the mercy of Israel.
God has committed them all to disobedience: The idea is that God has shut up both Jew and Gentile into custody as lawbreakers. God offers mercy to these prisoners, based on the person and work of Jesus.
(Rom_11:33-36) Praise to God for His plan and the progress of the plan.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
As Paul considers God’s great plan of the ages, he breaks into spontaneous praise. Paul realizes that God’s ways are past finding out, and God’s wisdom and knowledge is beyond him.
“The Romans dedicated a certain lake, the depth whereof they knew not, to Victory; so should we admire the unsearchable counsels of God.” (Trapp)
Who would have planned the whole scenario with Israel, the Gentiles and the Church as God has planned it? Yet, we can see the great wisdom and compassion in His plan.
“It is strange that, with such a scripture as this before their eyes, men should sit down coolly and positively write about counsels and decrees of God formed from all eternity, of which they speak with as much confidence and decision as if they had formed a part of the council of the Most High, and had been with him in the beginning of his ways!” (Clarke)
For who has known the mind of the LORD? The quotations from Isa_40:13
and Job_41:11 emphasize both God’s wisdom and sovereign conduct; no one can make God their debtor.
Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? You can try all you want - but you will never make God a debtor to you. You can’t out-give God. He will never need to repay a debt to anyone.
Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things: “All these words are monosyllables. A child just learning to read could easily spell them out. But who shall exhaust their meaning?” (Meyer)
It is all of Him: This plan came from God. It wasn’t man’s idea. We didn’t say, “I’ve offended God and have to find a way back to Him. Let’s work on a plan to come back to God.” In our spiritual indifference and death we didn’t care about a plan, and even if we did care we aren’t smart enough or wise enough to make one. It is all of Him.
It is all through Him: Even if we had the plan, we couldn’t make it happen. We couldn’t free ourselves from this prison of sin and self. It could only happen through Him, and the great work of Jesus on our behalf is the through Him that brings salvation.
It is all to Him: It’s not for me, it’s not for you, it’s all to Him. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph_1:6). It’s for His pleasure that we are created, and we find our fulfillment in bringing Him glory and honor.
To whom be glory forever: The fact that Paul can’t figure out God makes him glorify God all the more. When we understand some of the greatness of God, we worship Him all the more passionately.