Romans 11 - Outline of Romans (MENU page)
C. Israel's Future; Salvation (ch. 11)
  1. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Total. v.1-10
  2. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Final. v.11-36
    1. The Rejection of Israel fits God's Purposes. v.11-15
    2. The Rejection of Israel speaks to Gentile believers. v.16-25
    3. The Restoration of Israel is Predicted. v.26-32
    4. The Wisdom of God is Praised. v.33-36
11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people {GK=laos}? God forbid.
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [of] the tribe of Benjamin.
11:2 God hath not cast away his people
{GK=laos} which he foreknew.
Wot ye not
{ie., Know ye not} what the scripture saith of Elias {ie., Elijah}?
how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
11:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars;
and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
{1Kings 19:10,14}
11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him?
I have reserved to myself seven thousand men,
who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal.
{1Kings 19:18}
11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
11:6 And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Hath God cast away His people?- Is God finished with Israel? Has He totally rejected them,
because they are in willful unbelief and in active opposition of the Gospel?
God forbid! {Let it not be so!} For I also am an Israelite...-
Paul had a personal stake in this question. If God had totally rejected Israel, Paul also would have been rejected, since he clearly was one of them.
Paul himself is proof that God is not done with Israel, and that Righteousness by faith is still available to the Jews. cp. Php 3:4-9
God has not cast away His people {GK=laos}, whom He foreknew.-
The same word for 'people' {GK=laos, a tribe, a group with common race and language} is used here as in Rom 10:21. Paul leaves no room for doubt that he is referring to the specific family which is descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Though as a nation, Israel rejects God's righteousness, and therefore, God rejects them in their self-righteousness, yet, they remain uniquely His chosen people. cp. Amos 3:1,2
Paul is not a unique case. Elijah thought he was the last person loyal to the Lord.
He stood alone, as a solitary prophet of the Lord, against 450 prophets of Baal. He was discouraged by the overwhelming flood of apostasy and unbelief in the land. But he could not see that God's Spirit was preserving a remnant of Israel who remained faithful to the Lord. Perhaps the 7,000 men (plus unnumbered women) represented only a small percentage of the nation. Nevertheless, these were Israelites whose trust was in the Lord. Rom 9:6
Even so then at this present time also there is {lit., 'there has come to be}
a remnant according to the election of grace.-
This remnant consists of those Jews -
  • who have submitted to God's righteousness, by grace, through faith in Christ. cp. Rom 10:3
  • who are the elect, ie., the called and chosen by God. cp. Rom 8:29,30; 9:23,24
if by grace, then is it no more of works...- 'no more' is meant logically here (not re: time).
ie., '...if by grace, it cannot be the case that it is by works.'
There never was a time when salvation was by works. Rom 3:27,28; 4:3-5
'Righteousness by grace' and 'righteousness by works' are mutually exclusive.
There are not two ways to be accepted by God. There are not two remnants accepted by God.
11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; {cp. Rom 3:9; 9:31,32}
but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
{cp. 2Cor 3:14}
11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber,
eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
{Deu 29:4; Isa 29:10}
11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock,
and a recompence unto them:
11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
What then?...- ie., Well, has God cast away His people, or not?
Israel, as a nation, has not attained to righteousness by the Law. They remain in their sin.
  1. The remnant of elect ones (v.5) have obtained the righteousness which is by faith.
  2. The rest {ie., the remainder, the residue (other than the remnant)} were blinded (v.7).-
Paul partially quotes both Moses and Isaiah --
'God hath given them the spirit of slumber {ie., stupor}, eyes that they should not see...'-
The context of the two passages bring out different aspects of their blindness:
Paul also quotes David -- (Psa 69:22,23)
'Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock... that they may not see...'-
  • The word for 'stumblingblock' {GK=skandalon} originally meant ''the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence the trap or snare itself.'' [Vine]
  • The context of the Psalm suggests that ''their table'' refers to the Passover Table. The Lord Jesus applied elements from the Passover meal to symbolize the significance of His death. Although the symbols were ever before them, the Jews could not see the truth. The Psalm closely associates Messiah's crucifixion with the table. cp. Psa 69:21,22
    [ For more, see the Book Notes on Psalms of the Messiah - Psalm 69. ]
  • Today, it is also true that many, who call themselves Christians, repeatedly celebrate the Lord's Supper without understanding.
'...and bow down their back alway.'-
  • Israel would feel the consequences of their rejection ''always'' {ie., continuously}.
    This word does not mean ''for ever.'' (cp. word use in Luk 24:53; Heb 13:15)
2. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Final. v.11-36
a. The Rejection of Israel fits God's Purposes. v.11-15
11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid:
but [rather] through their fall salvation [is come] unto the Gentiles,
for to provoke them to jealousy.
Have they stumbled that they might 'fall' {GK=pipto, to be cast down, to be removed}?-
Israel stumbled {GK=ptaio, to err, to be offended} because -
  • they were sinners, satisfied with their self-righteousness,
  • they were willfully ignorant, of God's righteousness through Christ. Rom 9:31-33; 10:3,4
Was Israel's error for the purpose that they should be removed from their chosen position? No!
God's purpose was not that Israel should be permanently rejected.
God's purpose was that, through their 'fall' {GK=paraptoma, a falling aside, a lapse}...
  1. Gentiles would be saved (v.11b).- cp. Acts 13:45-47
    When the Jews rejected the Gospel, those who proclaimed it turned to those who would hear it.
  2. Jews would be saved (v.11c).-
    The Lord would use the salvation of Gentiles 'to provoke Israel to jealousy'
    (ie., to stimulate a desire within them for the things that belonged to them, but which they had rejected. cp. Luk 19:41,42; review the Notes at Rom 10:19).
  3. The whole world would be saved (v.12).-
11:12 Now if the fall {ie., lapse} of them [be] the riches of the world {ie., of all mankind},
and the diminishing
{ie., diminution, decrease, loss} of them the riches of the Gentiles,
{The number of elect in Israel had been decreased from the full nation to a remnant.}
how much more their fullness?
Salvation is of {ie., by, through} the Jews (Joh 4:22).
11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles,
inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify
{GK=doxazo, glorify, honor} mine office:
11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation
{ie., to jealousy} [them which are] my flesh,
and might save some of them.
11:15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world,
what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?
For I speak to you Gentiles...-
Paul has not forgotten that his readers (the church in Rome) are primarily Gentiles. Though he has been passionately speaking of Israel, he does not intend to forsake the ministry given to him toward the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Gal 2:8).
In fact, he was fulfilling that role, by carefully instructing them about God's purposes for the Jews. He desired that, through these Gentile believers, some among Israel might find Christ.
The Gentiles themselves had a stake in the salvation of the Jews.
for if the casting away {ie., loss, rejection} of them be the reconciling of the world...-
Israel's temporary rejection had resulted in the proclamation of the Gospel beyond Israel. 2Cor 5:18,19
what shall be the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?-
The restoration of Israel will greatly bless the whole world.
  • Israel will enter into Life out of spiritual deadness. -
    Today, although they are unaware of their condition, Israel as a nation is -
    - - dead in sins (having rejected the righteousness of God, which is in Christ), and
    - - dead in hope (despairing of the messianic prophecies).
    Israel's restoration will occur when they turn to Christ, finding Him to be their Life & Hope.
    Isa 26:16-19; Ezek 37:1-14; Hos 6:1-3
  • OT & NT believers will be raised to life out of physical death.-
    The first resurrection occurs in stages at the end of the age, coinciding with our Lord's return, and Israel's restoration. (The Rapture, prior to the Tribulation- 1The 4:13-18; The Resurrection of the righteous at the start of the Messiah's Kingdom- Dan 12:1,2; Joh 5:29; Rev 20:4-6)
  • The earth and all of its occupants will be 'delivered from the bondage of corruption.'-
    This also will occur at the time of Christ's return to reign upon the earth. Rom 8:18-25
2. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Final. v.11-36
a. The Rejection of Israel fits God's Purposes. v.11-15
b. The Rejection of Israel speaks to Gentile believers. v.16-25
11:16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]:
and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.
11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off,
and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed
{ie., grafted} in among them,
and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
11:18 Boast not against the branches.
But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.
Be not highminded, but fear:
11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee.
Paul continues speaking to the Gentiles regarding their proper relationship toward Israel.
In doing so, he now draws an analogy, using symbolic terms which are frequently used in scripture. The reader can easily become distracted from Paul's argument by attempting to mesh other scriptural metaphors with the one that Paul presents here.
Listed below are a few examples of similar analogies, that differ from what Paul has in mind:
Firstfruits frequently depict the initial gatherings of a great harvest. eg., This term is used of -
  • Believers during the Church age. cp. Rom 8:23; Jam 1:18
  • A chosen group of Jews during the Tribulation. cp. Rev 14:4
  • Christ, the firstfruits of the coming resurrection. 1Cor 15:20,23
    Each of these 'firstfruits' foreshadow the fullness of redemption which is yet to come.
    However, here, Paul has none of these in view, and he uses the term 'firstfruits' to teach a different lesson.
The Root, in scripture, often speaks of the nourishing source from which life flows.
  • Christ is the root and offspring of David (ie., the God who gave life to David, and a man born to his line). Rev 22:16
  • Christ is a 'root out of dry ground' (ie., a man who arose in a place of spiritual famine, and who would become salvation for both Jew & Gentile alike). Isa 53:2; 11:1,10
    However, here, Paul uses the term 'root' in a narrower sense, to refer to Abraham as the first in the line of Israel's blessing. To be sure, Abraham was connected to Israel's ultimate Root (Joh 8:56), but Paul's analogy starts with Abraham. All of Israel is connected to Abraham, even though not all are related by faith to the Lord.
The Vine and the Olive Tree are both living organisms that are expected to bear fruit.
  • Israel, as 'the vine' planted by the Lord, failed to produce fruit for Him, by the Law.
    Isa 5:1-7; Eze 15:1-5; Hos 10:1
    In scripture, the Vine and Olive Tree metaphors seem to differ somewhat in emphasis. Regarding the Vine, the primary issue is fruit.
    Regarding the Olive Tree, it is faith ('trust in the Lord'). cp. Jer 11:16,17; Psa 52:8
  • Christ is the 'true vine.' Those branches, whose life is in Him, produce much fruit. Joh 15:1-6
    This last picture is similar to the analogy that Paul paints here.
    A vital relationship with the Lord, by faith is central to both.
    However, in John 15 - -
    • the branches are not 'natural' and 'wild,' but 'fruitful' and 'unfruitful.'
    • the branches are not 'grafted in,' but 'abiding.'
    • the branches are not removed due to a lack of faith, but due to a lack of fruit.
    These two analogies, though similar, are meant to teach different truths.
Furthermore, Paul's analogy should be interpreted within the context of his subject -
- - God is not finished with Israel.
- - Israel's rejection is neither total nor final.
- - Gentile believers should keep this in mind as they interact with Israel.
So, How should we understand the analogies, here in Romans ch. 11?
for if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy... (v.16)- Paul is thinking of Num 15:18-21.
His point is simply that the small portion of dough that was set aside for the Lord at the beginning of the harvest season, effectively consecrated the entire batch of dough as belonging to Him.
This thought is restated using a different analogy:
and if the root be holy, so are the branches...-
  • The 'first fruit' and the 'root' both represent the holy beginnings of a larger body that remains set apart for the Lord's purposes. Consistent with Paul's argument, that larger body is Israel.
  • The 'root' is Abraham, who entered, by faith, into right relationship with the Lord. Rom 4:3
  • The 'olive tree' which sprang from him, the nation of Israel, remains set apart for the Lord and His purposes. An olive tree, as the source of olive oil, was a symbol of blessing. The blessings given to Abraham were passed on to Israel, through natural descendency, and the covenants. Rom 9:4,5
  • The 'branches' are individual Israelites who stand or fall, in relation to the Lord and His purposes, as determined on the basis of faith. cp. Jer 11:16,17; Psa 52:8; Rom 4:12,13
if some of the branches be broken off, {cp. Rom 9:6-8, 31-33}
and thou, being {from} a wild olive tree were grafted in among them...-
  • The 'wild olive tree' is the gentile world, out of which individual believers were brought, by faith in Christ, into vital connection with the Lord God of Israel. cp. Mat 8:11,12; 21:43; Eph 2:11-13
    Note that the Church does not displace Israel, but is 'grafted in among them.'
    Throughout this discussion, the distinction between Jew & Gentile is maintained, while the salvation of both is interwoven.
and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree...-
  • The 'root' is Abraham, not as the physical progenitor of Israel,
    but as the father of all who are saved by faith. Rom 4:11,12; Gal 3:16,29
  • The 'fatness' is the richness of God's blessing upon the 'olive tree.' Jer 11:16a
    The Church has not pre-empted the earthly blessings promised to the nation of Israel, but we partake of the overflow of the spiritual blessings which belong to them in their Messiah. Gal 3:8; Eph 3:6; Joh 1:16
boast not against the branches... thou bearest not the root... but the root {bears} thee...-
  • Believers have no justification for hatred of the Jew. Boasting is absurd.
    The Gentile branch is not self-sustaining but depends on the covenant blessings through Abraham. cp. Gen 22:18
thou wilt say... 'Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in...'-
(The GK has no article before 'branches,' here. Not all were broken off.)
Is this not a basis for boasting: 'By some superiority on my part, I have displaced Jews.'
Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.
No, your suggested basis for boasting is incorrect.
Branches were not broken off in order to let you in.
Rather, Israel was broken off due to pride and unbelief.
The Church, today, follows this same error when it says that God is done with Israel, and that the Church replaces Israel. We have no merit to give us standing before Him. We are accepted only by faith in Jesus Christ.
''You stand not because they fell, and not because you are a Gentile, but solely by faith -- having no direct covenant.'' [Stifler]
be not highminded {ie., proud},
but fear; {since} God spared not the natural branches... lest he spare not thee.
The 'natural branches' were, from their roots, 'His people' (v.1).
If an apostate Israel was not spared judgment, neither will an apostate church be spared.
(cp. these warnings to the Church, in varying conditions: Rev 2:4,5; 2:21-23; 3:15-19)
11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity;
but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness:
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in:
for God is able to graff them in again.
11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature,
and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree:
how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?
behold, therefore...-
''Because the Gentile stands solely by his faith, let him 'therefore' avoid boasting, and cease from high-mindedness... to look at the actions of God.'' [Stifler]
behold... the goodness and severity of God...- cp. Ex 34:6,7; Rom 2:4,5
on them who fell: severity {GK=apotomia, abruptness, sharpness}...-
Toward those who refuse His mercy, the Lord must exercise the full provisions of the Law.
cp. Deu 28:15-f, 63-f
but toward thee: goodness {GK=chrestotes, kindness, gentleness}...- cp. Titus 3:4-7
if thou continue in His goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.-
cp. Joh 8:31; 15:4-10; Heb 3:6,14; 10:36-39; 1Joh 2:19; Jude 1:20,21
''After 1900 years, the Gentile Church is as much a failure, if not more so, than Israel.'' [McGee]
''Why should God spare a hollow faithless church that fails to appreciate [His] ineffable mercy (Eph 2:4,5), when He spared not His 'own people'.'' [Stifler]
cp. the Lord's warning to the church at Ephesus, Rev 2:4,5
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in...-
God is able to restore unbelieving Israel to her roots of faith. cp. 2Cor 3:14-16
(The days come when this possibility will become reality. cp. Jer 23:3-8; Zech 12:10)
if thou wert... grafted contrary to nature...
how much more shall... the natural branches be grafted in to their own olive tree?
Whether 'wild' or 'natural' the ungrafted branches are dead. The Gentiles are ''far off,'' and the Jews are ''cut off'' from the household of faith because of unbelief. Only God can give them life (Eph 2:1).
Yet, because of their natural privileges (Rom 9:4,5), it would seem easier to bring Israel into the righteousness which is by faith, like that of Abraham.
11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,
lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;
that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
A 'mystery,' in scripture, is something that would be unknown, except for God's revelation.
Paul has been teaching Gentile Christians about God's revelation concerning Israel's future--
- - lest they be ignorant {without understanding} of it, and
- - lest they ignore it {substituting their own thinking for His truth}.
Unfortunately, today, the major church in Rome, and many protestant churches also, have not taken these words to heart.
this mystery...
that blindness in part is happened to Israel...- ie., Their rejection is not total.
until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. - ie., Their rejection is not final.
until the fullness of the Gentiles...- Probably refers to both of the following ('A.' is primary):
  1. The numeric completion of the Church, which is composed largely of Gentiles.
    The same word for 'fullness' is used concerning Israel's restoration in v.12.
    The Church itself was a mystery revealed in the NT.
    Its 'fullness' is inclusive of 'all the gentiles, upon whom my name is called' (ie., all who are saved during the Church Age, Acts 15:14-18).
    It will be completed with the Rapture of the Church (1The 4:16-18). At the subsequent Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Father's house will be filled with 'strangers' (cp. Mat 22:1-14; Luk 14:16-24).
    [The Church Age extends from the Feast of Pentecost which followed Christ's resurrection, to the Rapture of the Church. (Regarding the beginning of the Church Age, see the Book Notes at Acts 2:1-4.)]
  2. The completion of the 'Times of the Gentiles' (Luk 21:24).
    The word 'until' suggests the time element.
    The Times of the Gentiles refers to a period of time, when world political power will be predominantly under the control of unsaved Gentiles. (This period began with the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, by the armies of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. It was reconfirmed with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, by the Romans, and it will continue until the return of Christ to earth at the end of the Great Tribulation.)
2. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Final. v.11-36
a. The Rejection of Israel fits God's Purposes. v.11-15
b. The Rejection of Israel speaks to Gentile believers. v.16-25
c. The Restoration of Israel is Predicted. v.26-32
11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written,
There shall come out of Sion
{ie., Zion} the Deliverer,
and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
11:27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
and so...- ie., when the temporary blindness comes to its end (v.7-12,25).
all Israel shall be saved.- This refers to Israel as a nation, at that future time.
This does not mean that all Jewish individuals who have ever lived will be saved.
Rather, all who survive the Great Tribulation, and are alive at the Lord's return, will be saved.
cp. Isa 4:2-4; Ezek 20:33-38
as it is written...- Up to this point, Paul has mentioned the restoration of Israel as a possibility.
Now, he shows that this was specifically foretold by the Word of God.
There is an abundance of prophetic Scripture on this subject.
We have already considered several passages in the notes above.
Paul cites yet another passage...
There shall come out of Zion the deliverer...- (quoting from Isa 59:20,21)
  • 'Zion' means 'fortress.' It refers to the place of God's glory.
    Paul says the deliverer will 'come out' of' Zion (ie., from God's dwelling place, Heaven). cp. Psa 14:7; 110:2
    Isaiah wrote that He will 'come to' Zion (ie., to the earthly place of God's glory, Jerusalem). Isa 59:20
  • 'Deliverer,' in v.26, is GK= rhoumai, one who draws to himself, one who rescues (cp. verb form in Mat 6:13; 2Pet 2:9).
    In His Presence, His people take refuge, as He lifts His own out of the grip of their enemies, by His Power.
  • 'Redeemer,' in Isaiah 59:20, is HB=goel, 'kinsman redeemer.'
    When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, He will deliver the people of Israel, who are His ''kinsmen according to the flesh'' (cp. Rom 9:3,5), for He will draw them to Himself (Zech 12:10).
...and {He} shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.-
  • 'Jacob' is the natural (or, fleshly) name for Israel.
    The patriarch, Jacob, lived much of his life according to this name, which means 'deceiver' or 'supplanter.' The Lord gave him a new name, Israel {'soldier of God,' or, 'prevailer with God'}, which would become a reality through His Covenant promises. [The name, Israel, does not refer to Jacob's power in prayer. He did not twist God's arm. Rather, the Lord hobbled his thigh. Aware of his weakness, Jacob clung to God in desperation. He would not let go, without the assurance of God's blessing. Jacob 'prevailed' through his dependence upon the Lord. He would prevail in God's strength, not his own.]
  • 'The Redeemer shall come... unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.' {Isaiah's words, Isa 59:20}
    'The Deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' {Paul's words in v.26}
    At Christ's return, Israel will look to Him for cleansing, and He will take away their sins.
    The nation will receive righteousness by faith in Him. Zech 13:1,8,9
For {ie., And} this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.-
In this line, Paul combined several passages which speak of the New Covenant. eg., Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36:25-33
11:28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes:
but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes.
11:29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.
Paul summarizes Israel's present condition -
A. Re: the Gospel - They are enemies {lit., hated} for your sakes.
Israel is in opposition to the Gospel, which opens opportunity for Gentiles to be saved. v.11; cp. Acts 13:45,46
B. Re: the Election - They are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
Israel is the chosen (elect) people, because of the promises God made to the patriarchs.
- - cp. Deu 4:31; 7:6-8; 9:5; 10:15; Isa 41:8,9 f
'for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance {ie., are irrevocable}'
  • the gifts- GK=charisma, 'the gracings,' whatever God freely bestows by Grace. (eg., Rom 9:4,5)
  • the calling- the invitation, especially the invitation that is both heard and accepted,
    the 'effectual call' of God. cp. the same GK root word for 'call,' 'called' in Rom 8:30; 9:25,26
    The Lord does not change. His promises to Israel are secure and await their turning to Him in faith (as did the fathers). Rom 3:3; Mal 3:6,7
C. Re: God's Mercy - They are in unbelief. (v.30-32)
11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God,
yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
11:31 Even so have these also now not believed,
that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
{ie., through the mercy extended to you...}
11:32 For God hath concluded
{ie., locked up together} them all in unbelief,
that he might have mercy upon all.
'...mercy upon all.' - This passage does not teach that all will be saved (ie., universal salvation).
Rather, if any are saved at all, it must be on the basis of God's mercy.
God has 'locked them all up together as in a prison' of unbelief...-
in order that Jew & Gentile alike might learn that we have no hope in ourselves.
Israel's failure to believe the Gospel, like their failure to keep the Law (Rom 3:19,20), is a merciful demonstration of their need for God's saving mercy.
Like the Gentiles, they also need righteousness from God, by faith in Christ (Rom 3:21-25).
''We are all, Jew & Gentile, in the stubborn state of rebellion and aggravated unbelief.
Because of this, it is only 'by grace' that we are saved.'' Eph 2:4,5, 8,9 [McGee]
Israel will eventually realize their 'gifts and calling,' but not by means of their merit,
rather, by means of God's mercy to them that believe. Gal 3:22,23
2. The Present Rejection of Israel is Not Final. v.11-36
a. The Rejection of Israel fits God's Purposes. v.11-15
b. The Rejection of Israel speaks to Gentile believers. v.16-25
c. The Restoration of Israel is Predicted. v.26-32
d. The Wisdom of God is Praised. v.33-36
Paul, looking with amazement at God's merciful dealings with mankind (ie., as explained in ch. 1-11, and as summarized in v.32), is moved to worship.
This chapter closes with a hymn.
11:33 O the depth of the riches both {ie., and} of the wisdom and {of the} knowledge of God!
how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
{cp. Isa 55:8,9}
His 'judgments' are the product of His wisdom.
His 'ways' are the mode of His procedure in making His decrees effective. [Stifler]
11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor?
{Isa 40:13}
cp. v.33 - 'mind' corresponds to 'knowledge'; 'counsellor' corresponds to 'wisdom.'
cp. Rom 1:22; 1Cor 2:7-10; 3:19,20; Psa 103:7
11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? {Job 35:7; 41:11}
cp. v.33 - 'given' and 'recompensed' correspond to 'riches.' cp. Rom 10:12; Mat 5:3
11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: {cp. Col 1:15-17}
to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.
all things are...
  • ...of Him - ie., He is their source.
  • ...through Him - ie., He is the sustainer, ruler and mediator of their existence.
  • Him - ie., He is the ultimate reason for their existence.
    He determines their purpose, and evaluates their performance.
    God will call every creature to account before Him.
to whom be glory {GK=doxa, honor} for ever. Amen. {ie., 'So it is.'} - He does all things well.
For Paul this is answer enough for the questions which have been before us.
Though we understand little of His purposes and ways,
- - we rest secure that all is in His keeping.
- - we worship Him for all He is and does.
- - we worship Him for extending His mercies toward us.
And how should we worship? By singing psalms and hymns?
By praising God's Name in the company of other believers on a Sunday morning?
Yes, of course! But let us ask Paul: 'By what form of worship can we properly honor the Lord?'
His answer is instant, coming in the next verses: Rom 12:1,2

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