Happy Lord’s Day! I can’t think of a better day for this discussion than the Lord’s Day!
If you are a Gentile, this discussion should bring you exceedingly great joy! If you are a Jew, this discussion should bring you exceedingly great hope! My prayer is that it brings blessing to every eye that reads it and every mind that ponders it!
We’re going to study a passage of Scripture today, so open your Bible to Romans 11. (Click the link to read NASB and NLT side-by-side!) Yesterday I said that God has called His “grafted in” children to bless His called children. Romans 11 tells us how and why. Please take a couple moments right now to read verses 11-36.
Verse 11 is precious, and is the key verse to the entire passage. In the New Living Translation (NLT), it says:
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.
Though prophecy clearly predicted Jesus’s first coming as the Messiah, His people (Jews) failed to recognize it. (See The Messiah’s Coming) In essence, that is the “stumble” referred to in Romans 11:11. For sure, Jesus lamented that fact (Matthew 23:37-39). However, He did not give up on His people! In fact, He did an interesting thing: He made salvation available to the Gentiles so that His own people would “become jealous and claim it for themselves!” God had an incredible plan for both Jews and Gentiles before the foundation of the world, and He brought it to pass as His own people rejected Him.
The Apostle Paul then clearly addresses Gentiles beginning in verse 13, where he reiterates the objective to make the people of Israel jealous for what we have. But get this: their rejection of salvation made it available to us! (Verse 15) Thus, salvation belongs, originally, to the Jews! That was His calling and was to be their purpose on earth! God hasn’t changed that purpose…He just implemented a different plan when they rejected Him. One day, they will see their Messiah and will be the world’s most prolific evangelists! (During the tribulation…but that’s for another discussion!)
Earlier I said this discussion should bring great joy to Gentiles. Verses 17-18 tell us why! We have been “grafted in” to the tree of Abraham! Jews are the descendants of Abraham, and thus, God’s chosen people. Yet, in His great mercy and grace, He made a way for Gentiles to become a part of that lineage. Now, we also receive the blessing God promised…eternal salvation! But, we cannot brag! We are not the root…the Jews are! We are simply branches, allowed to be there because we believe (verses 19-21).
I also said this discussion should bring exceedingly great hope to the Jews. Verses 23-24 provide that hope! Just because the people of Israel rejected the Messiah does not mean they cannot be grafted in again! God is a gracious God, giving second chances to us all. But here, He shows unlimited favor to His chosen people!
Verses 25-36 expound on the fact that God’s mercy is for everyone. However, I want to leave you with two key points of extended hope to the Jews:
- God’s promise is that all Israel will be saved. (Verse 26) There are different theological positions regarding what it means to say, “all Israel will be saved.” My objective is not to dispute with theologians much wiser than I am, but instead to say simply that the path is paved for all of Israel to know the Messiah. Our responsibility as believers is to pray for that to occur, and to be vessels of the Lord to stir them to jealousy so they might partake of what we have.
- Verse 27 reminds us that God still upholds His covenant with the Jewish people, and He will indeed take away their sins! He is gracious and forgiving, merciful and kind. He is also faithful to His covenant!
Exceedingly great joy for us as Christians, and exceedingly great hope for our Jewish friends!
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! (Verse 33)