Romans

Romans 11:11-36 Standing By Faith.

It was Paul’s hope that the salvation of the Gentiles might provoke some in Israel to be reconciled (vv. 11-15, 25; 10:19 Cf. Dt. 32:21; Acts 13:46; 28:28). He uses the analogy of an olive tree, and the distinction is made between the root and the branches. Some branches are simply not connected to the root (vv. 16-18 Cf. Jer. 11:16; Jn. 15:2; Eph. 2:12). Some, like Paul, were a kind of firstfruits of the new covenant administration (Lev. 23:10; Js. 1:18). For some there was an external connection only, because of their unbelief (Cf. Heb. 3:19). One is only connected to the root by faith (vv. 19-20, 23-24). Boasting in self is contrary to faith for both Jew and Gentile, so it should serve as a warning to all (vv. 20-21). Perseverance would be a sign that one was connected to the root, not from self boasting but because of God’s goodness (v. 22). Clearly the “all Israel” who will be saved are those, as Paul has already made clear, are of the election of grace (v. 5).

This is in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (vv. 26-27; 59:20-21; 27:9), and the new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31 (v. 34). This is contrasted with the election of Israel as a nation and people (vv. 28-29 Cf. Dt. 7:8; 10:15). On a personal and individual level, all are disobedient. The belief of some is superficial, and therefore in vain (Cf. I Cor. 15:2). It is God’s mercy alone that grants to some repentance, faith and belief (vv. 30-32 Cf. Gal. 3:22; II Cor. 3:14-16). This is the mystery of the election according to grace, known to God alone (v. 33). Nothing has entered from without into His counsel, and He owes a debt to no one (vv. 34-35; Is. 40:13; Job 41:11 Cf. Jer. 23:18). There can be no doubt however, that Paul believed that the inclusion of Israelites would result in a great revival in the earth (v. 12). The word ‘remnant’ does not necessarily mean a small number every time, but perhaps a small number overall. The Lord is the beginning middle and end of this work, “to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (v. 36).

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