Romans 11:1 says, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” God did not, in other words, abandon the Israelites, for Paul himself was also an Israelite.
God says in Romans 11:2-5, “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life’? But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
As God told us that there would be many Israelites coming back to Him by believing in Jesus, many Jews will be saved from their sins. We must believe that when the end of time comes, a great number of Gentiles will be redeemed of their sins by believing in the righteousness of God and coming to Jesus Christ.
Paul asked, “Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah?” Here, Paul is referring to the fact that there will eventually be many Israelites who will trust in the righteousness of God that would take away their sins. With the Word of God spoken to Elijah, the Scripture tells us that many among the Israelis will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. We believe in this Word.
In the Scripture, the number “7” symbolizes completeness. God created this world in six days and rested on the seventh day. God promised to have reserved seven thousand people who would not kneel down to Baal. This meant that there would be many Israelites who would receive salvation from their sins by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior.
In explaining the relationship between the Israelites and the Gentiles, Paul believed that many among the people of Israel would be saved.
Did they stumble to fall?
Paul said in Romans 11:6-12 that if the Israelites had fully accepted the fact that Jesus was their Savior, there would not have been the era of the Gentiles’ salvation. Because the Israelites did not accept Jesus as their Savior, God allowed the Gentiles to have a chance to be saved by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. By this, God intended for the Israelites to be jealous of the Gentiles, who believed in Jesus and became His children. The Israelites would then begin to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and eventually accept the fact that Jesus Christ is indeed their Messiah.
The root is sacred thus the branches are sacred
Romans 11:13 states, “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.” Paul said that he magnified his ministry as an apostle of the Gentiles. He wanted to save the people of his own flesh and blood by provoking them to be jealous of the born-again Gentiles.
“For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Romans 11:15-16). This passage means that if Abraham, the root of the Israelites, was saved and earned the righteousness of God by believing in His Word, then it was still possible that the Israelites, the branches of Abraham, would be saved.
At the same time, Paul warned the born-again Gentiles that they should be not boastful because they became the holy people of God as broken branches of a wild olive tree are given new life by being grafted into a cultivated olive tree. As Romans 11:18 states, “Do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
We became God’s people because we were saved from our sins by believing in the righteousness of God, but if we abandon God’s righteousness, we will also be abandoned. We cannot do this because Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the righteousness of God to save us from all our sins, and because we indeed have been saved from all our sins. We have been saved by our faith in the absolute righteousness of God, not by our own works. We, the Gentiles, became His people through our faith in His righteousness, being substituted for the broken branches of the Israelites.
We can stand firm because we believe in God’s righteousness
Therefore, by believing in God’s righteousness, both Christians and Jews can be grafted into Jesus as His people. If we do not believe in God’s righteousness, we will surely die because of our sins by His just judgment. Paul warned this to the Israelites first, but we are not exempt from the warning either.
God took pity on us, the Gentiles, and completely saved us with His righteousness. Those who know and believe in God’s righteousness are saved from all their sins. All of today’s Christians will be put to destruction if they do not believe in the righteousness of God that has saved them perfectly, even if they confess that Jesus is their Savior.
Romans 11:23-24 says, “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?” God, in other words, has the power to lead everyone to have faith in His righteousness. That power is promised in the righteousness of God through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
For both the Israelites and the Gentiles, their deeds do not lead them to become God’s children. Rather, they can become God’s children by believing in His righteousness and His promise to make them His people. The righteousness of God completely excludes the righteousness of the Law. Through the righteousness of God, both the Israelites and the Gentiles throughout the world will be saved by their faith. This is the blessing of the great salvation of God that will be fulfilled through the gospel spread by us. This power of God is His promise of faith made in His righteousness.
Let us take a look at Romans 11:26-27, “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.’”
God has promised that He will eventually save the Israelites at the end of time. As such, God Himself promised to rid the evil and filth from the minds of the Israelites and to make them believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Although they had faithful ancestors, the Israelites themselves have not received salvation. But God has willed them to be saved in near future by touching their hearts and making them believe in His righteousness.
God has committed us all to disobedience, so that he might have mercy on us all!
Let us read verse 32, which is a very profound verse. “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” Everyone rebels and stands against God. None can completely obey Him, but the reason that God has committed us all to disobedience is so that He could give us compassion and love. This is a very surprising and amazing truth.
Through this passage, we can understand why God had confined humans into disobedience. How amazing His Providence is! God has placed us as disobeyers in order to clothe us in His perfect righteousness and merciful love. We can only believe and thank Him for His amazing purpose. God even committed the Israelites to disobedience to grant them the love of His righteousness. The Israelites still look down on Jesus, regarding Him as a low-life from Nazareth, while many of the Gentile Christians use Him as a means of making money.
Those who disobey God’s merciful love have no choice but to be sent to hell. God has already prepared the burning hell for them, but He cannot bear to see people going to hell, for He has great pity on them. “How can I send you to hell?” After the full number of the Gentiles has come into His salvation, many of the Israelites will believe in Jesus as their Savior, when the anti-Christ persecutes them during the last half of the seven-year tribulation. In the future, a countless number of believers who confess Jesus as the righteousness of God will rise among the Israelites.
“For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” This amazing passage explains that God has allowed all sinners to be saved by believing in His righteousness.
God told Paul that He would make the Israelites repent and believe in Christ when a sufficient number of the Gentiles became martyrs during the tribulation. As Paul says in Romans 11:33, “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!”
All true wisdom and divine providence come from God. He made all humans insufficient beings from the beginning. This shows God’s wisdom, which allows us to receive His salvation. Because of this, believing in Him during the last days will save even the Israelites. All of us had no choice but to be thrown into the trash and the fire, but God saved us from all our sins with His righteousness planned and accomplished by Him. God has willed for all sinners to be saved by Jesus’ baptism and blood, according to the sacrificial system of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, when all of humanity became sinners by being tempted by Satan and breaking the Law of God.
How, then, can anyone dare to stand against God’s wisdom? “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Who can comprehend this truth, that God has confined us to disobedience in order to give us His mercy? How dare anyone say that He is wrong for doing that? No one! All glory and divine providence is His forever and ever.
The Apostle Paul, being filled by the Holy Spirit, wrote, “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” (Romans 11:34-36).
Although we are full of shortcomings, we live to spread the gospel of the righteousness of God. Those who stand against this gospel of the righteousness of God are His foes. That’s right! Such people can rise even among us, and so we should pray and be aware so that none of us would fall into such temptation. Not under any circumstances should we ever stand against the gospel. We must never turn against the gospel of the water and the Spirit with unbelieving hearts. Those who turn against it will be destroyed in this world and the next.
The time for the Israelites to believe in Jesus is near. How wonderful would it be if the six billion people on this earth would come back to God and received salvation? The righteous, who believe in God’s righteousness, should not only look at the present situation, but also look at the work of God planned for the Israelites and prepare their faith to enter and live on a new heaven and a new earth. The righteous should always live by faith and hope.
I thank God, for I know that the day the Israelites will believe in Christ as their Savior is near.
Come soon, Lord Jesus!