We have already studied the truth that Israel’s rejection is partial (Romans 11:1-10). Paul, a past remnant and a present remnant all proved that Israel’s rejection is only partial. We also have seen the truth that Israel’s rejection has its purposes (Romans 11:11-24). God is using Israel’s rejection for the purpose of giving the Gentiles the opportunity to be saved by His grace and God is using Israel’s rejection for the purpose of graciously warning the Gentiles of His severity. Now we see that Israel’s rejection is passing (Romans 11:25-32).
Paul began leading into the truth that Israel’s rejection is passing in Romans 11:23-24. Paul pointed out that if Israel did not continue in their unbelief that God would graft them in again (Romans 11:23). This establishes the truth that God will not reject anyone who repents and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. Paul also turned to the Scriptures to show that the day is coming when Israel will not continue in unbelief and God will graft them in again (Romans 11:25-27).
So the Gentiles who are now being shown mercy are not to be arrogant (Romans 11:18), conceited (Romans 11:20), or wise in their own estimation (Romans 11:25) against Israel because Israel’s rejection is passing (Romans 11:25-32). This section gives us three very good reasons to praise and glorify God:
First, we are to praise and glorify God for His sovereignty (Romans 11:25).
In God’s sovereign plan, Israel’s hardening is not total but is partial – “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uniformed of this mystery (a truth which in other generations was not made known but has now been revealed) – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel.” Not every Jew has been or will be hardened. God in His sovereignty has graciously preserved a believing remnant of Israel so that His promises to them can be fulfilled. In God’s sovereign plan Israel’s hardening is not total but is partial.
In God’s sovereign timing, Israel’s hardening is not permanent but is temporary – “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Here we notice God’s perfect sovereign timing – He will not bring Israel to national repentance until He has saved the fullness of the Gentiles. Israel’s hardness will last only for God’s divinely determined duration. There is a fullness for Israel (Romans 11:12) and a fullness for the Gentiles (Romans 11:25). The fullness of the Gentiles will come first because when the fullness of Israel comes in then Christ will return and set up His millennial Kingdom and usher in eternity. Today, God in His grace is visiting the Gentiles and taking out a people for His name (Acts 15:12-14). A remnant of individual Jews are being saved, but this present age is primarily a time when God is saving Gentiles and building His church. When the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, then God will once more deal with the nation of Israel. In God’s sovereign timing, Israel’s hardening is not permanent but is temporary. We are to praise and glorify God for His sovereignty.
Second, we are to praise and glorify God for His faithfulness (Romans 11:26-29). God is faithful to His promises (Romans 11:26). God has promised in His word that He will save all Israel (Isaiah 59:20) and He will keep His promise. This is a promise for national conversion. It does not mean that every Jew that has ever lived will be saved but that the Jews living when Jesus returns will receive Him and be saved (see Zechariah 12-13 especially 12:10). God’s promise to save all Israel is preceded by His promise to take out from among the Gentiles a people for His name and is followed by His promise to restore Israel afterwards through the appearing of the Deliverer (Acts 15:12-18).
God is faithful to His covenant (Romans 11:27-28). God chose Israel in His grace and not because of any merit in her (Deuteronomy 7:6-11; 9:1-6). Since the nation was not chosen because of its goodness, God has made a covenant to take away their sins (Romans 11:27). This quote is from Isaiah 59:21 and emphasizes that when the promise is fulfilled by the appearing of the Deliverer, God will then be faithful to His covenant to take away Israel’s sins. God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional and therefore God will accomplish this totally by His grace through the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in God’s sovereign timing. However, because Israel is right now partially hardened and enemies of the Gospel it appears that they have been rejected by God and that God is not going to be faithful to His covenant. That is not true. They are enemies of the Gospel right now so that we Gentiles can be saved (Romans 11:28). But God is not through with them and from the standpoint of God’s choice and for the sake of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they are beloved (Romans 11:28). God will keep His covenant with Israel.
God is faithful to His nature (Romans 11:29). Since God does not change, His gifts to Israel and His calling of Israel cannot be changed. God is immutable. He is unchanging in His nature. God will not change His plans for Israel’s spiritual regeneration. This verse speaks of gifts. If something is a gift then it must be by grace or unearned. This verse also speaks of calling. Paul has already established the truth that God’s calling is also by grace. Just as God’s gifts and calling cannot be earned, neither can they be overturned – they are irrevocable. They are irrevocable because God is faithful to His nature. We are to praise and glorify God for His faithfulness.
Third, we are to praise and glorify God for His graciousness (Romans 11:30-32). Paul’s explanation of God’s grace has gone full circle. First, because of Israel’s unbelief, the nation was partially and temporarily set aside, and the Gospel of salvation was extended to the Gentiles (Romans 11:30). Second, if God extended His grace to pagan Gentiles even while they were in unbelief, how much more surely will He extend His grace again to His chosen people Israel while they are in unbelief (Romans 11:31)? Finally, God has completed the full circle of His grace by shutting up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. God has included all in unbelief so that all may have the opportunity to be saved by grace (Romans 11:32). There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We are to praise and glorify God for His graciousness.
We are not to be arrogant, conceited, or wise in our own estimation against Israel because Israel’s rejection is passing. This gives us three reasons to praise and glorify God. We are to praise and glorify God for His sovereignty, for His faithfulness, and for His graciousness.