Well, the present war in Israel has raised a great deal of interest in the nation of Israel, as we are reminded every day on the news of what's going on in that part of the world. And the question arises in the minds of many people, is Israel still the people of God? The answer to that question, in my understanding, is both yes and no. No, if you mean are the Jewish people saved because they are Jews?
Absolutely not. No one who fails to believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. And so lost Jews are just as lost as lost Gentiles, and there is no salvation apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. But the answer is yes if you mean, do Jews continue to enjoy a place in God's plan for the future? My answer to that, that yes indeed, Jews do enjoy a place in God's plan for the future. Some believe that Israel has now been set aside, except for the elect remnant.
But other than that, that they are no different from Gentiles in their place in the world. I do not hold that view, and I think I can explain why, if you'll give me a few moments, maybe about 45 minutes to get into Romans chapter 11, and my understanding of that chapter. I begin by setting very briefly the context of Romans chapter 11, which is simply to tell you that Romans chapter 11 comes after Romans chapters 9 and 10, and it's all part of one package. And so you can see what Paul is talking about. You might say the major theme of this entire section by looking back at chapter 9 and seeing how it begins. He says, I tell the truth in Christ.
I am not lying. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the laws, the service of God, and the promises of whom are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who was overall the eternal blessed God, amen. Paul is concerned about the condition of the Jewish people as a nation, most of whom are unbelieving at the time he writes. You see that throughout these two chapters, if you look at verses 30 through 32 of chapter 9. So what shall we say then? The Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained to righteousness, even the righteous of faith, but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling stone. So he's talking about Israel, unbelieving Israel, unbelieving Jews, who for the most part are lost in darkness and are attempting to earn salvation by works instead of by faith.
And that continues on chapter 10. Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.
To everyone who believes. I'm just reading these verses to make it clear. This is all one unit where Paul is dealing with the plight of his blood relatives, the Jews, those who belong to the nation of Israel, most of whom are yet unconverted.
That's the context. And that's what Paul continues to talk about. Now, we get into chapter 11. And I'm going to examine chapter 11 by asking and attempting to answer these great questions.
So if you are taking notes, I'll number them for you as we go along. Question number one is the one that Paul asks in verse one. Has God cast away his people? Has God cast away his people? What people? The people that he's been talking about in chapters 9 and 10. The blood relatives of Paul. The Jewish people. The people who are trying to earn righteousness through the law.
Those people. And the reason I say that is because there are some who interpret this chapter as if Paul is saying, has God cast away his people? That is the elect remnant of Israel. Because we do have the word Israel used in two different senses in these chapters. And so they say, has God cast away his people? Well, no, he hasn't cast away the believing Jews, the elect remnant of the Jews who are saved out of the nation of Israel. But that's not what Paul is saying.
Put it in context. Paul is saying, has God cast away his Jewish people? My kindred. My brothers according to the flesh.
The ones that I have talked about in chapters 9 and 10. Has God cast away his people? And the answer is certainly not. That answers the question. Let's say amen and go home, but I'm not prepared to do that. But has God cast away Israel?
No. And Paul gives two evidences for this in verses one and two. Evidence number one, Paul is a believing Jew. He has not been cast away. And number two, Elijah's 7,000 remnant in his day.
Notice that. 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 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 away 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 7,000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Paul offers two evidences for his statement that God certainly has not cast away his people. Evidence number one, Paul, who is a Jew through and through of the stock of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, and so forth and so on. He is a Jew through and through. He is a believing Jew.
He is a Christian Jew. Paul is saved. Why Paul wasn't cast away with the rest. God obviously has preserved a remnant. Nobody disagrees with that statement.
It's just how you apply that truth. And then he offers a second evidence of the believing remnant, namely Elijah's 7,000, which Elijah thought he was the only one. God said, no, I have 7,000 more who have not bowed the knee to Baal. And so there is this concept of an elect remnant in the midst of a national remnant.
A national election. And I understand Paul to be saying, if God had utterly cast away his people, then I wouldn't be saved and no Jew would be saved today. They'd all be utterly cast away.
But that is not the case, clearly. The existence of a Jewish remnant indicates that God has not utterly cast away his chosen people, namely Israel. And then verses 5 through 10, he gives an understanding of Israel's election, what that means.
And let me just talk through those verses. In verse 2, he talks about Israel's physical election. Nationally or ethnically, if you'd prefer to say it that way, Israel is obviously God's chosen people, God's elect people and elect nation. But in addition to that, there is a spiritual election. There's a physical election and a spiritual election.
Paul distinguishes that in verse 5. Even then at this present time, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. So there's the election of a physical national people, an election of blood, you might say. And then there's also an election of grace that pertains to salvation. It is the first election, the physical election, that explains Israel's existence in the first place and their preservation throughout the centuries. God called a man Abraham and saved him by his grace and promised to make of him a nation. And that was God's electing choice to choose Abraham to father a nation. And that election, I say, explains Israel's existence, how they came into existence in the first place, and their preservation down through all of these years.
Now what some people see, let me finish explaining this before I pause. Then there's a spiritual election that explains the remnant's salvation. Physical election explains the existence of this nation. Spiritual election explains the remnant being saved out of the physical nation of Israel, such as the 7,000 in Elijah's day and Paul and other Jewish believers in the first century. And the conclusion is that today, at least in Paul's day, and we see it's still true today, today Israel is divided between the believing minority and the unbelieving majority. Israel as we see it today.
There is a division in the nation. The believing minority, or the remnant of grace, the unbelieving majority which constitutes the majority of the Jewish people. Now back to the thought I started a moment ago. Some people believe that God's physical election of Israel served a purpose of preserving a people uncontaminated by the rest of the world until Christ came. All of that was for the purpose of bringing Christ into the world through a bloodline that took him back to David, back to Abraham, and the fulfillment of the promises that God made to them. And once that had been accomplished, God had no more purpose for national Israel. And then from that time on, the spiritual remnant continues.
But that's not what I think I see Paul saying in Romans chapter 11. And I know there will be those who may come to a different conclusion. But now I come to question number two. Question number one, has God cast away his people?
Certainly not. I take that to be physical people, ethnic people, national people. Question number two is also in the text. It's in verse 11, which opens with the same words. I say then, just like verse one said, I say then I'm saying on the basis of what I just said. Now on the basis of what he said in verses one through 10. I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Answer, certainly not.
Question number two. Have they, that is the unbelieving majority, we've just learned that all of Israel is divided between the believing remnant and the unbelieving majority. Have they, the unbelieving majority, that have stumbled, they're not believers, they're stumbling at the message of salvation in Christ, they're stumbling at believing that Jesus is the Christ. Have they, the unbelieving majority, stumbled that they should fall, meaning fall away or utterly fall?
Have they stumbled, a consequence of which is that they have fallen away completely? And that they are no longer have a special purpose in God's plan? Answer, certainly not.
Same answer, certainly not. And he gives two reasons for Israel's fall in verse 11. But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Two reasons for Israel's fall. Number one, and I'll put them in reverse order to what Paul says here, number one, so that God may extend mercy to the Gentiles. You say, well, I don't see that that was necessary for him to do that.
Well, he seems to link those things together, so I'll take his word for it. There was something about putting away Israel for the time being as a spiritually elect people, leaving them in blindness and darkness so that the grace of salvation might go out to the world, not just to one nation, Israel. And so the reason for Israel's fall, their stumbling, was to bring salvation to the Gentiles and, and the reason I put this in reverse order is because that one is necessary to understand the other reason. The other reason was that God's mercy to the Gentiles might provoke the unbelieving Jews to jealousy so they might seek similar blessings for themselves. God has bestowed something upon Gentiles that we used to enjoy as Jews and are not enjoying anymore, namely this spiritual blessing of salvation. And that, Paul says, is the reason why God allowed or caused or determined that Israel would stumble.
They would fall for a time but not fall away utterly. And during this time of their stumbling, their falling, there would be a great ingathering among the Gentiles, and at some point that's going to cause Israel to become jealous and want to get in on those blessings. Paul even says in this section that his work as an apostle to the Gentiles is to win as many Gentiles as he can to Christ in order to provoke his own brethren to jealousy.
So that this purpose might already begin in the days of Paul, though we don't see any great manifestations of it in our day. But that is question number two, have they, the unbelieving majority, stumbled that they should fall? But before we leave that question, may I point out that in the answer to that question, there's also a reference to a future day. Today, they've stumbled. Today, they've fallen away, that Gentiles might be brought in, that Israel might be provoked to jealousy.
But a future day is coming. Verse 12, now if their fall is riches for the world, it sure is. Before Christ came, there were virtually no saved Gentiles.
Only believing Jews. But after Christ came and the gospel goes out to the world, what riches came to the Gentile world? Now if their fall is riches for the world and their failure, riches for the Gentiles, but then this statement, how much more their fullness. Even greater riches are promised in the fullness of Israel, and right now it's not fullness, right now they've fallen away, right now it's not fullness.
Right now they've stumbled, but there's coming a day of fullness when there will be even greater riches extended to the whole world than what we have now. A future day of fullness that is described in two words or phrases in verse 15 as acceptance on the one hand and life from the dead on the other hand. What will their present condition, what will future condition, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? There's coming a day when this now falling, stumbling, blinded, unbelieving Israel is going to experience a new acceptance. They're going to experience something that can be described as life from the dead, resurrection. There's going to be whatever you want to call it.
It seems to me there's going to be a great revival, a great bringing to life, spiritual life among the Jews at some future day, a future fullness. Now we're ready for question number three. And now the next six questions of the eight are all implied questions. They're not stated in the text. In this phrase, I draw the answers from the text.
So here we go. Question number three. Question three, how should we understand the promised fullness? We've just looked at the promised fullness here. There is a day coming, acceptance, life from the dead, fullness.
How should we understand this? And look at verse 16. For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy. And if the root is holy, so are the branches.
Paul does this by way of analogy and he gives two analogies. First of all, the analogy of the first fruit offering and secondly, the analogy of the olive tree. The first fruits. If the first fruits belong to God, so does the rest.
Now we could go back if we had time into Deuteronomy and look at the first fruit offering. But the whole idea was you bring the first to God, to acknowledge that everything that he has given so far and will follow is by his blessing and that you acknowledge that it comes from him and you acknowledge that it all belongs to him. Which doesn't mean that you give the whole harvest to him in the same way you give the first fruits. You bring that first fruits and give it up to God. Paul describes and acknowledges that God is the owner of the rest of the harvest.
That's the first fruits. Paul lays that analogy aside, but then he brings up another one which he's going to extend for quite a while, namely the olive tree. But in regard to the olive tree, which he just introduces with one small phrase in verse 16, if the root is holy, so are the branches. If the root belongs to God, so does the rest of the tree. If the first fruits belongs to God, the whole, the middle fruits, the last fruits belong to God. If the roots belong to God, then whatever grows out of the roots also belong to God.
The whole tree belongs to him. And as this unfolds, we realize that Paul is saying that the root of this tree, he says tree in verse 16, but he says olive trees as we move along. The tree is the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the ones that God chose in the beginning, the ones through whom God brought about national Israel.
Abraham, but then from Abraham, Isaac, not Ishmael, but Isaac, out of Isaac, Jacob, not Esau, but Jacob, and then from Jacob, descendants of all of his 12 sons. That was the root of the nation of Israel that Paul describes here as the olive tree. And the point is, if the root belongs to God, the whole tree belongs to God. If the root belongs to God, whatever grows out of the root belongs to God.
It's all his. The analogy of the first fruits, the analogy of the olive tree. The point being that the first use determines the nature of the whole. We ought to keep that in mind in our giving to God. We should give to him first, priority, because that acknowledges that it all came from him, and it also acknowledges that we realize it all belongs to him, but the rest of it is used for God-ordained purposes, to buy food, to buy shelter, to buy clothing, to take care of our families, and so forth. But by giving him the first, acknowledging him at the very beginning of whatever we have received, we are owning him, we are acknowledging him as owner of it all, and we are committing it all to him. It's all being sanctified to him. It all becomes holy to him. I sure want that for my giving, for my income, don't you?
And so I want to follow this principle of the first fruits in my own giving. But now we move on to question number four. If this is true, if whatever grows out of the roots into this olive tree belongs to God, question number four, why then are not all the branches that grew out of this, the roots of this olive tree, why aren't they all holy? Why don't they all belong to God?
Why aren't they all believers? The answer is very clear, because some were broken off because of unbelief. Verse 17, And if some of the branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive tree were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root, and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches.
But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. Why are not all the branches of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob holy in the day in which Paul writes and in the day in which we live holy in the sense that they clearly belong to God in every fullness of that terminology? They are believers.
They are saved. The answer is because some of them were broken off of the olive tree. They aren't joined to the olive tree anymore, even though they have a natural connection to it. Unbelief has caused them to be broken off. They don't gain anything from the olive tree at this time. Which brings us to question number five.
We're moving along more quickly than I thought. Question number five, How do Gentiles benefit from Israel's olive tree? Well, he answered that in verse 17 and continues to talk about it. Let's see, verse 19, You will say, Then branches were broken off that I might be grafted in. Well said. Because of unbelief, they were broken off, and you stand by faith.
Do not be haughty with fear. How do Gentiles benefit from Israel's olive tree? Because by the surprising mercy of God. God has taken wild branches off of wild olive trees, and he has grafted them into this holy olive tree whose roots are the patriarchs. What a surprising mercy of God.
Who would have expected that? But that's what God has done. If he hadn't, how many of you would be here today worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ? Nearly all of you, nearly all of us are Gentiles who are here by the mercy of God, who has grafted us in as branches into that holy, natural olive tree whose roots are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Question number six, Can Israel's cut off or broken off branches become holy?
Answer yes by being grafted back into their Jewish olive tree. Verse 23. Maybe I should back up to verse 21. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he may not spare you either. Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God. On those who fell, unbelieving Jews, severity, but toward you, Gentiles who believed goodness, if you continue in his goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off. Obviously not referring to individuals who are one time grafted in and then cut off, but of this stream of humanity.
The Jewish nation was largely cut off. Many out of the Gentile peoples of the world were grafted in, but God can once again turn away his special mercy to Gentiles, as it were, cutting off the branches that he grafted in from wild olive trees. God can do that if he chooses. Don't presume upon his mercy. Don't take him for granted. Even as he can, surprisingly, graft those broken branches back in again that he broke off.
Isn't that amazing? Verse 22. Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God. On those who fell, severity, but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off. 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, here's another one of these things that point to something big in the future, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? Can Israel's cut off branches become holy?
Yes, by being grafted back into the Jewish olive tree from which they were cut off by unbelief. Question number seven. Now we're getting into the question of what's going to happen when.
Question number seven. When will Israel be grafted in? Seems pretty clear at this point that there's going to be some reattachment here, surprisingly. You wouldn't normally see this done in agriculture, branches cut off because of unbelief, branches cut off because they're unfruitful, basically dead branches, and then having branches grafted back in again, but that's the way this works. This is not strictly according to agriculture. This is according to divine purpose and plan, and the agricultural picture is only a metaphor to help us explain it in part. But question seven.
When will Israel be grafted in? And the answer to that question is twofold, and in the both sides of the answer found in verse 25. For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery.
I pause. What Paul is explaining here he calls a mystery. A mystery, as most of you know, is something which has formerly not been revealed by God's purpose. It has been concealed up until the time that he chooses to reveal it. Now he's getting ready to reveal something that we would never figure it out by ourselves.
It's something that's very surprising. It's something that is a biblical mystery, a spiritual mystery, but now the mystery is going to be clearly disclosed. So back to verse 25. I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion. And here we go.
Here's the mystery. The blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. What is the answer to the question when will Israel be grafted in? It is when, number one, their blindness is removed, and when, number two, the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. That's when Israel is going to be grafted back in. That's when there's going to be a fullness out of Israel. That's when there's going to be a restoration in Israel that will prove to be even greater riches to the world than the riches of the gospel going to the ends of the world and gathering in an innumerable company of people who are part of the bride of Christ, who all believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who have all been born again by the Spirit of God, and that has been a great end gathering. It numbers into the multiplied millions.
What riches? And yet something's going to happen that's going to even add more to that riches, and what that is is that the cut-off branches from the natural olive tree are going to be grafted back in again, and that's going to happen when God removes the blindness, which largely affects the majority of the Jews today, and when this great fullness of ingathering among the Gentiles comes to its conclusion. I would be tempted to pause and say, don't you see the necessity of the doctrine of election even in that teaching? How else would you know when the fullness has come? How else would you know when they've all been gathered in?
Who is that? If it's all up to man's will, there might be some more that could be persuaded to believe. No, when every elect Gentile has been brought in, there's going to be a new fullness to Israel.
Which brings us now to question number eight. What does all Israel will be saved mean, verse 26? And so, that is, in this manner, all Israel will be saved.
And he goes on from there. What does that mean, all Israel will be saved? Well, I answer that question briefly by saying it means there will come a day of Jewish fullness.
But let me elaborate on that. That day of Jewish fullness will parallel the period of Gentile fullness. We are living now in a day of Gentile fullness. That's why we many times read these all words in the New Testament. But as we know, many of those don't mean every individual without exception, but they mean a great many of people without distinction.
And I think the same general thought applies here. This isn't saying there's going to come a time when every living Jew upon earth is going to be born again. But it means there's going to come a time when there's going to be a great in-gathering of Israel, similar to the great in-gathering that we have seen among the Gentiles. Not every Jew without exception is going to be saved, but a great many, a majority. Now we see a very small minority of Jews who are grafted into the olive tree. We see more Gentiles grafted into that olive tree. But the day will come when we are going to see, when the Gentile fullness has pretty much reached its fullness, we are going to see a time when there's going to be a majority of Jews.
That will be in itself quite amazing, won't it? When the majority of Jews own Jesus as their Messiah. When the majority of Jews believe in Jesus Christ and are born again. The great mass of Jewish people, and I'm quoting now from John Stott, the great mass of Jewish people, both the previously hardened majority and the believing minority, that is Israel as a whole, not every Jew without exception.
That explains all Israel shall be saved. And now I'm going to give you several quotes from R.C. Sproul, who I think is particularly clear on this whole issue.
I wish I had had his commentary when I preached the Romans many years ago, but I didn't have Sproul's commentary at that time. But this is very helpful. So let me read.
Be patient. Personally, he says, I have been persuaded that God does does intend to write another chapter for the Jewish people. I do not think what is happening in Palestine today is.
I do think rather not do not. I do think that what is happening in Palestine today is significant. And I have been persuaded that there will be a restoration of the Jewish people to faith in Christ before the end of the age. Then he makes reference to verse 11. Paul asks a crucial question. Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?
The Jews obviously stumbled but did not fall to their ruin. Charles Hodge now Sproul quotes Hodge. So we'll add another one here. We've heard from Stott. We're hearing from Sproul.
We'll hear from Charles Hodge. And one reason I take time with these men is because they are all covenant theologians and amillennialists. And some of the amillennialists are the ones who who say that Israel as a nation has been utterly cast aside. So I'm quoting some of those theologians for this reason to show you that not all covenant theologians believe that. And I think some covenant theologians are overlooking what Paul is saying in Romans 11 for whatever reason. But Charles Hodge put it like this, quote, as the rejection of the Jews was not total, so neither is it final.
End quote. And then Sproul explains Hodge. What Hodge means when he says the rejection was not total is that even though Israel as a nation fell away, God preserved for himself within that nation a remnant. But the key affirmation of Hodge is that just as it was not total, so neither is it final. They have not fallen away so as to be hopelessly destroyed.
God did not design to cast away his people entirely when he redeemed the Gentiles. And then another—can you abide one more quote from Sproul? Okay, thank you. I see some of you nodding affirmation. And since I saw nobody doing this, you're stuck with the yes.
All right. He explains this phrase, and so all Israel will be saved. The context indicates that Paul must be speaking of the Jewish people. He does not mean every Jew that ever lived, but the nation of Israel. Now, why do I say that Israel in this phrase refers to the Jews?
Although all through his discussion, Paul is talking about Israel in part. Part of Israel has been blinded. Part of Israel has been cut away. Part of Israel has been stubborn. Part of Israel has been excluded from the kingdom of God and its blessings. The Jews, as a people, are presently under judgment. But as this was a national judgment, so there will be a national restoration. The rejection, even though it was a national rejection, did not include the rejection of every individual, so the restoration doesn't necessarily mean that every individual Jew will be saved, but the nation, as a nation, will be restored to God. R.C.
Sproul. Now, verses 28 through 32, and I am going to have to hurry here, are a summary, in a sense, of what Paul has said up until this point. Let me see if I can summarize it for you, and I'll have to just do it. Well, let me read the verses first. Verse 28, concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake.
That is Israel. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. For as you, and I pause here, I don't think I brought this quotation with me, but it was Leon Morris who said at this point, it's unthinkable that God would elect a people and then reverse his election, something to that extent, and that's what Paul is saying here.
Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But, verse 29, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet now have obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown to you, they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all. Now, right there's a good place to see that all doesn't mean every individual without exception, because God hasn't committed all the Jews to disobedience. Paul's the exception, and there are other Christian Jews even in our day, but all means the majority or something like that. And then that great passage, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, that closes this chapter.
But now, let me work through this summary that I just read. Jews are presently enemies of the gospel for the sake of the Gentiles, but Jews are still beloved of God for the sake of the patriarchs. Gentiles were once disobedient to God. Gentiles obtained mercy because of Israel's disobedience. The day is coming when Israel will be shown saving mercy, just as Gentiles have been shown saving mercy.
God's mercy is always magnified against a backdrop of sinful disobedience. When Israel deserved and expected no mercy, mercy was shown to Abraham, an idol worshiper. He wasn't looking for God's mercy, but in God's electing grace, he chose him. He was shown mercy.
He wasn't looking for it. But when Israel presumed upon God's mercy, mercy was withdrawn. When Gentiles deserved and expected no mercy, mercy was shown. There's several passages in the Bible that talk about that. Those who weren't looking for me found me.
Those who weren't paying attention to me, I caused them to hear my voice, and so forth. That's when Gentiles deserved and expected no mercy, mercy was shown. When Israel recognizes her need of mercy, mercy will be restored.
And it ends on a note of mercy, mercy, mercy, mercy, a vast, vast, vast river of mercy. It's interesting, Israel had mercy but presumed upon it and were set aside. Gentiles received mercy and are currently enjoying mercy, but don't presume because you could be cut off too. But God is going to bring the Jews in again, and when he brings the Jews in again, that's not going to be a cutting off of the Gentiles like it was the other way around. When God brought mercy to the Gentiles, there was a cutting off of the Jews. But it ends with mercy all around. Gentiles are now enjoying mercy, and now God's going to show mercy to the Jews too. And now we're going to have the riches to the world. There's going to be such an explosion of exuberant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ all over the world that mercy is going to be attributed to God, and many are going to rejoice in Him. And that's why we come to this astounding benediction, doxology to God at the conclusion.
Who can understand that? 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. 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. Now let me make, if I've got time, I'm going to take the time.
Hold on. Let me add a few clarifications as I see them. In this whole three chapters, talking about the future of Israel, no mention is made of a restored earthly Jewish kingdom.
Sorry, it's not there. But there is a clear declaration of restored Jewish people. No Jew is saved because they are Jewish. But all who believe in Christ belong to the same olive tree whose roots are the Jewish patriarchs. All who believe in Christ, and I'm adding this.
It isn't in the text here. But all who believe in Christ will reign with Him eternally. There is no indication of a separate future destinies for Israel on the one hand and the Church on the other hand. The saved Gentiles owe their salvation to the Jewish olive tree. Jews are lost who are cut off from the same Jewish olive tree. But all who are saved are joined to Christ.
We know that. And in this analogy, in this passage, all who are saved are joined to the same olive tree. The Church is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles who belong to the same olive tree of God's amazing mercy.
And you see in this passage how the destiny of God's redeemed people are all intertwined. We start with the olive tree that grows out of the roots of the Jewish patriarchs. We add to it the Gentiles who are now part of the same tree. God didn't plant a Gentile tree.
He grafted Gentiles into the Jewish tree. And then God's going to bring in Jews to this same tree, their same tree, once again. And all of us are together in the body of Christ. All of us together in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of us are together in the future reign of Jesus Christ. That's how I understand this passage. I know that not everyone will agree with me.
But here are three quick applications. Number one, do not fail to love and defend the Jews. They are beloved of God and Gentile believers owe their salvation to the Jewish olive tree.
Acknowledge that. Thank God for the Jew, even the unbelieving Jew. We owe our salvation to the Jewish olive tree. Application number two, do not insert into the New Testament what is not there. Not two different plans, one for the Church and one for Israel. One united plan, one united olive tree.
And number three, do not presume upon the grace of God. It is apparently very easy to confuse religion with salvation. The Jews did. And we're trying, and we're presuming upon their salvation because they were Jews. And going through the Jewish ritual and ceremonies and religion. And yet without faith.
And they were cut off. Professing Christians can do the same thing as we live now in a, still in a culture that, there's a lot of churches, a lot of Christians, a lot of Christian religion going on. It's very easy to be depending upon your Christian religion. But lacking, saving faith in Christ, lacking the new birth, lacking the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit of God. Don't let happen to you relying upon religion instead of regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in Christ.
Don't let happen to you what has happened to so many Jews. It must be salvation by grace through faith from beginning to end for everyone who will be forever with the Lord. Shall we bow. Father, thank you for your word.
Oh Lord, I have tried to declare it as best I understand it. Father, whatever I have said that is not true, cause it to blow away. May it not find lodging in hearts and minds. But whatever is true, oh Lord, then cause it to take root. And to bring forth light and life and most of all honor and praise and glory to our Savior. In whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-28 12:36:55 / 2023-11-28 12:52:39 / 16