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Romans 11


Romans for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

Romans Chapter 11

Verse 1.  “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”

Paul has been writing about his beloved people, the Jews, and their failure to love God in Christ Jesus.  We might get the wrong idea – that God has “rejected” the Jews.  It’s NOT SO, he says, for Paul himself was of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Verse 2.  “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?”

God ALWAYS will love the nation Israel and the Jewish people.  Paul now speaks about the prophet Elijah, and will quote Elijah’s prayer in the next verse (from 1 Kings 19:14).

Verse 3.  “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.”

Elijah the prophet was worried about the people of Israel, and he spoke the words of this verse (1 Kings 19:14).  Elijah feared that his people would kill him, and for all he knew, he was the only one left who loved the Lord!

Verse 4.  “But what is the divine response to him? ‘I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’”

God answered Elijah’s prayer (1 Kings 19:18).  Elijah was NOT alone – God had 7000 OTHER people in Israel who loved the Lord and had not bowed before the idol called “Baal”.

Verse 5.  “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.”

As it was for Elijah, it was in the time of Paul, and it is the same right now: There have ALWAYS been Jewish people who love the Lord.

Verse 6.  “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

The Jewish people belong to God because of His “grace” (He loves them).  They did not DO anything to earn His love; He cares because He wants to.

Verse 7.  “What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;”

The nation Israel (the Jews) did not “get” God by their good “works.”  Some of them had been saved through faith in the Lord, but others were not saved – many were “hardened” in heart (they did not love Him).

Verse 8.  “just as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.’”

This verse quotes the Old Testament, and it is partly from Deuteronomy 29:4 and Isaiah 29:10.  God is right here with us, but for many it is like they are asleep and do not see or hear Him.

Verse 9.  “And David says, ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a retribution to them.’”

Paul is remembering David’s words in Psalm 69:22, about how they treated Jesus as they were killing Him.  They did not care for His needs (69:21) and therefore God will seem to not care for them.

Verse 10.  “Let their eyes be darkened to see not, and bend their backs forever.”

This verse quoted Psalm 69:23.  Because the Jews refused to see Jesus for who He was, their inability to “see” (understand) would last.  Unbelief is like slavery, in which our “backs” are bent by a cruel master – “forever.”

Verse 11.  “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

The “fall” of the Jews into unbelief is sad, but because the Lord brings good out of bad, many “Gentiles” (non-Jews) have faith in the Lord.  And many Jews have seen God’s love, which will make them want Him, too.

Verse 12.  “Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!”

Yes, many Jews have not wanted Jesus Christ, at the same time that others have received Him.  But don’t count them out –MANY Jews WILL trust in the Lord.  God has promised and it WILL happen.

Verse 13.  “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,”

Paul was VERY Jewish in his thoughts and actions, and yet, God sent him to the Gentiles (non-Jews), which was amazing to him and he told everybody about it!

Verse 14.  “if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.”

The Jews were angry that Gentiles (non-Jews) were coming to the Lord.  Paul hoped it would make Jewish people jealous enough to want Him, too.

Verse 15.  “For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

The Apostles (“sent ones” of the Lord) had seen that most Jews did not want Jesus.  They also saw that killing Jesus had led many non-Jews to TRUST in the Lord.  But Paul knew that, someday, MANY Jews will place their trust in Jesus.

Verse 16.  “If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.”

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob were the human “root” (“fathers”) of Israel, and are holy to God.  God loves the Jewish people because their “fathers” loved Him.  To Him, they are like the “branches” of a holy “tree.”

Verse 17.  “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,”

Paul, in these verses, compares the Jews who did not want Jesus, to branches “broken off” an “olive tree.”  The Gentiles (non-Jews) who DID trust in Jesus were, to him, like “branches” grafted IN to that “tree.

Verse 18.  “do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.”

We can all look back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the “fathers” of all because they had FAITH in the Lord.  From them, the Jewish people came.  We should love the Jews and pray for them.

Verse 19.  “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’”

Paul knew that it might make the Gentiles (non-Jews) happy that so many Jews did not believe, because it had “opened the door” for them to believe.

Verse 20.  “Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith Do not be conceited, but fear;”

Paul agrees with the idea in verse 19, but warns all of us that conceit (pride) is like the unbelief that caused the Jews to fall.  He says: Don’t think you’re better than anyone – TRUST in the Lord.

Verse 21.  “for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.”

This is a warning to us all.  God judged the Jews because of their sin of unbelief.  Just as surely as He judged them, He will judge the church also.

Verse 22.  “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”

God is very kind to those who trust in Him and He will judge those who don’t.  God will cut-off those in the church who do not have faith in the Lord.

Verse 23.  “And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”

The Jews who have faith in the Lord will be accepted by God, and He will be pleased to “graft” them right back into His “tree” (His kingdom).

Verse 24.  “For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?”

It would be odd for the owner of an olive tree to cut out the natural branches and graft in “wild” branches.  In the same way, it is a surprise that God cut-off the Jews and saved the Gentiles.  He LOVES the Jews and will give them His love – WHEN they have FAITH in Him.

Verse 25.  “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;”

God (and Paul) wants us to understand, so that we will not be proud.  God is using the “hardness” of the Jews toward Jesus Christ to bring Gentiles (non-Jews) to the Lord.  At some point, when no more Gentiles come to Him, the Jews WILL be saved.

Verse 26.  “and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’”

This verse quotes Isaiah 59:20.  The “Deliverer” (Jesus) did come from “Zion” (Israel) and He will take away the sin of “Jacob” (also known as “Israel”).

Verse 27.  “This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

This verse quotes Isaiah 59:21.  God has a “covenant” (a contract) with Israel, and He WILL take away their sins.  Israel will BELIEVE in Christ Jesus.

Verse 28.  “From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;”

Israel became like “enemies” to the early non-Jewish Christians (such as the Ephesians), but God loves Israel, for the sake of the “fathers” (men such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).

Verse 29.  “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

When God “calls” someone to service or to be “saved” in Christ, or when He gives “gifts” in the Holy Spirit, He does not take it back.  “Irrevocable” means He will not change His mind.

Verse 30.  “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,”

We ALL disobeyed God, but He has “shown mercy,” by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to heal us of our sin.

Verse 31.  “so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.”

ALL” of us have sinned (Romans 3:23).  Israel disobeyed God, but the “mercy” (salvation) given to the Gentiles (non-Jews) will also be given to Israel.

Verse 32.  “For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”

God has allowed us to disobey (sin against Him), because He loves us and intends to forgive us – we simply need to TRUST in His Son.

Verse 33.  “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”

There is nothing like the “riches” of “wisdom” and “knowledge” of God.  He knows everything and knows what He is doing.  None of us fully understands, but He does.

Verse 34.  “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?”

This verse quotes Isaiah 40:13.  The answer is – NOBODY knows everything the Lord is thinking and NO ONE is able to tell Him what to do.

Verse 35.  “Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?”

In Job 41:11, a question like this one is asked, and here is God’s answer: “Everything on earth is Mine.”  We can give NOTHING to God, except ourselves.  He owes us nothing; we owe Him – everything.

Verse 36.  “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Everything and everyone was created by God.  Without Him, we could not even breathe.  And yet, as we have seen, God has given us EVERYTHING in Christ Jesus.  Tell the world – He is WONDERFUL!

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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