Romans Chapter eleven

VERSES 1-6  I ask then: Did God reject his people?

Why does Paul, at this point in his letter, pose the question: Did God reject his people?

Paul went to great lengths to explain in the previous chapters that all people, whether Jew or gentile, were slaves to sin – and that the Law did not provide the means for sinners to attain righteousness – and that: …not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.

Many people in Israel, including the leaders and teachers of the Law had not believed in Jesus – and so it may have appeared that in rejecting him that they were finally cut off.

However, as Paul taught, their falling was not beyond recovery and the gospel must be preached to the Jew first so that through repentance and faith they may be reconciled with God and their sins forgiven.

By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Not only is Paul himself a Jew, but he also opposed the gospel and persecuted the church – and yet God showed him mercy.

2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah–how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

God’s election requires faithfulness – and those foreigners who were not counted as the elect, (a part of Israel through birth), were counted as fellow-citizens with Israel through their faith in Jesus.

But only a remnant of the elect were destined, according to God’s foreknowledge, to be faithful – the unbelieving would be cut off due to their unbelief.

God’s favour and approval could not be gained automatically by one’s pedigree – and nor could it be attained by a sinners best, but inadequate, effort to observe the Law – it is only through faith in Jesus the Redeemer.

VERSES 7-10 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”

All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but if people were to become self-righteous, proud and presumptuous, believing that God should vindicate them and destroy their enemies when they are no more righteous than their enemies, then they instead become deserving themselves of God’s wrath and stern judgment – for which David said they should be blinded for their conceit.

Unfortunately, according to God’s perfect judgment of people’s hearts, many were found to be proud, stubborn, unbelieving and conceited – and would be cut off unless through humility they repented and believed in Jesus.

By God showing mercy to many Gentiles – was according to what he had said that he would do in order to provoke unfaithful Israel to jealousy.

Israel had often become unfaithful to the LORD, even turning aside to false gods and the idols of the nations – so the LORD would show his favour to a people who were once not his chosen people.

VERSES 11-12 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

…because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles…

Of course when Joseph’s brothers plotted against him and sold him into slavery, they were wicked and clearly intended to harm him, but God used it for good – and for the salvation of many lives.

And this foreshadowed how Israel’s sin and rejection of Jesus was destined to become the way by which God would save all who believe – from their slavery to sin.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them (Genesis 50:19-21).

Israel was destined to stumble over the stumbling stone. On the cross Jesus prayed saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

After the southern tribes had followed the way of the Northern tribes, by sinning and becoming unfaithful to the covenant, and were taken captive into Babylon, the LORD used many Jews, such as people like Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai and Esther to serve among the kings of the gentiles and to bring the knowledge and wisdom of the God if Israel to those people.

It also says in the book of Acts that on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all men that:

…there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:5-12).

Mankind had previously tried to make a name for himself, independently of the LORD by building a unified city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens and so as to not to be scattered over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:4).

As Paul explained to the people in Athens: “From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

God did not intend for men to live independently of him, – and certainly not in rebellion against him as their only sovereign king and provider – and God’s predestined purpose was to reveal his perfect will for men through the one man, the Lord Jesus Christ who is also completely one with the Father.

It was through the revelation given to Daniel – and also for a testimony to all kings and future kingdoms, that the LORD God of Israel is the only sovereign God to whom every knee will be required to bow:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

The LORD had appointed Israel to be a light to the nations – so that through his dealing with Israel, his eternal purpose to reconcile all men to him through Jesus Christ, the King of kings, would be revealed.

God even used Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness to bring blessing to the nations – that they too may know his mercy and forgiveness.

However, as with the Egyptians, who forgot about the blessing which had come through Joseph – and the Moabites and the Edomites, who resented Israel because they were seemingly favoured by God – many of the nations became hostile towards Israel and opposed them and aggressively fought against them even though they testified that they had been entrusted with the Law, the covenants of God’s promises, the priesthood and the Temple – and also the promise of the coming Redeemer-King.

God is faithful to his covenant and he is always perfectly righteous. If Israel had been perfectly faithful – and if they could ever have attained righteousness through perfect obedience to the Law, then God would have been obligated by his own righteousness and faithfulness to his covenant promises – to have justified Israel by also destroying their enemies who came against them.

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, 10 if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 30:6-10).

However, there are two important things which must be noted from God’s promise to Israel, firstly, he would bless them, protect them from their enemies and give them life if they were obedient and faithful to him – but, secondly, he would also call them to repentance and circumcise their hearts when they had humbly discovered that they had drifted away from him through the sinful inclination of their hearts.

God could not be righteous and just if he justified Israel and destroyed and condemned their enemies, if it was found that Israel, in having the Law, was no more righteous than the other pagan nations who did not have the Law.

But God always knew that – even from before he called Israel, – and he had told it to them, that he would destroy their enemies if they were faithful to the covenant, but that he would also make them jealous by showing mercy to their enemies if they provoked the Lord and were unfaithful – but in their pride and their denial of their own sin, they had not listened carefully to the Lord.

Instead they always hoped that God would vindicate them and destroy their enemies.

As Joseph’s brothers were jealous of the favour he had from their father, the nations were once jealous of Israel and were even glad when Israel stumbled and became unfaithful.

However, the people of Israel too, and particularly the self-righteous Pharisees and teachers of the Law, were provoked to jealousy by Jesus for his word probed and exposed their sinful, unbelieving hearts and showed that they were no more righteous or deserving of God’s love and blessing than were any of the Gentiles – and they handed him overt to be crucified by the Romans.

But what they intended for harm, motivated by envy, pride and hatred, God intended for good and for the salvation of all, Jew and Gentile, who would repent of their wickedness and pride – and who would put their trust in Jesus Christ.

So, – ironically, it was according to God’s predestined purpose that through Israel’s stumbling and pride – salvation would come also to the gentiles, which in turn would also provoke Israel again to envy.

However, as we will also learn from the remainder of this chapter, if the gentiles who were saved through faith in Jesus Christ became proud and boastful, almost rejoicing over Israel’s stumbling through which salvation came to them, then they would be falling into the very same trap of pride which Israel had also fallen into when they had expected God to justify them by the Law and destroy their enemies – as he had done when he led them into the Land.

The LORD had warned Israel not to become self-righteous, presumptuous and proud – as if they were deserving of God’s favour whereas the other nations were not.

It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people (Deuteronomy 9:5-6).

But now, according to Paul’s teaching, the Gentiles who found grace and mercy through faith in Jesus, ought not to become conceited and boast over unbelieving Israel either.

Furthermore, Paul explained to gentile believers that Israel’s stumbling was only in part and that through the gospel being proclaimed, a remnant would also be restored to faithfulness through believing in Jesus Christ.

In this manner, through Jesus’ death on the cross, God has completely removed any merit by which either Jew or gentile would be able to boast over the other as having become deserving of his favour, grace, love and mercy – so that no man may became proud and boast in his salvation.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God (Galatians 6:12-16).

Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing (Philippians 2:14-16).

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:3-9).

However, there has, particularly over the last one hundred years, been a strange development in this mysterious truth of God’s mercy revealed in Jesus Christ.

God showed mercy to Israel’s enemies because Israel too was handed over to disobedience – (that is their disobedience to the old covenant Law) – not their disobedience to Jesus Christ.

But there are now professing Christians who are really quite unfaithful and disobedient to Jesus Christ and the new covenant – and yet they are also very sympathetic to unbelieving Jews in spite of their complete unbelief – and to that part of Israel which is cut off in their unbelief, – but they are sympathetic to the point of compromising the gospel and almost excusing their unbelief and rebellion – implying that God will still show mercy, even to them while they persist in rejecting Jesus Christ – and even if they persist to the second coming.

They suggest that many Jews will be saved at the second coming because they suggest that it will be then that they will look upon him whom they pierced.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great,…” (Zechariah 12:10-11).

However, this prophecy is fulfilled when they are cut to the heart through hearing the gospel – and they repent and look with the eyes of faith to Jesus who was crucified for their sins – for today is the day of God’s salvation.

Such people have also suggested that if God does not show mercy to unbelieving Israel in spite of their persistent rejection of Christ and their unbelief – then how and why should they and other unfaithful Christians expect that God should show mercy to the church – (in spite of its many failings and even unfaithfulness).

But we are shown mercy – and we are justified by faith – and faith (and faithfulness) comes through not only hearing the word of God spoken through Jesus Christ, but also through obediently acting upon that word.

We are all called to the obedience that comes from faith – and without repentance and obedience, there is – and can be – no evidence of true and genuine faith.

However, there are some teachers who want to bring comfort and assurance of salvation, by teaching that we are justified by faith alone – but by their asserting that it is by faith alone, they are often in danger of suggesting that genuine faith can be evident completely alone and apart from the works prepared by God for us – which are the result of faith, in other words, they suggest that we are justified simply by passively believing that Jesus is Lord but not by submitting to and obeying his teaching.

Such teaching – which tries to completely divorce absolutely all works – and not only the works of the Law, from genuine faith, end up by actually implying that our salvation is really by God’s sovereign election alone – and that he then gives faith to those whom he elects.

However, I believe that God chooses us in Christ, in other words by our response of faith in Christ through our hearing and believing the message – and those who believe are – according to those whom God foreknew.

We are chosen in Christ – and even under the old covenant, Israel was chosen for the purpose of the revelation of Christ – the failure of some to be made righteous through such faith, also thereby forfeits their calling and election for salvation, but as Paul also taught, their election was not only for salvation, but for the purpose of demonstrating that it is in and through Jesus Christ alone that we are shown mercy and saved.

Those, even who are natural descendants of Israel, but who reject Jesus Christ, are cut off – and as Paul taught, they will remain cut off even until the end of the age unless they repent and believe the gospel.

The fact that only a remnant are saved – is a fact which Paul said would remain even until the close of the present age – but some people take the word “until” in verse 25 – to mean that a part of Israel will only remain blinded until – and after – the full number of the gentiles have come in, then the whole of Israel will be saved.

However, Paul said – inverse 26: And so all Israel will be saved,… which means: – and “so – in this manner”, i.e. through the gospel of Jesus Christ which he has been expounding from chapter 1, the all of the redeemed Israel of God, will be saved – for there is no other way for men to be saved.

To this day, the Rabbis teach that: “all Israel have a part in the world to come” – in other words that all Jews will be justified through their having been born to the chosen nation, however, Paul has already clarified (in chapter 9 verse 6) – that that the redeemed and faithful Israel of God is not inclusive of all who are descended from Israel.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

Paul also affirms that believing Gentiles, who are circumcised by the Holy Spirit though their faith in Jesus Christ and by receiving the promised Holy Spirit, are engrafted into the Israel of God so that through their being born of the Spirit – it is, as the Psalmist described, as if they were actually born in Zion. Their faith in Christ – is similar to the faith of Ruth, the Moabitess, the God of Israel has become their Lord and King – and the redeemed people of Israel, their people.

VERSES 13-15 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Through rejecting Jesus Christ, Jews are cut off from God’s holy, chosen nation to which they once belonged – and being cut off from God’s holy nation is like being dead in their sins and transgressions.

In other words, they are no better off than the Gentiles who did not know God. However, as Paul also taught, they were not cut off beyond the point of being restored and provided that they did not die in their unbelief, they could very well be grafted back into their own olive tree –

…which would be to participate in the resurrection of Jesus Christ – i.e. their coming to faith is like that of being raised from the dead to new life by the power of the Holy Spirit who also raised Jesus from the dead.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you (Romans 8:11).

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

[Paul wrote “all of us” referring also to Jews who, like the Gentiles, were also cut off from God in their sins.]

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7).

VERSES 16-21 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

There has been recent focus upon the “Jewish roots” of our faith in Jesus Christ, but we should not confuse the unfaithful part of that root with that which has always remained faithful – even such as in the time of Elijah when only seven-thousand had not fallen into apostasy.

However: The law is not based on faith…(Galatians 3:12) – and the Law was given four-hundred years after Abraham as a temporary measure until the people could be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ in whom the faith, by which we are now justified, has been made known. In other words, the true root of our faith, is not the so-called “Jewish root” which tends back to the old covenant Law and legalism, but to the faith of Abraham.

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law (Galatians 3:23-25).

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all (Romans 4:16).

For gentiles to have been engrafted into the Israel of God – from which unbelieving branches have been broken off, must be appreciated on the basis of God’s kindness and mercy, through which all believers too, are expected to show kindness and mercy to those who do not yet believe, whether unbelieving Jew or gentile, in the hope that God will show them mercy and lead them also to repentance.

However, many professing “Christians” became boastful and proud in that they believed the gospel – and they began to boast over the unbelieving Jews, even treating them unkindly and with hostility and contempt. Paul warned that in spite of claiming to have faith in Christ, people would be cut off if they did not continue showing the kindness and mercy of God which enabled them to come to the knowledge of the truth.

VERSES 22-24 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

PSALM 87: He has set his foundation on the holy mountain;

the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are said of you, O city of God:


“I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me–

Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush– and will say, `This one was born in Zion.’ ”

Indeed, of Zion it will be said,

This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.”

The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”


 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”


RO 11:VERSES 25-27 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;  he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

RO 11:27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

The mystery which Paul did not want them to be ignorant of is the mystery of God’s election through faith in Jesus Christ – the mystery by which all nations would be blessed through him, the mystery of how many gentiles would be included among God’s holy, chosen covenant nation – and the mystery also by which many proud, self-righteous, unbelieving Jews would be cut off while they persist in their unbelief.

EPH 3:2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

EPH 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

There are some teachers, in fact a growing number, who demonstrate that they are ignorant of this mystery that in Christ – there is one new man, and they still teach that the church and Israel are two separate peoples of God each belonging to a different and unique dispensation. They also imply that the church itself is the mystery not spoken of in the Scriptures – and that God will again, in the future deal with Israel after he has finished dealing with the church. (Such doctrine, which I believe to be heresy, is referred to a “Dispensationalism”.)

We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ and not essentially by election. God’s righteousness and faithfulness has been revealed through his dealing with Israel, whether through the exiles and cutting off of many due to the unbelief and sin – or by his kindness in leading them to repentance and salvation.

There arises confusion of we were to imagine that salvation could ever be through election alone.

For as Paul goes on to say, some are chosen through their relationship with the patriarchs, but theiur pride in being God’s chosen has blinded many to the truth through which they have become enemies of the gospel – even on account of God’s mercy being shown to those who were formerly not of the chosen people. But their election does not ensure their salvation – for how can they escape God’s wrath while they remain enemies of the gospel? They too must hear the gospel and repent and believe.

For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Hebrews 2:2-4).

VERSE 28-32 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Paul concludes with a doxology of praise and marvel – at what God has done to fulfil his promises to Abraham that through Jesus Christ all nations will be saved and blessed through their faith in him and his death and resurrection.

Paul’s doxology is also an echo of Jesus’ prayer of thanks and praise – that it is the humble and meek who triumph and are justified:

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. 27 All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:25-30).

VERSES 33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?

Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.