Previously in his letter to the churches in Rome Paul addressed the Jews’ rejection of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. Now he focuses on the fact some Israelites received the word and were saved from eternal damnation through faith in Jesus Christ.
With their hearts hardened the majority of Israel would fall as a result of reluctance and ignorance. The apostle Paul was himself of Jewish origin now an apostle of Jesus Christ.
“1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” (Romans 11:1)
God had not rejected His chosen people instead it was the nation itself that rebelled against God, against the fulfillment of prophecy as they turned their back on the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ.
Paul had been an advocate of the law and a persecutor of Christians until he felt the presence of the Lord and was born again while on the road to or in Damascus during his visit with Ananias, a disciple of Jesus Christ to which had been given the vision of Paul’s rebirth and mission.
“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?” (Romans 11:2-3)
Although God knew full well ahead of time that the nation of Israel would deny the fact Jesus is Lord, He did not abandon them. His unconditional love and His word would thankfully be received by some Jews who sought refuge and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, the promised messiah.
“4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (Romans 11:4)
Paul quotes God’s answer to Elijah regarding the rejection of the gospel citing that 7,000 Jews had not yet fallen prey to Baal, a Phoenician god representing the sun.
“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.” (Romans 11:5-6)
Paul considered himself a part of this remnant saved by God’s grace in spite of their tie to the Jewish nation. The apostle declares it is indeed by faith in Jesus Christ and through God’s grace believers are saved, not by works or deeds.
“7 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.” (Romans 11:7-8)
Paul now refers to righteousness, that which was sought by the Israelites through works, as only obtainable by the elect, by believers through God’s grace.
Because of their consistent denying of Jesus Christ and the gospel, according to His foreknowledge of the Jews God gave those who rejected Christ a dazed spirit, eyes and ears that would continue to keep them in darkness.
“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.” (Romans 11:9-10)
Quoting David, the apostle now describes the curse upon the Jewish nation, that those who ignore the truth about Jesus Christ will perish and be cast out to the lake of fire where they will suffer for all eternity.
God knows our hearts and those of all His creation. While predestination can be a challenging concept to wrap our minds around, God’s love is not. His hope is for all men to be saved but it is not a hope shared by all men, hence the need for the king to separate the sheep from the goats.
The sheep are those who believe in Jesus Christ, attest of His sacrifice for all sinners, repent of their sins and are baptized by immersion as a testimony of their faith in the Lord. The goats are hypocrites or skeptics, to be cast into the lake of fire, into hell. Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre