“Wrestling With Romans”
O the Depth of the Riches (Chapter 11 Verses 25-32)
Paul doesn’t want us to be ignorant about God’s dealings with the Jews, in order that we as Gentiles be not puffed up (v25). Israel have been hardened in part. But that doesn’t exclude all of them. Through repentance and faith, just as with any other sinner of any other nationality they will be brought into covenant favour. Of course we need to understand what the all Israel (v26-27) means. That all Israel will be saved doesn’t mean every individual within the nation of Israel at any particular point in history. Not all of them were hardened in Paul’s day, some were converted, the apostasy wasn’t total. Neither does it mean every Jew that ever there was and ever shall be. The apostle means by all Israel all the elect of God. We, the church, are the Israel of God, one people, Jew and Gentile constitutes the Israel of God. And all Israel, all the elect of God shall be saved, none shall be lost. “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one” (John 18:9).
Israel are enemies of God on account of the gospel (vv28-29), as a result of their rejection. But we were all that “for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8). We were all children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-4). The Jews are objects of God’s wrath. They are enemies by the standard of the gospel, the gospel is this, “believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, reject him and the wrath of God shall abide upon you.” The Jews hated the gospel, so the wrath of God is upon them. “But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers” (v28). God established his covenant with their forefathers, and he shall honour that covenant, the covenant line amongst the Jews will run till the end of the age. That is, there shall always be Jews being converted, why, because they are found to be in the covenant line, and so they shall be saved. Because God’s covenant is inviolable, unbreakable (v29). Those whom God calls, he regenerates. he applies by his Spirit the life-giving, creative power, translating the sinner, Jew or Gentile, from darkness to light. That grace-calling is irrevocable. God does not make mistakes or change his mind. The elected Jews are beloved, everlastingly. You say, this is deep, who can fathom the depths of this? Well, perhaps that’s why Paul bursts into doxology in the closing verses, filled with adoring amazement, perfumed with joy and praise, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (vv33-36).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)