Romans 11:33-36

“O, 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.”

Paul concludes all this thoughts with a spirited doxology.  When the thinks about God’s salvation history through Jesus, described in chapters 1-11 in the book of Romans, Paul must break forth in praise.  Quoting from the book of Job, Paul says that God’s wisdom, power and methodologies are beyond human comprehension.  

No one has ever given God anything.  To the contrary, all we have comes from God as a precious gift from his divine hand.  Therefore, God alone deserves all the praise. God alone deserves all the glory forever.

When you look at creation, does doxology flow from your heart and start to flow from your lips?  When you contemplate all God has given to you, do you spontaneously start to praise him?  

God’s plan of salvation for us personally and people everywhere should always evoke great praise.  He is worthy of it.

Praise him today!


Romans 11:32

“For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”

All people, both Jew and Gentile alike, have been consigned to disobedience.  They are locked up in the jail cell of their sin.  Because of their selfish sin nature, they disobey God.

God doesn’t have to save anyone.  He is not obligated to give anyone his mercy and eternal life.  But he does so only because of his incredible mercy.  The “all” here are “all” who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They alone have received God’s mercy by accepting his Son, Jesus, knowing that the penalty of our sin was poured out on him instead of us.

When we recognize the mercy of God, it should make us fall more in love with the Father.  It is beyond our human comprehension.

Thank God today for his great mercy given to you through Jesus.


Romans 11:30-31

“For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.”

The history of salvation from God’s standpoint features his mercy.  Because of his unique relationship with the Jews, it could be expected that God only desired them to be saved.  But through the Jews’ disobedience, God offered his mercy to the Gentiles as well.  And the salvation of the Jews could happen at any time—again—only because of God’s rich mercy.

Mercy means that we don’t receive what we deserve.  Have you contemplated today about the reality that in our disobedience against a holy God, we deserve to be eternally separated from him.  Yet through Jesus, we have been forgiven of our sin.  We have received God’s mercy.

It’s an extraordinary gift!  Contemplate today God’s great mercy.  Your life will never be the same when you do.


Romans 11:29-30

“For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”

The fact that God will draw many Jews unto himself as the end of days draws near is not because of their righteousness but because God never revokes his promises.  When he promises something, it will happen in God’s way and time.

God gave unique gifts to Israel: his name, a special relationship, worship, laws, and commandments.  When he called them to be his people, it was a relationship unlike any other people.  He loved the Jews when he called them uniquely to be his own people.  He still does.

Therefore, they will remain close to his heart until Jesus returns.  That’s why many will most assuredly receive salvation before Jesus’ return.

Do you have a promise from God?  If so, believe that all God’s promises to all his children are irrevocable.  Believe them today.  They are true for all God’s children for all times.


Romans 11:28

“As regards the gospel, they are enemies for you sake.  But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.”

Paul continues his discussion of unbelieving Israel.  Their unbelief has been of benefit to the Gentiles.  Their period of unbelief has allowed the gospel to be given to the Gentiles.  Now the entire world has an opportunity to believe in Jesus.

But God’s election will still include many Jews.  That is Paul’s point in verses 25-27.  There is still yet to come a time in salvation history when God will bring many Jews to faith in Jesus.  God will fulfill his promise of election to the Jews’ forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It will happen.  It’s in the future.  It’s still yet to come.  

But it will happen.  God will one day bring salvation history to close.  Jesus will return.  And God’s elect will rejoice in him when he does.

History is in God’s hands.  Trust him.  He oversees all.  Nothing escapes his oversight.

He is worthy of our praise.


Romans 11:25

“Lest you be wise in your own sight.  I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ’The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.  And this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Paul give a mystery of faith given to him by revelation.  It is for all Gentile believers.  This mystery is not necessarily the revelation of something that can’t be grasped by human intellect.  Rather, it’s a piece to God’s puzzle in history, a revelation of something that was previously hidden but is now understood.

Paul says this mystery has three aspects to it:

  1. At his point in life, as salvation history was progressing, the majority of the Jews’ hearts had been hardened to Christ.  From a Christian’s vantage point today in salvation history, the same is true.
  2. During this same point in salvation history, Gentiles are being brought to Christ. That too has occurred over the last 2,000 years.  There are billions of believers in Jesus over the last 2,000 years.
  3. One day, that is still yet to come, God will do a new work in the hearts of Israel.  On that day, “all” Israel will be saved.

The “all” here implies a number of Jews who will come to faith in Christ at the end times.  Then Paul quotes two verses from Deuteronomy 7:8 and 10:15 to show how God’s promise long ago was fro a Deliverer from Zion who would take people’s sins from them.  Paul this promise fulfilled in Jesus.  One day, he proclaimed, many Jews will believe in Jesus before his Second Coming.

God oversees all salvation history.  He began the world.  He will complete it with Jesus’ glorious return.  

Therefore, there is no reason to despair over current events.  All is overseen by God.  He knows all.  He has a plan.  Therefore, today, rest in his perfect sovereignty and oversight of his world. 


Romans 11:23-24

“And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.  For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.”

Paul makes a promise that any Jew who places his faith in Jesus for his salvation will be grafted back into the olive tree—that being God’s kingdom.

To prove his point, he makes an argument from the lesser to the greater.  If God was willing to graft into his kingdom the wild olive branch, the Gentiles, how much more will he be willing to graft back into his kingdom those with whom he originally made a covenant: the Jews.  His love for the Jews has never ceased.

But now, through Jesus, God’s love is for the entire world, Jew and Gentile alike.  For God so loved the entire world that he gave his Son on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  Whoever believes in him will never perish but have eternal life.

That’s the gospel of grace.  It was Paul’s passion.  It should be ours too who believe in Jesus.


Romans 11:21-22

“For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.  Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness.  Otherwise, you too will be cut off.”

When you think about the character of God, fear is the appropriate response.  He is awesome and holy beyond description.  The fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.  God doesn’t spare any person who fails to believe that he exists and is perfectly holy.  This kind of fear doesn’t take God for granted.  It persists in abiding faith and love.

But his awesome fear must be balanced with his kindness.  His severity must be balanced with his grace.  His kindness has been poured out on all people through his Son, Jesus.  Everyone now has the chance to have their sins forgiven and a forgiven relationship with God the Father.  This too should preserve faith.  It should cause obedience.

Today, get in touch with God’s holiness and grace.  You’ll see both manifested on the cross of Christ.  And you should fall more in love with who God is, his kindness and grace toward wretched sinners like you and me.


Romans 11:19-20

“Then you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’  That is true.  They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith.   So do not become proud, but fear.”

Paul warns again in these two verses against any Christian pride that believes Christians are special because Jewish branches were broken off and Christians were grafted into God’s plan.  There is nothing to be proud of.  The gift of salvation is rooted in God’s grace.  It’s all his sovereign choice.  Therefore, what can Christians be proud of?

Instead, they should feel fear.  This word “fear” does not imply cowardice.  Rather, it means “to have profound respect and reverence, have fear of offending.”  The Jews were removed from God’s plan because of their unbelief and lack of fear of the Lord.  They lost their respect and reverence for God.  The only way Gentiles remain is by their continued trust and faith. That’s the essence of what the Bible calls, “the fear of the Lord.”

Today, trust totally in the great God of the universe.  Respect his awesome holiness—as he deserves.  This proves you believe in him.

For he alone deserves our praise.


Romans 9:17-18

“But if some of the branches were broken off, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches.  If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”

Paul uses the illustration of a root and its branches.  The root is God himself and his promises to the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The branches that were broken off where the majority of the Jews in Paul’s day.  Gentiles are the wild olive shoot that were grafted into God’s covenant promises originally made to the patriarchs.  Gentiles who believe in Jesus are a part of that original promise made to the patriarchs.

But Paul warns Gentile believers not to be proud.  It is God’s promises (the root) that brings them salvation, not their own good works.  Gentiles should never feel pride when thinking that God removed the Jewish branches from his olive tree and grafted the Gentiles into it.  Paul exhorts all believers to remember that the source of all salvation is God himself.  He is the giver of eternal life.  It’s all because of his grace that it occurs.  There is nothing Gentiles ever did to earn be grafted into God’s plan.

Humility is always rooted in God’s grace.  That’s a good lesson to remember today for all who know that God debases the proud and exalts the humble.


Romans 11:15-16

“For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?  If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.”

The majority of Jews didn’t accept the gospel of grace.  Paul asks if this rejection has meant the salvation of Gentiles, then how much more will be the salvation of Jews in even greater numbers in the years to come.  It will bring about the final resurrection, an amazing spiritual revival and eventually their life from the dead, as history reaches its conclusion.  From that moment onward, people will praise God forever.

Paul uses two illustrations to describe this truth.  There is the “first fruits” and “root” illustrations.  Most likely, these images refer to the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the original, saving promises from God given to them being fulfilled in Jesus and the gospel’s witness around the world.

If the dough is given to God, then the entire loaf of bread will be holy.  If the root is given to God, then the other branches will be holy.  The source of something defines what it eventually becomes.  God gave great and mighty promises to the patriarchs, the root, the beginning of their formation as a people.

Paul says the original promises given to the patriarchs about the formation of the Jewish nation are from God himself.  That’s the source of how God formed Israel.  Eventually, it’s fruit must be in accordance with its root: great and numerous.  

To that day, Paul looked forward.  In the future, Paul believed a spiritual revival would break out and many Jews would come to faith in Jesus.

God’s promised root must one day produce his promised fruit.  It will happen.  


Romans 11:13-14

“Now I am speaking to you Gentiles.  Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.”

Paul now turns his attention from his Jewish readers to his Gentile ones.  Note he calls himself “an apostle to the Gentiles.”  This is not irrelevant.  He claims apostolic authority in his message to the Gentiles.  That means that when he spoke, he believed he was speaking the very words of Jesus himself to the Gentiles.  He was called, appointed and given authority from Jesus to speak truth to the Gentiles.  

It was a special calling and commission from Jesus himself, received by Paul on the road to Damascus years earlier.

This special calling magnified Paul’s ministry.  It gave him more authority than most all other Christians—except the other apostles themselves who received a similar apostolic authority from Jesus.

This apostolic calling to the Jews was seen by Paul to make his Jewish brothers jealous to what was happening among the Gentiles and bring many of them to faith in Jesus and be saved.

Paul had a special call to the Gentiles.  Yet he still wanted his Jewish brothers to be saved.  In other words, he wanted the entire world, Jew and Gentile alike, to know Jesus.  It was his passion in life.

Do you share Paul’s similar passion to reach the world for Jesus?


Romans 11:11-12

“So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall?  By no means!  Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles so as to make Israel jealous.  Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean?”

Whenever we look at history, we should realize that no one historical event is God’s final word until God says so.  He is the Lord over all salvation history.  Although all events are overseen by him, he is the author and finisher of the final event—Jesus’ second coming.

Paul was trying to make this point in these two verses regarding Jewish history.  Although Israel hardened its heart against the gospel, that does not mean God was finished with Israel.  He still has a plan to use Israel in salvation history until Jesus returns.

In fact, God was using Israel’s trespass for his perfect plan.  It opened the door to salvation for the Gentiles.  In turn, in seeing Gentiles accept the gospel and commit themselves to obeying God’s moral law originally given to the Jews, they would be provoked to jealousy.  In observing their personal relationship with the living God, they would desire to know him in a similar way.

God still has a future and hope for the Jewish people.

Paul looked forward to the day when there would be a Jewish “full inclusion” with the gospel—the fulfillment of God’s saving promises for the Jews who would come to faith in Jesus.  At this moment, God’s blessings for all Jews and Gentiles will be complete.

It is a day for which the entire world should long.


Romans 10:9-10

“And David says, ‘Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.’”

Paul had just quoted two verses from Isaiah and Deuteronomy (verses 7-8).  Both show how God historically had hardened the Jews hearts in their rebellion against him.  They faced certain judgment from God because of their rebellion against God.

Next, Paul prays two Old Testament verses from the pen of King David concerning the Jews’ rebellion (Psalm 69:22-23).  It’s a prayer over the Jews of his day who have rejected Christ.  Paul used these verses to ask for God’s eventual judgment over them.

At first glance, this seems harsh.  But isn’t God’s judgment his eventual justice?  Isn’t judgment simply declaring what is wrong is wrong and making right what needs to be made right?  If people, Jew or Gentile, reject God’s only way for their sins to be forgiven and their lives made right with him through Jesus Christ, God must judge this rejection or he can’t be God.  If people’s rebellion goes unpunished, how can their be a moral law and a just God?

I pray you’ll consider Paul’s thoughts as you consider your own life and trajectory into eternity.


Romans 11:7-8

“What then?  Israel failed to obtain what is was seeking.  The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’”

Paul combines two Old Testament verses here: from Isaiah 29:10 and Deuteronomy 29:4.  These verses address how God hardened Israel’s heart at different points in its history so that they could not see or hear certain spiritual truths.  

But we also need to understand this ultimate hardening from God only occurred after years of rejection of his truth.  As Paul stated in Romans 1, God gives people over to their sinful ways.  If people persist in their rebellion against God, one day, in his sovereign oversight, he will forever harden their hearts in the direction people have chosen to go.  Only God knows when this time comes.  But it comes to all who rebel against him.  And the ultimate end is eternal separation from God.

If you have any flicker in your heart to love, obey and serve God, this point of hardening has not yet happened.  I pray you will obey those inner promptings today and seek after God.  Each time you do, your heart for God is enlarged.  Each time you do, you’ll be drawn closer and closer into a relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ.

And you never have to worry about your heart ever being hardened by God.


Romans 11:5-6

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.  But if it is by grace, it is not longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

Paul had just referred to Elijah who, in his despair over the godlessness of the leaders and people in Israel, thought God had entirely deserted Israel (Kings 19).  But God reminded Elijah that there were still 7,000 faithful Israelites who had not yet bent their knee to godless idols.  They still desired to follow him.  He had not yet deserted Israel.

Similarly, Paul tells his readers that God’s remnant, those who follow Jesus, are still in existence as a remnant.  They are scattered all over the Roman Empire.  They are chosen by God’s grace and God’s grace alone.

The concept of God choosing his people and the doctrine of grace are inextricably interconnected.  Both prove the the work of salvation is God’s work alone.  Neither have anything to do with our works.  Election is solely by God’s choice.  Grace is solely a gift from God.  That way, no one can ever boast of what they did to earn salvation.  That way, all the glory belongs to God and God alone.

As it should be.


Romans 11:3-4

“Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.  But what is God’s reply to him?  ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’”

Paul is asking the question if God has rejected the Jews because the majority rejected Jesus and the gospel.  His answer is no, God has not rejected the Jews.  The first illustration is himself, a Jew who has received Jesus as Lord and Savior (verses 1-2).

His second illustration is the prophet Elijah.  Verses 3-4 are from Elijah’s lips.  In his day, many Jews had rejected God.  They lived abhorrent, unfaithful lives, following the idol Baal.  Elijah desperately cried out to God.  He saw faithful prophets having been slaughtered.  Altars built for worship in Israel still worshiping and serving God faithfully.

But God reminded him that there were seven thousand men who were still faithful.  They had not yet bent their knee to Baal.  There was still a remnant that loved the God of Israel.  

God had not rejected Israel then, Paul was saying in these verses.  He has not rejected them now.  The fact that a remnant still loved and worshiped God proved that God had not rejected the Jews then.  Nor had he done in Paul’s day.  Nor has he done today.

The Jews still have a special place in God’s heart.  

Do the Jews have a similar special place in your heart?

They should, as should all people who need the glorious gospel of grace.


Romans 11:1-2

“I ask, then, has God rejected his people?  By no means!  For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.  God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.  Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?”

The majority of Jews did not believe in Jesus and the gospel.  Does this mean that God has now rejected his chosen?  Of course not!  One primary example is the life of Paul himself.  He is a Jew, a descendant of Abraham.  Moreover, he is from the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe from where Saul, the first king of Israel, came.  And he is now a follower of Jesus, thus proving that God has not rejected the Jews.

God “foreknew” the nation of Israel.  Before the world was created, he knew the nation and his call upon them.  His call is irrevocable.  Though most rejected Jesus, the Jews still have an important place in God’s heart.

Paul then begins an illustration about Elijah that we will look at more closely tomorrow.  Suffice it to say today, God still loves the Jews.  He has not rejected them.  That’s the primary theme in chapter 11.

One question for all of us: Do you ever pray for the Jews to come to faith in Christ?

From Paul’s perspective, that should be an important part of the Christian's prayer life.


Romans 10:20-21

“Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’  But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’”

In verses 18-19, Paul pointed out two Old Testament verses about how Jews should be without excuse in not accepting the gospel.  In verses 20-21, Paul continues with two more Old Testament verses to make his point.

First, he quotes from Isaiah 65:1 to show that Gentiles, “who did not seek” after God have now experienced God’s salvation through Jesus Christ.  Second, he quotes from Isaiah 65:2 to show how Israel rebelled against God by rejecting the gospel message.  God wanted them to believe.  He reached out his hands to them, inviting and encouraging them to salvation.

In all these verses, we see the apparent antimony of election and free will.  On the one hand, God predetermines who is saved.  Yet, on the other hand, he desires for all to be saved (I Timothy 2:4; Ezekiel 33:11).  Neither truth contradicts or denies the other.  The total understanding rests completely in the hand of a sovereign God.  One day, it will be revealed to us, though he’s under no obligation to do so.  I believe that when he does, we will respond joyfully, “Oh!”  We will one day understand when we see him face to face.

Until that great day, trust him with every detail of your life.  He reigns over all.  He knows what he is doing.  Every detail of your life is under his sovereign control.

Rest totally in faith today.  God is good.


Romans 10:18-19

“But I ask, have they not heard?  Indeed they have, for, Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’  But I ask, did Israel not understand?  First Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.’”

Paul quotes several Old Testament verses here to make a point.  First, he quotes from Psalm 19:4.  In its original context, it refers to general revelation.  This means that everyone, throughout the entire world, is without excuse to believe in God.  It’s apparent especially in a person’s conscience and moral code.  All people everywhere have one.  Also, it’s apparent in creation.  The magnificence and glory of God’s ordered creation should point everyone’s heart to the reality of a Creator.

Yet here Paul uses the verse more in terms of special revelation, what God gives individuals through the proclamation of the gospel.  His emphasis is that Jews have heard the gospel since it’s being preached to the ends of the earth and Gentiles now believe.

Then he quotes from Deuteronomy 32:21, from the lips of Moses, to show that the Jews should have believed the gospel since they are God’s chosen people.  The proof is that Gentiles, who aren’t God’s chosen, are believing the gospel.  Therefore, the Jews should be without excuse.

Do you believe the gospel?  Do you believe that Jesus died and rose from the grave for you?  If so, it’s because God’s has given you his special revelation to believe.  

You should praise and glorify him every day of your life!