February 26 Evening Verse of The Day

11:1 The climax of Paul’s declaration of God’s elective purpose in Israel is reached in ch. 11. God has not cast away Israel, though it may appear so for a while.[1]

11:1 God has not rejected his people Paul has spent the previous two chapters addressing the problem of the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as Messiah and the implications of that rejection for salvation. Paul now emphatically insists that, while Israel may have rejected God’s gift of salvation in Christ, God has not rejected Israel in return. Despite present appearances, Israel still plays a role in God’s plan of salvation, and His promises to Israel have not been invalidated.

of the tribe of Benjamin Paul emphasizes his own Jewish lineage as proof that at least some within ethnic Israel will be saved (compare 9:27).[2]

11:1 The majority of Israel failed to believe. Does this mean that God has rejected his people? Paul presents himself as an example of the remnant that has been preserved, a remnant that indicates that God is not finished with Israel and that he will fulfill the promises made to his people.[3]

11:1 rejected. To thrust away from oneself. The form of the question in the Gr. text expects a negative answer. Despite Israel’s disobedience (9:1–13; 10:14–21), God has not rejected His people (cf. 1Sa 12:22; 1Ki 6:13; Pss 89:31–37; 94:14; Is 49:15; 54:1–10; Jer 33:19–26). May it never be! The strongest form of negation in Gr. (see note on 6:2).[4]

11:1 One of the proofs that God has not cast away the Jewish people is Paul himself. He was an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Jew, and he was chosen by God to be a believer and an apostle.[5]

11:1 What about the future of Israel? Is it true, as some teach, that God is through with Israel, that the church is now the Israel of God, and that all the promises to Israel now apply to the church? Romans 11 is one of the strongest refutations of that view in all the Bible.

Paul’s opening question means, “Has God cast away His people completely? That is, has every single Israelite been cast off?” Certainly not! The point is that although God has cast off His people, as is distinctly stated in 11:15, this does not mean that He has rejected all of them. Paul himself is a proof that the casting away has not been complete. After all, he was an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, and of the tribe of Benjamin. His credentials as a Jew were impeccable.[6]

11:1. Of the fourteen times Paul uses the exclamation by no means! (me genoito), ten of them are in the epistle to the Romans (in addition to this verse see 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:11. See also this commentary on Rom. 6:2 for more details on me genoito). The frequency of this phrase in Romans is evidence of the controversial nature of Paul’s content. Usually it is in response to the objections or questions of a fictional objector whom Paul’s diatribe format calls forth. But here, Paul is asking and answering his own question so as to continue the treatment on Israel which began in Romans 9:1.

Specifically, his statement that God is continually holding out his hands to “a disobedient and obstinate people” (Israel; Rom. 10:21) begs the question, Did God reject his people? Paul uses himself as “Exhibit A” to prove that God did not reject his people. The fact that Paul, an Israelite … a descendant of Abraham … from the tribe of Benjamin (cf. Phil. 3:5), is also an apostle of Jesus Christ, sent to deliver the mystery of the gospel to the Gentiles, proves that God has not abandoned Israel! If Paul were the only Jew on earth who believed in Jesus Christ, it would be proof positive that God had not rejected his people.

Paul’s statement is more than a piece of evidence in an argument. It is a confirmation of what he has been teaching about election. In other words, no one comes to faith in Christ by happenstance. If a person does not believe in Christ, it is evidence of the hand of God in divine, sovereign election, and if someone does believe in Christ, it is likewise evidence of the hand of God. The fact that many Jews had not believed in Christ is evidence that they were not the elect of God. But the fact that Paul has believed means he was foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (Rom. 8:29–30). And if God called Paul, a Jew, it is obviously evidence that God has not abandoned the Jews.

The fact that God has never totally rejected the Jews is evident from Paul’s spiritual life, but it can also be proved from the darkest days of Israel’s history.[7]

11:1 “God has not rejected His people, has He” This question expects a “no” answer. Paul answers this question in vv. 1b–10. This section must relate to Paul’s previous argument. Chapters 9–11 form a literary unit, a sustained argument.

It is interesting to note that the early Greek papyrus manuscript P46 and the uncials F and G have “inheritance” instead of “people,” which may be from the LXX of Ps. 93:14.

© “May it never be!” This is Paul’s characteristic way of rejecting the questions of the hypothetical objector (diatribe, cf. 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11).

© “I too am an Israelite” Paul uses himself to prove the existence of a believing Jewish remnant. For further amplification of Paul’s Jewish background see Phil. 3:5.[8]

1. Has God rejected his people? The question (so framed in Greek as to require the answer ‘No’) and the statement in verse 2, ‘God has not rejected his people’, echo the lxx wording of Psalm 94:11, ‘the Lord will not forsake his people’ (cf. 1 Sam. 12:22).

A descendant of Abraham. Here the phrase is used primarily in its natural sense (cf. 2 Cor. 11:22), but not to the exclusion of its spiritual sense (cf. 4:16, above).

A member of the tribe of Benjamin. Cf. Philippians 3:5. It is an ‘undesigned coincidence’ between Paul’s letters and Acts that, while it is only from the former that we learn that Paul belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, it is only the latter that tells us that his Jewish name was Saul. It is not surprising that parents who traced their descent from the tribe of Benjamin and cherished high ambitions for their new-born son should give him the name borne by the most illustrious member of that tribe in the history of Israel—‘Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin’ (to quote Paul’s reference to Israel’s first king in Acts 13:21).[9]

1 The verb “I say” (Gk. legō) in the rhetorical introduction to this section forges a link with 10:14–21, where Paul twice uses the same verb to signal transitions in his argument (vv. 18 and 19). At the same time, the “therefore” (Gk. oun) shows that Paul now draws an implication from what he has said there. Or, to be more accurate, Paul denies an implication that his readers might have drawn from the previous section. He does so by using a rhetorical pattern very typical of Romans: a question expecting a negative answer—“God has not rejected his people, has he?”—followed by the strong negative response “By no means!”569 The question is certainly a natural one. Israel’s refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ, the culmination of salvation history (10:4) and sole mediator of God’s righteousness (10:5–13), would seem to mean that she could no longer claim to be “God’s people.” But, as in 3:1, where Paul raises a similar question, Paul refuses to admit the “logical” conclusion. Despite her disobedience, Israel remains the people of God—in what sense, Paul will explain in the rest of the chapter.

As he did also at the beginning of his discussion of Israel (“my kindred according to the flesh,” 9:3), Paul now again reminds his readers of his identification with Israel: “even I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul may refer to his Jewish identity to explain his motivation in rejecting the notion that God might have rejected Israel so vehemently: as a Jew who still identified with his people, he could hardly countenance God’s abandonment of Israel. However, the “for” (Gk. gar) introducing the sentence is more likely to introduce a reason for Paul’s denial. Cranfield thinks that Paul refers to himself in his role of apostle to the Gentiles as a way of suggesting God’s continuing commitment to the people as a whole. But the importance of the remnant concept in this context (vv. 2b–6) makes it more likely that Paul wants to associate himself with this entity. Paul himself, as a Jewish Christian, is living evidence that God has not abandoned his people Israel. Jews, like Paul, are continuing to be saved and to experience the blessings God promised to his people.[10]

1 The question posed by the unbelief of Israel as a people pervades this section of the epistle. It comes to the forefront at various points and in different forms (cf. 9:1–3, 27, 29, 31, 32; 10:2, 3, 21). At 11:1 another aspect of the same question is introduced. At 9:6ff. the apostle dealt with what might appear to be the effect of Israel’s unbelief, namely, that God’s word of promise had come to nought, at 9:14ff. with the question as it pertains to God’s justice. Now the question is whether the apostasy of Israel means God’s rejection of them. It is not, however, in these terms that the question is asked. It is asked in a way that points up the gravity of the issue and anticipates what the answer must be: “did God cast off his people?” The answer, as repeatedly in this epistle (cf 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14), is the most emphatic negative available. The ground for this negative answer is implicit in the terms used in the question. For Paul’s question is in terms that are reminiscent of the Old Testament passages which affirm that God will not cast off his people (1 Sam. 12:22; Psalm 94:14 (LXX 93:14); cf. Jer. 31:37).

The second part of verse 1 is an additional reason for the negative reply. There are two views of the force of the apostle’s appeal to his own identity as an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin. One is that, since he is of Israel, his acceptance by God affords proof that God had not completely abandoned Israel. The appeal to his own salvation would be of marked relevance because of his previous adamant opposition to the gospel (cf. Gal. 1:13, 14; 1 Tim. 1:13–15). The unbelief of Israel (cf. 10:21) had been exemplified in no one more than in Saul of Tarsus. The mercy he received is proof that God’s mercy had not forsaken Israel. On this view, “of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” would serve to accentuate his identity as truly one of that race with which he is now concerned. The other view is that the appeal to his own identity is the reason given for the vehemence of his negative reply “God forbid” and, therefore, the reason why he recoils from the suggestion that God had cast off his people. His own kinship with Israel, his Israelitish identity, constrains the reaction, “may it not be”. More meaning can be attached to “of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” on this interpretation. These additions would drive home the depth of his attachment to Israel and emphasize the reason for his revulsion from the proposition that God had cast off his people. Both views are tenable and there does not appear to be enough evidence to decide for one against the other.[11]

1 Preparation for this section has been made—especially in 9:27–29, where the teaching of the OT concerning the remnant is summarized by quotations from Isaiah. That teaching involved both judgment and mercy—judgment on the nation as a whole for its infidelity and wickedness, and mercy on the remnant, who are permitted to escape the judgment and who form the nucleus for a fresh start under the blessing of God.

The opening question, “Did God reject his people?” (based on Ps 94:14) requires that we keep in mind what was made clear early in the discussion—that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (9:6). The form of Paul’s question expects a negative answer. This negative answer is articulated in the strong formulaic “By no means!” The loss of the bulk of the nation that proved disobedient (both in OT days and at the opening of the gospel period) should not be interpreted as God’s rejection of “his people.” The remnant is in view, as the ensuing paragraph demonstrates.

Why is it that Paul, in repudiating the suggestion that God has rejected his people, injects himself into the discussion as an Israelite descended from Abraham and belonging to the tribe of Benjamin (cf. Php 3:5; 2 Co 11:22)? It is unlikely that Paul details his background merely to indicate that he can be expected to handle the subject with fairness to Israel. In fact, he presents himself as the initial, obvious evidence that God has been faithful to his people and thus as the first answer to the question he has just posed.[12]

Has God Rejected Israel?

Romans 11:1

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.

Ancient Bibles did not have chapter divisions, as our Bibles have. These were added later, the earliest appearing in Codex Vaticanus in the fourth century. Moreover, the earliest divisions were different from what we have now, and our present chapters came even later, in the Middle Ages. The divisions we have are certainly not from Paul. Still, when we come to the beginning of a new chapter, as we do now in our study of Paul’s great letter to the Romans, it is natural to take the division seriously, look back over the distance we have traveled, and try to get a bearing on the matters still to come.

Has God’s Word Failed?

The present discussion began in Romans 9, following Paul’s magnificent statement about the believer’s eternal security in Christ in Romans 8. It began in response to an obvious question: How can we believe in the eternal security of the Christian if, as we can clearly see, Jews as a whole are not responding to the preaching of the gospel and thus are not being saved? If Christianity is true, doesn’t this mean that God has rejected Israel? If God has rejected Israel, how can we suppose that he will avoid rejecting us as well? And if he can or will reject us, isn’t it true that we must reject the doctrine of eternal security?

Paul’s immediate answer, in Romans 9:6, was that God’s plans for Israel have not failed. To prove it he unfolds the seven main arguments found in chapters 9 through 11.

  1. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because all whom God has elected to salvation are or will be saved (Rom. 9:6–24). In this section Paul distinguishes between national Israel and spiritual Israel, which consists of those whom God has chosen to know Christ. His point is that membership in the visible Jewish nation did not guarantee salvation, any more than mere formal membership in a Christian denomination guarantees the salvation of church members today. What determines salvation is the electing grace of God in Christ, and that has always been a matter separate from any ethnic, national, or organizational distinctives.
  2. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because God had previously revealed that not all Israel would be saved and that some Gentiles would be (Rom. 9:25–29). If God had promised that all Jews would be saved and had then failed to save some of them, God’s word would indeed have failed. But this is not the case, since God had foretold in advance that many Jews would not believe and would be scattered and that, in their place, many of the scattered Gentiles would be gathered to Christ.
  3. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because the failure of the Jews to believe was their own fault, not God’s (Rom. 9:30–10:21). The Jews refused to believe because they wanted to earn salvation for themselves, even though Abraham, David, and all others who were saved were saved through believing God’s promises concerning Jesus Christ. The majority wanted to be approved by God on the basis of their own good works and righteousness, and so would not submit to the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ.
  4. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because some Jews (Paul himself was an example) have believed and have been saved (Rom. 11:1). As long as even one Jewish person has been saved, no one can claim that God has rejected his people utterly. Paul was one, even if there were no others. But, in fact, the situation is not as grim as that. As the next section shows, God has always preserved a considerable remnant of believing Jewish people.
  5. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because it has always been the case that even in the worst of times a remnant has been saved (Rom. 11:2–10). Paul proves this from the days of Elijah, a dark period but one in which, by God’s own count, seven thousand Jews were still faithful to God, having refused to worship Baal. Seven thousand was a small portion of the nation, but it was still a sufficiently large number to derail the claim of anyone who might think that the plan of God had failed.
  6. God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because the salvation of the Gentiles, which is now occurring, is meant to arouse Israel to envy and thus be the means of saving some of them (Rom. 11:11–24). God has a right to do anything he wants with sinners. He can save whom he wants. He can condemn whom he wants. Still, condemnation seems rather harsh toward his ancient “chosen” people. “Is God merely writing them off?” we might ask. Paul’s answer is that this is not the case. Rather, God is using the day of Gentile salvation for the good of Israel, since it is through God’s work among Gentiles that Israel is being stirred from self-complacency and lethargy, and some are being saved.
  7. Finally, God’s historical purpose toward the Jewish nation has not failed, because in the end all Israel will be saved, and thus God will fulfill his promises to Israel nationally (Rom. 11:25–32). This is so gracious and wonderful that Paul concludes with a benediction praising God’s great wisdom.

Here is how Leon Morris traces Paul’s thought:

Paul has made it clear that God is working out a great purpose and [has] insisted on divine predestination and election; the will of God is done. He has also insisted that human responsibility is real and important, and he has made it plain that this must be borne in mind when considering the fact that Israel has not entered the blessing as Gentile believers have. What then does it matter to belong to the chosen people? At first sight, it may seem, not very much, for Gentiles may be saved as well as Jews. But it is far from Paul’s thought that being a Jew matters little. He goes on to show that, while in the providence of God Israel’s sin and unbelief have been used to open up the way for the Gentiles, now the conversion of Gentiles will lead to the conversion of Jews. The Jews still have a place in God’s plan.

Charles Hodge looks at the argument of Romans 11 similarly, noting that it has two parts. “In the former [part] the apostle teaches that the rejection of the Jews was not total. There was a remnant, and perhaps a much larger remnant than many might suppose.… In the latter [part], he shows that this rejection is not final.”

Godet adds, “This partial rejection … is not eternal, but temporary (vv. 11–32). For after it has served the various ends which God had in view in decreeing it, it shall come to an end, and the entire nation shall be restored, and with the Gentiles shall realize the final unity of the kingdom of God.” This is an ending worthy of the benediction with which Paul concludes the fourth section of his letter.

Has God Rejected His Ancient People?

At the start of chapter 11, the point to which we have come in our verse-by-verse exposition of Romans, we are at Paul’s fourth argument of the seven listed above. It is the shortest of the seven. Question: “I ask then: Did God reject his people?” Answer: “By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin” (v. 1).

What Paul says in this terse personal reference has been understood in two ways. One approach is based on the vehemence of his answer and supposes Paul to be denying that any Jew could suppose that God would abandon Israel. “More meaning can be attached to ‘of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin’ on this interpretation,” according to John Murray. The problem with this view is that it turns Paul’s reply into a mere emotional response, rather than an argument, and we are in the midst of a very clear set of reasoned arguments in this chapter.

The second view is the one I have assumed from the beginning of these studies, namely, that Paul is using his own case as proof that Israel has not been abandoned. As long as there is only one believing Jew—though, in fact, there are many—no one can affirm that God has rejected Israel utterly. Paul is a remnant by himself, whether or not there are any others. But, in fact, there are and always have been others, as the next section shows.

Why, then, does Paul speak so forcefully of his Jewish ancestry? In my opinion, it was in response to the many unkind things that must have been said to him about it. I have friends who are Jewish believers who report that when they accepted Jesus as the Messiah they were at once rejected as Jews by many of their former friends and family members.

In one case, in a Bar Mitzvah service, the male members of the family were invited to take part in the Torah readings, and a friend of mine who had become a Jewish Christian went forward with them. He was stopped by the rabbi, who claimed that he was no longer a Jew because he believed in Jesus. My friend’s instinctive response, which is why I tell this story, was: “Are you telling me that I am not a Jew? How can you say that I am not a Jew? God made me a Jew. My mother and father were Jews. I am descended from Jews. I am a son of Abraham.”

It is hard to suppose that Paul did not hear similar accusations many hundreds of times or that his response would not have been precisely what we find it to be in Romans. “Not a Jew?” he might have objected. “How can you say I am not a Jew? I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.”

Each of those terms is worth exploring.

  1. An Israelite. There are three names used to denote this ancient people: Hebrews (cf. Phil. 3:5), Jews, and Israelites. The origin of “Hebrew” is not known, though it may be derived from the name Eber, found in Genesis 10:21, 25, in which case it denotes a broader grouping of people than ethnic Israel alone. It would be similar to the word Semite. “Jew” comes from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob by Leah and (later) the most prominent of the twelve tribes. This name stresses the people’s ethnic origins. The distinguishing feature of “Israel” is that it is the people’s covenant name. It was the name given to Jacob when he wrestled with the angel at the Jabbok and God blessed him (Gen. 32:28).

As soon as we recognize that “Israel” points to the covenant, we see that Paul’s choice is exceedingly appropriate. For the question being raised in Romans is whether or not God can break covenant, and the answer is: Surely not! God never breaks a promise.

  1. A descendant of Abraham. Nothing designates a Jew so decisively as being “a son of Abraham.” Therefore, Paul uses this phrase, too. In his case, of course, being a descendant of Abraham had Christian importance, for he had shown earlier that Abraham is an example of faith and that all who have faith are therefore Abraham’s true spiritual children, both Jews and Gentiles (cf. Rom. 4:11–12, 16).
  2. Of the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was small among the tribes of Israel, but it was significant beyond its size for many reasons. First, Benjamin was the only son of Jacob to have been born in Israel. The others were born on the far side of the desert in Paddam Aram. Second, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was within its territory. Third, Benjamin was the only tribe that remained with the tribe of Judah in the south at the time of the civil war following the death of Solomon. The northern tribes quickly drifted away from the forms of worship that had been given to Israel, set up apostate altars, became increasingly wicked, and were the first to be carried away into captivity (in 721 b.c.). Benjamin, in the south along with Judah, remained closer to God, preserved a larger measure of righteousness, and thus survived longer, until the conquest by Babylon (in 586 b.c.).

Martin Luther argues at this point that Paul had contended against God “with all this strength” and that “if God had rejected his own people, he surely would have rejected the Apostle Paul.” But thoughtful as this may be, it is not the point Paul is making. Paul is not arguing that he has been saved in spite of his sinful past, which would be an argument for grace, but that he is a Jew and is saved, which is an argument for God’s faithfulness to his covenant. In other words, he is saying nothing new, but only what had been stated many times in the Old Testament.

When the people sinned by asking for a king and later confessed it, saying, “We have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king” (1 Sam. 12:19), Samuel answered, “Do not be afraid. You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.… For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own” (vv. 20, 22).

Psalm 94 speaks of God’s judgment of the wicked and his disciplining of those he loves. Yet it also explains the discipline, saying, “For the Lord will not reject his people; / he will never forsake his inheritance” (v. 14).

Jeremiah quotes God as saying,

Only if the heavens above can be measured

and the foundations of the earth below be searched out

will I reject all the descendants of Israel

because of all they have done.

Jeremiah 31:37

Paul was steeped in the Old Testament. So we can well understand his horrified and extreme reaction to the suggestion that God might somehow break his promises to Israel and cast his people off. Discipline? Yes. A remnant in times like the present? Of course. But cast Israel off? Abandon the covenant? Break the promises? How could God do that and still remain God? If that happened, truth, honor, righteousness, and justice would be torn from the deity, and God would no longer be God.

In view of this argument, we can see why Paul does not only argue that some of Israel are being saved, himself being one example, but also maintains that in the end the fullness of God’s blessing will be extended to the Jewish people nationally, and “so all Israel will be saved,” as he says in verse 26.

A Few Applications

I realize, as I come to the end of this study, that much of what I have written has been analytical and technical and that its relevance to ourselves and our times is not readily apparent. But it is nevertheless a practical matter, and there are several major points of application.

  1. We should not be discouraged in our evangelism, because all whom God is calling to faith in Jesus Christ will come to him. If anyone should have been discouraged in his evangelism, it should have been Paul in his attempts to reach the Jewish people. He was God’s chosen messenger to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), but Paul always began his missionary efforts with the Jews and again and again he was rejected by them. In 2 Corinthians he describes how he had been beaten five times by the Jewish authorities and how he was in constant danger from them, as well as from Gentile rulers (2 Cor. 11:24, 26). Later, when he went to Jerusalem with the offerings from the Gentile churches, he was set upon by a fanatical mob and would have been torn to pieces if the Romans had not intervened to save him. Jewish opposition led to his imprisonment.

Yet Paul was not discouraged by this, because he knew that he had been sent to preach the gospel to all people and that those whom God was calling to faith in Jesus Christ would come to him. In Elijah’s day, God had reserved seven thousand faithful Jews. In Paul’s day, one by one God was calling out thousands more. So also today. Because God is calling to faith those whom he has chosen to call to faith, we, too, can work on without discouragement and know that our “labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

  1. We should be warned against presumption. It is true that all whom God is calling to faith will be saved, but this does not mean that all of any race, social class, or denomination will be. In the days of Elijah, God had seven thousand believers. But there were other thousands, no doubt hundreds of thousands, who did not obey God, worshiped Baal, and were not saved. They were Jews. Although they were outward, visible members of the covenant community, they were not what Paul earlier termed true “Israel” (Rom. 9:6). They were Abraham’s “natural children,” but they were not “children of the promise,” because they did not follow Abraham’s example by believing in the one who was to come.

Being a Jew did not in itself save these people, though there were great advantages to Judaism, as Paul acknowledges. Neither will membership in a Christian denomination save you, though there are also advantages to belonging to a good church. We must not presume on our affiliations. The Bible says to “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). It means, be sure you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and that you are actually following him as your Lord.

The five foolish virgins of Jesus’ parable thought that they were well off because they had been invited to the wedding banquet, had accepted the invitation, called Jesus “Lord,” and were even waiting for his second coming—but they were not “ready” when he came (Matt. 25:1–13). Make sure that you are not among their company.

  1. We should put all our confidence in God, who alone is the source, effector, and sustainer of his people’s salvation. How foolish to put your confidence in anything else, or even in a combination of lesser things. If a person can be a Jew, with all the spiritual blessings attending to that great religious heritage, and yet be lost, certainly you are foolish to trust in your ancestry, nationality, education, good works, or (strange as it may seem) your good intentions. “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). It comes from God alone. Make sure that you are trusting him and what he has done for you in Jesus Christ. Make sure you are able to sing:

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to thy cross I cling;

Naked, come to thee for dress,

Helpless, look to thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in thee.

  1. We must never take part in or yield to anti-Semitic attitudes or actions. If God himself has not rejected the Jews in spite of their long history of willful sin, dogged disobedience, and fierce rejection of him—if he loves them still and has a plan for their eventual salvation as a nation—it is clear that you and I, if we are Gentiles, must not reject them either. We must never yield to or take part in anti-Semitism.

There are many blemishes on the church of Jesus Christ accumulated during the long years of its history, but of all those blemishes one of the most terrible and tragic has been the participation of so-called Christians in the persecution of the Jews. I know that not all, perhaps hardly any, of those actually persecuting Jews were true Christians. But that is another matter. Instead of hatred there should have been love. Instead of prejudice there should have been understanding. Let us determine that regardless of what the past has been, we will think and act like Christians—like Jesus himself, who died with arms outstretched even to those who crucified him.

We must love all men and women and seek to reach all without favoritism until Jesus comes again.[13]

[1] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ro 11:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ro 11:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2176). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ro 11:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1445). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1723). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 332–333). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Utley, R. J. (1998). The Gospel according to Paul: Romans (Vol. Volume 5, Ro 11:1). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[9] Bruce, F. F. (1985). Romans: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 6, p. 209). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[10] Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 690–691). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[11] Murray, J. (1968). The Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 65–67). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[12] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 167–168). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[13] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1287–1294). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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