The Wisdom of God’s Word
Lord, guard my heart and mind. May I never convince myself that I know better than You do.
Read Romans 11:25–36
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, 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 in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; 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 everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor. 3:19); because the foolishness of God is wiser than men (1 Cor. 1:25).
Three chapters (9–11) of intense scriptural argumentation draw to their conclusion. The disobedience of many of God’s people has never hindered God’s steadfast commitment to his promises. Rather, God has turned it for ultimate good. If Israel had responded wholeheartedly to Christ, the mission to the Gentiles might never have begun (see Paul’s declaration in Acts 13:46). The Gospel remains for all. All have been disobedient, but mercy is available for all (32). Paul is convinced that Jews as well as Gentiles will continue to flow into the church and find salvation in Christ, precisely because—as Paul’s quotations and application of Scripture confirm—God remains faithful to his promises.
Despite claims to the contrary, “All Israel will be saved” (26) cannot mean all Jewish people. Paul has clearly stated that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Rom. 9:6) and that to be grafted back in requires not persisting in unbelief (Rom. 11:23). Nor does Paul predict an end-time revival amongst Jewish people. The quotation from Isaiah in verses 26 and 27 is about the coming of the Messiah to fulfill the covenant “to those in Jacob who repent of their sins” (Isaiah 59:20). Paul is convinced that this Gospel he proclaims will continue to reach both Jews and Gentiles until “all Israel,” consisting of both, is saved. These chapters, beginning with pain and lament, end in praise.
Paul’s pain has not gone away. His heart aches for his people, but that is part of the suffering with Christ integral to Christian discipleship. His study of Scripture and the long history of God’s dealings with his people have convinced Paul of the faithfulness and wisdom of God. God is wiser than we are. Our responsibility is to proclaim Christ, to be the community of hope in each community, as we trust his mercy and grace.
Paul reached his conclusions through his profound knowledge of Scripture. We recommit ourselves to study, allowing ourselves to be reshaped by God’s Word.
Lord, the prophet said that Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth (Isa. 25:1). We stand in awe of Your infinite capability as we watch Your plan unfold through the centuries.
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