Romans 11:1-11 by Robert Dean
Feeling a little dizzy as you struggle to comprehend Romans, chapters 9 and 10? Seize this chance to take another run at understanding the vital concepts before arriving at Romans 11. Put yourself in the Apostle Paul's place as he finds pagan Gentiles believing the gospel message in droves while his own Jewish nation stubbornly believes that being Abraham's descendants give them an automatic ticket to heaven. As their jealous anger boils over, Paul, using Old Testament passages, carefully lays out proof that God will fulfill all His promises. End up ready to tackle the challenging conclusion to this section in Romans 11.

The Remnant
Romans 11:1-11

Okay, let's open our Bibles to Romans 9. I'm going to do a little review. We're going to start Romans 11 tonight but I want to put things into context a bit, part of which is going to entail a review of what we covered last week in Romans 10. I had at least two people say that we needed to go through it at least one more time. So Romans 10 is tough but Romans 11 pulls things together when we see the whole context. I want to go back and sort of walk our way through Romans 9 and Romans 10 in terms of an overview before we get into Romans 11.

Let's just go to the very beginning. Romans 9, 10, and 11 fit together. Romans 9 demonstrates the righteousness of God in His rejection of national Israel. Remember, when you think of Romans, the word you should think of is righteousness. The book of Romans is all about God's righteousness, the fact that human beings don't have it and they need it. God gives it to them on the basis of faith alone and because we are justified as part of our salvation package we are baptized by the Holy Spirit and we're given a new identity. We're no longer slaves to the sin nature. We're now slaves to what? Righteousness.

Romans 6, 7, and 8 talks about how we're to live a righteous life now that we're declared righteous. In Romans 9, 10, and 11 the focus is on Israel so the question is how Israel fits this theme? Romans 9 demonstrates the righteousness of God in terms of His rejection of national Israel. Romans 10 demonstrates that the rejection is based on the prior rejection by Israel of God's revelation. They have rejected and neglected God's revelation to them. This is that passage that quotes from Deuteronomy 30 saying the Word of God is near you. They have rejected it.

Romans 11 then answers the question of whether God has permanently cast away His people of Israel. The answer is a resounding "NO". God still has a plan for national, ethnic Israel. A quote from one of the most well-known, scholarly commentaries on Romans by C.E.D. Cranfield in the International Critical Commentary Series,makes an important observation when he says, "These three chapters, Romans 9-11, emphatically prevent us from speaking of the Church as having once and for all taken the place of the Jewish people." If you remember, when we started Romans 9 I took you through two important issues related to Israel. The first had to do with replacement theology and the second had to do with that which came out of replacement theology, anti-Semitism. So what Cranfield is saying here is that these chapters prevent us, if we're going to interpret it correctly, from going into replacement theology. He continues, "The assumption that the Church has simply replaced Israel as the people of God is extremely common. I confess with shame to having also, myself, used in print on more than one occasion this language of the replacement of Israel by the Church." So Romans 9-11 is the stake in the heart of replacement theology.

Now let's just sort of think about it a little bit. We'll look at the first paragraph, Romans 9:1-5 which gives us a glimpse into Paul's personal passion for the salvation of his fellow Israelites. He professes his profound grief for their spiritual condition and here we see that Paul is expressing the priority of the message of salvation to the Jewish people. That is still true today. I know there are some Messianic Jews like Arnold Fructenbaum who still believe in the principle that "it's to the Jew first and then to the Greek." I believe that principle's priority died out with the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. That was part of the transition period from the Cross to the final execution of God's judgment on Israel in A.D. 70.

Nevertheless there's a priority of taking the gospel to the Jewish people. But we have to understand some things when taking the gospel to the Jewish people. Number one is that different people respond differently to the gospel. The Jewish people have a history where they're extremely sensitive to Christians who come to them and start talking about Jesus just right off the bat because it shows a certain level of insensitivity. They've had thousands of years of Christian anti-Semitism and they would rather be viewed as a person. They love to have a good relationship with Christians but they don't want to have the sense that they're just another notch on your gospel gun or that you're just looking at them as another target of opportunity. You think because you're in the presence of somebody Jewish you start witnessing to them within the third breath.

Now there are a couple of people in this congregation who really haven't gotten this message yet. There's always one or two who go on a trip to Israel that I find out later don't get that message.  No matter how many times you tell people they think that you just sit down with someone Jewish and within the first two paragraphs you've got to start talking about Jesus. Now that is foolish and it's not good sense. You build a relationship with people. What I've found in the Jewish community is that sooner or later people will start asking me questions and that's the best time to respond so you create a friendship that's not a friendship because you want to witness to them. You're friends because you're friends. As a result of that, eventually you'll get an opportunity to communicate the gospel.

Then you have to understand your target audience. Some Jews are agnostic and they really don't know Genesis from 2 Chronicles. They don't know Psalms from Proverbs because about the only time they show up at the local synagogue is on one of the high holy days and that's it. It's more of a social, racial, ethnic, and historical thing than it is anything else. They don't take any of it seriously at all. And then there are others that do. I find that there are some who would like to take it seriously but they've heard so many intellectual objections to really believing the Bible that that gets in the way.  

So there's a lot of different things to kind of work through. I find that asking questions in any kind of witnessing situation is a really good way to approach it but it's a slow way to approach it. It takes time to ask someone questions and wait for their answers. A lot of people don't want to hear what the unbeliever has to say. They just want to tell them what they're supposed to think so they get impatient. But Paul has a great desire to see these Jewish people justified, to see them accept Jesus as their Messiah, not just because this has a significance for how God's plan will work out but because he knows that's the only way for them to be in heaven. So Paul places a high value upon the justification of the Jewish people. He values them because as we read in verses 4 and 5, "who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the {temple} service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." So he recognizes the value and significance of the Jewish people because the descendants of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob are the ones through whom God is going to bless the whole world. They're the center of human history.

Everyone revolves around God's plan for the Jewish people. Even in the church age because once they start returning, once there's a turning back, everything in history shifts. So in these first five verses of Romans 9 we see the emphasis on the importance of the Jewish people. Paul also concludes in verse 5 with one of the strongest statements of the deity of Christ in the New Testament. I reworked the word order there to show he says, "Christ the Eternally Blessed God who is over all. Amen." Paul identified Christ here as the eternally blessed God.

The next section is from Romans 9:6-9 and the principle that's laid down here is that not all Israel is Israel. Now when we get to Romans 11 we'll develop that a little more, understanding that within ethnic Israel there are those who are saved, spiritually regenerate. And that's the remnant. He develops the remnant doctrine. This sort of foreshadows it here but we get to it fully in Romans 11. Here he's talking about "not all Israel is Israel" because not all of them have understood that Jesus is the Messiah.

So this is the principle and he goes on at this point about just the physical generation aspect and that physical descent from Abraham is not enough. He couches it in terms of the descendants of Abraham that were not the seed. Abraham had Ishmael and then after Sarah died he married Keturah and had other sons through that marriage. But it's only through Isaac that the line is named. Rom 9:7 says, "nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED."

What happened among the Jewish people is that they began to think that they were going to go to heaven because of their relationship to Abraham. It's interesting that here in Romans 9 we see this emphasized. Rom 9:8, "That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants." Here I pointed out that this is not talking about regeneration but this is talking about the children of the promise which goes through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and then the twelve sons. But it's against this background of thinking that relationship to Abraham is everything so we'll see in Matthew that when John the Baptist began his ministry and began to preach to repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, we're told that all Judea and all of Galilee came out to hear him and all were being baptized.

Among them were Pharisees who were coming to evaluate his ministry which was a normal responsibility and part of their leadership role to identify or investigate anybody who had any Messianic claims. Now John wasn't claiming to be the Messiah but he was functioning as the forerunner of the Messiah. So when the Pharisees came out he called them a "brood of vipers." He asked them why they came out to flee from the wrath of God. He followed that up by telling them in Matthew 3:9 "and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham," See John is particularly pointing out this flaw in their thinking that physical descent from Abraham is all you needed to get to heaven. Same thing that Paul is pointing out here in Romans 9:6-9.

The promise when he's talking about the children of the promise is specifically identified in Romans 9:9, " For this is the word of promise: "AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON." It's not at this time I will come and you'll believe on me and have eternal life. It's not an eternal life issue. It's a destiny issue: God's plan and purpose for ethnic Israel. This is one of the most important things that we see coming out of this.

Then as we get on into the next section in Romans 10-12 it introduces this concept of election. That God makes a choice. We'll get into that more when we get into Romans 11. It says that God chooses who will be saved and who will not be saved. Suddenly everyone sort of tenses up a little bit. I didn't say on what basis He made the choice. The Scripture isn't real clear on what basis He made the choice except in one or two places like in 1 Peter 1:2 which says that we are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God." Foreknowledge is a subset of God's omniscience. In God's omniscience He knows everything that could happen, that might have happened, that should have happened, the woulda, coulda, shoulda and that will happen. He knows all the options, all the alternatives. He knows what will happen and on the basis of His foreknowledge He makes choices.

Now we're not exactly told all the details that go into that but you have basically two options. Either God makes choices apart from His knowledge which means He's just making a random, haphazard choices willy-nilly or He's making choices on the basis of His knowledge and reason in terms of what is best for His over-all plan in which case He is taking into account His knowledge. In Calvinism where you have unconditional election what they are saying is that God's choice is not based on any conditions.

Well, the Bible may not state there are conditions but the lack of evidence does not mean there are no conditions. The lack of stated conditions does not mean there aren't any conditions and God doesn't take any conditions into account. God takes into account our volition. Now the conditions that God takes into account when He makes a decision n can be meritorious or they can be non-meritorious. Meritorious means that somehow man would do something in order to gain God's favor. Non-meritorious means there's nothing that man can do to gain God's favor but in the act of faith or trust, man is trusting in someone else who has done something to gain God's favor. That's the gospel that we trust in Jesus Christ. He's the One who did the work. He's the One who gained God's favor.

Faith is non-meritorious the way we look at it. Now in Calvinism they're consistent in their system. They say faith is meritorious and God gives the elect person faith. This is an assault on personal accountability and personal volition. We get into this as we get into the three examples that are given. One has to do with the statement "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated." This is not talking about choice for personal, individual justification. It's talking about a national destiny. God has the right and the authority as Sovereign of the Universe to select who He will in terms of roles and responsibilities in His plan for the nations. So Jacob is loved. It's not that Esau is personally despised even back in the original Genesis account in Genesis 25 the focus is on the nation. The two infants struggling in the womb are representative of the nations that will come from them. So the focus here is on national destiny.

Later there's an example given from Moses. It's not a context of justification. It's a context of blessing people. What we learn here is a principle that goes through Romans 10 and that is a basic understanding of three different types of salvation. The Bible talks about three stages. Sometimes it's called three tenses or phases of salvation: Phase 1 is justification; Phase 2 is sanctification, Phase 3 is glorification. Phase 1 takes place in an instant of time when a person trusts in Christ and at that instant you are saved from the penalty of sin, eternal condemnation. That is a one-time event.

Sanctification is an on-going process. We are "saved" every day as we learn the Word and apply it. This is spiritual life where we are saved from the power of sin. Phase 3 is our ultimate completion of the salvation process where we are saved from the presence of sin when we're glorified and face-to-face with the Lord. So Paul talks in Romans 5:11 about having been justified, we will in the future we saved. In Romans salvation is a term that is not synonymous with justification. So it's very important to understand that this event in Moses' life was taking place in relationship to the spiritual life of the nation, Israel.

Then we have another example given in verse 17 of Pharaoh. This always confuses people—God hardening Pharaoh's heart—and again that wasn't in terms of a justification decision but in terms of a pre-determined state that the Pharaoh was in. He had already chosen to be hostile to the Israelites and he chooses to resist God's demand to free them. So God is now going to harden his heart, which doesn't mean to take over his volition. What it means is that God is going to intensify or strengthen his volition so he is going to fulfill what he wants to fulfill. He's going to carry it out. He's going to be able to be stubborn long enough so that God could teach a few lessons through Pharaoh's disobedience to God.

Another example that comes up as we go through the passage is in verse 20 where it brings up an illustration in Jeremiah in terms of the potter and the clay. This is from Jeremiah 18. Again, we went back and looked at the context in Jeremiah 18 and saw that was focused on national destiny, not individual justification. It didn't have to do with God forming some to go to heaven and others to have a destiny in the Lake of Fire but that God was forming certain nations to accomplish certain purposes and that he was raising up nations and he also brought nations down according to his own purposes and his own timetable.

Paul applies that to the Jews and the Gentiles starting in about Romans 10:22 to 24. This focuses on the national destinies that God has for the different nations. And then Paul brings in the value of the Gentiles, starting in verse 25 in relation to the quotes he brings in from Hosea because he is showing an application. This isn't an interpretation of the original Hosea passage but it's an application showing how God is going to extend His grace beyond Israel and He's going to bring some salvation to the Gentiles, as well. Then we come to closing statements in verses 27 and following.

We have a quote in verse 17 from Isaiah 10: 22-23 where Isaiah prophesies that the remnant will be saved. Again it's emphasizing that there's a subset of Israel that is going to be rightly related to God spiritually and they will find their ultimate deliverance. Again, the word saved there doesn't mean justified. It means reaching their ultimate deliverance. But you don't get to Phase 3 without Phase 1 and Phase 2 so that's included but the meaning isn't limited to justification.

Then we come to verse 30 where the emphasis is on Christ. The last quote form the Old Testament is imagery taken from Isaiah 8:14 and from 28:16, "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone {for} the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes {in it} will not be disturbed [put to shame]." He will not find himself humiliated.

So this brings us then to the tenth chapter. He's developed now the foundation for God's plan for Israel that Israel has not pursued righteousness on the basis of faith. That was 9:30-33, Romans 9:30, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at {that} law?  Why? Because {they did} not {pursue it} by faith, but as though {it were} by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

This is all going to come out again when we get into Romans 10:3. Israel as a nation does not mean every Jew but their corporate national identity was that they were ignorant of God's righteousness and sought to establish their own righteousness. It was on the basis of works, not on the basis of grace. Now when we get into Romans 11 Paul's going to lay down a principle in verse 6 related to the remnant that they are saved according to the election of grace. So it's important to nail down that election in chapter 9 because we're going to hit it again in chapter 11, verse 5. Then Paul explains it by saying it's an election of grace and not of works. The Jews have been trying to do it on the basis of a righteousness of works (9:30, 31; 10:3). These verses are like threads that are picked up again and then woven back in to his development in Rom 11:6 "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Work and grace are mutually exclusive.

So some things we need emphasized here is that what God promises, God fulfills. God will not go back on his promises to Israel and the application is that He won't go back on His promises to you and to me. God is just as faithful to His promises to us and He will fulfill them. God promised Israel a worldwide scattering in the fifth cycle of discipline predicting that they would be disobedient and go into idolatry and God would have to discipline them by removing them from the land. This is seen in Leviticus 26:27-39 and in Deuteronomy 29.

Third, we saw that if God promised that if Israel turned to Him then He would restore them to the land. They would have to reverse course, turning back to Him. This is seen in Leviticus 26:40-42. Fourth, we saw that God will bring them back and they will corporately recognize Jesus as Messiah and welcome Him in Matthew 23:39. They will call upon the name of the Lord to deliver them and this takes place at the end of the Tribulation period or at the end of Daniel's seventieth week when the remnant has fled to Bozrah.

I pointed this out that at the end of the Tribulation the antichrist is going to seek to destroy every last Jew. This is part of Satan's ploy. Satan is defeated at the Cross but he is not going to just give up and say, "Okay, God, you won." What Satan wants to do is prove that God can't really be God either. He wants to prove God can't control all these creatures who have their own volition. Satan certainly can't. In fact, the chaos of Satan's world system is great testimony that Satan really can't pull off this God-thing he's trying to pull off. But he wants to show that God really can't do it either. The way he's going to prove that is by destroying every last Jew before God can fulfill the covenants and the promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to David and the Jewish people in regard to the land and the New Covenant. And if he can destroy all the Jewish people before Jesus comes back, before they turn to God, then Satan thinks he can checkmate God in the great chess game of human history.

He's trying to destroy all the Jewish people through the antichrist. The Jewish people follow the admonition of the Lord and when they see the abomination of desolation take place and when they see all these signs taking place they're going to flee to the wilderness. They flee south through the Judean wilderness and then they head east across the area south of the Dead Sea into those horrible badlands of what is the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the area of Bozrah and Petra where they are protected geographically to some degree by the horrible terrain.

It's at that point as the armies of the antichrist seek to destroy them that they corporately turn as a nation, as an ethnic entity, as a corporate entity that they turn to the Lord and they call upon Him to deliver them. He comes down and destroys the armies of the antichrist and then leads them in a victory march back up through the Judean wilderness to Jerusalem to destroy what remains of the armies of the antichrist and to destroy the antichrist and the False Prophet and to free those who are captive in Jerusalem.

So this is that "turning to the Lord" when they recognize who He is and they realize forgiveness for the national, corporate sin for their rejection of Christ as seen in Matthew 12. They are already justified individually. This is a corporate "turning to Jesus". Now all of this is sort of a background and overview here. In the heart of Romans 10 are these three quotations from Deuteronomy 30. Last time I said it was so important to realize who was being addressed in any passage of scripture. The focus is either going to be on telling people on how we are to get to heaven or it's going to tell us how to live as a believer or it's going to illustrate how to live as a believer. It's either about justification or the spiritual life. Everything in the Bible is talking about one of those two things.

So in Deuteronomy 30 Moses is talking to a generation of believers who are going to go into the land victoriously but he's warning them because they're still not quite where they should be spiritually. They've been influenced negatively by their parents' generation but not to the extent of that generation. So he warns them not to go seeking somewhere else for the Word of God. Moses is telling them that it is near them. This is summarized in Deuteronomy 30:14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it."

Romans 10:9 and 10 says that "if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." See mouth and heart comes out of this.

It's important at times to structure the text. There are a lot of different ways in which writers structure what they're saying, especially in different forms of poetry and narrative. The structure here is what is called a chiasm where you have two lines that intersect in the form of an X or the Greek letter chi. In English that word is pronounced "ki" but in Greek it was pronounced "key". We know that in a number of different ways. If you were a scribe in a monastery and you were writing down what the head monk was reciting a lot of time your ear can't distinguish between distinct vowels. If you hear a vowel one way you might confuse it with another vowel so we can look at the kinds of transcription errors that were made and we can figure out how vowels were confused because they sounded similar. A whole science has grown up around that in the last twenty to thirty years. This gives us a pretty good idea, especially when it seems to fit the pronunciation of modern Greek. The Greek that most students learn and how to pronounce the letters in a Greek first year textbook was developed by a scholar at the time of the early Reformation named Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus never, ever, ever heard anybody speak Greek. He invented his pronunciation scheme out of thin air. It's pure imagination. In recent years there's been more a move to impact our pronunciation with Greek with modern pronunciation.

Anyway, what we see here is a parallelism where the first line and the last line are reiterating the same thought. They're indicated as A and A prime. The middle two lines also mirror the same thought; they're synonymous. This is really important. I want you to think this through. I misspoke a couple of times earlier when I was teaching this. It always throws people off. If you take this one line by itself, "with the heart one believes unto righteousness" it sounds like that could be justification but when you put it into context as a synonymous parallel to this line we get a different idea. The saved is not talking about Phase 1 salvation. It's talking about Phase 2 salvation. If this is Phase 2 salvation because it's parallel to believing unto righteousness this righteousness isn't justification righteousness but it's the experiential righteousness we get as a result of spiritual growth.

Now that's a distinction that's critical for us to understand. To get to heaven we just have to have justification righteousness. To get a pat on the back and a well done thou good and faithful servant and to have any measure of rewards and to have responsibility to rule and to reign with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom, we have to have experiential righteousness. That's what's produced by the Filling of the Spirit, and walking by the Spirit, and that is what has eternal value in terms of gold, silver, and precious stones in the imagery of the Judgment Seat of Christ in 1 Corinthians 3. So this means that this whole passage is talking about Phase 2. That makes so much sense in the whole passage.

Back in Romans 9 Paul reminds them what God said to Moses, that He would have mercy on whomever He had mercy and compassion on whomever he had compassion. The context of that quote by God to Moses is found back in Exodus 33:19 and it was in the context of blessing them or not blessing them after they had failed. They were already justified. This was a spiritual life issue so spiritual life is the theme that runs all through this section of Romans and the corporate deliverance of Israel. This is so important to understand that this is corporate Israel.

So the parallel between "you will be saved" and "unto righteousness" keeps us on track that this is a Phase 2 or Phase 3 issue. It also applies to Gentiles. It applies to you because God's grace to the Jew is the same as God's grace to the Gentile and he is the same Lord who richly provides for all of us. Just as God will deliver Israel from the wrath to come so He will deliver Gentiles from present day wrath. This is the whole focus of Romans 1:19 that God's wrath is being revealed to those who have rejected His general revelation. The way to be delivered from His wrath which is His judgment in time is to call on Him to deliver us. This is from Joel 2:32.

It's applied directly to Israel. Their deliverance will come at the end of the Tribulation period. Then Paul also is going to talk about a passage from Isaiah. He is going to quote here from Isaiah 25: 8 and 9 and bring in this issue of the order of the message. "How shall they call on whom they have not believed? How shall they believe on Him of who they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher?' There's an order there. This is listed in reverse order. It's saying the Jews will need to eventually call upon Him. What do they have to call on Jesus? First of all they have to believe on Him. That's a prior act. So before they reach the point of calling on him they have to believe. Well, how can they get to the point of belief? Well someone has to give them something to believe.

Dwight Pentecost who has been a professor at Dallas Seminary for probably before I was born is now 94. He still teaches one course a semester. He now has throat cancer so that slowed him down. He was teaching two a semester and now he's down to one. Dr. P as we called him used to end his classes frequently by giving a challenge to the men on Fridays as they were going to go on some kind of ministry on the weekend. He would always say, "Give them something to believe." I've modified that. I say, "Give them the gospel to believe." "Give them the Bible to believe." Something just sounded too generic.

But who's going to give them something to believe? A preacher. The word for preacher means someone who is announcing or proclaiming something. It's not talking about a rhetorical style that follows three points and a poem. It's talking about a proclamation of the truth. Then where does the preacher come from? He is sent. God commissions preachers. In this age He commissions pastor-teachers. They proclaim the truth and they're commissioned via their spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. Just because they have a gift doesn't mean they are qualified to be a pastor. They need to be trained. They need to be educated. They need to learn how to think. They need to learn how to read. They can't just go out and repeat what someone else has said. Everyone does that at some early stage when they're an infant believer but as they grow and mature you have your own personality, your own style. Peter wasn't going around trying to write like Paul because he wasn't Paul. He was Peter. James didn't write like anyone else. John certainly didn't. This idea that everyone needs to sound like someone who's a great effective teacher is just garbage. A person should be themselves.

God used each writer of Scripture within their own personality. He didn't say, "Hmm, you need to be a little bit more like Moses. Or you need to be more of a weeper like Jeremiah." God didn't do that. So in the church age He gives the gift of pastor-teacher and then you have to go through the process of learning the message so you can proclaim it. So the preacher is sent. He makes a proclamation. People then hear the proclamation. Some believe. Those who believe then eventually in their spiritual life they call on the name of the Lord to deliver them from wrath. Paul concludes in Romans 10:18, "But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD." This is that confession that's made with the mouth.

So he says in Romans 10:19 "But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, "I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU." Notice how he's bringing the Gentiles into the scenario that God has a plan for the Gentiles and He's going to use them to provoke the Jewish people who are negative to anger and to jealousy. Then in Rom 10:20 Paul quotes, "And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME." (Isaiah 65:1) That's God's grace. God is making His truth known even to those who claim not to want it.

Remember the apostle Paul? He claimed not to want it for a long time, up until the time the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus and he went from hostility to acceptance in a heartbeat. I would say in an eye blink but he was blinded by it. Then Rom 10:21 says, "But as for Israel He says, "ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE." That's the grace of God.

It extends itself even in witnessing. There are too many Christians who are too impatient. We give someone the gospel once and they don't respond and by giving them the gospel once we've just walked by them and said to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved and we just keep right on going. We just think that if we just throw it out at them that they'll somehow catch it. That's not right. God woos people over hundreds of years. With individuals it sometimes has to be ten, twenty, thirty, forty years before some people finally accept the gospel. So God continues to extend His grace.

Now remember there's no chapter division, no verse division so we go right into the next chapter here. This leads immediately to the next verse where Paul says in Rom 11:1" I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!" This verse is expressing a conclusion. In spite of everything Paul had just covered he reaches a conclusion. The way Paul structures this sentence the answer would be no. But to make sure we get the point Paul gives an extremely strong "no". He's saying that would be impossible. God has not cast away His people.

This is part of going back to the basic theme verse for Romans where Paul says he isn't ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it's the power of God unto salvation. Notice that's not just justification. It's all three phases. It's for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. So from the very beginning Paul is emphasizing that this message is a message for the Jewish people.

I want you to notice something else there. He's talking about the gospel. Does the word "gospel" here mean simply a message of how to get justified? No. He's talking about how to get saved which we see now is more than how to be justified. Here's an example in Scripture where gospel means more than just the message of what we need to believe in order to make sure we go to heaven. It's the full-orbed gospel. It's the whole Christian life. It's not only what Christ did to justify us but what that means in terms of our life after justification on into eternity. So it's a broad use of the term "gospel", not a narrow use.

Paul does that quite a bit. In Romans 1:17 he said, " For in it {the} righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS {man} SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Paul is relating Israel to this theme of righteousness all the way through. He mentions and talks about Israel in the first part where he relates Israel to the righteousness of God in justification. In the middle part of the book he's dealing with spiritual life and he also talks about Israel and the Jews and he relates that to the righteousness of God in sanctification as he contrasts Law versus grace—law in Romans 7 and grace and the Holy Spirit in Romans 8. In Romans 8: 18-39 Paul relates Israel to the righteousness of God in glorification which sets up the section on Israel in Romans 9-11 where he relates Israel to the vindication of the righteousness of God. At the end he relates Israel to the righteousness of God in his practical application.

So in Romans 11:1 he says, "I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be!" "I say" is the Greek word lego. The word "then" [oun] here is usually translated "therefore." Whenever we see therefore we need to see what's it's there for. It's a conclusion. He's going to say that therefore in light of everything said in Romans 9 and 10 that God has not permanently cast away His people.

Then he's going to use himself as an illustration. He says that if God were permanently casting away His people then he, Paul, wouldn't be saved. Since he's a Jew it shows that God has not permanently cast away his people. "For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin."

So a couple of observations here. First of all that conclusion in verse one draws an inference from Romans 10: 18, "But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD." You ought to circle "But I say". Those of you taking the Bible Study Methods course know this is an observation. Romans 10:18 and 19 start with the same phrase, "But I say". Romans 10:19, "But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they?" You have the words "therefore I say" in Romans 11:1 so that fits together. In each of these statements it refers to corporate, ethnic Israel. We're not talking about the individual justification of Jews anywhere in this section. We're talking about the corporate deliverance of Israel in relationship to God's plan as outlined in the covenants, as seen in the ministry of Jesus as the Messiah. So Romans 10:18 and 19 lead into that.

Then the second observation we have here is that the references in Romans 11:1 to "his people" and then in 11:2 "his people whom He foreknew" indicates a corporate view again. We're not viewing these Jews as individual Jews getting saved but as God's plan for the nation.

Third, we have Paul's use of an example from 1 Kings when we get down to about the third verse where he brings in Elijah. So in verse 1 he rejects the idea that God has permanently rejected His people because the first argument is that he, Paul, is also an Israelite of the seed of Abraham and the tribe of Benjamin. This is similar to what he says in Philippians 3:5 that he was "circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;" Paul does not back away from his ethnic, Jewish background.

Now in verse 2 of Romans 11 he states it positively and adds a new thought "whom He foreknew". Now we're going to get into issues related to the doctrine of election so we'll wait and come back to that because in verse 5 he'll talk about the election of grace and we want to tie these things together. That's not something you hit real fast so we'll break here and come back next time.