Romans 11

1 I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God didn’t reject his people, which he foreknew. Or don’t you know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” 4 But how does God answer him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. 7 What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didn’t obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened. 8 According as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.” 9 David says, “Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, a stumbling block, and a retribution to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see. Bow down their back always.” 11 I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? 13 For I speak to you who are Gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them. 15 For if the rejection of them is the reconciling of the world, what would their acceptance be, but life from the dead? 16 If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in amongst them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree; 18 don’t boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” 20 True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don’t be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God didn’t spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 See then the goodness and severity of God. Towards those who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 They also, if they don’t continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I don’t desire you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so that you won’t be wise in your own conceits, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and so all Israel will be saved. Even as it is written, “There will come out of Zion the Deliverer, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 This is my covenant to them, when I will take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they may also obtain mercy. 32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all. 33 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past tracing out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to him, and it will be repaid to him again?” 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–10

There was a chosen remnant of believing Jews, who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept according to the election of grace. If then this election was of grace, it could not be of works, either performed or foreseen. Every truly good disposition in a fallen creature must be the effect, therefore it cannot be the cause, of the grace of God bestowed on him. Salvation from the first to the last must be either of grace or of debt. These things are so directly contrary to each other that they cannot be blended together. God glorifies his grace by changing the hearts and tempers of the rebellious. How then should they wonder and praise him! The Jewish nation were as in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of the Saviour, or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin. David, having by the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ from his own people, the Jews, foretells the dreadful judgments of God upon them for it, Ps 69. This teaches us how to understand other prayers of David against his enemies; they are prophecies of the judgments of God, not expressions of his own anger. Divine curses will work long; and we have our eyes darkened, if we are bowed down in worldly-mindedness.

Verses 11–21

The gospel is the greatest riches of every place where it is. As therefore the righteous rejection of the unbelieving Jews, was the occasion of so large a multitude of the Gentiles being reconciled to God, and at peace with him; the future receiving of the Jews into the church would be such a change, as would resemble a general resurrection of the dead in sin to a life of righteousness. Abraham was as the root of the church. The Jews continued branches of this tree till, as a nation, they rejected the Messiah; after that, their relation to Abraham and to God was, as it were, cut off. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Multitudes were made heirs of Abraham’s faith, holiness and blessedness. It is the natural state of every one of us, to be wild by nature. Conversion is as the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive. The wild olive was often ingrafted into the fruitful one when it began to decay, and this not only brought forth fruit, but caused the decaying olive to revive and flourish. The Gentiles, of free grace, had been grafted in to share advantages. They ought therefore to beware of self-confidence, and every kind of pride or ambition; lest, having only a dead faith, and an empty profession, they should turn from God, and forfeit their privileges. If we stand at all, it is by faith; we are guilty and helpless in ourselves, and are to be humble, watchful, afraid of self-deception, or of being overcome by temptation. Not only are we at first justified by faith, but kept to the end in that justified state by faith only; yet, by a faith which is not alone, but which worketh by love to God and man.

Verses 22–32

Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God’s time is come, that will no longer exist, and God’s love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God’s favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer’s corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.

Verses 33–36

The apostle Paul knew the mysteries of the kingdom of God as well as ever any man; yet he confesses himself at a loss; and despairing to find the bottom, he humbly sits down at the brink, and adores the depth. Those who know most in this imperfect state, feel their own weakness most. There is not only depth in the Divine counsels, but riches; abundance of that which is precious and valuable. The Divine counsels are complete; they have not only depth and height, but breadth and length, Eph 3:18, and that passing knowledge. There is that vast distance and disproportion between God and man, between the Creator and the creature, which for ever shuts us from knowledge of his ways. What man shall teach God how to govern the world? The apostle adores the sovereignty of the Divine counsels. All things in heaven and earth, especially those which relate to our salvation, that belong to our peace, are all of him by way of creation, through him by way of providence, that they may be to him in their end. Of God, as the Spring and Fountain of all; through Christ, to God, as the end. These include all God’s relations to his creatures; if all are of Him, and through Him, all should be to Him, and for Him. Whatever begins, let God’s glory be the end: especially let us adore him when we talk of the Divine counsels and actings. The saints in heaven never dispute, but always praise.

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