God s Mystery And Mercy Romans 11:25-32

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1 Introduction In the last three chapters Paul speaks of Israel s spiritual past (chapter 9); present (chapter 10); and spiritual future (chapter 11). Paul asks and answers the question; has God permanently cast aside His people, or is there a future for Israel? Paul s repeated answer; no God has not permanently cast aside Israel Yes God s plan for the Jewish people continue. He offers himself as proof (v.1). He offers Israel s history as proof; and reminds the Roman readers of the remnant of Jewish believers in every generation (vv.2-10); and then Paul offers dispensational proof (vv.11-24); a parable of an olive tree; a salvation tree; where branches are severed; and branches are connected; that the fall of Israel has in part meant the rise of the Gentiles; and that fall has brought blessing to the world; and a future and greater blessing will be had with Israel s restoration. Paul offers scriptural proof; in chapters 9-11 Paul repeatedly cites the Old Testament Scriptures to confirm and reinforce his arguments; but in this section (vv.25-36); Paul will turn to Isaiah 59:20-21; Isaiah 27:9; and Psalms 14:7 to show that the OT promised a Messiah; a Deliverer who would cleanse and restore Israel. Paul speaks of a mystery; Israel s blindness; and introduces us to a phrase the fullness of the Gentiles (v.25). Paul uses the word mystery to mean a truth hidden by God in times past but now revealed and understand in the present time. Revealed by God and meant to be understood by God s people. The fullness of the Gentiles is an expression which refers to the number of Gentiles that will be saved during this Church Age. I think the expression incorporates the idea of the number of the Gentiles saved; but it also incorporates the concept of the completion of the Body of Christ; the body of Christ or the Church of Jesus Christ that consists of both saved Jews and Gentiles; that begins at Pentecost and continues until the Rapture of the Church. Paul has alluded to the details of this time period; it happens in part to make Israel jealous and to provoke a desire to return to the Lord and the favor of the Lord in Christ Jesus (vv.11-12); and that Paul himself as been appointed by God for this very task of preaching the Gospel (vv.13-15). The Mystery Revealed (vv.25-26) Romans 11:25 (NKJV) 25For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. We could easily spend all our time on this one verse. But in the interest of brevity and clarity lets consider at least a few things. Paul s concern about spiritual and prophetic ignorance on the part of the Roman reader. Paul speaks of ignorance and mystery. 1

2 Remember our previous definition of mystery. A hidden truth not revealed in the Old Testament; but declared and explained in the New Testament. There are twelve such mysteries spoken of the New Testament; (1) The Mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven; (2) The Mystery of the Church as the Body of Christ; (3) The Mystery of the Church as the Bride of Christ; (4) The Mystery of the indwelling Christ; (5) The Mystery of the incarnate Christ; (6) The Mystery of godliness; (7) The Mystery of Iniquity; (8) The Mystery of Israel s Present Blindness (Rom. 11:25); (9) The Mystery of the seven stars (Rev.1:20); (10) The Mystery of Babylon the Harlot; and what the Bible calls (11) The Mystery of God (v.rev. 10:7; 11:15-19); (12) The Mystery of the Rapture. In 1 Cor. 4:1 Paul speaks of being stewards of the mysteries of God. Paul uses the term ignorant in at least six ways; ignorant of the the Messianic prophecies (Acts 3:17-18); ignorant of God s purpose in changing circumstances (Rom.1:13); ignorant about believers who have died (1 Thess. 4:13-18); ignorant about spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1); ignorant about sufferings in the life of the believer (2 Cor. 1:8-9). Peter speaks of the those who are ignorant about the delay in the Second Coming of Jesus (2 Peter 3:8-9). Paul moves from his concern about spiritual ignorance to the character of mystery and then the condition of Israel: Blindness in part ; that simple phrase tells us the blindness is partial (in part); present (until the fullness of the Gentiles) and prophetic (that it would occur until the fullness of the Gentiles come in ). What is the meaning of the term the fullness of the Gentiles? Some Bible teachers take it to mean the number of the Gentiles that will be saved during the Church Age. That there is a number that God has in mind and when that number is complete the Lord will rapture His Church. Others suggest that the fullness of the Gentiles may refer to the unfolding plan of God with the nations of the earth as it relates to Israel. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; Paul has gone to great lengths to argue that Israel s rejection is not total (vv.1-25); and not permanent (vv.26-32). Paul quotes Isaiah 59:20. The Bible speaks of the Israel of God and the God of Israel. The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob Says the Lord. 2

3 When Paul says; And so all Israel will be saved does he mean every last Jew? I don t think so. I think Paul is making reference to the nation as a whole at the end of the age. That a day is coming a time of sorrow and tribulation; the time spoken of by Jeremiah (30:7) the time of Jacob s sorrow or Jacob s trouble. At the end of that period a deliverer will come ; and the believing remnant will enter into His Kingdom. The nation Israel will be saved that is a redeemed and regenerate nation. In Isaiah 59:20-21; And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from the transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever. Zechariah 12:10: And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. The Restoration And Mercy (vv.27-32) 27For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. Paul quotes Jeremiah 31: What is that covenant? It s the New Covenant. The Covenant applies to Israel when they turn from their sins and trust Jesus Christ as their Lord Savior. Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (32) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. The Promise: All Israel The Person: the Deliverer 3

4 The Purpose: and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Augustus Montague Toplady A debtor to mercy alone Of covenant mercy I sing; Nor fear with Thy righteousness on, My person and offering to bring; The terrors of law and of God With me can have nothing to do; My Savior s obedience and blood Hide all my transgressions from view. 28Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. When Paul wrote these words many Jewish people seemed like enemies; but Paul reminds himself and his readers that the Jewish people are beloved in God s sight because of the covenants that the living Lord made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. Enemies for your sake Election beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Times change, people change, but God s promises and covenants do not change. 30For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, Paul reminds the Gentile reader (you were once disobedient to God) of their time of darkness and unbelief. There was a time when the Gentiles for the most part rejected God. But now they were being saved by faith....yet have now obtained mercy in part through their disobedience (the disobedience of the Jews). 4

5 31even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. Paul admits that today most Jews remain in unbelief; but will one day receive mercy. Paul reminds the Gentiles they have access to the mercy of God And that one day God s mercy will be accepted by the Jews 32For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. God has committed both Jews and Gentiles to unbelief and sin that He might be able to save both through grace. Paul wants the reader to know that we can access God s mercy Paul wants the reader to know that mercy is available to all in spite of unbelief. W. H. Griffith Thomas: The word all in this verse refers to Jew and Gentile viewed in the mass, and not individually. It is necessary to keep in mind the fact that all in some passages means all without exception, and in others all without distinction. It has the latter meaning here (see St. Paul s Epistle To The Romans p. 305). Isaiah 45:22 Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Conclusion Fredrick the Great once asked his royal Chaplain to give him in a single sentence the strongest evidence for the Christian faith. The Chaplain replied; The Jew, Sir. Paul argues that even the blindness and fall of the Jewish people has in part the blessing of mercy for the Gentiles. Paul argues that the salvation of the Gentiles has as part of God s plan a provoking or stirring of the Jews to embrace Jesus as their Messiah. Paul points to a future salvation of the Jews that will issue in a time of unprecedented blessing for the nations. This glorious future will come by God s mercy. 5

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