Romans Chapter Eleven
Hereupon the question is immediately raised, has God then rejected His people? To this chapter 11 is the answer. The apostle gives three proofs that it is by no means the case. Firstly, he is himself an Israelite; there is a remnant whom God has reserved, as in the days of Elias-a proof of the constant favour of the Lord, of the interest He takes in His people, even when they are unfaithful; so that when the prophet, the most faithful and energetic among them, knew not where to find one who was true to God besides himself, God had His eyes upon the remnant who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Secondly, the call of the Gentiles, and their substitution for Israel, was not the definitive rejection of the latter in the counsels of God; for God had done it to provoke Israel to jealousy. It was not, then, for their rejection. Thirdly, the Lord would come forth out of Sion. and turn away the iniquities of Jacob.
That which the apostle, or rather which the Holy Ghost, says on this point requires to be looked at in more detail.
The apostle, in quoting the case of Elias, shews that when Israel was in such a state that even Elias pleaded against them, yet God had not rejected them, He had reserved for Himself seven thousand men. This was the election of sovereign grace. It was the same thing now. But it was by grace, and not by works. The election then, has obtained the blessing, and the rest was blinded. Even as it was written, "God hath given them the spirit of slumber," etc.
Had they then stumbled that they should fall? No! But through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy-a second proof that it was not for their rejection. But if their diminishing and fall was a blessing to the Gentiles, what should not the fruit be of their restoration? If the first-fruits are holy, so is the lump; if the root, the tree also. Now, as to the continued chain of those who enjoy the promises in this world, Abraham was the root, and not the Gentiles; Israel, the natural stock and branches. And here is that which happened in the good olive-tree of promise in this world, of which Abraham was the root (God Himself the source of leaf and fruit), and Israel the stem and the tree. There had been some bad branches, and they had been cut off; and others from the Gentiles grafted in, in their place, who thus enjoyed the richness natural to the tree of promise. But it was on the principle of faith that they, being of the wild olive-tree, had been grafted in. Many of the Israelite branches, the natural heirs of the promises, had been cut off because of their unbelief; for when the fulfilment of the promises was offered them, they rejected it. They rested on their own righteousness, and despised the goodness of God. Thus the Gentiles, made partakers of the promises, stood on the principle of faith. But if they abandoned this principle, they should lose their place in the tree of promise, even as the unbelieving Jews had lost theirs. Goodness was to be their portion in this dispensation of God's government, with regard to those who had part in the enjoyment of His promises, if they continued in this goodness; if not, cutting off. This had happened to the Jews; it should be the same with the Gentiles if they did not continue in that goodness. Such is the government of God, with regard to that which stood as His tree on the earth. But there was a positive counsel of God accomplished in that which took place, namely, the partial blinding of Israel (for they were not rejected) until all the Gentiles who were to have part in the blessing of these days should have come in. After this Israel should be saved as a whole; it should not be individuals spared and added to the assembly, in which Israel had no longer any place as a nation; they should be saved as a whole, as Israel. Christ shall come forth from Sion as the seat of His power, and shall turn away iniquity from Jacob, God pardoning them all transgressions.
This is the third proof that Israel was not rejected. For while enemies, as concerning the gospel at the present time, they are still beloved for the fathers' sakes. For that which God has once chosen and called He never casts off. He does not repent of His counsels, nor of the call which gives them effect. But if the counsel of God remains unchangeable, the way in which it is accomplished brings out the marvellous wisdom of God. The Gentiles had long continued in the disobedience of unbelief. God comes in in grace. The Jews opposed themselves to the actings of grace. They lose all right to the promises through this unbelief, so that they must receive the effect of the promise on the footing of pure mercy and the sovereign grace of God,  in the same way as the poor Gentile. For He had shut them all up in unbelief, that it might be pure mercy to all. Therefore it is that the apostle exclaims, O depth of wisdom and knowledge! The promises are fulfilled, and the pretension to human righteousness annihilated; the Jews who have lost everything receive all on the true ground of the goodness of God. Their apparent loss of all is but the means of their receiving all from sovereign grace, instead of having it by virtue of human righteousness, or an unforfeited promise. All is grace: yet God is ever faithful, and that in spite of man's unfaithfulness. Man is blessed; the Jew receives the effect of the promise; but both the one and the other have to attribute it to the pure mercy of God. There is nothing about the assembly here: it is the tree of promise, and those who in virtue of their position have part successively in the enjoyment of the promises of earth. The unbelieving Jews were never cut off from the church, they were never in it. They had been in the position of natural heirs of the right to the promises. The assembly is not the Jews' own olive-tree according to nature, so that they should be grafted into it again. Nothing can be plainer: the chain of those who had a right to the promises from Abraham was Israel; some of the branches were then cut off. The tree of promise remains on the earth: the Gentiles are grafted into it in place of the Jews, they also become unfaithful (that is to say, the case is supposed), and they would in their turn be cut off, and the Jews be reinstated in the old olive-tree, according to the promises and in order to enjoy them; but it is in pure mercy. It is clearly not by the gospel they get the blessing; for, as touching the gospel, they are enemies for the Gentiles' sake; as touching election, beloved for the fathers' sake.
Remark further here an important principle: the enjoyment of privileges by position makes us responsible for them, without saying the individual was born again. The Jewish branch was in the tree of promise and broken off: so the Gentiles. There was nothing vital or real; but they were in the place of blessing, "partakers of the root and fatness of the olive tree," by being grafted in.
These communications of the mind of God end this portion of the book, namely, that in which the apostle reconciles sovereign grace shewn to sinners (putting all on a level in the common ruin of sin) with the especial privileges of the people of Israel, founded on the faithfulness of God. They had lost everything as to right. God would fulfil His promises in grace and by mercy.
 Verse 31 should be translated, "Even so these [the Jews] have now been unbelieving with regard to your mercy, in order that they should receive mercy" (or that they should be the objects of mercy)-"your mercy," that is to say, the grace in Christ which extended to the Gentiles. Thus the Jews were the objects of mercy, having forfeited all right to enjoy the effect of the promise. God would not fail to fulfil it. He bestows it on them in mercy at the end, when He has brought in the fulness of the Gentiles.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Romans》
The rejection of the Jews is not universal. (1-10) God overruled their unbelief for making the Gentiles partakers of gospel privileges. (11-21) The Gentiles cautioned against pride and unbelief, The Jews shall be called as a nation, and brought into God's visible covenant again. (22-32) A solemn adoring of the wisdom, goodness, and justice of God. (33-36)
Commentary on Romans 11:1-10
(Read Romans 11:1-10)
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, Psalm 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.
Commentary on Romans 11:11-21
(Read Romans 11:11-21)
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.
Commentary on Romans 11:22-32
(Read Romans 11:22-32)
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.
Commentary on Romans 11:33-36
(Read Romans 11:33-36)
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, Ephesians 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.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Romans》
 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
God hath not rejected that part of his people whom he foreknew - Speaking after the manner of men. For, in fact, knowing and foreknowing are the same thing with God, who knows or sees all things at once, from everlasting to everlasting.
Know ye not — That in a parallel case, amidst a general apostasy, when Elijah thought the whole nation was fallen into idolatry, God "knew" there was "a remnant" of true worshippers.
 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
To Baal — Nor to the golden calves.
 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
According to the election of grace — According to that gracious purpose of God, "He that believeth shall be saved."
 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
And if by grace, then it is no more of works — Whether ceremonial or moral.
Else grace is no longer grace — The very nature of grace is lost.
And if it be of works, then it is no more grace: else work is no longer work — But the very nature of it is destroyed. There is something so absolutely inconsistent between the being justified by grace, and the being justified by works, that, if you suppose either, you of necessity exclude the other. For what is given to works is the payment of a debt; whereas grace implies an unmerited favour. So that the same benefit cannot, in the very nature of things, be derived from both.
 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
What then — What is the conclusion from the whole? It is this: that Israel in general hath not obtained justification; but those of them only who believe.
And the rest were blinded — By their own wilful prejudice.
 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
God hath at length withdrawn his Spirit, and so given them up to a spirit of slumber; which is fulfilled unto this day. Isaiah 29:10
 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
And David saith — In that prophetic imprecation, which is applicable to them, as well as to Judas.
A recompence — Of their preceding wickedness. So sin is punished by sin; and thus the gospel, which should have fed and strengthened their souls, is become a means of destroying them. Psalms 69:22,23
 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Have they stumbled so as to fall — Totally and finally? No But by their fall - Or slip: it is a very soft word in the original.
Salvation is come to the gentiles — See an instance of this, Acts 13:46.
To provoke them — The Jews themselves, to jealousy.
 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
The first part of this verse is treated of, Romans 11:13, etc.; the latter, How much more their fulness, (that is, their full conversion,) Romans 11:23, etc. So many prophecies refer to this grand event, that it is surprising any Christian can doubt of it. And these are greatly confirmed by the wonderful preservation of the Jews as a distinct people to this day. When it is accomplished, it will be so strong a demonstration, both of the Old and New Testament revelation, as will doubtless convince many thousand Deists, in countries nominally Christian; of whom there will, of course, be increasing multitudes among merely nominal Christians. And this will be a means of swiftly propagating the gospel among Mahometans and Pagans; who would probably have received it long ago, had they conversed only with real Christians.
 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
I magnify my office — Far from being ashamed of ministering to the gentiles, I glory therein; the rather, as it may be a means of provoking my brethren to jealousy.
 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
My flesh — My kinsmen.
 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Life from the dead — Overflowing life to the world, which was dead.
 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And this will surely come to pass.
For if the first fruits be holy, so is the lump — The consecration of them was esteemed the consecration of all and so the conversion of a few Jews is an earnest of the conversion of all the rest.
And if the root be holy — The patriarchs from whom they spring, surely God will at length make their descendants also holy.
 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Thou — O gentile.
Being a wild olive tree — Had the graft been nobler than the stock, yet its dependance on it for life and nourishment would leave it no room to boast against it. How much less, when, contrary to what is practised among men, the wild olive tree is engrafted on the good!
 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Boast not against the branches — Do not they do this who despise the Jews? or deny their future conversion?
 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
They were broken off for unbelief, and thou standest by faith — Both conditionally, not absolutely: if absolutely, there might have been room to boast.
By faith — The free gift of God, which therefore ought to humble thee.
 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Be not highminded, but fear — We may observe, this fear is not opposed to trust, but to pride and security.
 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Else shalt thou — Also, who now "standest by faith," be both totally and finally cut off.
 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
Contrary to nature — For according to nature, we graft the fruitful branch into the wild stock; but here the wild branch is grafted into the fruitful stock.
 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
St. Paul calls any truth known but to a few, a mystery. Such had been the calling of the gentiles: such was now the conversion of the Jews.
Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits — Puffed up with your present advantages; dreaming that ye are the only church; or that the church of Rome cannot fail.
Hardness in part is happened to Israel, till — Israel therefore is neither totally nor finally rejected.
The fullness of the gentiles be come in — Till there be a vast harvest amongst the heathens.
 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
And so all Israel shall be saved — Being convinced by the coming of the gentiles. But there will be a still larger harvest among the gentiles, when all Israel is come in.
The deliverer shall come — Yea, the deliverer is come; but not the full fruit of his coming. Isaiah 59:20
 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
They are now enemies — To the gospel, to God, and to themselves, which God permits.
For your sake: but as for the election — That part of them who believe, they are beloved.
 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance — God does not repent of his gifts to the Jews, or his calling of the gentiles.
 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
For God hath shut up all together in disobedience — Suffering each in their turn to revolt from him. First, God suffered the gentiles in the early age to revolt, and took the family of Abraham as a peculiar seed to himself. Afterwards he permitted them to fall through unbelief, and took in the believing gentiles. And he did even this to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and so bring them also in the end to faith. This was truly a mystery in the divine conduct, which the apostle adores with such holy astonishment.
 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
O the depth of the riches, and wisdom, and knowledge of God — In the ninth chapter, St. Paul had sailed but in a narrow sea: now he is in the ocean. The depth of the riches is described, Romans 11:35; the depth of wisdom, Romans 11:34; the depth of knowledge, in the latter part of this verse. Wisdom directs all things to the best end; knowledge sees that end.
How unsearchable are his judgments — With regard to unbelievers.
His ways — With regard to believers. His ways are more upon a level; His judgments "a great deep." But even his ways we cannot trace.
 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Who hath known the mind of the Lord — Before or any farther than he has revealed it. Isaiah 40:13.
 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Given to him — Either wisdom or power?
 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Of him — As the Creator.
Through him — As the Preserver.
To him — As the ultimate end, are all things. To him be the glory of his riches, wisdom, knowledge.
Amen — A concluding word, in which the affection of the apostle, when it is come to the height, shuts up all.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Romans》
Chapter 11. The Fulfillment of God's Will
I. Relation under the Salvation
II. The Parable of the Olive Tree
III. All Israel Will Be Saved
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Eleven General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To understand how God has not totally rejected His people of
2) To see the possibility of apostasy for us today
3) To understand Paul's summary conclusion for this section (Chs. 9-11)
Paul concluded chapter ten with a quotation from Isaiah describing the
as "a disobedient and contrary people." Paul begins Israel
chapter eleven by giving several examples to show that despite this
rebellion God has not totally rejected His people (1-6).
What God has done, however, is harden the hearts of the rebellious
Israelites (7-10). But the outcome of this "hardening" led to
salvation coming to the Gentiles, which in turn God was using to
to jealousy in an attempt to win them back to Him. Israel
This is also why Paul magnified his ministry to the Gentiles, hoping
to save some of his countrymen by provoking them to jealousy (11-15).
Paul then directs his attention to the Gentile believers, explaining
that their obedience allowed them to be "grafted" into
replace those removed by their own disobedience. This "grafting,"
however, is permanent only as long as they remain faithful. In
addition, if any Israelites repent of their unbelief, they too can be
grafted back in (16-24).
As Paul draws to a conclusion, he explains that this is how "all
" will be saved. Through a "hardening in part" mercy can now be Israel
shown to the Gentiles, and by showing mercy to the Gentiles mercy will
be available to disobedient
. In this way Paul can say that "God Israel
has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on
all", proving that God is no respecter of persons and makes His plan of
salvation available to all (25-32). Paul ends this section with a
doxology praising the wisdom and knowledge of God (33-36).
I. GOD HAS NOT TOTALLY REJECTED
A. EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THIS (1-6)
1. Paul himself (1)
2. There is a remnant, just as in the days of Elijah (2
3. A remnant according to grace, not works (5b-6)
B. BUT MANY HAVE BEEN HARDENED (7-10)
1. An "elect" have been saved, the rest were hardened (7)
2. This "hardening" foretold by Scriptures (8-10)
II. HARDENING OF
ISRAELTO BENEFIT (11-32) ISRAEL
A. THE JEWISH STUMBLING AND GENTILE CONNECTION (11-16)
1. Salvation to the Gentiles an incentive for the Jews to repent
2. This is one reason why Paul magnified his ministry to the
B. WORDS OF WARNING AGAINST GENTILE CONCEIT (17-24)
1. Gentiles are but "wild branches" grafted in to the root
2. To replace "broken branches", true, but can just as easily be
displaced and replaced (19-24)
C. THE HARDENING AND BLESSING OF
1. Hardening is partial, until the fulness of the Gentiles come
2. In this way all
will be saved (26-27) Israel
3. They may be enemies of the gospel, but they are beloved by God
4. And they may obtain mercy just as the Gentiles did (29-32)
III. PAUL'S HYMN OF PRAISE TO GOD (33-36)
WORDS TO PONDER
Israelwill be saved" - in this manner will true be Israel
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) List the main points of this chapter
- God Has Not Totally Rejected
- Hardening Of
IsraelTo Benefit (11-32) Israel
- Paul's Hymn Of Praise To God (33-36)
2) What example does Paul use to show that God has not totally rejected
the people of
? (1) Israel
3) Why did God harden the rebellious Jews? (11-12)
- So salvation might be presented to the Gentiles
4) Why was salvation allowed to come to the Gentiles? (11-14)
- To provoke the rebellious Jews to jealousy that they might repent
5) What condition is necessary to remain in the "tree of
- Continuing in faith
6) How will "all
" be saved? (25-26) Israel
- By a partial hardening of
, to allow Gentiles to come in and Israel
to provoke rebellious Jews to repent
7) What is Paul's summary on God's dealings with
? (32) Israel
- "God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have
mercy on all"
The Fulfillment of God’s Will
I. Relation under the Salvation
1. Reserve a Remnant
II.The Parable of the Olive Tree
1. Broken Off
2. Grafted In
3. Graft In Again
1. The Full Number of the Gentiles
2. Both Receive Mercy
3. The Riches of the Wisdom
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》