A Mercy Mystery
Romans 11:25-36

Views of Jews

  • Rejected: despise and oppose them
  • Favored: always side with Israel and see Jewish Christians as superior
  • Merged: produced Messiah, but now just one group among many
  • Destined: still a people with special future purposes in God’s plan

All Israel will be saved

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, 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 so 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.”

When the Gentiles have come in, the Jews will at the same time return from their defection to the obedience of the faith. (John Calvin)

It is of ethnic Israel that Paul is speaking it is the salvation of the mass of Israel that the apostle affirms. (John Murray)

Phases of God’s plan

  • Nations scattered: At Babel God scattered nations and left them to various idols.
  • Israel chosen: God chose one nation and left others in ignorance (but the one chosen nation would eventually bless all nations).
  • Nations included: Christ brings all nations into Israel (but hardens many Israelites).
  • Final fullness: All Israel will be saved, with huge blessings spreading to all nations.


28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; 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.

A mercy mystery

30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31so 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 all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Lavishing mercy

God’s purpose in shutting Jews and Gentiles up together in a situation where their disobedience to his will must be acknowledged and brought to light was that he might lavish his unmerited mercy on Jews and Gentiles together. (F. F. Bruce)

Summary of Romans 9-11

Israel & election (ch. 9)

Has God’s promise failed? (9:6-13)
No, the promise was for the chosen.

Is God unfair? (9:14-18)
No, he is free to show mercy or judge.

Can God blame unbelievers? (9:19-29)
Yes, and his purposes will prevail.

What is the main issue? (9:30-33)
Right with God by trusting, not trying.

Fuller picture (ch. 10-11)

  • Responsible to accept the gospel
  • Responsible to spread the gospel
  • Israel is not totally rejected
  • A Jewish remnant chosen by grace
  • An era of Gentile conversion
  • A vast future conversion of Jews
  • No group can claim superiority: only through humble faith are we saved
  • Adore God’s mystery and majesty

Doxology beyond doctrine

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 him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

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