Again I ask: ‘Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?’ – Romans 11:11
Paul’s description of the unbelieving, hardened Israel in the last section prompted him to ask this question. In other words: Was Israel’s fall a permanent ruin? Again, Paul replies: “By no means!”
Paul summarizes his discussion’s main points for the rest of the chapter in verses 11-12, (Shepherd’s Notes):
- Through the trespass of Israel, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
- Through the salvation of the Gentiles, Paul hoped Israel would be provoked to jealousy and turn to Christ for salvation.
- Through the inclusion of Israel, great blessings will come to all. Not only was the rejection of Israel partial; it was also temporary.
The Ideal Church
Paul had a vision of Jew and Gentile uniting under God’s love where faith and obedience to Christ would matter most, not a person’s social status and/or ethnic background.
This ideal church would look to Christ alone for salvation while still respecting the Law.
Paul’s vision has yet to be realized. While many Jews rejected the gospel, and instead relied on their heritage for salvation, many Gentiles began rejecting the Jews. Sadly, persecution has been a recurring practice throughout the centuries.
In verses 17-24, Paul uses the allegory of an olive tree to warn Gentiles from feeling superior because God rejected some Jews.
The olive tree symbolized true Israel: The natural branches broken off symbolized the unbelieving Jews, while the Gentiles were the wild olive branches grafted in.
3 Reasons Why Gentiles Shouldn’t Boast
Shepherd’s Notes observes Paul’s admonition to Gentiles for not boasting over the Jews:
- They should remember that they are wild olive shoots who have been engrafted (vs. 17-18).
- They should understand that the natural branches were broken off because of their unbelief, taking heed not to presume on God (vs. 19-22).
- They should realize that God has the power to graft the natural branches back into the olive tree, provided that they do not persist in their unbelief (vs. 23-24).
Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect and thank God for all His blessings. Thankfully, God has extended His invitation of salvation to everyone.
May we remember God’s words to Abraham: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Jesus—descendant of Israel’s father, Abraham—fulfills this promise. Micah 4:2 and Zechariah 8:22 says that many nations will come to know Him. And when Jesus returns, He will reign in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21).