Pauls Footsteps #370

“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters,[a] so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27 NLT 

Footsteps #369. Christians have been discussing and debating this passage for centuries now. A few points, however, are clear. For starters, the whole tenor here is that of God reaching out to the Jews. What Paul is saying comes in reply to the question raised at the beginning of the chapter, “Has God cast away his people?” His answer, of course, is no, and his explanation is (1) that the blindness (Greek porosis, “hardness”) is only “in part,” and (2) that it is only temporary, “until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” 

What does “the fulness of the Gentiles” mean? Many see this phrase as a way of expressing the fulfilment of the gospel commission, in which all the world hears the gospel. “The fullness of the Gentiles” has come in when the gospel has been preached everywhere. The faith of Israel, manifested in Christ, is universalized. The gospel has been preached to all the world. The coming of Jesus is near. At this point, then, many Jews start coming to Jesus. A Godly remnant of Israel did comprise the early church. This is the root Paul talk’s about into which the gentiles have been grafted. 

Another difficult point is the meaning of “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26). This must not be construed to mean that every Jew will by some divine decree have salvation in the end time. Nowhere do the Scriptures preach universalism, either for the entire human race or for a particular segment. Paul was hoping to save “some of them” (Rom.11:14). Some accepted the Messiah, and some rejected Him, as it is with all people groups.  There are many Messianic Jews today and the closer to the end we draw the more will be gathered in. Just as I believe Dan.11 predicts many Muslims will also believe. 

Paul’s love for his own people is clearly apparent in Romans 11:25-27. How hard it must have been for him to have some of his countrymen fight against him and against the truth of the gospel. And yet, amid it all, he still believed that many would see Jesus as the Messiah. Through Romans 11:28-36, although a contrast is made between Jews and other nations (Gentiles), one point stands clear: God’s mercy and love and grace are poured out upon sinners. From even before the foundation of the world God’s plan was to save humanity and to use other human beings, nations even, as instruments in His hands to fulfill His divine will.

  • Peter Lindsay
    Posted at 07:57h, 04 January Reply

    Hi Team, could you please put me on the Revelation SMS list again. I’d like a refresher with your update.

    • Ross Chadwick
      Posted at 15:34h, 29 January Reply

      Hi, Peter, I have just noticed your request I apologise for this late response. You will be added to the list today. I will also send you the catch-up links. Regards The Daily Connect team.

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