On the heels of verse 22, Paul continues to reveal God’s purpose for the salvation of Israel. Through this text, we find that not only is it possible that there will be an ingathering of the Jews in the last days, it is a certainty guaranteed by God Himself. He is able to save all whom He desires, He has appointed the times of redemption, and He will most definitely keep His covenant commitment to Israel.
Do you want to be free indeed? The Jews have just heard Jesus explain who he is and what he has come to do. In this section, we see that the Jews have believed in him; however, this belief was a nominal belief. The Jews did not have genuine saving faith. Jesus teaches the Jews about the truth and obedience in this section, but more importantly he shows them that if they wish to be free from the bondage of sin then they must trust in the Son who can set them free.
At this point in Romans 11, Paul is explaining that God has an ultimate purpose in both the rebellion and restoration of ethnic Israel. In verse 22, he reminds us that we must vigilantly guard ourselves against pride and apathy by both loving and fearing God. If we see unbelief rising in our hearts, we must fear God and fly to Christ. Thus, we are to be people regularly in God’s Word, setting before ourselves the kindness and severity of God so that we are properly informed and motivated as we press on in sanctification.
In Romans 11:17, Paul likens the people of God to a lovingly cultivated olive tree and acknowledges that some of the branches of this tree were broken off. These broken off branches represent the Israelites who rejected Jesus and thereby forfeited their true spiritual heritage. The wild olive branches represent the Gentiles who “became partakers with them of the rich root.” Unfortunately, some Gentiles take this truth as an occasion to exalt themselves over their Jewish brethren, so Paul responds to such pride by reminding us all of the grace by which we stand.
In Romans 11:1-6, we saw that God has sovereignly maintained a believing remnant in Israel even through her worst times of apostasy. In verses 7-10, we saw that Israel’s rejection was not complete, but only partial. In this sermon on verses 11-16, Paul helps us understand that Israel’s rejection is not final, but only temporary. The rejection of God’s own chosen people has resulted in the Gentiles being reconciled to Him. If we receive this incredible blessing through Israel’s rejection, how much greater will the blessings be when Israel is once again accepted in God’s sight on the basis of their faith in Christ!
In this Psalm we see a demonstration of the distinction between notional, and experiential knowledge. While intellectual knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient. We are called to live out the truth in relationship to God, in Christ. To this end, the David shares his personal experience of the goodness of God, and then encourages his readers to partake of God in order to experience his goodness for themselves.
There is something universal in the celebration of mothers, or motherhood. No matter what our life situation may be, or have been, we were all born of a mother. Spiritually, the Bible tells us we are all born of one of two mothers; according to flesh, or according to promise; slave or free. These women are two covenants; Hagar is Mount Sinai, while Sarah is New Jerusalem; works and grace. Understanding this contrasting analogy helps us to think rightly about our relationship to God through Christ.
Scripture teaches that the fallen world in which we live is a dark place. We are so accustomed to this spiritual darkness that we can become blind to the light of truth. The darkness into which we are born deprives us of the ability to see and understand reality. The apostle John wrote his gospel to show us that God has invaded the darkness in the person of Jesus in order to bring us the light of life. Jesus is the life giving light of heaven. In this passage from the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we see Jesus taking advantage of ceremonies associated with the Jewish Feast of Booths to reveal to all who would listen that through him they could come out of the darkness of death and have life eternal in the light of God’s glory.
There is a right way to seek righteousness and a wrong way to seek righteousness. Unfortunately, the largest portion of Israel chose the wrong way. They misconstrued the purpose of the law and sought to justify themselves before God on the basis of works. In response, God hardened their hearts and made them fit for destruction. Yet, the calling of God is irrevocable, and according to His sovereign purpose, those who were chosen by Him did receive the gift of righteousness.