Gentiles, Do Not Be Conceited
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 11:25 So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you
to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening has come to
Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
Paul here continued his effort to thwart Gentile pride against Jews. Gentiles must not lord it over the Jews. God is working out His purposes in both groups.
The blindness that fell on the Jews was not absolute. There were exceptions. God has always reserved a remnant among them for Himself. Rejection of the Gospel by Jews at large had made it easier for the Gospel to be spread among the Gentiles.
Romans 11:26a And in this way all Israel will be saved,…Few Bible verses cause me more consternation than this one. Avoiding fanatic dogmatism, I will state my beliefs, fully aware I am capable of error.
Paul uses the word “Israel” to refer sometimes to the whole nation of Jews, and occasionally to the elect. Thus, his meaning can sometimes be hard to discern.
Those who think it refers to all Jews believe a widespread conversion of Jews will happen at the end of time. I disagree. “All” Israel makes no sense if it refers only to those living on earth at the end of time. There have been multitudes of Jews in all other eras. Also, with regard to Jews as a whole, salvation always involved, involves, and will involve, only a remnant.
Those who hold to a latter day revival among Jews also do violence to the word translated “so” in the King James Bible. That Greek word does not mean “then” or “after that.” Instead it means “thus, in this manner”, as translated in the Holman Bible. The phrase means this is the way God will achieve His purposes with regard to salvation. There is now a partial hardening of the Jews, and Gentiles are being brought in on a large scale, but all the elect in Israel will be saved.
None of God’s elect, the true Israel, will ever be left out. This is the manner in which God will achieve His salvation purposes henceforth.
Romans 11:26b …as it is written: The Liberator will come from Zion; He will
turn away godlessness from Jacob.
This loosely translates Isaiah 59:20. Paul arranged the words in such a way to point our thoughts toward Jesus’ first coming, not His second coming. In His first coming, Jesus came out of Zion. At His second coming, He will come out of Heaven. “Turn away ungodliness” means to pardon sin, a result of the first coming.
Romans 11:27 And this will be My covenant with them when I take away their
This loosely translated Jeremiah 21:33-34. I see this as another reference to things brought about by Christ’s first coming. Jesus came to take away sin, to provide a means whereby the guilt of sin can be taken away. This can’t refer to His second coming, for once He comes again, forgiveness will no longer be possible.
Romans 11:28-29 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your
advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the
patriarchs, since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.
Paul acknowledged many Jews were rejecting the Gospel, but he wanted it known there was not a wholesale rejection by God of the Jews. Many had to be lopped off the olive tree, but if they would respond in faith, they could again share in the promises to Abraham. God’s covenant with the patriarchs would not be revoked. The path remained open to any Jew that desired to travel it by faith.
Romans 11:30 As you once disobeyed God, but now have received mercy
through their disobedience,
Before Jesus came, the Gentiles had remained in obstinate unbelief for centuries. Now, though, unbelief among the Jews was speeding the spread of the Gospel to the nations.
Romans 11:31 so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so
that they also now may receive mercy.
What had happened to Gentiles (v. 30), Paul hoped would happen to Jews. A period of unbelief does not negate all hope of eventual faith. There is no cause for abject despair.The Gospel came from Jews to Gentiles. Paul anticipated the reverse happening. The Gentiles are to carry the Gospel to the Jews, thereby converting the elect, “all Israel.”
Romans 11:32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience, so that He may
have mercy on all.
God has confined all people, Jews and Gentiles, in a corral of guilt. They are cooped up in a state of sin. God did not cause the unbelief, He simply revealed it and passed judgment against it. God has declared that all people are by nature guilty of unbelief.
The Gentiles had their centuries of widespread unbelief. The Jews have had their centuries of widespread unbelief. Jews and Gentiles stand on the same ground. All are sinners. Everyone has run the race of the prodigal son. Gentiles are no better than Jews. Jews are no better than Gentiles.
Every individual, whether Jew or Gentile, should automatically be on their way to Hell. The unbelievable fact is that some are nevertheless on their way to Heaven. No one is worthy of this, but it is true anyway.
Since all are in rebellion against God, we would think He might immediately destroy the whole race. However, the amazing truth is that God has declared all people guilty in order that He might show grace to everyone. All are diagnosed as having the same sickness in order that they might receive the same medicine.
In our text, the first “all” is universal. The second “all” is universal in its intent, but people can exclude themselves from receiving the benefits of God’s mercy. God showers His grace on us equally, but many exclude themselves from salvation.