ROMANS, CHAPTER 11
Romans 11:13) [NIV] I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry
14) [NIV] in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
QUESTION: What is Paul going back to here?
ANSWER: He’s returning to the issue of his sorrow that the Jewish people haven’t accepted their Messiah [Romans 9:1-3], but also the knowledge that God hadn’t “cast away” his people [Romans 11:1]. He understood that even in the fact that God had sent him to evangelize the Gentiles God was at work in the Jews, causing envy in them that “some of them” would be saved [current verse].
15) [NIV] For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
QUESTION: What does this verse tell us?
ANSWER: This verse, in essence, answers the question raised in verse 12.
QUESTION: What is the answer to that question?
ANSWER: God will wrap up the current history of mankind and initiate the “glory which shall be revealed in us” [Romans 8:19], causing us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” [Romans 8:29]. IT WILL USHER IN THE THOUSAND YEAR MILENNIUM PERIOD, AND EVENTUALLY ETERNITY!
On To This Week’s Lesson:
Romans 11:16-27) [NIV] If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
QUESTION: Who is the root?
ANSWER: Note the following comments:
“In this place the reference is doubtless to Abraham and the patriarchs, as the root or founders of the Jewish nation” [Barnes].
“the chief reference is to the ancestors of the Jewish people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and, as these were devoted to God and received into his covenant” [Clarke].
“Perhaps Abraham singly here” [Robertson].
“The second metaphor is the root and the branches. If the root is set apart, so are the branches. Abraham is the root in the sense that he was the first to be set apart by God to form a new society, distinct from the nations. If Abraham was set apart, so are those who are descended from him in the chosen line” [BBC].
NOTE: I believe the root is referring to Abraham. Isaac and Jacob are includes only in the sense that they descended from Abraham, but the promise was given to Abraham.
17) [NIV] If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
QUESTION: Who are the branches that were broken off?
ANSWER: The unsaved Jews are those branches in this analogy of Paul’s.
QUESTION: What “wild” branches have been grafted in?
ANSWER: The saved Gentiles have been grafted in.
QUESTION: Who are the original branches that remained?
ANSWER: The saved Jews, such as Paul, were the natural branches that remained.
18) [NIV] do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19) [NIV] You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
20) [NIV] Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
21) [NIV] For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
QUESTION: What should our attitude be in lieu of our being grafted in?
ANSWER: We should be:
1. Humble because God has chosen us by His grace,
2. Alert because God already has shown that He “did not spare the natural branches,”
3. Faithful because we don’t want to follow the example of the unbelieving Jews.
QUESTION: What was the determining factor when cutting some branches off and grafting others in?
ANSWER: “Faith, not personal merit, is the decisive factor, and so all ground for boasting is cut away” [Serendipity Group Bible Study].
22) [NIV] Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
QUESTION: What did God do in His sternness to the unbelieving Jews?
ANSWER: They were “removed” from partaking of the New Covenant.
QUESTION: What did God do in His kindness to the believing Gentiles?
ANSWER: They were allowed to partake of the New Covenant which was promised to the Jewish people.
Jeremiah 31:33-34) [GNB] The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34) [GNB] None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the LORD, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the LORD, have spoken.
23) [NIV] And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24) [NIV] After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
25) [NIV] 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) [NIV] 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) [NIV] And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
QUESTION: What will God do for any Jew who gets saved?
ANSWER: He will graft them back into the tree they were cut off from. They will then partake of the New Covenant.
QUESTION: How long will this temporary “hardening in part” of Israel last?
ANSWER: It will last until every Gentile who God has “foreknown” comes into the fold of believers.
QUESTION: What will happen then?
ANSWER: Every living Jew will then be saved!
QUESTION: What does Abraham being the “root” have to do with this discussion?
ANSWER: Abraham is the father of the circumcised/Jews and the father of those who have been saved by faith [Romans 4:9-12]; i.e., the believing Jews and Gentiles. His natural descendents, the Jews, represent the natural branches of this discussion. Of his spiritual descendents, the believing Jews and Gentiles, the believing Gentiles represent the wild branches that were grafted into the olive tree to partake of the nourishment of the root/Abraham.
Genesis 22:17A) That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore;
Genesis 15:5-6) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6) And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:23-24) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church