Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 11:19-25
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 11:19, 20
v19: Nor should Paul’s comments about the present condition of Judaism cause Gentiles to think that God now preferred them to Jews—that He hardened Jews because He didn’t want them anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. v20: The decision as to who is or is not attached to this “olive tree” is made in the human heart, not God’s heart. No one should assume He would ever push someone away. “Branches” are broken off because of unbelief, and branches are “grafted in” because of faith. And no one should look down on those Jews who lacked faith. Instead, watching how God dealt with them should produce a healthy fear.

Monday: Romans 11:20
v20 (continued): If faith is the determining factor then no one has a right to boast (Eph 2:8, 9). One person simply called on the name of the Lord and the other didn’t. The significance of Paul’s statement here shouldn’t be overlooked. He warns believing Gentiles, “…you stand by faith. Do not be conceited (lit: “think high things”), but fear.” Clearly, in his thinking both faith and unbelief can increase or decrease in the human heart, and if faith ceases, salvation ceases. Therefore a believer should “fear” the loss of faith and diligently nurture it to keep it strong “to the end” (Mt 24:13).

Tuesday: Romans 11:21, 22
v21: The way God was dealing with Jews should serve as a warning to Gentile believers. If He was willing to “break off” Abraham’s descendants because they lacked faith, then He would surely do the same to them if their faith died. v22: No one should assume God is unwilling to justly punish a person who refuses to believe in His Son. It’s true He loves all people and wants to shower kindness on them, but He can only do so if that person has faith. Paul invites his readers to open their spiritual eyes to see the truths about God: He is both “kind” (generous and merciful to those who don’t deserve it; Lk 6:35), and “severe” (willing to strictly enforce the law, to give justice without pity; 2Co 13:10; Titus 1:13).

Wednesday: Romans 11:22
v22 (continued): Evidence of God’s kindness and severity had been right in front of them in recent years. Many had personally watched friends or neighbors reject the gospel, and had then observed how that decision left that person in a much worse spiritual condition than before. And they had also watched and experienced for themselves the Holy Spirit powerfully entering into the lives of those who did believe. And faith is what made the difference. Where it was present, God gave that person His kindness, and where it was absent that person experienced His severity. Again he reminds his readers that God’s dealing with Judaism should serve as a sobering warning. God’s love for Abraham’s descendants did not prevent Him from severely judging them, so believers must continue in His kindness or we too will be severely judged. Our proper response to this warning is to guard and nourish our faith and to fear the prospect of ever renouncing Christ.

Thursday: Romans 11:23
v23: Not only should Gentile believers guard their faith carefully, they should never stop hoping that their Jewish friends and neighbors will turn from unbelief to faith. Paul makes it clear in this verse that no one is beyond the point where God can still save them. As long as a person is alive, repentance is possible, at least as far as God’s will and power is concerned—though apparently it is possible for people to so damage themselves that they become incapable of repenting (Heb 6:4-6; 10:29; 1Jn 5:16). Yet, here Paul tells us that Jews who initially said “no” and even became hostile toward believers could at any time repent and believe and be grafted back into the “olive tree.” So, from our human perspective, we should never assume anyone is beyond the reach of salvation.

Friday: Romans 11:24
v24: If Gentiles who had no claim to God’s covenant with Abraham are able to inherit his blessings because of their faith, then how much more natural would it be for Abraham’s physical decendants to be restored to those promises originally intended for them (Ge 12:1-3; 22:16-18). Paul couldn’t be more clear: faith isn’t necessarily permanent, and neither is unbelief. Faith can wither, and unbelief can be repented. Even though the gospel met stiff resistance in Judaism, that did not mean a general turning to Christ would not come in the future. In fact, as Paul will now show us (vs25-29), such a turning is prophesied.

Saturday: Romans 11:25
v25: Paul tells his Gentile readers that he has taken the time to explain this “mystery” so they will be able to understand what was happening from God’s point of view, not their own. Their own speculation would tend to lead them to false conclusions. Without God’s revelation they might conclude that He had grown angry with the Jews and didn’t love them anymore, but that simply was not true. A divine plan was underway which used this hostility by some, but not all Jews (“a partial hardening”), to force Jewish evangelists to overcome the cultural barriers between Jews and Gentiles (Ac 11:1-26) and to preach to the Gentiles. And this plan had already shown its effectiveness by bringing large numbers to Christ, and Paul tells us this focus on Gentiles will continue until everyone who is going to believe will have finally come to Him. Only God knows that complete number (“the fullness of the Gentiles”). 

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