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Bible Commentaries
Romans 11

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-36

  1. Intro:
    1. Illus: Grafting is one of the most interesting phases of gardening & horticulture. Many plants are almost useless unless they are grafted to a rootstock that is different from their own. In the middle of the 19th century, a great infestation practically destroyed all of the grape vines in France. The vineyards of France were saved only because strong roots of California vines that were immune to phylloxera(Fi-LOX’er-a) were brought in & the scions(sigh-in) of the famed French vines were grafted onto them. There is scarcely a grape vine in France today that is not growing on California roots. (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans, Vol. IV. pg.137)
      1. Why do I bring this up? Cuz I like any story of Californians bailing out the Frenchy’s :)
        1. Ok, possibly pest-transfer came from French colonists in Fl. who accidentally introduced these aphids.
      2. Ha! - No, because its a reminder to us Gentiles of where our roots came from. Father Abraham!
    2. Ch.9 Israel’s Past Election; Ch.10 Israel’s Present Rejection; Ch.11 Israel’s Future Reception.
    3. Title: Horticultural Ethics! [Horticulture: the art or practice of garden cultivation/management]
    4. Outline:Israel...Not Cast Away; Not w/o a Future; Not Beyond Hope; Not Broken Off for Good. Doxology
  2. NOT CAST AWAY! (1a)
    1. 1ST QUESTION: Is Israel cast away?
    2. In eschatology, some have cast Israel away! – Using 10:12 as their argument.
      1. But, as we said last week, there isn’t a distinction in sins & salvation. But there still is a distinction nationally, as Paul speaks to here.
      2. Don’t forget the timing here!…this is after the death & resurrection of Christ, & yet he’s still talking about the Nation of Israel.
        1. Nationally they have not been stirred into a giant Gentile blender.
  3. NOT W/O A FUTURE? (1b-10)
    1. ​​​​​​​Slide#9a #1 PAUL! (1b)
    2. There is a future for Israel…& Paul is the 1st proof for that, being an Israelite himself.
      1. 1 Tim.1:16 …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
      2. It was in the beginning of the Church age(or, this age of Grace!) that God saved a Jewish man who hated Christ, & His followers.
        1. He became a lover of Jesus & his most fervent spokesman.
        2. His name was Paul…So the reasoning...If Israel was cast way how could Paul be saved?
    3. FOREKNOWLEDGE! (2a)
    4. God never goes back on His word.
      1. God had not rejected those whom he had chosen as his special people. [Foreknowledge & rejection are incompatible]
      2. Foreknew all Israel? Of course not, he just spent 2 ch.’s saying that not all Jews have come to Christ!
        1. He foreknew national Israel & His covenant people.
    5. REMNANT! (2b-6)
    6. No matter how dark the day, God always had a remnant in Israel.
      1. Even in times of great apostasy...even then!
      2. Example given when Elijah thought he was all alone, when Israel found itself in a national crisis.
      3. Other Examples: With Noah & family, God was sparing a remnant. - Assyrian captivity, God spared a remnant. - Babylonian captivity, God spared a remnant. - Even Paul, a remnant himself as he goes to the Gentiles.
    7. (5) Key: at this present time there is a remnant!
    8. (6) Grace x’s 4!
      1. John Stott said, The repeated promises in the Qur'an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah's scales, whereas The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. (John Stott in Authentic Christianity. Christianity Today, Vol.41, no.1.)
    9. #4 HARDENING! (7-10)
    10. (7) Blinded = hardened.
    11. The rejection of Israel was partial but not total!
  4. NOT BEYOND HOPE! (11-14)
    1. ​​​​​​​2ND QUESTION! (11)
    2. Is Israel Finished? Did they fall beyond recovery?
      1. If God was finished with Israel, He wouldn’t waste time provoking them to jealousy.
      2. Even in their rejection of Jesus, it was part of God’s plan to eventually bring Jews to faith
    3. BLESSINGS! (12-14)
    4. (12) If their fall & failures are a blessing to the Gentiles…what will their fullness be?
      1. If the Gentiles were blest when the Jews rejected the Messiah…Wow! how much more of a blessing will Israel eventually be when they receive Him?
    5. (14) Some Christians have gone to the extreme to consider our Jewish friends as fellow believers…“Well they believe in the same God right?”
      1. ​​​​​​​But they have rejected Gods Messiah!
        1. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Jesus!
          1. No, not just the English name we give him. You can call Him: Yashua HaMashiac, Isa, Issa Massi, Yesu, Jesus(Spanish), not just Jesus.
        2. Jesus is the only way to the Father! Through Him alone does man find forgiveness of sin! He is the fulfillment of all the law, the covenants & the sacrificial system!
      2. I talk a lot about loving the Muslims, for I see so many Christians not doing so, & some how even seeming to feel good about that? But today I ask, do you love the Jews? Do you have Jewish friends? If so, how might you start sharing the love of Messiah with them? [The worldwide Jewish population is 13.3 million Jews. 37% live in Israel, 46% live in No.Amer.]
  5. ​​​​​​​NOT BROKEN OFF FOR GOOD! (15-29)
    1. ​​​​​​​ROOT & BRANCHES! (16b)
    2. Life giving sap flows from the root of a tree through the trunk into the branches.
      1. God’s covenant blessing in Abraham (the root of Israel) courses through the limb of the Jewish nation.
      2. Even their rejection of the Messiah couldn’t stop up the flow, & cause God to revoke His covenant.
    3. GRAFT, or THE SHAFT? (17-21)
    4. Here Paul uses an allegory of an Olive Tree.
      1. Jeremiah used it, The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit. With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are broken. (11:16)
    5. (18-21) Don’t be proud but walk humbly & remember it’s all of grace.
    6. Understand that normally this whole grafting process was exactly the opposite. A gardener normally grafts an orchard-quality branch to a wild stock, never the opposite.
      1. By reversing the procedure, Paul shows us that in God’s orchard the true value is in the root, not the branch, & even a worthless branch can produce good fruit when the divine life flows through it. (Chuck Swindoll, pg.100.)
    7. (21) He might not spare you either – Lose salvation? (No, the context is national blessings)
      1. This olive tree is a tree of favor not salvation!
    8. SNIP, SNIP! (22-24)
    9. Severity (sterness) – The Lord is severe to some, but fair to all.
    10. What if the Jewish nation became receptive to the Messiah, would He restore them? Yep.
    11. ISRAEL’S FUTURE! (25-29)
    12. Until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in – i.e. when all the Gentile elect have come to faith.
    13. (26,27) Don’t miss God’s ultimate purpose for Israel…so all Israel would be saved!
      1. All Israel saved? – Yep, in the Millennium! (see all of 26,27)
        1. Note: When this is(beg. of Mill.); What He will do(turn away ungodliness); Why (Covenant w/Israel); When(when their sin is dealt with).
  6. DOXOLOGY! (30-36) (Doxology = a hymn of praise)
    1. Here is the appropriate finale of the doctrinal portion of Romans.
    2. THE MERCY OF GOD! (30-32)
    3. Who but God could have conceived a plan that would turn disobedience into an occasion for mercy, reaching out universally to all who would believe?” (Shepherdʼs Notes, pg.67.) ☺
      1. Dwight Pentecost referred to mercy as “God’s ministry to the miserable”.
      2. God’s mercy is His active compassion.
      3. Only a God of such unsearchable mercy would have reached so low to lift them so high. (Chuck Swindoll, pg.107.)
    4. Committed them – bound, shut them up.
      1. Here Paul uses it in the figure of a prison.
        1. With the 2nd image: our disobedience that has locked us in a spiritual prison…in which there is no possibility of escape…until God’s mercy springs the prisons lock!
    5. THE MIND OF GOD! (33-35)
    6. (33) He praises God’s knowledge & wisdom, yet while at the same time saying they are beyond human understanding.
      1. It’s unwise to “fathom the unfathomable or unscrew the inscrutable(imp to understand).”
    7. Depth – Things that are hidden in deep mystery, so deep that no human knowledge will ever reach it.
    8. Unsearchable & unfathomable (past finding out; beyond tracing out)
      1. Both are hunting terms!
      2. Unsearchable = indicates an animal that is untrackable.
      3. Unfathomable = describes one that is undetectable.
        1. We can’t track God’s thoughts. And even if you could, it would probably be so foreign to us, that we wouldn’t even recognize them.
    9. (34,35) 3 Questions that don’t need answers:
      1. [1] Can anyone explain God? [2] Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? [3] Has anyone done God such a big favor that God owes them now? [Ps.50:10-12]
    10. We cannot explain all the purposes & plans of God, but we can worship & praise Him for who He is!
    11. THE MAJESTY OF GOD! (36)
    12. Of Him – He is the source! (or, Origin)
      1. It is God who set everything into motion by His creative Word.
    13. Through Him – He is the agent! (or, Channel)
      1. Everything that exists is sustained & directed by Him.
    14. To Him – He is the goal! (or, Destiny)
      1. All things consist for His Glory!
    15. The end result of all Bible study(studying doctrines) is worship!
    16. Can we end this wonderful doxology with its appropriate Amen, in joyful confidence?
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Romans 11". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/romans-11.html. 2017.
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