When I read through Romans 11, I was quite confused. I have read Romans so many times, yet I must have read this chapter with my eyes closed, as I don’t remember reading this before. This chapter is very interesting to say the least. I can imagine that this must be a huge point of conflict between Calvinists and Arminians, but actually if you look at it from a neutral point of view, it is quite interesting.
This is how I understand this chapter, God chose the Israelites, they disobeyed Him. He opened the door the Gentiles, in order to give us the same opportunities as the Israelites. He has not forgotten about the Israelites, but He has given us the opportunity to also be His children. If we accept Jesus’ gift, we will inherit all of the promises that God has promised Israel. Wow, that is very exciting. All the promised that God has made to the Israelites, are now promises to us too, if we accept his gift of Jesus (verse 17). The passage also say that the Israelites will wake up at some point, turn to Jesus, and will be saved! How exciting is that?!
So what do we take from this passage? I’ll leave it to you to take what you will. This is what I get from it. It doesn’t matter if you are part of God’s chosen Israelites, or if you are a Gentile, you are not above being cut off if you don’t believe in Christ (verse 11). The flip side of the coin is that it doesn’t matter if you are part of God’s chosen Israelites, or if you are a Gentile, you can be heirs to God’s promises if you DO accept Christ! I am not Jewish, I know that I have been given this opportunity to be part of God’s chosen people, and I am taking it with both hands. I know that the Jewish people will eventually see the light, and I am glad that I will then be part of God’s family! Take a look at verses 11 and 12, Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
This free gift is available to everyone. Have you accepted it? While this may be a hotbed for theological view points, it is showing us that both Jews and Gentiles have the opportunity to believe in Christ and be drafted into God’s family. My advice is to take the offer! I have had quite a demotivating morning this morning, but this chapter has done a lot to get me back to where I was before. I have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, God’s promises to Abraham now apply to me too. I am a child of God. I need to acknowledge where this Grace comes from, it comes from God. I can not earn it. Having said that, I have a responsibility in this relationship. If God cut His chosen people off for not believing in Christ, He will not hesitate to do the same with me (verse 21). Does God chose us, or do we chose God? My humble opinion. Both. A relationship is always a two way street. God has given us the opportunity – Take it!
Regardless of your theological stance, the bottom line is that we have an opportunity to come to know Christ as our saviour, which won’t last forever. Instead of trying to put God into a box or figure Him out (verse 33 says that it is impossible), let’s take some action. If you haven’t accepted Jesus, maybe now is the time to do it. If you are already a believer, we need to be sharing the gospel. The harvest is plenty, but the harvesters are few. We all need to step up and share the good news!
Do something, and do it soon. We won’t have this opportunity forever.