Romans 11:11-15

In Romans 11:11-15 Paul answers the question of whether Israel is lost forever in their relationship with God and His purpose and plan. His answer is direct and strong: “By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” Paul has shown that God is still working through a remnant of Israel, but wants to make it clear that the sinning majority of Israel is not lost forever. None of us is lost forever as long as we have breath and life. God continues to pursue us, as He did Israel, but if we reject Jesus as the Israelites did He will continue to take the gospel to all nations.

God never gave up on His people. It wasn’t that the Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah caused Gentiles to be saved. It merely gave more opportunity for the gospel to go to the Gentiles, and many Gentiles took advantage of this opportunity. “Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” In a number of Biblical incidents, God took the gospel out to the Gentiles after it was rejected by His people. His heart is that all will hear the gospel and come to a place they receive His grace through Jesus.

This doesn’t indicate an us vs. them thing. Paul’s desire isn’t only that these riches would be enjoyed by the Gentiles, but that the Jews would be provoked to a good kind of jealousy, motivating them to receive some of the blessings the Gentiles enjoyed. He hoped that as they watched the Gentiles receive God’s gift of grace, they would be motivated to receive it too. “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.” This isn’t a competition, but a call to make those around us aware of God’s offer of the Messiah to all!

So what is the impact of Israel’s rejection of Jesus?  Paul shows us that it allowed the gospel to go to the entire world. It was a game changer for all Gentiles and means the gospel was to go to the ends of the earth. God’s plan is to take the message of Jesus to all people in all places. That’s a gift and blessing for all mankind. “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” And Paul holds out hope that God’s people will come to accept the Messiah and experience the result – life eternal. God’s gift of grace is now available to all with the same outcome – eternal life with God in heaven. We merely need to receive His grace through Christ and make it our own.

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