Israel in Redemption's plan

(Nii Amarfio) #1

Israel seems to play a key role in redemption’s plan, being the kinsmen of Christ according to the flesh. I did a bit of grappling with Romans 11 but I can’t seem to grasp what Paul asserts in parts of it. He seems to imply that the gentiles were saved because Israel rejected the message. Does this mean if we would never have been saved if Israel accepted? Because they probably wouldn’t have killed Jesus if they did.
If so, did God necessitate Israel’s fall to bring us salvation?

(Jimmy Sellers) #2

My short answer is no. I often think that we in the modern Church some how feel that God had his eye on us (moderns) as if he did this just for us. Granted we can say with a fair degree of certainty that God did have his eye on the “Church” but not at the expense of the his portion Jacob but because of his faithfulness to Abraham.
When Paul wrote

7 What then? What Israel was searching for, this it did not obtain**?** (Ro 11:7 LEB).

I think it reads better as a question and not a statement. Israel got just what it was looking for even though Grace was/is always in plan sight.
I think that 11:33-36 sums it up very nicely.

(SeanO) #3

@Niiokai I agree with @Jimmy_Sellers that the answer is no - God did not require Israel’s fall to bring us salvation. However, God did use Israel’s rejection to accomplish His purposes.

What you need to understand about Romans 9-11 is the Paul is trying to help an audience with both Jews and Gentiles understand this question: What has become of God’s promise to the nation of Israel? That is is the whole point of these chapters. Paul is trying to help the Jews understand that salvation always came by faith and not by the law, so he uses illustrations that would be very familiar to Jews - like Jacob and Esau. He wants the Jews to know that God has not given up on them - they can always come to Jesus in faith! For the Gentiles, Paul wants them not to be proud or look down on the Jewish people who have rejected Jesus, but rather to work out their own salvation and to humbly remember that God has bound all, both Jew and Gentile, in disobedience that He might have mercy on all. What unsearchable wisdom!

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and all can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. His message really is that simple, though Paul does use some illustrations that are hard to follow.

Message to Jews

  • Question: Has God’s promise to Israel failed?

  • Answer: No, because being Abraham’s physical descendant is not what makes you an Israelite.
    Example: Jacob and Esau
    Point: God has had mercy on the Gentiles who have placed their faith in Christ, while the Jews who trusted in their own good works have missed the promise. God has mercy on whom He wills.

  • Question: Has God then rejected His people (Israel)?

  • Answer: No, just like in Eljah’s day, when there were 6 thousand who did not bow their knee to Baal, God has saved all Israelites who have trusted in Jesus.

  • Question: Is Israel without hope? Have they fallen beyond recovery?

  • Answer: No, the fact that they crucified the Messiah has led to salvation for all people, both Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles were blessed through this terrible event.

Message to Gentiles

Do not be arrogant. If God rejected some of the physical descendants of Abraham when they rejected Jesus, you too must be careful to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, or else you too may be rejected if you harden your heart against God.


God has bound everyone in disobedience that He might have mercy on all people. What an amazing God we worship!


I recommend watching the Bible Project video on Romans and also reading William Lane Craig’s article. I think that will help clear some things up.

The problematic, then, with which Paul is wrestling is how God’s chosen people the Jews could fail to obtain the promise of salvation while Gentiles, who were regarded by Jews as unclean and execrable, could find salvation instead. Paul’s answer is that God is sovereign: He can save whomever He wants, and no one can gainsay God. He has the freedom to have mercy upon whomever He wills, even upon execrable Gentiles, and no one can complain of injustice on God’s part.

So—and this is the crucial point— who is it that God has chosen to save? The answer is: those who have faith in Christ Jesus . As Paul writes in Galatians (which is a sort of abbreviated Romans), “So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3. 7). Jew or Gentile, it doesn’t matter: God has sovereignly chosen to save all those who trust in Christ Jesus for salvation.

(Nii Amarfio) #4

Thank you @Jimmy_Sellers and @SeanO. It’s so thoughtful of you to take time off to answer my question. You’ve provided very thoughtful answers which have given me a clearer understanding. The video was really helpful too. I think Cornelius could be a good example of how God saved a group of people without Israel’s explicit rejection. Could you also explain the God has bound everyone in disobedience. Does it imply intent on God’s part he was just saying by virtue of the law everyone everyone could witness his/her sin. Just to clarify

(SeanO) #5

@Niiokai Sure thing. By saying that everyone is ‘bound under disobedience’, Paul is simply saying that whether you have the law or no, everyone has sinned. Those without the law have violated their God-given conscience. Those with the law have broken the law. Both are guilty of disobedience.

(Nii Amarfio) #6

Thanks a lot @SeanO