Overview: Romans 11 shows how God will fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel. Jewish “disobedience” (Romans 11:30) does not do away with God’s promises to Israel because His gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Paul therefore cautions Gentile believers against anti-Semitism and false pride (Romans 11:13-26). Instead he shows us what our active role should be to hasten the salvation of the Jewish people (Romans 11:30-36).
Romans 11:1-6: If God rejects or repudiates or abandons Israel His people, then God has broken His word. If the gospel means believing in a God who breaks His word, then the gospel must be rejected. Paul replies in the strongest possible language, “Heaven forbid!” Paul himself is a Jew (Romans 9:6-13; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Galatians 1:13-14; 2:15; Philippians 3:5-6; Acts 22:3; 23:6; 26:5).
Paul therefore uses God’s Word to show He has not repudiated His people (1 Samuel 12:22; Psalm 94:14). The Gospel is not in opposition to God’s Word. The Gospel IS God’s Word, Paul shows from Scripture. There is a remnant as he shows in his illustration of Elijah (Romans 11:2-4). God is sovereign, just, and merciful and is fulfilling His promises in history, even when it appears differently. In verse 6 Paul says again (Romans 9:30-32), that legalistic works are incompatible with grace which requires no effort or prior deeds, but only trust (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Romans 11:7- 12: The Jews have not attained what they worked so hard for, and have become stone-like (porosis). Paul quotes Moses (for Torah), Isaiah (for Prophets), and David (for Writings), representing the three sections of the Old Testament. Verses 8-9: By speaking about the Bible without Jesus as Messiah, even their tables become a trap and keep them continually (not “forever”) in slavery to sin.
Verses 11-12: And even rejecting Jesus, they still have not fallen away permanently. Israel’s stumbling has meant deliverance for the Gentiles, fulfilling Deuteronomy 32:21. When they return to their Messiah, it will bring even greater riches! The deliverance the Gentiles had received was meant for Israel (Matthew 10:6; 15:24), but Israel failed to receive it. While individual Jews received it, the majority did not. Therefore, it was offered to the Gentiles (Acts 13:42-47), but God has never stopped holding out His hands to Israel (Romans 10:21). The problem is that Gentile Christians have historically provoked Jews to hatred, not the Gospel.
Romans 11:13-32: Paul now turns the Gentiles. Just in case Gentiles are thinking, “Yes indeed. God has replaced Israel with us the Christians,” Paul says that Christianity and anti-Semitism are completely incompatible. God is not finished with the Jews, either. The Church is not the “New Israel” replacing the “Old Israel.” Our salvation as Gentiles is linked to God’s promises to the Jews. Our Messiah is a Jew. Paul says that the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) will come to life through God’s promises through Jesus the Messiah! The resurrection in fact, will be delayed until the Jewish people as a nation come to faith in Jesus, so let’s tell the Jews of their Messiah!