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The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Romans 11:25-36

Salvation's Great Plan

Intro Rom 11:11-36 | Rom 11:11-15 | Rom 11:16-24 | Rom 11:25-36
Study questions Romans 11:11-24 | 11:25-36

Romans 11:25-36 "Some Gentiles and Israel Will be Saved" is the last of four parts to the BFF Romans 11:11-36 Living Commentary on Romans: Salvations's Great Plan (Romans 11:11-36). Paul reveals how he sees things happen in the end when God softens the Jews. This is God's great mystery that He has been carrying out all along despite Israel and Gentile's disobedience.

C) Some Gentiles and Israel Will be Saved (11:25-36)

What Can We Expect to Happen Before the Lord Returns?

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27 "AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Romans 11:25-32).

1) Three stages of mercy

Discover God's mercy hidden in this now revealed mystery.

Israel's hardening - only partial

"... a partial hardening has happened to Israel" (25)

Israel's hardening has clearly taken place. After the first generation, the number of Jewish believers was soon outnumbered by Gentile believers. The Jews hardened their hearts. They could not see the Messiah. It is partial in that we can still preach the gospel with hopes that they will be saved!

Gentiles saved - notice the timing

"... until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (25)

The hardening of the Jews became the means through which the Gentiles are saved. The flow of God's mercy was largely diverted to the Gentiles, going from nation to nation. The fullness can refer to all the nations being reached or to the right time where the Jews would join in and finish the task (cf. 11:11-12).

Israel saved - all Israel

"... and thus all Israel will be saved (26).

Since Paul has effectively proved not all the Jews have been saved, he cannot be referring to all the Jewish people. Some authors think this phrase refers to the whole olive tree, that is, the people of God including both the Jews and Gentiles (cf. Eph 3:1-13). This is most likely the case, though it is possible that it refers to all the Jews He foreknew (true Jews) or that at some point in the future all Jews will believe in Christ as their Messiah.

Verses 26-27 are the proof verses for the above statement. Actually, there are several OT quotes.

"And a Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD. And as for Me this is My covenant with them," says the Lord:" "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor form the mouth of your offspring's offspring, from now and forever." (Is 59:20-21).

"O that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad." (Psalm 14:7).

"Therefore through this Jacob's iniquity will be forgiven; and this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin."(Is 27:9).

".. and I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer 31:34).

Several key points to these scriptures all describing the full salvation experience: 1) the deliverer, 2) Dealing with God's people, 3) Covenant where sin is forgiven.

Further explanation in verses 28-29.

The Gentiles are profited by the Jews antagonism toward the Lord, but God has not altogether forsaken the Jews. Both the gifts and the calling of God will not be retracted. The reference seems to clearly mark off the physical Jews. In other words, the above verses must state two things:

The Gentiles are profited by the Jews stubbornness and the Jews are beloved and the promises to them of salvation will be fulfilled.

The view that has Paul only speaking of spiritual Israel ignores a special plan for the nation of Israel distinct from the Gentiles, though in fact they are part of the whole church. John Calvin supports Israel as only to mean the spiritual people of God.

"But I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to the meaning,–"When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first-born in God's family." (John Calvin)


It appears that Paul's whole argument is to show to the Jew that God has not forsaken the Jew. One could like Calving assume that the Jews are merely merged with the Gentiles into one new Israel (picture of one tree). However, Paul several times refers to a great blessing that will come upon their belief (11:12,15). If he uses this to further his main argument, then it seems necessary to accept the viewpoint that God will do some special work in them as a cultural people in the future.

In this the Lord will show His ultimate mercy and grace by not only sparing the rebellious Jews but greatly using them! Perhaps God will soften the heart of the Jews and use them to finish or at least greatly strengthen the kingdom of God throughout the world.

2) Indescribable Wisdom (Romans 11:34-36)

What is it that we have learned about our LORD's person?

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

If you want to understand the universe, then you need to see that all things were created for Him, exist through Him, and ultimately designed to carry forth His purposes!

This includes you and your family. The more we affirm this purpose, the more the mighty Spirit of God will rise up through our lives no matter how evil the world is around us.

  • Are there situations that confound the Lord?
  • Is it right to ever blame God?
  • Can we really understand God?
  • Can our Christian growth ever max out?
  • Is any problem to hard for the Lord to solve?
  • Is it ever right to think that God owes us something?


This concludes this mini series on Romans 11:11-36. View the next section, Romans 12:1-8.

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