Romans Eleven: God is Not Finished With Ethnic Israel

Posted: July 31, 2011 in Romans

                I am always mildly amused at the reactions drawn by the mention of predestination and election, particularly from a monergistic perspective. Many people do not think it’s fair that God be the determiner of who receives salvation, and they don’t think it’s fair because they fail to grasp just how devastating the fall of humanity was in the fact that if God didn’t act among us, sovereignly saving whom He will, then no one would ever be saved because no one would want to be saved. It’s not like God kicks people into Hell that are begging for Him, and He didn’t force people into a relationship with Him against their will. Nonetheless, many who are loudest in opposition against a monergistic soteriology (doctrine of salvation) believe Romans 11:26 to be a reference to ethnic Israel, the historical and present-day Jews within the nation of Israel.

                Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am no scholar in things related to the end of time (known as the doctrine of eschatology), but I do know enough to know that the way in which one views the dynamic between Israel and the Church will influence their understanding of the last days, which is where Romans 11:26 comes into play. All talk of the millennium, or Church, or rapture aside, at some point in our human time-line, all of Israel at that time will be saved. And I believe, from what I’ve seen so far in Scripture, that this does indeed mean physical, ethnic Israel. While it is true that the Church is brought into “true Israel”, it is also true that Israel as a nation is only under a partial hardening, during which many Jews are perishing to Hell, and many Gentiles are being saved by God. But it’s a partial hardening which will end when all of God’s elect Gentiles are converted and “grafted” into the tree of salvation- namely, Christ.

                So when God’s work is completed within the Gentiles, all of Israel will too be saved. How? By Jesus coming to them, removing their ungodliness from them, and taking away their sins. Or it could be said this way- they will be saved when Jesus takes away their sins and gives them His righteousness. As salvation was, is, and will always be granted only through faith in Christ, we know that if Romans 11:26 is referring to all the physical Jews at the end of history, then we know that what Paul is talking about is a massive, world-wide, incredible, grace-filled, covenant-restoring, Jesus-exalting,  Spirit-honoring, God-glorifiying revival unlike all revivals, in which the nation of Israel will be supernaturally and graciously given repentance from their sins and faith in their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

                So…why Israel and not the rest of the world?

                See the irony? The same people who are against monergism on the grounds of it being “unfair” or “unloving of God” and “unbiblical” are willing to admit that God is going to sovereignly grant Israel a faith and repentance that He is (1) purposely withholding from them right now, so that they’re going to Hell and (2) not giving the rest of the world. The reality is that if God had His heart set on the salvation of the human race, then that’s exactly what would have happened. But He didn’t, and so it hasn’t. Who God saves is completely up to Him, and God will do whatever He wants with His creation. At some point we’re bound to realize that this simply isn’t about us. It’s about God and the glorification of His name.

  1. […] people is the Church, comprised of both ethnic Jews and Gentiles. This doesn’t mean that God has discarded ethnic Israel totally, […]

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