"I say then"
indicates that what Paul is about to say next is connected to what was
communicated in the previous chapter: God revealed Himself to the Gentiles
in response to Israel's disobedience. This might lead one to believe that
the nation was irretrievably rejected by God, but Paul is now going to
balance the truth of chapter
10 with another important truth--the electing purposes of God for the
"has God cast away His people?"
Casting away is emphasized by its appearance at the beginning of the Greek:
"Not He has cast away, God, the people of Him [has He]?"
divorce or separate from someone or something once held near. The verb is
in the middle voice:
"Has God [Himself] cast away . . . ?"
Paul is writing
the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. Israel has already rejected her
king! Yet Paul refers to
Israel -- the Jews
The context makes it impossible to take this phrase as denoting
11:1 - Certainly not!
Paul uses a unique expression of his emphasizing the impossibility of
The phrase is
me GENoito, meaning
"You should never conclude such a thing! God forbid that you should think this! No way!"
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
"For I also am an Israelite"
Paul himself serves as a counter-example to the claim by some that the Jews
have been rejected. The Greek emphasizes Paul as an example:
"For even I [an] Israelite I am."
This is not just about the status of
Jews, but of
( Rom. 11:28 )
"of the seed of Abraham"
Paul traces his ancestry in both directions from Jacob (who was renamed
through Abraham (Jacob's grandfather),
through Benjamin (Jacob's son).
Although all believers are
seed by faith
( Gal. 3:29 )
, they are never identified as being
descendants or an Israelite tribe in any sense.
11:2 - God Has Not Cast Away
"God has not cast away His people"
The Greek emphasizes the
not casting away
by placing it first:
"Not He [Himself] has cast away, God, the people of Him."
"whom He foreknew"
progiNŌSkō, meaning more than
"known in advance,"
-- known intimately as His elect from before the dawn of history. This is
not just a passive observation
. Election is the central theme of Romans 8-11!
"Elijah . . . pleads with God against Israel"
"Pleads . . . against"
"to appeal to someone against a third party,"
"to make a complaint against."
11:3-4 - I Have Reserved For Myself
"and I alone am left"
Elijah emphasizes his uniqueness, as if he was the only one that remained
true to God:
"and I [even] I have been left [surviving the] only one!"
It is important to see the full context of the passage Paul is quoting
which indicates Elijah is
complaining against His Jewish brethren( 1K. 19:10 )
"I have reserved for Myself"
The corresponding Hebrew verb in
hishe'arettiy, which is in the
form which indicates causative action by the subject of the verb (God).
The verb is based on the root
and ends with a pronominal suffix indicating
The phrase could be translated:
"I [Myself] caused to remain for Me."
It is important to see the sovereignty of God--those who remain true to Him
only do so
by His electing and keeping power.
11:5 - A Remnant
"there is a remnant"
Jews whom God has reserved for faith throughout history.
Because of God's electing purposes for the nation Israel, there are
Jews who believe everything God has revealed. At the coming of Christ, Jews
such as Simeon
( Luke 2:25-34 )
( Luke 2:36-38 )
were part of the believing remnant.
Today, Jews who believe in Christ are known as
and are members of the church, the body of Christ, like all other believers.
However, they are physically, nationally, Jews--and represent the stream
through which God's promises to the Jewish nation will be
eventually fulfilled. The doctrine of the remnant is an extensive
teaching throughout Scripture, as can be seen by looking up the word
in a concordance.
"according to the election of grace"
is a verb form in the perfect tense indicating the choice was made
some time in the past with results which continue into the present.
Like all believers, the believing Jewish remnant was elected to belief
in God before the foundation of the world
( Eph. 1:4 )
Paul's teaching on the elect remnant within
Israel dovetails with his earlier teaching
( Rom. 9:11 )
11:6 - Unmerited Favor
"Grace versus Works"
A closely-related word,
"a free gift."
For a gift to truly be a gift, it must be unmerited and unearned.
Once you mix one particle of work into the transaction, it is no longer
fully grace since merit becomes involved.
Israel Does Not Deserve God's Continued Favor
Like all who have been chosen by God, the nation Israel--as represented by
the believing remnant among the Jews--does not deserve God's continued
election. Paul emphasizes that it is by God's undeserved, unmerited
favor--which overcomes the rejection and crucifixion of Israel's own
Messiah. Israel neither earned nor deserves God's favor. He stands by
Israel because of His
name's sake( Eze. 36:20-24 )
Concerning the gospel, unbelieving Jews are enemies, but concerning election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and
( Rom. 11:28-32 )
We Are Never "The Only Believer Left"
- No matter how discouraged and isolated we feel, we can know for
certain that God has other believers in places we might
not expect them.
Sinful Actions Cannot Thwart God's Sovereign Will
- In God's inscrutable sovereignty, every sin works out according to
His plan. God's plan for Israel will not be derailed by the unbelief
of the majority in the nation.
God Generally Works With a Faithful Remnant
- A frequent pattern in Scripture indicates God often works with a
small group of faithful believers within a much larger group. Don't
look at size or popularity to measure a work of God.
Like Israel, Our Standing in God's Favor is Also Undeserved
- If we reject Israel in the plan of God and assert our own superiority
in having exercised faith, then we have lost sight of our own
undeservedness. Remember: God revealed Himself to the Gentiles
while the Gentiles where continually not seeking Him!
The Jews Are Still God's Chosen People
God's promises to Israel remain today because they are based on
His choice of and promises to the nation which will eventually
be fulfilled through the believing Jewish remnant.
God judges the nations by their treatment of Israel
A wise nation is careful how it treats Israel!