Summary: The word, "Christian", sometimes carries a bad connotation in our society; Would someone be "jealous" of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
“A Healthy Jealousy”
Last week we looked at Romans 11:9-10, which is Paul quoting from Psalm 69: “And David says, "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. 10 "LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER ."
This is the condition which God placed upon the majority of national Israel, even today: Blind eyes and bent backs, but it is also the sinful condition of EVERY HEART that refuses to accept God’s free gift of righteousness in Christ’s work: A hard and disobedient heart toward God cause us to be bent under the weight of carrying our own sin and its consequences. We need the enlightenment of His Holy Spirit to see the magnitude of His grace in Christ, to commit to following and obeying Him, and to lighten and REMOVE the burden of our sin (not just a load of wood or bricks like in these illustrations).
So Paul asks the question in Romans 11:11: “I say then, they (Israel) did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”
Paul asks: Lord, will national Israel be forever out of your redemptive love and Grace? That would be Impossible since God made promises to national Israel that He will keep. National Israel’s rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah, is reversible. I am NOT saying that PERSONAL REJECTION is reversible: Jesus taught the principle which is found in Hebrews 9:27, which says: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” If you die, having rejected Jesus’ Lordship, that cannot be reversed, but God promises a time in the future when there will be a revival in national Israel.
A Divine Purpose behind Israel’s Disobedience
But Paul sees God’s Divine Pattern and Purpose behind Israel’s Disobedience. THIS was Israel’s sin: They Rejected faith in Jesus alone as the payment for sin. Most of Israel committed this serious SIN by rejecting God’s provision of forgiveness by FAITH through the Lord Jesus ALONE as the Messiah and as THE substitutionary atonement for their sin. JESUS’ WORK COMES and accomplishes what no human being can do: He lived a perfect life and died as a complete payment for the sins of anyone who believes on Him ALONE as their Savior from God’s wrath against sin.
As a result of Israel’s sin, salvation has come to the Gentiles. God’s concentration had been upon Israel for thousands of years. By them He brought His Law, His Messiah, and the Knowledge of Himself, but God did not EXCLUDE Gentiles. He had placed Israel in the center of Gentile nations to be a light to those outside of God’s covenant with Abraham. (Isaiah 56: 6-7 gives a good example of non-Jews, “foreigners) coming to God.)
IN OUR TEXT, God is keeping His promise from Deuteronomy 32:21, which we looked at in a previous study “They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.”
Now God intentionally brings His Gospel message to the “foreigners”, to a “foolish nation”, to the despised Gentiles, with the hope of making Israel jealous. Rom. 11:11b: Salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them (Israel) jealous.” So one of the ways that the Gentiles are going to serve God and His Purposes is by making Israel envious and turn them to salvation in Christ.
When you hear the words “jealous” “jealousy” or “envious”, you might think of the 10th commandment which stated that, “You shall not covet.” To “covet” means simply “to desire”: There is nothing inherently wrong with “desire” that is God-centered and God-glorifying. It’s when you “desire” or “earnestly seek” things that do not belong to you or to desire things that God doesn’t want you to have, THEN your desires become sin.
The root word for “jealousy” in our passage, (verses 11 and 14), IN A SINFUL SENSE it means “to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, hatred, anger,” Now, in a GOOD and GODLY sense, it means “to be zealous in the pursuit of good.”
THE MAIN ISSUE with unbelievers is not that they break the 10th commandment: That they covet or are jealous of other people’s property. A sinner’s MAIN problem is breaking the FIRST COMMANDMENT: “You shall have no other gods before me.” The problem with unsaved humanity is that they don’t love and “earnestly desire” the Lord God with all their HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH. That was Israel’s problem too. THE NUMBER ONE SIN is an ABSENCE and total inability of sinners to BE ZEALOUS for God. God is a jealous God, in that, HE WILL NOT ALLOW ANY RIVALRY. God will not accept DIVIDED DEVOTION. He will not accept a divided heart toward Him: That’s makes God BOIL with a pure and holy envy!