Summary: God made certain promises to the nation of Israel, which He will fulfill. For even though they've blown it badly, God has promised to see Israel through on the basis of His own integrity and faithfulness.
ROMANS 11: 1-10
A PEOPLE [REMNANT] OF GRACE
The thrust of Romans 9–11 has primarily been Israel's rejecting Christ and rebelling against God, and God's choosing and turning to Gentiles in grace. These themes continue in chapter 11, but God's sovereign choice also involves His restoring Israel and His being magnified thereby.
Romans 9–11 uses the nation Israel to illustrate that God is faithful even when His people are fickle. You take that to the bank. You can count on Him. No matter what your situation is, no matter what you're going through, God will be faithful to you.
How can I be sure? Look at God's relationship with Israel. In chapter 9, Paul points to God's past dealings with Israel and highlights the sovereignty of God. In chapter 10, he deals with God's present dealings with Israel, based upon equity. Whether Jew or Gentle, all are invited to be saved. In chapter 11, we come to God's future dealings with Israel, which show His integrity. That is, God made certain promises to the nation of Israel, which He will fulfill. For even though they've blown it badly, God has promised to see Israel through on the basis of His own integrity and faithfulness (CIT).
The same is true for us. He who has begun a good work in us shall complete it (Philippians 1:6). That's His promise. And in it I rest. [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 960]
I. A FAITHFUL GOD, 1.
II. A BELIEVING MINORITY/REMNANT, 2-4.
III. A CHOICE OF GRACE, 5-6.
IV. A HIGH COST, 7-10.
The transition from chapter 10 is seen in Paul's repetition of the rhetorical clause "I ask" in verse 1. "I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin."
Has God cast away His chosen people? There is not the slightest possibility, or, Certainly not! Romans11:1 should be noted in your Bible because many people teach that God is finished with Israel. Some contend that the church is now the recipient of the blessings that were promised to Israel and forfeited by Israel when Israel rejected Jesus Christ. Yet Romans 11 deals a deathblow to this mentality, as Paul asks, "Has God cast away His people? God forbid. No way."
God had chosen Israel as His covenant people from eternity past and entered into a relationship with them that will never be destroyed [1 Sam 12:22; Jer 31:37; 33:24–26]. God has "not rejected" them even though they have rejected Him. Their failures are not final because God is faithful.
Paul then points to himself as Exhibit B. "For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." God isn't through with the Israelites. The point Paul makes here is not the fact that he's saved, but the way he was saved. While persecuting the church, coming against Christianity, in an audible and tangible encounter with Jesus Christ, Paul's eyes were opened (Acts 9). So, too, at a time when persecution will be coming down on Israel, when Jerusalem will be surrounded and about to be annihilated in the Tribulation period, what will happen? Suddenly, the Lord will appear, and, like Paul, Israel will realize they erred greatly and will turn to Him and be saved (Zechariah 13).
You see, Paul was simply a shadow of what will happen to the entire nation prophetically. So Paul points to himself and says, "Is God through with Israel? Consider me and my conversion as an illustration of what will happen eventually." [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 961]
II. A BELIEVING MINORITY, 2-4.
Verse 2 responds to the blunt question as to whether or not God has rejected His chosen people Israel. "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?"
"Look not only at my life personally," say Paul, "but check out history. Remember Elijah?" After his great victory in taking on four hundred prophets of Baal and calling down fire from heaven, Elijah caved in when Jezebel threatened him. Running for his life, he hid in a cave, depressed. "What are you doing here?" asked God (see 1 Kings 19:13). "I'm the only one really serving You," Elijah cried out to God.
[By the way, are you hiding in a cave of depression? Are you thinking, "all of the Christians in my community are carnal. All of the Christians at my church are shallow. I alone serve God." We think that too often.]
Now God chose Israel ("His people, whom He foreknew") to be the people through whom the rest of the world could find salvation. But this did not mean the entire Jewish nation would be saved; only those who were faithful to God (the remnant) were considered true children of Abraham (11:5). We are saved through faith in Christ; not because we are part of a nation, religion, or family. By the way, on whom or on what are you depending for salvation?