The Unwavering Mercy of God in Christ.

In this section of Romans, Paul has been working through his sorrow and grief at the unbelief of his fellow Jews (Romans 9:1). He reminds and comforts his heart that God saves faithfully, mercifully, and righteously. His deep prayer and desire is that they would understand and accept salvation through Christ (Romans 10:1). Religious people misunderstand the righteousness of Jesus and the grace of God. In Romans 11, Paul dwells on God's mercy to both Jews and Gentiles.

Romans 11:1-10 explicates God's plan that is personal, progressing, and permanent.

God's Plan Is Progressing.

Saved people who feel alone can be assured that God's faithfulness always gives rise to a remnant. (See Romans 9:6-11, 23-24, 27-29; and 10:11-13.) In both the age of Law and the age of the Church, God provides Himself with witnesses. He uses our influence and testimony as believers to do this. Though we are not prophets, we are called priests and future rulers of the world. Ours are the beautiful feet that bring the good news of the Gospel (Romans 10:15). In God's eternal plan, He intends to use you right where you are.

The remnant is born of God's grace (Romans 11:5-6).

"The sparing of a remnant is inseparably related to the choice of God, and this choice was made according to His grace."

"The very fact of God's choice excludes the possibility of His desertion of that choice."

"The remnant has its origin not in the quality of those saved but in the saving action of God."

God's Plan Is Permanent (Romans 11:7-10).

Paul references Isaiah 29, Deuteronomy 29, and Psalm 69 to highlight the many compelling opportunities Israel had to submit to the Lord. Israel had seen, heard, and knew God's power and His choice, but they still rejected Him (Romans 10:16-19). The word for "hardened" conveys the image of a broken bone that has over-calcified in the healing process. "Stupor" brings to mind a calloused hand that can no longer feel when it is poked or pricked. Despite the spiritual hardening of their hearts, there is still opportunity for religious people to be saved, even until they draw their last breath!

Paul uses Old Testament references because they are very visible examples. The Israelites' senses were confronted by pillars of fire, water from a rock, and manna from heaven. In our day, the life testimony of Christians is the visible representation of God's power. (See 2 Corinthians 3:7-11.) How does God arouse the senses of unbelievers through you?

Application Points

  • God uses our influence and testimony as believers to provide Himself with witnesses. In His eternal plan, God intends to use you right where you are. Who are the religious and irreligious people around you who you can share Christ with?
  • The visible representation of God's power today is seen in the life testimony of Christians. Can unbelievers see God's power through you?