Romans 11:30

The apostle has cautioned them not to be high-minded because of any seeming preference shown to them; he now guards against their gross speculations as to the nature of Israel's rejection by setting forth emphatically its true character and intent. And in so doing he takes also a bird's-eye view of the religious history and destinies of the world, especially as regards the mutual relations of Jews and Gentiles. We have here the religious dualism and universalism of the natural history of mankind.

I. THE DUALISM. As Godet very strikingly says, "The entire course of the religious history of the world is determined by the antagomsm created among mankind by the calling of Abraham, between a people specially destined by God to receive his revelations, and the other nations given over to themselves. From that moment (Genesis 12.) there begin to be described those two immense curves which traverse the ages of antiquity in opposite directions, and which, crossing one another at the advent of Christianity, are prolonged from that period in inverse directions, and shall terminate by uniting and losing themselves in one another at the goal of history."

1. The early period of the history of the world, after the call of Abraham, consisted of the contrast between believing Israel and the unbelieving nations. The Gentiles, as the beginning of the Epistle reminded us, were given over to their ignorance and sin. Why? Because they "were disobedient to God." Theirs was a negative discipline to fit them for the reception of the truth. They were "shut up unto disobedience," that they might be prepared to receive unmerited mercy at the hands of God. And the discipline did its work. For them there came a "fulness of the times." They became sick of their own endeavours after wisdom and righteousness, and when Christ was preached unto them they received him. How had it been with the Jews? They were chosen by God to receive his truth, and the preparations for his salvation, in trust for the world. Theirs was a positive discipline. But the same sinful nature was in them as in the Gentiles, and it operated against the truth. They became hardened. Their very privileges became a snare to them. And at last, the "fulness of the times" having arrived for them also, when their own Christ came unto them, they received him not!

2. The later period of the world's history, after Christ, consisted of a contrast, which itself was in contrast with the former one. The Jews were given over, are given over still, to their hardness of unbelief. They are the stoutest opponents of the gospel. They are "enemies." God was compelled to cast them off, that the gospel which they refused might be set free for the acceptance of the world. And the Gentiles are reaping the benefits of their rejection still. Not as dogs, eating the crumbs from the children's table, but themselves admitted to the forsaken festal board.

II. THE UNIVERSALISM. The dualism shall not always last; God is preparing the way for the religious fusion of all the peoples of the world; they shall become one in Christ.

1. The gospel which the Jews despised, and the salvation of their own Saviour, is leavening the Gentile world; the nations, one by one, are passing out of heathendom into Christendom. Apart from the question of the conversion to true spiritual religion of individuals, the world is being won for Christ.

2. But what of Israel? "The fulness of the Gentiles" shall "come in; and so all Israel shall be saved." Oh, the strange irony of history! By the agency of the Israelites the world should have been won; now by the example and agency of Gentiles the Israelites shall be won. Yes; the hardening was but "in part," some being believers from the first; but likewise only temporary - "until." For they are still the people fitted by their gifts for God's great work, and therefore his call is not revoked. And the very working of their disobedience, as in the case of the heathen nations once, is but to fit them to receive his grace. And according to their own prophecies the Deliverer shall come, and "from Jacob" ungodliness shall be turned away. So then God will "have mercy upon all." Let us learn his ways of judgment. He will give us up to our sins, if we persist in cherishing them, till we repent. But let us learn also his marvellous love: repenting, he will receive us freely! - T.F.L.

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy.
1. Promote humility.

2. Awaken gratitude.

3. Soften our censures.

4. Strengthen our hopes of others.

(T. Robinson, D.D.)


1. Unmerited.

2. Free.

3. Through the unbelief of Israel.


1. As an expression of gratitude.

2. A debt of justice.

3. A Christian duty.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Observe —

I. THE MYSTERIOUS WAY IS WHICH GOD HAS DISPENSED HIS BLESSINGS TO MANKIND — first the Jew, then the Gentile; all Israel, then the fulness of the Gentiles. The mysteriousness of this plan — delay, partial bestowment, transfer, final restoration.


1. To provoke the Jews to jealousy.

2. To provoke the Christian world to love.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

The argument is taken from the like dealing of God with the Gentiles. The impiety of the Gentiles was no impediment to their mercy, neither shall the infidelity of the Jews to theirs.


1. Forget not what thou wert, for we have all fun the race of the prodigal son. It is God's grace if it be otherwise with thee now. Be thankful. How if God had taken thee away in thy sins? Let this bind thee to thy good behaviour for ever (1 Timothy 1:15; cf. Titus 3:8).

2. Faith is a sweet mercy, so is the Word of God, the means of that faith. Alas for them which, having the means of faith, yet contemn the same!

3. Sin breeds sorrow, and many times sorrow kills the sin which bred it, as a worm breeding in timber consumes it. So the sin of the Jews works to the good of the Gentiles by the goodness of God. calls the sin of Adam happy, because it was the occasion of salvation; so in some sort may we say of the unbelief of the Jews.

4. God forbid that we should lightly esteem the grace God offers us, it coming unto us at so dear a rate as is the casting off of His people.

5. When we were infidels, God showed us mercy; much more will He be merciful to us now we believe.


1. There is yet mercy for the Jews, by the example of the like mercy to the Gentiles. But it is now sixteen hundred years ago since they were cast off; is it likely that after so long time they should be called? Yes; for the Gentiles lay longer under their infidelities, yet at last received grace.

2. Faith is not in the power of man, nor can any means effect it without God's blessing. One would think that this long affliction of the Jews might make them cry peccavi, beside other means God hath afforded them. In trouble, then, pray it may be sanctified to thy profit. Pray also for a blessing on the Word, else it will be unprofitable, though the preacher were a son of thunder.

3. Carry thyself meekly toward a Jew, and toward unbelievers among ourselves, considering thyself, who wert in the same condemnation. Judge not thy neighbour for damned; He that converted thee can in His good time convert him also. Play the physician to thy neighbour's soul; show him of the mercy thou hast received, that he also may be stirred up to seek to Him who is merciful. God gave Paul consolation in distress, that he might comfort others; so if He give thee knowledge, faith, etc., use them in like manner.

4. Who, then, is the better for thy gifts? The Jew compasseth sea and land to make a proselyte. The Jesuits wind themselves like serpents into every place to make a papist. Drunkards and other ungodly persons seek to draw others to their practices.

5. Let the Jew follow the faith of the Gentile, so do thou the example of good Christians among whom thou livest. It is a great furtherance to godliness to have an example to the rule. It is a help to the scholar to have a copy to write by, but a greater furtherance to his profiting to see his master make the letters.

(Elnathan Parr, B.D.)

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all
I. How?

1. By nature.

2. By providence — first the Gentile, then the Jew.

3. By the appointment of eternal justice.


1. That God's mercy.

2. To all.

3. Might be more gloriously manifested.


1. By convincing man of his sinfulness and utter helplessness.

2. By preparing him for the reception of mercy.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. That their salvation might be manifestly seen to be by grace.

2. That self-righteous boasting might be excluded.

3. That men might duly appreciate the blessings of His redemptive love.

4. That scope might be afforded for the full display of His mercy.

(C. Neil, M.A.)

Here is an elegant similitude. Men unconverted are prisoners — God the Judge, unbelief the prison, the devil the gaoler, the law the sergeant, and natural corruption the fetters.

I. GOD HATH SHUT UP ALL IN UNBELIEF. This is the common condition of all men (Romans 3:9, 19, 23; Galatians 3:22).

1. Paul hath in the passage of this business ten times told us of our miserable condition by nature. Here we are poor sinners; it is our part to take knowledge of our corrupt nature.

2. Great is the misery that accompanies imprisonment, restraint of liberty, hunger, cold, shame, chains, but no dungeon more loathsome than an unbelieving heart. Oh that we could be sensible of it, that we might sigh to God for deliverance, as did the Israelites in Egypt. When a man is arrested, what lamenting among his friends: but our very souls are imprisoned in the worst of prisons, under the worst of gaolers, and yet we are merry, as though it were but a trifle.

3. We may know whether we be yet in this prison by two things.(1) By faith in God. Hast thou this? If not, there needs no jury to find thee guilty: thou art in the very bottom of the dungeon. But thou sayest there is a God. Thy life condemns thee, for thou actest as if there were no God.(2) By faith in His Word. The Scripture threatens ungodly men with the plagues of God, and promiseth eternal life to the godly. Did men believe this, durst they run on in all profaneness?


1. Our salvation is of mere mercy, but it is a hard thing to be brought to acknowledge it. The Gentiles were 2,000 years before they could learn this lesson, and the Jews have been 1,600 about it, and yet have not learned it; yea, there are many amongst us that cannot say this lesson right. Most men hope to be saved by their prayers and good serving God; we are loth to lose the commendation of our own goodness.

2. Jews and Gentiles should live together, seeing they are both in one prison for one end, and set free by one and the same mercy.

3. If any be set free, it is by the mercy of God, who hath the key of our unbelieving hearts, doth open and shut them at His pleasure. As a man committed by the king can be set free by none but the king, so God committed us, and none can set us free but Himself. Cry, therefore, to the Lord for mercy.

4. There are two notes whereby we may discern whether we be released out of the prison or no.(1) Our joy. A liberated prisoner leaps and dances, so as no ground will hold him; so birds and beasts escaping from their restraint scud about, as sensible of the sweetness of liberty.(2) Our carefulness not to commit anything that may bring us into such bondage. So he that believeth the pardon of sin will for ever hate sin. For the most part, prisoners are of wicked behaviour; so if thy conversation be lewd, it is a manifest sign thou art not yet delivered.

(Elnathan Parr, B.D.)

Benjamin, David, Elias, Elijah, Jacob, Paul, Romans
Rome, Zion
Believe, Believed, Disobedience, Disobedient, Formerly, Got, Indeed, Kindness, Mercy, Objects, Obtained, Past, Received, Result, Rule, Shown, Turning, Unbelief, Yet
1. God has not cast off all Israel.
7. Some were elected, though the rest were hardened.
16. There is hope of their conversion.
18. The Gentiles may not exult over them;
26. for there is a promise of their salvation.
33. God's judgments are unsearchable.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Romans 11:1-36

     4492   olive

Romans 11:25-32

     5325   gifts
     7135   Israel, people of God
     7505   Jews, the

Romans 11:28-32

     6687   mercy, God's

Romans 11:28-36

     6639   election, to salvation

Romans 11:30-32

     8718   disobedience

June 19. "Who Hath First Given to Him, and it Shall be Recompensed unto Him Again" (Rom. xi. 35).
"Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again" (Rom. xi. 35). The Christian women of the world have it in their power, by a very little sacrifice, to add millions to the treasury of the Lord. Beloved sisters, have you found the joy of sacrifice for Jesus? Have you given up something that you might give it to Him? Are you giving your substance to Jesus? He will take it, and He will give you a thousandfold more. I should rather be connected with a work founded on great sacrifice
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Trinity Sunday the Article of Faith on the Trinity.
Text: Romans 11, 33-36. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen. THE ARTICLE OF FAITH ON THE TRINITY. 1. This epistle is read today because the festival
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Trinity Sunday the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Second Sermon. Text: Romans 11, 33-36. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.[1] [Footnote 1: This sermon was first printed in 1535, at Wittenberg.] 1. This festival requires us to instruct the people in the dogma of the Holy Trinity, and to strengthen both memory and faith concerning it. This is the reason why we take up the subject once more. Without proper instruction and a sound foundation in this regard, other dogmas cannot be rightly and successfully treated. The other festivals of the year present
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Spiritual Blindness.
"As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear."--ROMANS xi. 8. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel."--ROMANS xi. 25. It is a sad and painful reflection, and one which is continually forced upon us as we read the New Testament, that the long training and preparation of the Jews brought them at the last not to the acceptance but to the rejection of Jesus. They had been taught, generation after generation, that they
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

Christianity Requires the Temper of Childhood.
MARK x. 15.--"Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." These words of our Lord are very positive and emphatic, and will, therefore, receive a serious attention from every one who is anxious concerning his future destiny beyond the grave. For, they mention an indispensable requisite in order to an entrance into eternal life. "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man

The Hardening of Nations.
"The election hath obtained it, and the rest were hardened."-- Rom. xi. 7. St. Paul's word, at the head of this article, is strikingly impressive, and its content exceedingly rich and instructive. It clearly announces the fact that the hardening is not exceptional or occasional, but universal, affecting all, who, being in contact with the divine Love, are not saved by it. The last limitation is necessary, for of the heathen it can not be said that they are hardened. Only they can be hardened who
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Of Holy virginity
Of Holy Virginity. [De Virginitate.] Translated by Rev. C. I. Cornish, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford Retr. ii. 23. "After I had written on the Good of Marriage,' it was expected that I should write on Holy Virginity; and I did not delay to do so: and that it is God's gift, and how great a gift, and with what humility to be guarded, so far as I was able I set forth in one volume. This book begins," &c. c1. We lately put forth a book "of the Good of Marriage," in which also we admonished and admonish
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Now this Election the Apostle Demonstrating to Be...
17. Now this election the Apostle demonstrating to be, not of merits going before in good works, but election of grace, saith thus: "And in this time a remnant by election of grace is saved. But if by grace, then is it no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace." [2672] This is election of grace; that is, election in which through the grace of God men are elected: this, I say, is election of grace which goes before all good merits of men. For if it be to any good merits that it is given,
St. Augustine—On Patience

History of Arian Opinions.
Arius's own sentiments; his Thalia and Letter to S. Alexander; corrections by Eusebius and others; extracts from the works of Asterius; letter of the Council of Jerusalem; first Creed of Arians at the Dedication of Antioch; second, Lucian's on the same occasion; third, by Theophronius; fourth, sent to Constans in Gaul; fifth, the Macrostich sent into Italy; sixth, at Sirmium; seventh, at the same place; and eighth also, as given above in §8; ninth, at Seleucia; tenth, at Constantinople; eleventh,
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Epistle Xliii. To Eulogius and Anastasius, Bishops.
To Eulogius and Anastasius, Bishops. Gregory to Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria, and Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch. When the excellent preacher says, As long as I am the apostle of the Gentiles I will honour my ministry (Rom. xi. 13); saying again in another place, We became as babes among you (1 Thess. ii. 7), he undoubtedly shews an example to us who come after him, that we should retain humility in our minds, and yet keep in honour the dignity of our order, so that neither should our humility be
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Beatific vision. (Continued. )
In the Beatific Vision our intellect is glorified, and our thirst for knowledge completely satisfied. Man was created with a thirst for knowledge which can never be satiated in this world. Sin, which greatly weakened and darkened his mental faculties, has not taken away his desire and love for knowledge. And the knowledge which he acquired by eating the forbidden fruit, rather increased than satisfied his thirst. But all his efforts to reach the perfection of knowledge, even in the natural order,
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

The Sovereignty of God in Operation
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). Has God foreordained everything that comes to pass? Has He decreed that what is, was to have been? In the final analysis this is only another way of asking, Is God now governing the world and everyone and everything in it? If God is governing the world then is He governing it according to a definite purpose, or aimlessly and at random? If He is governing it according to some purpose, then
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

Reprobation Asserted: Or, the Doctrine of Eternal Election and Reprobation Promiscuously Handled, in Eleven Chapters.
WHEREIN THE MOST MATERIAL OBJECTIONS MADE BY THE OPPOSERS OF THIS DOCTRINE, ARE FULLY ANSWERED; SEVERAL DOUBTS REMOVED, AND SUNDRY CASES OF CONSCIENCE RESOLVED. BY JOHN BUNYAN OF BEDFORD, A LOVER OF PEACE AND TRUTH. 'What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.'--Romans 11:7 London: Printed for G. L., and are to be sold in Turn-stile-alley, in Holbourn. Small 4to, 44 pages. EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. This valuable tract
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Original and the Actual Relation of Man to Law.
ROMANS vii. 10.--"The commandment which, was ordained to life, I found to be unto death." The reader of St. Paul's Epistles is struck with the seemingly disparaging manner in which he speaks of the moral law. In one place, he tells his reader that "the law entered that the offence might abound;" in another, that "the law worketh wrath;" in another, that "sin shall not have dominion" over the believer because he is "not under the law;" in another, that Christians "are become dead to the law;" in
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man

"Wash You, Make You Clean; Put Away the Evil of Your Doings from Before Mine Eyes; Cease to do Evil,"
Isaiah i. 16.--"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil," &c. There are two evils in sin,--one is the nature of it, another the fruit and sad effect of it. In itself it is filthiness, and contrary to God's holiness; an abasing of the immortal soul; a spot in the face of the Lord of the creatures, that hath far debased him under them all. Though it be so unnatural to us, yet it is now in our fallen estate become, as it were, natural, so that
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

God's Works of Providence
Rom. xi. 36.--"For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever, Amen."--Psal. ciii. 19.--"The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens and his kingdom ruleth over all."--Matt. x. 29.--"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." There is nothing more commonly confessed in words, than that the providence of God reaches to all the creatures and their actions, but I believe there is no point of religion
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Because of Its Bearing Upon the Gentiles.
This aspect of our subject has not received the attention which it deserves. It has been assumed by some that the present dispensation is the time when God is blessing the Gentiles and that in the Millennium the Jews will be the special objects of God's favor. It is true that in the Millennium Israel shall enter into the enjoyment of their inheritance and that at that time they shall occupy the chief position, governmentally, among the nations, but it is a mistake to suppose that the Gentiles will
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

Christ a Complete Saviour:
OR, THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST, AND WHO ARE PRIVILEGED IN IT. BY JOHN BUNYAN Advertisement by the Editor. However strange it may appear, it is a solemn fact, that the heart of man, unless prepared by a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, rejects Christ as a complete Saviour. The pride of human nature will not suffer it to fall, as helpless and utterly undone, into the arms of Divine mercy. Man prefers a partial Saviour; one who had done so much, that, with the sinner's aid, the work might be
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Some General Uses.
Before we come to speak of some particular cases of deadness, wherein believers are to make use of Christ as the Life, we shall first propose some useful consequences and deductions from what hath been spoken of this life; and, I. The faith of those things, which have been mentioned, would be of great use and advantage to believers; and therefore they should study to have the faith of this truth fixed on their hearts, and a deep impression thereof on their spirits, to the end, that, 1. Be their case
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

The Work of the Holy Spirit Distinguished.
"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."--Gen. i. 2. What, in general, is the work of the Holy Spirit as distinguished from that of the Father and of the Son? Not that every believer needs to know these distinctions in all particulars. The existence of faith does not depend upon intellectual distinctions. The main question is not whether we can distinguish the work of the Father from that of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but whether we have experienced their gracious operations.
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

I Fear, I Say, Greatly for Thee, Lest...
39. I fear, I say, greatly for thee, lest, when thou boastest that thou wilt follow the Lamb wheresoever He shall have gone, thou be unable by reason of swelling pride to follow Him through strait ways. It is good for thee, O virgin soul, that thus, as thou art a virgin, thus altogether keeping in thy heart that thou hast been born again, keeping in thy flesh that thou hast been born, thou yet conceive of the fear of the Lord, and give birth to the spirit of salvation. [2142] "Fear," indeed, "there
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Concerning the Ministry.
Concerning the Ministry. As by the light or gift of God all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed, so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every true minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied in the work of the ministry; and by the leading, moving, and drawing hereof ought every evangelist and Christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labour and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

The Angel's Message and Song
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD . And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

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