Vs. 5, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Previously, we read that Israel has stumbled over the rock of Christ (Romans 9:33). The nation has chosen to turn away from God’s promises. However, God did not abandon the Israelites in their Paul’s present time. There would be a remnant (vs. 1-10) of people that still trusted in God. Some had felt that God had forsaken the Jews, but Paul wanted to make sure they understood that was certainly not the case. In fact, God would use their hardened hearts to bring salvation to the Gentiles and return the Israelites back to Him as the future unfold (vs. 11-24). God will use the church and eventually, the remnant of Israel will return when Christ comes back! Paul uses two imageries (dough and olive tree) to illustrate God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel. The olive tree is a important reminder to both Jew and Gentile that the boasting and arrogance against each other needs to stop. Paul elaborates on the mystery of God’s salvation plan (vs. 25-36). God chose Israel to be a blessing to all nations and that is at work even today. But, He has not forgotten Israel. There are differing interpretations regarding what Paul meant when he stated, “all Israel will be saved” (vs. 26). I believe that Paul is talking about the Jews who are living and put their faith in Jesus when He returns. In closing (vs. 33-36), all Paul could do now is to share a song of praise for God’s sovereignty!
Regarding application…Spiritual Pride. Vs. 18, “do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” Paul was speaking in the context of Jews and Gentiles attitudes towards each other. There was a danger in the early church for division with the two groups. While the Gentile were growing in faith, they needed to remember that the root (Israelite patriarchs) was the reason that salvation also came to them. When I think about the church today, an easy comparison is the older generation vs. the younger generation. There is always the danger for spiritual pride and superiority when it comes to how we live and grow in the church. The differences in culture can be nearly like that of Jew and Gentile. The older generation of the church has their ways of doing worship, serving, etc. while the younger generation has new ways of doing things. Let us not fall into this prideful way of thinking. Take time this week to be thankful for our differences and support each other in the church!