Introduction: Chapters 10-11 continue to take the reader deep into a discussion of how the sovereignty of God relates to the Jewish rejection of Jesus and Gentile inclusion in the church. These chapters contain some of the more difficult material in the letter, but also some of the most beautiful.
I. Paul’s Prayer for Israel (10:1-4)
A. Paul’s deep desire is to see Israel embrace the gospel of Jesus and be saved. His Jewish kinsmen are certainly zealous for God, but their enthusiasm is misguided (10:1-2).
B. They are ignorant of the way that God makes men righteous, and in trying to establish their own plan for righteousness, they rejected God’s way (10:3-4).
II. The Basis of Salvation is the Same for All (10:5-13)
A. If righteousness were ever to be attained by law-keeping alone, the requirement would be perfect obedience (10:5).
B. But righteousness that is based on faith does not require the impoosible, like bringing Jesus back to earth to finish any unfinished work. It simply trusts in what Jesus has already accomplished (10:6-10).
C. And this means of justification – faith, not merit – is the same for everyone. There is no distinction in this regard between Jew and Gentile (10:11-13).
III. Israel Has Squandered its Opportunities (10:14-21)
A. The gospel message has been made available through the sending of preachers, and the Jewish people have heard it, but they have not believed it (10:14-18).
B. Instead, the Gentiles have been the ones who have been more receptive, even though God’s benevolent hands remain open for the Jews (10:19-21).
IV. There is Still a Jewish Remnant (11:1-10)
A. Paul puts himself forward as “Exhibit A” that God has not completely abandoned the Jews. He is among the Jewish remnant who have embraced the gospel and justification by faith (11:1-6).
B. Israel, as a whole, “failed to obtain” the justification it was seeking (because they were seeking it through the law itself, not the one to whom the law pointed). Those who understood the gospel and didn’t stumble over Jesus obtained it (11:7-10).
V. The Grafting in of the Gentiles (11:11-32)
A. To illustrate the rejection of the Jews and the acceptance of the Gentiles, Paul uses a comparison that his readers would have been familiar with – the cutting off and grafting in of branches on an olive tree.
B. Paul’s hope in God’s inclusion of the Gentiles is that the Jews, in turn, would desire what the Gentiles had obtained in Christ, and eventually embrace the gospel, too (11:11-16).
C. Speaking to the Gentile Christians in Rome, Paul offers the following:
1. There were natural branches (Jews) who were broken off of the tree and wild branches (Gentiles) who were grafted in, or attached, to the tree (11:17).
2. But just because the Gentiles were grafted in, they should not show arrogance toward the Jews who had been cut off (11:18).
3. While it is true that the breaking off of the natural branches made it possible for the wild branches to be grafted in, that does not mean that the wild branches cannot be broken off, too (11:19-21).
4. God will cut off any branch that does not remain in his goodness and nourish any branch that does (11:22). The key is for each branch to keep living lives of faith.
5. What’s more, if the cut-off Jews cease their unbelief and place their trust in Jesus like the Gentiles did, they will be grafted back in (11:23-24).
6. In summary, Paul affirms many Jews hardened their hearts while many Gentiles opened theirs; but if the Jews want to be saved, it will be in the same manner that the Gentiles were saved – through “the deliverer” that came out of Zion, that is Jesus (11:25-27).
7. Though Jew and Gentile have, in a sense, switched places (from included to excluded), that doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way (11:28-32).
VI. Praise for God’s Wisdom (11:33-36)
A. After this lengthy and deep discussion of the sovereignty of God and how his plan to make men righteous has affected both Jew and Gentile, Paul erupts in words of praise for the God behind it all.
B. His wisdom and judgments are far beyond human ability to fully understand.