Romans 11:28-36

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

June 9, 1999


Paul has been talking about how salvation comes to those who believe (Rom.10:9-11).

We’ve been looking at the question, "Is God finished with the Jews then?" The answer has been a resounding NO!!!

The Jews have only been temporarily "blinded" (vs. 7,25), but there will be a day, soon, when God will once again turn to the nation of Israel as His chosen people.

:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

electionekloge – the act of picking out, choosing; of the act of God's free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons; a thing or person chosen

belovedagapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love

Even though the antagonistic Jews were of great harm to the early church, there is a sense that they are still loved very much by God.


Love the Jews.

I can’t imagine why in the world people would hate God’s chosen people. Jesus was Jewish. All the apostles were Jewish.

The reason there is anti-Semitism is because there is a person fuelling it. Satan.

(Rev 12:13 NLT) And when the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the child.

:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

without repentanceametameletos – not repentant of, unregretted.

There are two Greek words that are translated "repentance". One word means "a change of choice" (metanoia), the other means "an emotional change" (metamelomai), the word used here. We could perhaps say, "God isn’t sorry about these gifts".

(Rom 11:29 NIV) for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

(Rom 11:29 NLT) For God's gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

giftscharisma – a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own; the gift of divine grace; spiritual gifts

callingklesis – a calling, calling to; a call, invitation; of the divine invitation to embrace salvation of God

God had called Israel as a nation. Even in their unbelief, God’s call hasn’t changed.


Eternal security.

I know that last week, in this very same passage, I showed you a verse that could certainly be understood to teach that it’s possible to lose your salvation:

(Rom 11:21-22 KJV) For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. {22} Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

And now, here, in the very same passage, with the same context, we see a verse that seems to say that once God calls you, He doesn’t change His mind. Interesting.

(John 10:27-29 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: {28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. {29} My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

God hasn’t stopped loving you. Nobody can take you out of His hand. Nobody.


God’s call doesn’t change.

God’s call doesn’t change. Even if we’ve been reluctant or disobedient.

(Mat 21:28-32 KJV) But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. {29} He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. {30} And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. {31} Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. {32} For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Did the father’s call on the first son change when he said "no" to his dad? The call stayed the same, but the reward came from turning from his disobedience and doing what his father told him.

Why some backslidden Christians can still operate their spiritual gifts.

Sometimes we hear stories of how God can use a person in a wonderful way, but that they can fall away from the Lord, even while still doing their ministry. Like Jim Bakker. How could he have been operating in his spiritual gifts during the time of his scandals, when he was living such a carnal life? Because God isn’t an "Indian giver" (apologies to all Indians).

Perhaps God has had a special call on your life, but rather than follow after it, you’ve run from it. God hasn’t changed His mind.

:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

obtained mercyeleeo – to have mercy on; to help one afflicted or seeking aid; to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched; to experience mercy

your (mercy)humeteros – you, yours; to be possessed by you; to be allocated by you; proceeding from you

In other words, it could be that Paul is talking about the mercy that we’ve received from God, in that when God has shown us mercy, it might provoke them to jealousy to receive mercy too. Or, it could refer to the mercy that comes from us, in that we ought to be merciful to them, just as we’ve received mercy.


Be a vessel of mercy to the unbeliever.

We can fall into a "Christianese" mindset where the only people we talk to nicely are other Christians. We can become isolated from unbelievers to the point where we never have any contact with them.

We forget that we too at one time were a pagan heathen, just like them. Don’t forget how grateful you were to find Jesus.

God’s desire is that we would show mercy to the unbeliever. He is merciful towards them.

:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

concludedsugkleio – to shut up together, enclose; of a shoal of fishes in a net; to shut up on all sides, shut up completely

unbeliefapeitheia ("apathy") – obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the divine will

(Rom 11:32 NLT) For God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.

(Rom 11:32 NASB) For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.

God has shut them up in their stubbornness, so that when they get saved, it’s not a matter of their good works or because they somehow deserved it, but because He has shown them mercy.

Chuck Smith: "The Jews are now in unbelief of God, so that He can extend His mercy to them."

:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

There are great treasures in God’s wisdom and knowledge.

You’re walking along a path when you discover a well. You take a pebble and drop it down the well to hear it hit the bottom and find out how deep it goes. But you never hear it hit bottom. That’s because it never hits bottom. There is no bottom to the well of God’s wisdom and knowledge.

Knowledge is all about the facts. Wisdom is how you put your knowledge to work. For God, both are unlimited.

:33 how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

unsearchableanexereunetos – that cannot be searched out. From the opposite of exereunao, to search out, search anxiously and diligently. To search after, thoroughly investigate (first used to tell of a dog sniffing out something with his nose).

past finding outanexichniastos – that cannot be searched out, that cannot be comprehended; from ichnos, a footprint, track, footstep. You can’t track down God’s path.

Some of God’s ways are able to be understood:

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

You can try to get to the bottom of all God’s thoughts, but you’ll never make it. You can try and figure Him out, but the moment you think you’ve understood God, you haven’t.


God has a really big mind.

Sometimes we say to each other, "Oh, I know what you’re thinking!". You’re going to have a difficult time saying this to God. You may think you’re beginning to understand God, but chances are you’re just beginning to grasp a small, minute part of what He is.


It’s okay if you don’t understand everything.

I think that sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that we have to understand how this predestination stuff works! How can God choose me before the foundation of the world, and then I still have the free will to be able to choose Him in this life? How about eternal security? Can I lose my salvation or can’t I? How does this all work?

If you were able to understand everything about God perfectly, I would have to conclude that your God is pretty small.

If He really is the One who created the universe, don’t you think His mind is just a little bigger than ours?

Chuck Smith:

"For years I sought to reconcile divine sovereignty and human responsibility, eternal security and free moral agency. I pondered them, but I found it futile to search the judgments of God. One day in exasperation I slammed down my fist and said, "God, I cannot reconcile Your sovereignty with my responsibility!" God spoke to my heart clearly and said, "I never asked you to reconcile it. I only asked you to believe it." I've had peace ever since. I still cannot reconcile the difficulties, but I don't have to. I just accept and believe in these truths which remain to me irreconcilable."

:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

counsellorsumboulos –an adviser, counsellor

Paul quotes from:

Isaiah 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him?

A.T. Robertson: "Some men seem to feel competent for the job. "

We try sometimes, don’t we? Telling God what’s best?


God knows what He’s doing.

I think if we’re honest, sometimes we kind of question that, don’t we? Don’t we wonder sometimes if God really knows what He’s doing?

I think that sometimes we can slip into this when we’re praying. Sometimes we can sound like we’re trying to let God know just how things are, and we’re letting Him in on a little free advice, from us, of course.


Let a teacup tell it’s story:

It said, "You don't understand, I haven't always been a tea cup. There was a time when I was red and that I was clay. My master took me and he rolled me and he patted me over and over and over. I yelled out "Let me alone " but he only smiled and said, "Not yet". And then I was placed on a spinning wheel, suddenly I was spun around and around and around." Stop it I'm getting dizzy," I said. The master only nodded and said "Not yet" Then he put me in an oven, I'd never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me and I yelled and I knocked on the door and I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips. As he nodded his head he said "not yet." Finally the door did open "whew", and he put me on a shelf and I began to cool. "That's better" I said. And then suddenly he grabbed me and he brushed me and he began to paint me all over. I thought I would suffocate, I thought I would gag, the fumes were horrible . And he just smiled and said, "Not yet". And then suddenly he put me back into an oven, not the first one but one twice as hot, and I knew that I was going to suffocate.And I begged and I screamed and I yelled , and all the time I could see him through the opening, smiling and nodding his head, "not yet, not yet . And then I knew that there was no hope, I knew that I wouldn't make it . I was just ready to give up when the door opened and he took me out an he put me on a shelf .Then an hour later he came back and he handed me a mirror and he said "Look at yourself". And I did. And I said, "That can't be me, I'm beautiful ""I want you to remember," he then said, "I know that it hurt to be rolled and to be patted but if I would have left you ,you would have dried out. And I know that it made you dizzy to spin you around and around on a spinning wheel but if I had stopped you would have crumbled. And I know that it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven but if I hadn't put you there you would have cracked. And I know that the fumes were oh so bad when I brushed you and when I painted you all over, but you see , if I hadn't done that you wouldn't have hardened and there would have been no color in your life. And if I hadn't put you in that second oven you wouldn't have survived for very long. The hardness would not have held. But now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.

:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

first givenprodidomi – to give before, give first

recompensed againantapodidomi – in a good sense, to repay, requite

(Rom 11:35 NLT) And who could ever give him so much that he would have to pay it back?

Paul quotes from:

Job 41:11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay [him? whatsoever is] under the whole heaven is mine.


God doesn’t owe us anything.

It’s we who owe God.

(1 John 4:19 KJV) We love him, because he first loved us.

We can slip into thinking that because I’ve done this and that for the Lord, that the Lord now owes me a BIG favor!

There are those in the "Word Faith" circles that teach something along the lines of saying that God is somehow obligated to respond to certain things. They say that if you give to God, that God has to give back to you. There is a truth that we will reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7,8) and that if we give, it will be given back to us (Luke 6:38), but God isn’t obligated to us, He is not our debtor. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything.

:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

ofex – out of, from

He is the Source.

All things come from Him. He is the source of all things, the source of all life. There is nothing that doesn’t come from Him.

throughdia – through; by means of; the ground or reason by which something is or is not done; on account of

He is the Agent.

Everything happens through Him. He’s the reason things are done or not done.

toeis – into, unto, to, towards, for, among

He is the Goal.

All things are done for Him.

Get these things right, and you’ll go far!