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Wisdom of God

God exercises sovereignty with wisdom

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them,
and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
do not boast against the branches.
But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root,
but the root supports you.

Romans 11:16-18

If the raw firstfruit grain is holy, then the lump of dough made from the grain is also holy. In the same way, if the root of the tree is holy, then the branches will also be holy. This illustrates the reality that because God is holy, His people are also holy. They are not holy because of their inherent holiness, but because they are God’s. Furthermore, as olive branches receive the fruit-producing richness that flows from the root of the olive tree, so His people receive rich goodness from Him.

To the present day, the nation of Israel is outside the spiritual richness of God; like branches broken from a tree, they have been broken off from Him. In contrast, believing Gentiles enjoy the richness of God; they are like wild olive branches grafted into a cultivated olive tree producing good fruit. But their ability to produce the good fruits of righteousness comes from their connection to the Root, not from some inherent goodness. Therefore, they have no grounds to boast that they are better than the Jews.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? Romans 11:19-24

Sadly, some Gentiles do boast, saying that God cut the Jews off because of their wickedness against their Messiah. But remember, the Jew’s standing before God was not based on their works. Therefore, they were cut off because of their unbelief, not because of their evil works.  So if they turned from unbelief to belief, they could (and would) be restored as God’s people.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27

In fact, God has revealed a coming day when He will restore Israel to Himself. While it is true that they are currently blinded so they do not understand the Word of God, the truth remains that God has not finished with them. They are still His people and He will restore them in a coming day.

Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:28-29

While it is true that they are enemies of the believing remnant, the truth remains that they are the nation whom God has chosen. Remember, their election was not based on works or faith. Furthermore, God is not a man that He should change His mind (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29), or permanently take back the gifts and commission He has given. Thus, their current state of blindness cannot be permanent. God has a purpose for them and is working with wisdom to accomplish it. Consider the greatness of His wisdom:

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:30-32

Before the time of Christ, the heathen Gentiles were rebellious against God. But, although they were historically rebellious, they now have received mercy. And how did they come to receive mercy? It was through the Jews’ rebellion against their Messiah when they put Him to death, for that death provided a salvation specifically for disobedient sinners. As disobedient sinners, the Gentiles were fully qualified to receive the mercy of that salvation.

At the time of Christ, the Jews would not have been considered to be a nation practicing disobedience towards God. They did not practice idolatry. They generally kept the commands and rituals of the Law. But they lost their status of general obedience when they rejected their Messiah and put Him to death. After that, they were counted as disobedient. But their disobedience meant that they were qualified to receive mercy because the salvation was specifically for the disobedient. This meant they could receive the same mercy that the Gentiles received!

This is what God is doing with Israel! He has not cast them aside but has blinded them, reducing them to the same level of ignorance as the Gentiles, and removed them from the position of a holy nation. So there is now no difference between them and the disobedient Gentiles. Now they perfectly qualify for God’s salvation for the disobedient. Now God can show mercy to everyone!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
“For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

Do you see God’s wisdom? He took the Jews’ disobedience and provided a salvation for the disobedient Gentiles. But because it was a salvation for the disobedient, that meant the Jews, who are now disobedient, qualified to receive salvation.

End of Romans 9-11 Series

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