I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.”
Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. (Romans 11:25-29)
Earlier in this chapter, Paul warned Gentile believers not to feel superior because some Jews were rejected. Abraham’s faith is like the root of a productive tree, and the Jewish people are the tree’s natural branches. Because of faithlessness, some of the Jews have been broken off, and Gentile believers, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. Jews and Gentiles share the tree’s nourishment based on faith in God; neither can rest on heritage or culture for salvation.
Some say the phrase “And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26) means that the majority of Jews in the final generation before Christ’s return will turn to Christ for salvation. Others say that Paul is using the term Israel for the “spiritual” nation of Israel made up of everyone—Jews and Gentiles—who has received salvation through faith in Christ. Thus all Israel (or all believers) will receive God’s promised gift of salvation. Still others say that “all Israel” means Israel as a whole will have a role in Christ’s Kingdom. Their identity as a people won’t be discarded.
God chose the nation of Israel, and he has never rejected it. He also chose the church, through Jesus Christ, and he will never reject it either. This does not mean, of course, that all Jews or all church members will be saved. It is possible to belong to a nation or to an organization without ever responding in faith. But just because some people have rejected Christ does not mean that God stops working with either Israel or the church. He continues to offer salvation freely to all.
How would you describe for someone your status as one chosen by God? What does God’s provision of grace mean to you?