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Romans 11:25-32 – The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

Summary

Among the various mysteries of God is Israel's salvation, and that in a way no one would normally expect.

Analysis

As Paul carries on his discussion in Romans 9-11, it appears most of the time that the Jewish people have forfeited their salvation by refusing to accept the gospel of Christ. But at 11:25 there is a sharp turn in the discourse. Paul speaks of a "mystery" (the Greek mystērion can also be translated "secret"), a divine secret that is being disclosed through the apostle himself. That mystery has to do with the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people. The way of salvation will not be what one might expect (righteousness through observing the law of Moses), but by God's own mercy and fidelity to the promises made by God to the patriarchs. All of humanity has been disobedient, not just the people of Israel, and God shall have mercy on all (11:32). Following the disclosure of this mystery, Paul becomes a poet (11:33-36), praising God in a beautiful doxology. It appears that the "sorrow" he expressed in Romans 9:2 has left him.

Romans 11:25-32

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters,* I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
‘Out of Zion will come the Deliverer;
   he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.’
27 ‘And this is my covenant with them,
   when I take away their sins.’
28As regards the gospel they are enemies of God* for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now* receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

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10 February 2011

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