The Jews abandoned God, either to other gods or to seeking to earn their salvation. We Gentiles today are no different; we hated and rebelled against God just like they did. And yet, what has God done? He has shown grace, He has opened blind eyes, and He has set aside a remnant for Himself. We deserve nothing, yet we have been given everything that pertains to eternal life.
God’s ways are far higher than our ways. But God’s plans are much higher, loftier than that. His plans are made in His perfect character—both wisely and graciously. It would go against His character to make a plan that was anything less than perfect.
Romans 11 is a proclamation of this. As Paul discusses Israel’s rejection of the Gospel and how the Gentiles fit into God’s redemptive plan, we are shown God’s glorious sovereignty and wisdom in the story of redemption.
The Story: Israel and the Gentiles
Paul begins this chapter with a question which forces us back to chapter 10. In chapter 10, he explains how the Gospel is received by grace alone and not works, yet the Jews sought to establish their own righteousness apart from God (Romans 10:3). From that, Paul begins chapter 11 by asking, “Has God then rejected his people?” Paul’s emphatic reply is, “By no means!” (v. 1).
Paul explains to his Gentile audience that God has not rejected His people, the Israelites, completely. God has set aside a remnant to remain faithful to Him, just as He did in the past (vs. 2-5). Just as it is among the Gentiles, God has, in His sovereignty and wisdom, predestined and elected a portion of the Jews to believe and follow Him, while the rest were hardened against Him.