I want to lay all this out on the table as clearly as I can, friends. This is complicated. It would be easy to misinterpret what’s going on and arrogantly assume that you’re royalty and they’re just rabble [isn’t that the way the nation of Israel has been treated for centuries—even by the Church?] But that is not it at all. This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary. Its effect is to open things up to all the outsiders so that we end up with a full house. Before it is all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written,
A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion;
he’ll clean house in Jacob.
And this is my commitment to my people:
removal of their sins (Romans 11:25-29)
From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God’s enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God’s overall purpose, they remain God’s oldest friends. God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. However, with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in (Romans 11:30-32)
I love the analogy! One way or another, God makes sure we experience what it is like to live outside of his love and care—why? So he can personally open the door and welcome us back in!
God’s glorious plan of salvation reveals his mercy. God has mercy for everyone. He will have mercy on Israel. When God finishes bringing in the Gentiles, he will focus his mercy on Israel. Today God is reaching out to the Gentiles. The Gospel is being preached to all of humanity. When the full numbers of the Gentiles come into the Kingdom, God will again focus on Israel.
Israel is God’s covenant people. He made promises to Israel that he intends to keep. This is important. It is vital for us to know that God never goes back on his word. He always keeps his promise.
That should encourage us. As we read God’s word, we find that there are many promises made to us. God intends to keep every single one of those promises. In fact, we are told that all of the promises of God are “yeah and amen” for us. He would never make a promise that he did not intend to keep. We should see that in his dealing with Israel. If he could take a rebellious nation and turn their rebellion into an opportunity to show mercy on the Gentiles, then we should realize that God has our best interest at heart. The picture we have of God is not of some tyrant looking to condemn—but of a loving Father looking to show mercy. God’s mercy is for all. God’s mercy is for you.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome