When you were a child, did you ever make a promise? Did you say, “If you do this or that, I promise to repay you”? Maybe you said to your parents, “I promise to clean my room”, even though it was just because you wanted to go out with your friends.
This habit typically continues in our adult life as well. We promise our bosses to do better, when they say we aren’t doing a good job. We make promises to God in fear that He might discipline us so harshly that we may not be able to handle it.
The human condition is one that protects itself from danger. It is a condition that we inherit from our parents. In fact, if you watch how children interact, you will find out that as soon as they are able to communicate in sentences, they will say, “I promise….PLEASE” for almost everything just to get what they want. So how does God feel about promises? Does God promise us things just for His wants?
Romans 11:25-32 speak about promises that God made that are considered irrevocable. This basically means that no matter what people think or what they do, these promises do not and will not change. Here is the passage:
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
‘The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.’
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
Why would Paul write to the church in Rome about Israel? At that time, the Gentile believers were being inundated with various teachings. One of those teachings was about circumcision. There was a group of Jewish believers that taught circumcision was required for salvation. Another group taught that the time of the Jews salvation was over and only Gentiles could be saved. Yet another group taught to follow the teachers rather than the Scriptures. All of this caused confusion and tension between various believers.
Paul was not only taught by Gamaliel (still considered to be the wisest of all rabbis), but was also a Roman citizen. Paul had gone to Rome to spread the Gospel. As Paul understood Roman law as well as the Mosaic laws, he was in the best position settle this argument.
He starts out by mentioning that no one should be ignorant on this subject. Everyone needs to understand what he was about to teach. Paul wanted to ensure all people had a clear, cut understanding of the position of both Israelites and Gentiles.
Israel has been hardened to the Gospel “for a time”, not forever. One day, Israel will recognize her Messiah and return to Him. When will this happen? After the last Gentile becomes a believer.
“Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” – Romans 11:26a
There will come a time when Gentiles will no longer become believers. Only God knows how many and we must recognize that our time is short. Therefore, it is essential for all of us to share Christ with those who haven’t heard yet. We know from Scripture that there will be representation from “every nation and language”and that the number of those people cannot be counted by man. However, there are a specific number of Gentiles that will be saved. Once that occurs, Israel’s eyes will be cleared and she will understand who her Messiah really is.
What I found interesting in this passage was the fact Paul says, “…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”. WHAT A PROMISE! No matter what we think or do, God’s gifts cannot be returned, destroyed or forgotten. They are irrevocable! But it gets even better.
Paul explains that God allows the evil in this world to happen because He desires to show His mercy. “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their (Israel’s) disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy n them all.”
When we sin, we prove this Scripture over and over again. Is this to say we should continue in sin? Absolutely not! In fact, understanding this and taking it to heart should draw us closer to the Scripture and away from sin. In fact, when we see the sin happening around the world, we should rejoice because God is showing His mercy by not annihilating everyone of us.
One day Israel will recognize who their Savior is and we as Gentiles should not think of ourselves any more highly than them. We should desire to share the Gospel with those of Abraham’s decent as to complete the task we have been given…to share the Gospel with everyone.
Remember, God’s promises are irrevocable. They can never be changed. God bless and encourage someone today.