Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“25 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. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”
In this passage, you’ll notice the word “mystery.” It’s a term Paul used a lot (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:1, 7; 4:1; 15:51; Eph. 1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 6:19; Col. 1:26, 27; 2:2; 4:3; 1 Tim. 3:9, 16). It refers to a truth that has been “hidden” from God’s people in the past, but has now been disclosed in the gospel. In the present context, the mystery refers to “God’s saving activity toward Israel.” God had not gone back on His promises made to His ancient people, so that raises the question of what is the mystery disclosed to Paul here? Doug Moo says the mystery unfolds in three clauses: Israel has experienced a hardening in part…until the full number of the Gentiles has come in…and so all Israel will be saved.
So how is Israel to be saved? The same way every person is saved; Israel’s salvation would be on the same basis as anyone else. That is…by responding in faith to the forgiveness made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Beyond the current period of Israel’s unbelief, there would come a time when believing Jews would turn to faith in Christ.
When we read the passage, it can be hard to wrap our heads around what was going on here and what Paul was saying about this mystery. I think it is helpful to read R.C Sproul’s summary of what Paul said:
God begins with the Jewish nation as His chosen people. The Jewish nation, in large measure, falls into apostasy; the olive tree that God cultivated becomes rotten and many branches are cut off. God doesn’t cut down the tree, but He grafts in the wild olive branches. He brings Gentiles into the community of faith and He has a definite number of such. When the last wild olive branch is grafted on to the tree, then God is going to do something again with the original tree.
Know this…there is great debate among theologians as to who is the true Israel. Let me caution you to not get paralyzed by this debate. Instead, look at what we do know: God chose the nation Israel, and He has never rejected it. He also chose the church, through Jesus Christ, and He will never reject it either. To be clear, we are not saying that all Jews or all church members will be saved. It is possible to be Jewish or to belong to a church without ever responding in faith. 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.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.