Last week we shared the
powerful message of God in
which the apostle Paul
discussed at some length the
concern of how the original
plan for the Jewish people had
failed. We read that God had
remained faithful to His
covenant promise to the
descendants of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob. We also read about the four evidences
that Paul presents to confirm the truth that God
not had rejected Israel, rather it was the
other way around.

Paul clearly stated that he was deeply concerned
for the salvation of the Israelites, in fact he said
that it was his heart’s desire and earnest prayer
to God that they may be saved. Yet they had
rejected God and now He was expanding His
work with the people of the other nations that
were really the original mission field that God had
given Israel. The Jewish people had not reached
out to their neighbors with the message of the
Messiah and now God was ready to appeal in a
different way that they become part of
His family as well.

In Romans 11 we see Paul using the metaphor of
the dead branches representing the Israelites
that were being broken off to make room for a
‘wild olive shoot’ to be grafted in among the
others. In this way God was sharing that there
was room in His heart and there were nutrients in
His vine to provide life and salvation to those who
had been His people as well as those who would
come to believe on Him through the
Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Even though the message from the apostle made
it clear that the Gentiles represented new growth,
new branches, the Gentiles should not get
arrogant and think that they had replaced the
Israelites. God wanted these two groups who, in
the congregations in Rome, each felt that they
were better than the other, to understand that He
reserved the privilege, even the right, to forgive
the Jews individually and reconnect them once
again to the vine.

As we transitioned to chapter 12, we see that the
big picture of the people groups that Paul has
identified in this discussion would never be able
to be saved as a group. The truth is that God has
always been focused on individuals. The kingdom
of God, the Israel of God, is comprised of a collection
of many individuals who have heard, and
accepted, His gift of salvation. God has always
used the ‘one-person-at-a-time’
model of kingdom growth.

Warmly, Pastor Phil