Paul labors in Romans 9-11 to answer two questions: “[Has] the word of God has failed[?]” (9:6) “Has God rejected his people?” (11:1) He answers these in at least six ways:
1. “Children of the promise” benefit from God’s promises. It is not enough to simply be “children of the flesh.” (9:8) “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” (9:6)
2. God has always had a purpose in unconditionally electing individuals *out of* Israel, independent of human decisions. “In order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls… So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” (9:12,16)
3. As prophesied, “Israel has stumbled over the stumbling stone,” Christ. How so? “They did not pursue [righteousness] by faith, but as if it were based on works.” (9:32)
4. Israel has heard the message, but stubbornly rejected it (10:14-18). They have rebelled en masse. They have what they need for faith (hearing the word), but still refuse to believe.
5. The salvation of Gentile believers was prophesied. “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” (10:20) “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” (9:25)
6. God’s plan to eventually save ethnic Israel is roundabout: God has hardened Israel to bring salvation to the Gentiles. When the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in”, the Jews will be jealous, and this will lead to the mass conversion of Israel. In this way, God will save the elect of both Jews and Gentiles, and will fulfill his special promises to ethnic Israel. (Romans 11)
– God’s word has not failed, but has been fulfilled.
– God’s purpose in unconditional election unstoppably continues.
– God justifies both the Jew and Gentile by faith, not by works.
– God is still fulfilling his plan to bring ethnic Israel to faith.
Paul ends with an overflow of worship: 11:33-36. This God is exhaustible in wisdom. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”