Romans 11

Chapter 11

The Remnant of Israel.[a] 1 I ask, then: Has God rejected his people? Of course not! I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. You surely must know what Scripture asserts in the passage about Elijah where he pleads with God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your Prophets, they have torn down your altars. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.”

4 What was God’s response to him? “I have spared for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt before Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time, there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, then it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7 What follows, then? Israel was unable to attain what it was seeking. The elect attained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of lethargy:
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
down to this very day.”

9 And David says:

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”

11 A Providential Misstep.[b] And so I ask: Have they stumbled so that they might fall? By no means! However, through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, and this has stirred them to envy. 12 Now if their transgression results in riches for the world, and their loss results in riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full participation bring!

13 Now I am addressing you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry 14 in the hope that it will arouse the jealousy of those who are of my flesh so that some might be saved. 15 For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16 The Gentiles’ Salvation.[c] If the firstfruits are holy, then so is the whole lump of dough. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in their place to share in the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over against the branches! If you start to boast, remember that it is not you who support the root but the root that supports you.

19 You will assert, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you hold your place only because of your faith. Therefore, do not rise up in pride but be filled with awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he might not spare you either.

22 Therefore, keep in mind the kindness and the severity of God: his severity toward those who fell, but his kindness to you provided that you remain deserving of that kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off, 23 while those who do not persist in their unbelief will be grafted in, since God has the power to do so again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated one, how much more easily will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

25 All Israel Will Be Saved.[d] I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brethren, lest you think yourselves too wise: this hardening that has afflicted Israel will continue only until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 This is how all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion;
he will banish godlessness from Jacob
27 And this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake. However, as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of the patriarchs. 29 For the gifts of God and his calling are irrevocable.

30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that, through the mercy shown to you, they too may receive mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all.

33 The Judgments of God Are Unfathomable.[e] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?[f]
35 Or who has given him anything
in order to receive something in return?”[g]

36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 11:1 The threat to “harden” human beings (Isa 29:10) is often cited in the New Testament in censuring seemingly irremediable human blindness (see Mt 13:14; Jn 12:40; Acts 28:26). God is not indifferent to human rejection.
  2. Romans 11:11 Everything works together to carry out God’s plan, which is to save all human beings. The Gospel, poorly accepted by a large part of Israel, has now been announced to the Gentile world. This fact should stir up the envy of the Israelites and make them take more careful notice of Christ. Paul hopes for their conversion and already foresees it as a passage from death to life, like the great resurrection of the people about which Ezekiel speaks in ch. 37.
  3. Romans 11:16 As for the Gentile converts who may be tempted to look down on their Jewish brothers, the Apostle recalls their own spiritual origins: the Church was born from the Jewish people; she is the fulfillment of the Remnant of Israel. The Gentiles were grafted like a wild olive shoot onto this olive tree. Each one of them must remember that God has called them out of love and mercy. Even in their rejection of Jesus, the Jews do not lose their quality of belonging to the chosen people.
    The lesson is always valid: no one can boast about being saved. Anti-Semitism can be nothing but a scandal in the Christian world: “We are spiritual Semites” (Pope Pius XI). The originality of the Church of Jesus consists in bringing about the unity of humankind, and first of all of the two opposed groups that are the Jews and the Gentiles (Eph 2:14-16).
  4. Romans 11:25 Prolonging the vision of the Prophets, Paul declares that the chosen people have not been definitively rejected; God does not go back on his choice. The coming of salvation remains open to the People of the Promise. The fate of Israel is not closed off from the salvation that it contributes to bring about for the profit of the Gentiles. In spite of detours of an often tragic history, the Lord continues to guide his people toward a glorious destiny in order to show that he saves his people because he loves them. The entry of the Gentiles cannot signify the exclusion of Israel; God’s mercy is for all.
  5. Romans 11:33 Having arrived at this summit where all humankind is reunited in the salvation of God, Paul cannot refrain from crying out in adoration and admiration.
  6. Romans 11:34 This citation is from the Septuagint of Isa 40:13.
  7. Romans 11:35 This citation is from an old Greek version of Job 41:3a and does not coincide with the Hebrew text of Job 41:11a.

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