Did God Reject His People?—Romans 11:1
"I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin" (Romans 11:1)
At the start of chapter 11, Paul asks an important question given the previous two chapters, did God reject his people? Did he finally get fed up at their obstinacy and hard heartedness? Was their rejection of His Son the last straw whereby he gave up on them? Paul's answer, absolutely not, may it never be!
Paul's response to this question was an emphatic no! In fact, the Greek words he used for this statement were the strongest meaning he could apply, indicating that it was far from the truth in case anyone tried to misinterpret what he was saying. By no means, literally meant there is an entire absence of possibility that God would reject His people. The King James Bible translated it as, "God forbid". It is inconceivable because these are the people that he foreknew since the beginning of time. He marked out and appointed them from the foundation of the world to be his chosen people. So it goes against God's entire nature to even consider the possibility that he would reject them after choosing them.
The book of Samuel gives us some insight into this. "For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own" ( I Samuel 12:22 ). We learn two important truths through this verse. First, it was God's pleasure to create a people for himself. Secondly, God won't reject His people for the sake of His name. His name carries the weight of who he is. His name is great and greatly to be praised. In fact his name is so wonderful that is was given to Jesus to be the name above every name. If God uses His name to exalt, honor and glorify Jesus because of the completeness of his redemptive work, then his name holds incredible power. Jesus is the only name given under heaven whereby we can be saved ( Acts 4:12 ). So for the sake of it, he will never reject Israel or those he chooses.
Paul uses his own testimony to validate his statement." I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin" ( Romans 11:1 ). Paul described himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews ( Philippians 3:5 ). He knew first hand that God did not reject his people because he had accepted the message of grace and he saw multitudes of people, both Jews and Gentiles, come to the Lord when he preached. Paul was speaking from firsthand knowledge that God still called the Jews. Jesus said that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel first and foremost ( Matthew 15:24 ). This testified to the fact "that God's gifts and calls are irrevocable" ( Romans 11:29 ).
The Jews must come to God the same way we do, through faith in Jesus. This has not changed. In fact they always looked forward to the Messiah for salvation. This was God's promise to Israel, it had nothing to do with the Law which came 430 years later. ( Galatians 3:17-18 ). David also saw that God would justify them apart from works and this is why he said, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit" ( Psalm 32:11-2; Romans 4:6-8 ). David saw the righteousness that came through Christ and called those who lived after the time of Jesus blessed, happy and to be envied. This promise was opened to the Gentiles as well, but it came through Israel, in the form of God's first born son, that the entire world would be blessed through them.
It is marvelous to know that God does not change his mind ( James 1:17 ). Those he has called he will not forsake. His salvation is open to all and to all who receive him, he gives them the right to be called children of God ( John 1:12 ). And we can rest assured that nothing can separate us from His love because of what Christ Jesus did for us ( Romans 9:38-39 ). Today, I pray that this message will settle in your heart and provide you assurance through Christ Jesus our Lord, amen!
Posted in Romans 11