( Romans 11:25-27 )
It would be easy to look upon Israel and condemn them for rejecting Jesus, but Paul said they have experienced an insensibility to the gospel on our account until the full number of Gentiles come to the Lord. Does this mean that the Jews are not saved? Paul did not want us to be unaware of this truth and although it seems difficult to understand we have been advised in the revelation of this mystery so that we will not become conceited in our position of grace.
As a whole, Israel has experienced a hardness of heart concerning Jesus. They do not see him as the promised Messiah. They are relying on the Law and what they do for God to be right with Him instead of relying on His grace. It appears that for the most part they have missed out on the long awaited Messiah. However Paul explained earlier in this passage that there was currently a remnant of Jews saved by grace ( Romans 11:5 ). Jews, who saw Jesus as the Messiah, and have put their trust solely in him.
Paul went on to explain that their rejection of Jesus blessed the entire world, because salvation was then opened up to the Gentiles where previously, they were excluded and outside the promises of God ( Romans 11:11, Romans 11:15 ). He encouraged us by telling that if their transgressions meant riches for the world, their final acceptance of the Christ would bring about a greater blessing for us ( Romans 11:12, Romans 11:15 ). Now we can understand that Israel is experiencing a temporary hardening to the truth of Christ until the full number and last ingathering of the Gentiles come in. Then, all Israel will be saved.
Does this mean the entire nation of Israel will be saved whether or not they believe in Jesus? No, it means that the temporary blindness that they are experiencing as a nation will be removed and we will see God moving mightily among them as they turn to him and put their trust in him. He will reveal to them the truth of Christ and reconcile the reality of the scriptures to them. Paul quoted from the Old Testament scripture when he said, "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins" ( Romans 11:27, Isaiah 59:20-21 ). He will remove godlessness from among them by revealing himself to them. No longer will they need to adhere to the law, they will have the perfect law of Christ written on their hearts. Jeremiah said, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." ( Jeremiah 31:33-34, Hebrews 8:8-12 ). When Israel finally understands Jesus is the Christ, then we will see a great movement within this nation to return to the Lord and the result will bless the entire world by their faith.
Israel must come the Jesus the same way we do, by faith; by placing our entire hope in him to save us. They are loved on account of the patriarchs and they are chosen and called out from the world, but the truth is in Christ alone. Even now there is a remnant of Jews chosen by grace. God promised, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" ( Jeremiah 29:13 ). For those who are looking to God in the right motive of the heart he will reveal himself to them and what he reveals is always Jesus. Hebrews says, "that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" ( Hebrews 11:6 ). He is speaking of faith and we know that "And without faith it is impossible to please God" ( Hebrews 11:6 ). And so Israel must come to God through faith in Jesus alone.
Today, I am blessed to understand this truth. I am excited to see the nation of Israel returning to the Lord and finding salvation in Jesus. "For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." ( Acts 4:12 ). Amen!