Main point summary
Salvation is secured by the active resting of the kindness of God by means of his mercy upon those who escape from the imprisonment of disobedience by believing in the One who is able to graft them into the tree of life. Those who are hardened and remain in unbelief will be rejected, but those whose sins have been forgiven will dwell securely as the covenant people of God through Christ.
ἴδε οὖν χρηστότητα καὶ ἀποτομίαν θεοῦ•
Behold, therefore, the kindness and severity of God,
ἐπὶ μὲν τοὺς πεσόντας ἀποτομία,
on the one hand, severity upon those who have fallen,
ἐπὶ δὲ σὲ χρηστότης θεοῦ,
now, on the other hand, the kindness of God upon you,
ἐὰν ἐπιμένῃς τῇ χρηστότητι,
if you continue in his kindness,
ἐπεὶ καὶ σὺ ἐκκοπήσῃ.
otherwise you will also be cut off.
...δέ, ἐὰν μὴ ἐπιμένωσιν τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ, ...
Now,... if they do not remain in unbelief,...
κἀκεῖνοι ... ἐγκεντρισθήσονται,
those also, ...they will be grafted in;
δυνατὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θεὸς πάλιν ἐγκεντρίσαι αὐτούς.
for God is able to graft them in again;
εἰ γὰρ σὺ ἐκ τῆς κατὰ φύσιν ἐξεκόπης ἀγριελαίου
for if you were cut off from the according to nature wild olive tree,
καὶ παρὰ φύσιν ἐνεκεντρίσθης εἰς καλλιέλαιον,
and against nature you were grafted into a cultivated olive tree,
πόσῳ μᾶλλον οὗτοι οἱ κατὰ φύσιν ἐγκεντρισθήσονται τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐλαίᾳ.
much more will the according to nature ones be grafted in with respect to their own olive tree;
Οὐ γὰρ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο,
for I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of this mystery,
ἵνα μὴ ἦτε [παρʼ] ἑαυτοῖς φρόνιμοι,
in order that you might not be wise with respect to yourselves,
ὅτι πώρωσις ἀπὸ μέρους τῷ Ἰσραὴλ γέγονεν
that a hardening has come from part with respect to Israel,
ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ
until the fullness of the nations should enter,
καὶ οὕτως πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ σωθήσεται,
and in this way all Israel will be saved,
just as it has been written,
ἥξει ἐκ Σιὼν ὁ ῥυόμενος,
"The Deliverer will come from Zion,
ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβ.
he will reject ungodliness from Jacob,
καὶ αὕτη αὐτοῖς ἡ παρʼ ἐμοῦ διαθήκη,
and this is the covenant from me for them,
ὅταν ἀφέλωμαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν.
when I should cut off their sins."
κατὰ μὲν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐχθροὶ διʼ ὑμᾶς,
On the one hand, the enemies are according to the gospel for the sake of you,
κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐκλογὴν ἀγαπητοὶ διὰ τοὺς πατέρας•
now on the other hand, the beloved are according to the election for the sake of the fathers,
ἀμεταμέλητα γὰρ τὰ χαρίσματα καὶ ἡ κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ.
for not to be regretted are the gifts and calling of God,
ὥσπερ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ποτε ἠπειθήσατε τῷ θεῷ,
for just as you were once disobedient to God,
νῦν δὲ ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ,
you were mercied by disobedience of these.
οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαν τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει,
In this way also, these disobey now with respect to the mercy belonging to you
ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ [νῦν] ἐλεηθῶσιν.
in order that they also might be mercied,
συνέκλεισεν γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς πάντας εἰς ἀπείθειαν,
for God has imprisoned all in disobedience
ἵνα τοὺς πάντας ἐλεήσῃ.
in order that he might mercy all.
Grammar Notes, Questions
Parsing -επιμενωσιν - pres act subj 3 pl -ητε - pres subj 2 sg - υμετερῳ - neut dat sg - ελεει- neut dat sg Translation Now, those also, if they do not remain in unbelief, they will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again; for if you were cut off from the according to nature wild olive tree, and against nature you were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will the according to nature ones be grafted in with respect to their own olive tree; for I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of this mystery, in order that you might not be wise with respect to yourselves, that a hardening has come from part with respect to Israel, until the fullness of the nations should enter, and in this way all Israel will be saved, just as it has been written, "The Deliverer comes from Zion, he rejects ungodliness from Jacob, and this is the covenant from me for them, when I should cut off their sins." On the one hand, the enemies are according to the gospel for the sake of you, now on the other hand, the beloved are according to the electing for the sake of the fathers, for not to be regretted are the gifts and calling of God, for just as you were once disobedient to God, you were mercied by disobedience of these. In this way also these disobey now with respect to the mercy belonging to you in order that they also might be mercied, for God has imprisoned all in disobedience in order that he might mercy all. Grammar Notes -What is the ευαγγελιον? --> Rom. 1:1; 1:9; 1:16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25 -What is the μυστεριον? --> "...the disclosure of truth to which the Scripture already bears witness...entails insight into the message of Scripture, which, although present, formerly was hidden and unknown (Seifrid, 672)." Questions 1. How is the OT quotation functioning? - Isa 59:1-21 --> Isa 59:7-8 in Rom. 3:15-17 -Isa 27:1-13 2. Who is all Israel and in what way are they saved? -Identifying how is just as important as identifying who in this passage.
Previous Grammar Notes -απο μερους --> Both the preposition and its object tend to indicate a separation of one part from another. Neither seem to indicate extent or measure. This makes it difficult to see how it would function adjectivally with "hardening." How can one part of the hardening be separated from another? It seems most faithful to the words themselves to see it as an indication that hardening has come from part of the whole with respect to Israel. -Rom 15:15 - Here Paul says that he has written some of the things boldly. By analogy, it would seem that the hardening has come to some. The dative τῳ Ισραηλ then makes explicit the group that is being referred to as having been separated. Paul wrote many things, but in Rom 15:15 he says that some of those many things were written boldly. Likewise, there are many in Israel, but some of those many were hardened. (cf. Rom 11:7; -Additionally it could be a partitive genitive directly off of τῳ Ισραηλ, which also would indicate that the harding has come to part of this whole. -αχρι ου -An essentially terminative phrase (Robertson, Israel of God , 179) --> the phrase brings matters "up to" a certain point (or "until" a certain goal is reached) --> Acts 22:4; Heb. 4:12 - Both of these suggest not an action that ceases after a something is reached, but rather a finalization or ultimacy of the action (e.g. Paul still persecuted after Christians died, and the Word of God still continues piercing after soul and spirit are divided) --> It does not stress the reversal of conditions that preceded, but it stresses the terminative character (especially in and eschatological context) of the thing that comes (1 Cor. 11:26; Matt 24:38; *1 Cor 15:25*; ---->Until the final return of Christ, after the fullness of the nations has come in, hardening will continue. This does not indicate a reversal of the hardening, just as Christ will not cease to reign after he has put his enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:25) Exegetical Notes -What is the ευαγγελιον? --> Rom. 1:1; 1:9; 1:16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25 -What is the μυστεριον? --> "...the disclosure of truth to which the Scripture already bears witness...entails insight into the message of Scripture, which, although present, formerly was hidden and unknown (Seifrid, 672)." -αμεταμελητος - "irrevocable" seems to be a mistranslation. "Not to be regretted" is preferable. (BDAG, 53) -Asyndeton and the grammatical parallel (μεν...δε) between 11:22 and 11:28 suggest that this is a resumption of the thought and a further explanation of the kindness and severity of God. Questions 1. How is the OT quotation functioning? - Isa 59:1-21 & Isa 27:1-13 --> Isa 59:7-8 in Rom. 3:15-17 --> Compare to Ezek 23:27, 48; --> Not a direct quote of either the MT or LXX, indicating Paul's quotation is interpretive and the variations are theologically significant (Sefrid, 673-74) --> In the context of Isaiah, the turning away of ungodly things refers to the defeat of Israel's enemies (11:28); here Paul uses it to speak with respect to Jacob, not another adversary (Seifrid, 675). --> Seifrid seems to suggest that the final coming of the Deliverer from Zion is what will rid Israel of her godless deeds; however, he does not engage with the fact that the Deliverer has already come (Rom 10:6-10), and when he comes again it will be for judgment and not for salvation (2 Thess 1:6-10), and his judgment is without partiality (Rom 2:4-11). (Seifrid, 675) --> Mention of the covenant recalls Rom 9:1-5 (Seifrid 677) and seems to function as a final corrective: this is my covenant for them, when I forgive their sins, and their sins will only be forgiven when they cease their striving according to the law and call upon the name of the Lord for righteousness. -The Deliverer comes from Zion (Rom 9:5; the Messiah according to the flesh came from them) -He cuts off ungodliness from Jacob ( -He makes a covenant with those whose sins he forgives 2. Who is all Israel and in what way are they saved? -Identifying how is just as important as identifying who in this passage. --> Paul has already established that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, so any salvation has to come from an embrace of Jesus Christ as Lord and a turning away from sin and self-righteousness to Christ in faith for salvation. -Those who were broken off were broken off because of their unbelief --Those who are "of Israel" but are not "true Israel" are such because of their unbelief --Therefore, "true Israel" are those who are supported by the root, having been grafted in by faith - If a time is coming in which the hardening of Israel is lifted, Robertson argues that this would mean every single ethnic Israelite turns, given the connection between reprobation and hardening in the argument thus far (183) -Heretofore, the argument has painstakingly established the distinction between remnant and rebel to prove that God's word has not fallen. For Paul to turn at this end and say that the entirety of ethnic Israel shall be saved would seem to be a departure from all that he has argued for previously. -Exod 12:48-49 - Even in the Old Covenant, membership was not based on Israelite blood alone (Roberts, 184-85) -There is no distinction - all have sinned and all are saved by faith and not by works -How do we reconcile the fact that Paul made it his custom (κατα το ειωθος, cf. Acts 17:1-15) to go first to the synagogues of the Jews when he entered a city with the idea that Paul declares himself an apostle of the 'Gentiles' (ειμι εγω εθνων αποστολος)? --> Could it not be that what he has been saying all throughout Romans (to the Jew first, and also to the Greek) is what he means by εθνων, rendering the translation 'nations' better than 'Gentiles?' -Why does Paul include himself in the nations/Gentiles in Gal 3:14? (note that the blessing of Abraham comes to "the Gentiles (ESV)" so that we might receive the promised Spirit.) -There is a clear instance of negative jealousy in Acts 17:5 (cf. Acts 5:17; 7:9; 13:44-52; Jas 3:14, 16) where the unbelieving Jews stir up persecution against the church in direct response to the proclamation of the gospel. 10 out of 16 NT uses of ζηλος are negative. 4 our of 11 NT uses of ζηλοω are negative. --> Acts 13:44-52 - When the unbelieving Jews hear that salvation is going to the nations/Gentiles they are not moved to repent but rather they incite a riot. -To whom was the promise given? --> Gen 12:3; 26:3-5; 28:14; cf. Gal 3:16 --> "For the sake of the fathers" because the promise given to them is that through them and their offspring the nations would be blessed, and Gal 3:16 says that the offspring is Christ. All those of the election are beloved of God, therefore, for the sake of fulfilling the promise to the fathers. --> There was not an "ethnic Israel" at the time of the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the promise according to Galatians 3:16 does not seem to have anything to do with a physically derived people. In light of the Mosaic covenant, it seems like it would actually be just for God to completely cut off all of ethnic Israel due to the covenant curses that are given as the consequence of breaking that covenant. -The gifts and the calling --> Of the 41 other times Paul uses κλῆσις and καλέω, none of them ever describe "Israel's continuing privileges," nor do they describe the past privileges Israel enjoyed under the Old Covenant (Moo, 732). Rather, apart from a few more 'literal' uses (e.g. being called to a dinner in 1 Cor 10:27 or Paul's unworthiness to be called an apostle in 1 Cor 15:9), these words are exclusively employed to describe the effectual call of God that sets one apart by his grace for salvation and newness of life. --> 2 Tim 1:9; Non-salvific mercy throughout the OT, e.g. in Nehemiah 9. Is there still a distinction being made between Jew and Gentile? Is he not talking just about belief and unbelief since he focuses on the unbelief of Jews? How does all of this relate to the "obedience of faith" that seems to be set forth as the ultimate purpose of the whole letter? -Rom 1:5; 16:26 -emphasis on "now" in v. 31 Doxological Response Neither the bigness of God nor his sovereign freedom to do as he wills is diminished in this text. On the contrary, they are taken to new heights! All people have been imprisoned in disobedient unbelief in order that God might be the Mercier of all of his people. There is none righteous, save Christ. Therefore, there is none worthy, save Christ. Therefore, all people are eternally indebted to the grace of God for their salvation to the praise of his glory as the great Giver of grace and mercy to all who call upon him. None can manipulate him because none has anything that could tempt him. None can repay him because none has anything to give that has not already been received. We are forever to grow in deeper dependence upon the unending grace of God, and the deeper we go the more glory he gets for being able to supply all of our needs!