Romans 11:23
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
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11:22-32 Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God's time is come, that will no longer exist, and God's love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God's favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer's corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.And they also - The Jews.

If they bide not ... - If they do not continue in willful obstinacy and rejection of the Messiah. As their unbelief was the sole cause of their rejection, so if that be removed, they may be again restored to the divine favor.

For God is able ... - He has,

(1) Power to restore them, to bring them back and replace them in his favor.

(2) he has not bound himself utterly to reject them, and forever to exclude them.

In this way the apostle reaches his purpose, which was to show them that God had not cast away his people or finally rejected the Jewish nation; Romans 11:1-2. That God has this power, the apostle proceeds to show in the next verse.

23. And they also—"Yea, and they"

if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again—This appeal to the power of God to effect the recovery of His ancient people implies the vast difficulty of it—which all who have ever labored for the conversion of the Jews are made depressingly to feel. That intelligent expositors should think that this was meant of individual Jews, reintroduced from time to time into the family of God on their believing on the Lord Jesus, is surprising; and yet those who deny the national recovery of Israel must and do so interpret the apostle. But this is to confound the two things which the apostle carefully distinguishes. Individual Jews have been at all times admissible, and have been admitted, to the Church through the gate of faith in the Lord Jesus. This is the "remnant, even at this present time, according to the election of grace," of which the apostle, in the first part of the chapter, had cited himself as one. But here he manifestly speaks of something not then existing, but to be looked forward to as a great future event in the economy of God, the reingrafting of the nation as such, when they "abide not in unbelief." And though this is here spoken of merely as a supposition (if their unbelief shall cease)—in order to set it over against the other supposition, of what will happen to the Gentiles if they shall not abide in the faith—the supposition is turned into an explicit prediction in the verses following.

Here he adds another argument, to repress the arrogance and insulting of the Gentiles; and it is taken from the hope of the Jews’ restoration. Though for the present they seem to be in a desperate and forlorn condition, yet the restoring and re-ingrafting of them into the church is not impossible. The great obstacle is their unbelief, which God is able to remove. The same God that rejected them is able to restore them; to him all things are possible, he can cause dead and dry bones to live. An argument from the power of God (and that in the very words of this text) is frequently made use of in Scripture, to excite hope and assurance. Romans 4:21 14:4 2 Corinthians 9:8 2 Timothy 1:12 Hebrews 2:18 11:19.

And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief,.... The apostle suggests that the Jews also might be recovered and brought into a Gospel church state, provided they did not continue in infidelity; but inasmuch as they seem to lie under invincible ignorance, obstinacy, and unbelief, and were such bitter enemies to the Gospel, and abhorrers of Gospel ordinances, and a Gospel church state; yea, that they must and will abide in unbelief, unless the Spirit of God convinces them of it, and it is given to them to believe in Christ, and they are powerfully drawn by the Father to come to the Son, there is no possibility or likelihood that they

shall be grafted in, or taken into a Gospel church state; to which the apostle answers, and argues for their ingrafting, and the possibility of it from the power of God:

for God is able to graft them in again; as many of them were in the times of the apostles, and some since, for nothing is impossible with God; he can remove their unbelief, knock off the shackles and fetters in which they are held, and bring, them out of the prison of infidelity, in which they are shut up; he is able to take away the blindness of their minds, and the hardness of their hearts, the veil that is over them, and turn them to the Lord; he can by his mighty power work faith in them, and cause them to look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn in an evangelical manner; he can bring them to Christ, and into his churches, and among his people, and fold them with the rest of his sheep; so that there one fold of Jew and Gentile, under one shepherd, Jesus Christ.

{12} And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

(12) Many are now for a season cut off, that is, are without the root, who in their time will be grafted in: and again there are a great number who after a certain manner, and with regard to the outward show seem to be ingrafted, who nonetheless through their own fault afterwards are cut off, and completely cast away: which thing is especially to be considered in nations and peoples, as in the Gentiles and Jews.

Romans 11:23. κἀκεῖνοι δέ: and they too, they on the other hand, viz., the un-believing Jews. ἐὰν μὴ κ.τ.λ., unless they remain on in their unbelief. It is assumed that they need not do this. The hardening spoken of in Romans 11:7-10, though it is a judgment upon sin, and may seem from the nature of the case to be irremediable, is not to be so absolutely taken. Even in the most hardened rejector of the Gospel we are not to limit either the resources of God’s power, or the possibilities of change in a self-conscious, self-determining creature. All things are possible to him that believeth, and we are not to say that in this man or that, Jew or Gentile, unbelief is final, and belief an impossibility. If the Jews give up their unbelief ἐγκεντρισθήσονται they will be incorporated again in the true people of God. δυνατὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θεός κ.τ.λ. The phrase implies not only the possibility but the difficulty of the operation. Cf. Romans 14:4. With man it is impossible, but not with God. Nothing less than the thought of God could keep Paul from despairing of the future of Israel.

23. graff them in again] Every Jewish convert from the first age till now has been an example of this statement. St Paul is not yet dealing with the question of a conversion of Israel en masse; he has in view individual Gentile faith and individual Jewish faith; and he regards each Jew as (ideally) once a branch in the sacred Tree, but cut out of it, and awaiting a gracious re-ingrafting.

Romans 11:23. Ἐὰν μὴ, if not) Therefore their conversion will not be [the effect of] irresistible [grace].—δυνατὸς, [able] powerful) it might be a principal objection: how will the Jews be converted, who for so many ages act so as to withdraw themselves from the faith, separate [draw aside] the Old Testament revelations from the true Messiah, and snatch them out of the hands of believers? Paul answers, God has power: comp. the, powerful [able], ch. Romans 14:4 : and He will show the glory of this power, against which no one in the Gentile world can strive. There will then be a great work!—πάλιν, again) not only in [with] a smaller [comparatively small] number, as now, but in [with] a greater number, as formerly, when they were the people of God.

Romans 11:23Able (δυνατὸς)

See on Romans 4:21.

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