Romans 11:29
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
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(29) Without repentance.—Not to be revoked or withdrawn, not even to he regretted.

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.For the gifts - The favors or benefits which God bestows on men. The word χάρισμα charisma properly denotes any benefit which is conferred on another as a mere matter of favor, and not of reward; see Romans 5:15-16; Romans 6:23. Such are all the favors which God bestows on sinners including pardon, peace, joy, sanctification, and eternal life.

And calling of God - The word "calling" κλῆσις klēsis here denotes that act of God by which he extends an invitation to people to come and partake of his favors, whether it be by a personal revelation as to the patriarchs, or by the promises of the gospel, or by the influences of his Spirit. All such invitations or callings imply a pledge that he will bestow the favor, and will not repent, or turn from it. God never draws or invites sinners to himself without being willing to bestow pardon and eternal life. The word "calling" here, therefore, has not respect to external privileges, but to that choosing of a sinner, and influencing him to come to God, which is connected with eternal life.

Without repentance - This does not refer to man, but to God. It does not mean that God confers his favors on man without his exercising repentance, but that God does not repent, or change, in his purposes of bestowing his gifts on man. What he promises he will fulfil; what he purposes to do, he will not change from or repent of. As he made promises to the fathers, he will not repent of them, and will not depart from them; they shall all be fulfilled; and thus it was certain that the ancient people of God, though many of them had become rebellious, and had been cast off, should not be forgotten and abandoned. This is a general proposition respecting God, and one repeatedly made of him in the Scriptures; see Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he not said, and shall he not do it? hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Ezekiel 24:14; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 89:35-36; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; James 1:17. It follows from this,

(1) That all the promises made to the people of God shall be fulfilled.

(2) that his people need not be discouraged or desponding, in times of persecution and trial.

(3) that none who become his true friends will be forsaken, or cast off. God does not bestow the gift of repentance and faith, of pardon and peace, on people, for a temporary purpose; nor does he capriciously withdraw them, and leave the soul to ruin. When he renews a soul, it is with reference to his own glory; and to withdraw those favors, and leave such a soul once renewed to go down to hell, would be as much a violation of all the principles of his nature as it would be to all the promises of the Scripture.

(4) for God to forsake such a soul, and leave it to ruin, would imply that he did repent. It would suppose a change of purpose and of feeling. It would be the character of a capricious being, with no settled plan or principles of action; no confidence could be reposed in him, and his government would be unworthy the affections and trust of his intelligent creation.

29. For the gifts and calling—"and the calling"

of God are without repentance—"not to be," or "cannot be repented of." By the "calling of God," in this case, is meant that sovereign act by which God, in the exercise of His free choice, "called" Abraham to be the father of a peculiar people; while "the gifts of God" here denote the articles of the covenant which God made with Abraham, and which constituted the real distinction between his and all other families of the earth. Both these, says the apostle, are irrevocable; and as the point for which he refers to this at all is the final destiny of the Israelitish nation, it is clear that the perpetuity through all time of the Abrahamic covenant is the thing here affirmed. And lest any should say that though Israel, as a nation, has no destiny at all under the Gospel, but as a people disappeared from the stage when the middle wall of partition was broken down, yet the Abrahamic covenant still endures in the spiritual seed of Abraham, made up of Jews and Gentiles in one undistinguished mass of redeemed men under the Gospel—the apostle, as if to preclude that supposition, expressly states that the very Israel who, as concerning the Gospel, are regarded as "enemies for the Gentiles' sakes," are "beloved for the fathers' sakes"; and it is in proof of this that he adds, "For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." But in what sense are the now unbelieving and excluded children of Israel "beloved for the fathers' sakes?" Not merely from ancestral recollections, as one looks with fond interest on the child of a dear friend for that friend's sake [Dr. Arnold]—a beautiful thought, and not foreign to Scripture, in this very matter (see 2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)—but it is from ancestral connections and obligations, or their lineal descent from and oneness in covenant with the fathers with whom God originally established it. In other words, the natural Israel—not "the remnant of them according to the election of grace," but THE NATION, sprung from Abraham according to the flesh—are still an elect people, and as such, "beloved." The very same love which chose the fathers, and rested on the fathers as a parent stem of the nation, still rests on their descendants at large, and will yet recover them from unbelief, and reinstate them in the family of God.

These words, considered simply and abstractedly, afford this truth; That the special gifts of God, his election, justification, adoption, and in particular effectual calling, are irrevocable. God never repents of giving, nor we of receiving them. It is otherwise with common gifts and graces, 1 Samuel 15:11. But if you consider these words relatively, as you respect what went before, the sense seems to be this; That

the gifts and calling of God, whereby he was pleased to adopt the posterity of Abraham, and to engage himself by covenant to them, are inviolable, and are such as shall never be reversed or repented of.

For the gifts and calling of God,.... By "gifts" are meant, not the gifts of nature and providence, as life, health, strength, riches, and honour, which God sometimes gives, and repents of, and takes away; as he repented that he had made man upon earth, and Saul king of Israel; which must be understood by an "anthropopathy", after the manner of men, and that not of a change of the counsel of his mind, but of the course of his providence: nor do gifts here design external gifts of grace, or such gifts of the Spirit, which qualify men for ministerial work, for public service in the church; for these may be taken away, as the "parable" of the "talents" shows, Matthew 25:29; see 1 Corinthians 13:8; but the special and spiritual gifts of God's free grace, which relate to the spiritual and eternal welfare of the souls of men, even that, grace which was given to God's elect in Christ before the world was, and all those spiritual blessings wherewith they were then blessed in him: these

are without repentance; that is, they are immutable and unalterable; God never revokes them, or calls them in again, or takes them away from the persons to whom he has made such a previous donation: the reasons are, because that his love from whence they spring is always the same; it admits of no distinction, nor of any degrees, nor of any alteration; and electing grace, according to which these gifts are bestowed, stands sure and immovable; not upon the foot of works, but of the sovereign will of God, and always has its sure and certain effect; and the covenant of grace, in which they are secured, remains firm and inviolable; and indeed, these gifts are no other than the promises of it, which are all yea and amen in Christ, and the blessings of it, which are the sure mercies of David. Whatever God purposes, or promises to give, or really does give to his people, whether into the hands of Christ for them, or into their own, he never repents of or reverses. Agreeably to these words of the apostle, the Jews say (g).

"that the holy blessed God, after , "that he hath given a gift", , "never takes it away from the receiver"; and this is the "Gemara", or doctrine of the Rabbins (h) , "that giving they give, but taking away they do not take away"; the gloss upon it is, , "after it is given":''

the meaning is, that what is once given to men from heaven, is never taken away from them up into heaven: and elsewhere (i) they ask,

"is there any servant to whom his master gives a gift, and returns and takes it away from him?''

Moreover, the apostle here says the same of the "calling of God", as of gifts; by which is meant, not a bare external call by the ministry of the word, which oftentimes is without effect, and may be where persons are neither chosen, nor converted, nor saved; but an internal effectual call, by special, powerful, and efficacious grace; and designs either actual calling, to which are inseparably annexed final perseverance in grace, and eternal glorification; or rather the purpose of God from eternity, to call his people in time, and which is never repented of, or changed. The apostle's argument here is this, that since there are a number of people among the Jews whom God has loved, and has chosen to everlasting salvation, and has in covenant promised to them, and secured and laid up gifts for them, and has determined to call them by his grace; and since all these are unchangeable and irreversible, the future call and conversion of these persons must be sure and certain.

(g) R. Saphorno apud R. Juda Muscato in Sepher. Cosri, fol. 43. (h) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 25. 1.((i) T. Bab. Erachin, fol. 15. 1.

{15} For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

(15) The reason or proof: because the covenant made with that nation of everlasting life cannot be frustrated or in vain.

Romans 11:29. Confirmation of the second half of Romans 11:28 by the axiom: “Unrepented, and so subject to no recall, are the displays of grace and (especially) the calling of God.” The application to be made of this general proposition is: Consequently God, who has once made this people the recipient of the displays of His grace and has called them to the Messianic salvation, will not, as though He had repented of this, again withdraw His grace from Israel, and leave and abandon His calling of Israel without realization.

On ἀμεταμέλητος, comp. 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Romans 11:29. Proof that the Israelites, in virtue of their relation to the fathers, are objects of God’s love. ἀμεταμέλητα cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10 : it may mean either what is not or what cannot be repented of: here the latter. God’s gifts of grace, and His calling, are things upon which there is no going back. The χαρίσματα are not the moral and intellectual qualifications with which Israel was endowed for its mission in the world (Godet), but the privileges of grace enumerated in chap. Romans 9:4 f. Neither is the κλῆσις of God a “calling” in the modern sense of a vocation or career assigned to any one by Him; it is His authoritative invitation to a part in the Messianic kingdom. From Israel these things can never be withdrawn.

29. gifts] Gr. charismata; gifts of grace. The word is frequently used of “miraculous” gifts (see on Romans 1:11); but here, obviously, it refers to all the “innumerable benefits” of Divine Salvation.

calling] See on Romans 1:6-7, Romans 8:30.

without repentance] without change of mind, i.e. on the part of the Giver. This profound fact of the Divine Way of Mercy is here applied to the case of an elect race. Elsewhere (see e.g. Romans 8:30; John 10:28;) the same mysterious law is plainly indicated with regard to elect persons. The two cases are largely illustrative of each other.

The word rendered “without repentance” (same word as 2 Corinthians 7:10; E. V. “not to be repented of,”) is strongly emphatic in the Gr. order.

Romans 11:29. Ἀμεταμέλητα, without repentance) Truly an apostolic axiom. Something absolute is signified; for God will not give way to the unbelief of His own people [so as to suffer it to continue] for ever. Repentance is hid from the eyes of the Lord [i.e. change of His purpose, as to raising Israel from its present spiritual ‘death,’ is impossible with God], Hosea 13:14.—χαρίσματα, gifts) towards the Jews.—κλῆσις, calling) towards the Gentiles.

Romans 11:29Without repentance (ἀμεταμέλητα)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:10. See on repented, Matthew 21:29. Not subject to recall.

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