February 8 - Romans 11:11-12

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Romans 11:11-12 – Stumbling to Salvation

Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

Paul is not finished with his discussion regarding the Jews and this is something that we, as Gentiles must never lose sight of. He has just finished quoting scripture to describe the fate of the Israelites. Their spirit of stupor, blind eyes, and deaf ears led to them stumbling, but that is not the end of the story.

Paul tells us that because of this stumbling, God was able to bring salvation to the Gentiles. We have a tendency to believe that the salvation of the Gentiles automatically assumes that the Jews are lost to God's kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As much as humanity likes to see a clear loser when there is a winner, that is not the way of God's kingdom. He sent Jesus Christ to redeem the world, not just the Jews and not just the Gentiles.

Paul's use of the word stumble from Isaiah also means that there is recovery. When a person stumbles, they don't always fall so that they can no longer stand again. A stumble is not the final process in a person's journey. The Jews stumbled so that the Gentiles could find salvation. Paul points out here and in other letters that their act of stumbling does not mean they have permanently fallen.

Their stumbling brings riches to the Gentiles (not worldly riches, but access to the heavenly kingdom). However, in the end, when they are fully included in the final days, how much greater riches will that bring to them.

There is a lesson that Paul wants his readers to clearly understand. God is not finished with his chosen people. Not by a long shot.