Historical Problem of Justification By Faith:
Rejection of Israel and Acceptance of Gentiles
Cecil N. Wright

1. Rejection of Israel not a breach of faith (91-29).
a. Israel's plight a matter of grief to Paul (9:1-5).
(1) Because they are his kinsmen according to the flesh (vs. 1-3).
(2) Because of the great privileges that have been theirs:
(a)Israelites (bearers of the sacred name)
(b)adoption (see Ex. 4:22; Hosea 11:1)
(c) the glory (visible presence of God in tabernacle and ancient temple)
(d) the covenants (with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the law of Moses)
(e) the service (divine ritual of tabernacle and temple)
(f) the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other illustrious ancestors)
(g)the Christ as concerning the flesh ("who is over all, God blessed for ever") (vs. 4-5).
b. Israel's rejection not contrary to God's promise (vs. 6-13).
(1)Promises to Israel never intended for all of Jacob's descendants any more than promises to Abraham were intended for all his sons--demonstrating that being children of God and heirs is not dependent on the accident of birth but on action of the divine will in keeping with the divine word (vs. 6-9)
(2) Same principle illustrated in choice of Jacob rather than Esau before the children had been born--the choice depending on the sovereignty of God's will, and not even on works, which neither had at the time of the choice--hence, not depending on the claims of either birth or merit (vs. 10-13).
c. Israel's rejection not contrary to God's justice (vs. 14-24).
(1)God is sovereign, and acts in the freedom of his own will either to show mercy to sinners or to harden them--as in cases of Moses and Pharaoh (vs. 14-18).
(2)God, notwithstanding his sovereignty, does not exercise it unjustly in rejecting impenitent and unbelieving Jews and saving Gentiles who repent and believe (vs. 19-24).
d. Israel's rejection except for a remnant, and the calling of the Gentiles, foretold by God through his prophets (vs. 25-29).
(1) Calling of those not formerly his people (Hosea. 2:23; 1:10).
(2) A remnant only to be saved (Isaiah. 10:22-23; 1:9; 13:19).
2. Rejection of Israel not arbitrary (9:30-10:31).
a. Because Israel refused to accept Christ (:30-33).
(1) Gentiles, who had not been trying to follow after righteousness, attained to it-- by faith (v. 30).
(2) Israel, following after a law of righteousness (the Law of Moses), did not attain to that law (hence, did not attain to righteousness) (v. 31).
(3) Israel did not attain to righteousness because they sought it, not by faith, but by works (v. 32).
(4) Israel stumbled at the stone of stumbling, as it had been written (in Isaiah 28:16; 8:14)
b. Because Israel refused God's righteousness   10:1-15).
(1) Israel, zealous for God but ignorant of his righteousness (his way of making men righteous, namely, by faith in Christ), sought to establish their own righteousness (their own way of being righteous, namely, by observance of the law), did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God (vs. 1:3).
(2) Christ was the "end" of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth--that is, he was its objective and terminus (v. 4).
(3)Righteousness by the Law of Moses was in "doing" it (v. 5).
(4) Righteousness by faith is in confessing Christ and believing God raised him from the dead--believing it as an accomplished fact, not as something yet to be accomplished (vs. 6-10).
(5) The Scripture says, "Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame," for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (Gentile); for the same Lord is the Lord of all, and rich unto all that call upon him, for "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (vs. 11-13).
(6) Believing necessary for calling, hearing for believing, preaching for hearing, and sending for preaching (vs. 4:15--But preaching had been done to Jews the same as to Gentiles, and to the Jews first
c. Because Israel rejected the gospel message (10:16-21).
(1) Israel did not hearken unto the glad tidings--as Isaiah had said, "Lord, who hath believed our report" (Isa. 53:1, in connection with a prophecy concerning Christ)--and that is the way faith comes, namely, by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (vs.16-17).
(2) Israel even heard the message, for it was preached to the ends of the world--described in the words of Psalm. 19:4 (v. 18).
(3) Israel even knew what was being preached, and, as indicated by Moses (Deut. 32:21), it was preached to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy (and obedience) (v. 19)--This not the only motive for preaching gospel to Gentiles, but one of them (cf. 11:13-14).
(4) Isaiah described the situation, saying, "I was found of them that sought me not" (Isaiah. 65:1), speaking of Gentiles, and saying to Israel, "All day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Isaiah 65:2) (vs. 20-21)
3. Rejection of Israel not total (11:1-10).
a. God did not cast off his people whom he "foreknew" (foreapproved)--namely the ones willing to accept his grace by faith in Christ (vs. 1-2a).
b. There remains a remnant not cast off, just as in the days of Elijah a remnant had not bowed the knee to Baal--a remnant remaining according to the election of grace--and since it is by grace it is not of works (vs. 2b-6).
c. Israel as a whole sought for righteousness (by works), but did not attain to it; but the election (the chosen remnant) did obtain it (by grace), and the rest were hardened (v. 7).
d. Hardening of the greater part of Israel was in harmony with Scripture--a spirit of stupor (Isaiah 29:10), their table a snare and their eyes darkened (Psalm. 69:22-23) (vs. 9-10).
4. Rejection of Israel not irrevocable (11:11-24).
a. Israel did not stumble to the point of a necessarily irreversible fall; but by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them (Israel) to jealousy (and, by implication, salvation). (v. 11).
(1) Had Israel not fallen, but have stood by virtue of works, it would have proved salvation (namely, by faith) not needed, in which case salvation by faith would not have been offered to the Gentiles.
(2) But, since Israel as well as the Gentiles had fallen and were unrighteous by works, and God had provided salvation by faith for everybody (for the Gentile as well as the Jew), it may be said that salvation has come to the Gentiles because of Israel's fall.
(3) In the plan of God the acceptance of the gospel by large numbers of Gentiles was to result in the salvation even of Jews who might not otherwise be saved--partly, no doubt, by evangelistic efforts of Gentile Christians toward Jews and partly by way of "jealousy" (emulation) on the part of the Jews (vs. 13-14, 30-31).
b. If Israel's "fall" is the riches of the world, of the Gentiles, (and it was), Israel's "fullness" (conversion in significant numbers) would be much more so; hence, Paul sought by his work among Gentiles to provoke Jews to jealousy (emulation), and the receiving back or reconciling of Israel in substantial numbers ("fullness"), would be nothing less than "life from the dead" (vs. 12-15).
c. Receiving Jews back not impossible or improbable (vs. 16-24).
(1) If firstfruit is holy (in sense of possibility of acceptance--and the first Christians were Jews), the lump (the mass of Israel) is also holy (v. 16a).
(2) If the root is holy (may refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the roots of the tree of Israel, and had no advantage over the natural branches (Jews) who had been broken off because of unbelief, for they could be grafted in again should they not continue in unbelief--this more to be expected than that the Gentiles should have been grafted in (vs. 17-24).
5. Rejection of Israel not permanent (11:25-36): This is a mystery being here revealed.
a. Hardening in part (the greater part) had befallen Israel until the "fullness" of the Gentiles had come in (come into favor with God through Christ); and all Israel would be save, even as it is written (in Isaiah. 59:20-21; 27:9) (vs. 25-27).<<br> b. As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake (in the overruling providence of God it has proved advantageous to Gentiles); but as touching the "election" (the choosing by God), they are beloved for the fathers' sake (the sake of the ancestors of Israel)--for the gifts and calling of God are not repented of (vs. 28-29)--And thus they may yet be saved.
c. As Gentiles in time past had been disobedient to God but now have obtained mercy by the disobedience of Israel (in the way already indicated), even so have the Jews now been disobedient that (in the overruling providence of God) they may by the mercy shown to Gentiles yet obtain mercy (through evangelistic activity of Gentile Christians and emulation of Gentiles by Jews) (vs. 30-31).
d. This is the case, "for" God has shut up all unto disobedience (counted all as being disobedient) that he might have mercy on all--Jew and Gentile alike (v. 32)--Using and overruling alike the conduct of each to bring mercy (salvation) to the other.
e. Doxology (vs. 33-36).
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