I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

- Romans 11:25-32

Jews + Gentiles

Jesus came as a Savior to the Jews. Since the beginning of time, the Jews have been God’s chosen people. However, throughout Romans 11, Paul describes the nature of God grafting Gentiles into the inheritance of Jesus as their Savior. Michele gave an example of this is yesterday's post that may help you wrap your mind around what we're talking about. I encourage you to go back and read it first.

While throughout time the Jews have been God’s chosen people, they haven’t always had the best track record. Periods of disobedience mark the entire Old Testament, with the Jews ebbing and flowing from following to rebelling. As the New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus, however, Paul discusses the implications of Jewish rejection in the light of Jesus as Messiah.

Mercy Despite Disobedience

As the Jews reject Jesus as their Savior, Paul describes the implications of that rejection—a hardening of their hearts. There are many layers, and many aspects of what exactly a hardening of Israel means, but the important thing to note is that, due to their rejection of Jesus, God caused the Jews’ hearts to be closed to receiving His goodness for a period of time (v. 25-27).

From that place, God didn’t simply choose to close off humanity, though. As Paul describes in verses 28-32, that although Gentiles have been disobedient to God (due to their lack of relationship with Him), they have now been given the same mercy the Jews were afforded in the midst of their disobedience. Paul’s main point is well encapsulated by verse 32 in him saying that God’s mercy has been extended to all despite their disobedience.

Ultimately, people have been disobedient since the beginning of mankind. Just as we tend to be disobedient, so too were the Jews since the time of the Old Testament. And our disobedience has consequences, but His mercy is good. His mercy isn’t intended to cover over our sins as if they’re unimportant, however, His love is extended to us despite our mistakes. Don’t sin as if there aren’t consequences, but never allow yourself to believe God’s mercy isn’t for you.

- Logan Johnson