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Romans 11:30-32


30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

This passage repeats and further explains the relationship between the Gentiles and Israel. It is addressed directly to the Gentiles.

Paul pointed out the fact that in the past, before the gospel was preached to them, the Gentiles did not believe God. He used the verb "apeitheo," which means to be disobedient as a result of one's unbelief. That was the case of all pagans who, since they knew nothing about the true God and His Son Jesus, could not have possibly obeyed His laws.

But, like all of us, they had obtained mercy. There is no one who seeks after God, so we are all disobedient and in need of His mercy. The Gentiles received God's mercy when the Jews rejected the gospel and the apostle turned his preaching toward the Gentiles.

Paul said that the the situation was now reversed. Now the Jews refused to believe and were disobedient; and now they would find God's mercy. He has designed the salvation of the Gentiles so that they would continue preaching the gospel to the Jews. This was a greater gift than even the mercy shown to the Gentiles. The Jews had no excuse for their unbelief. Theirs was willful, sinful disobedience to the gospel, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (5:20)

"For God hath concluded them all in unbelief..." The Greek word for "concluded" means, "to shut them all up together." It was often used to describe those who were shut up in prison together. The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, "For God has imprisoned all in disobedience."

Sinners are imprisoned by their unbelief. "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." (Galatians 3:22-23) This was necessary so that no man could boast before God that he had done anything to save himself. All mankind must depend on the mercy of God to set us free from that imprisonment by opening our eyes to the truth and by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

This is all by God's design, so that He might have mercy on all of us. There is no way to appreciate God's love for us until we understand the depth's of His mercy. Until we understand what would have been our fate, if He had allowed us to remain imprisoned by our unbelief, we cannot ever understand the cross at Calvary. Until we understand that we are deserving of nothing more than the fires of hell, we will not cling to His love with our every breath.

We are not saved by a prayer, nor by a decision, nor by baptism, nor even by repentance. Those things all follow and are due to God's mercy and grace. We are born anew by the will of God alone, and for that we should surrender everything to Him... our love, our allegiance, our obedience, our property and our lives.

Before The Throne:

Consider what your life was like before you knew the truth. Can you see what God has done for you? Thank Him for that and ask Him, "Why?" He has a purpose for saving you. Just as the Gentiles were saved so that God's mercy could be shed on the Jews, He has a similar purpose for you... a very important purpose. You can respond to His loving mercy by living to fulfill that purpose. Pray about it fervently. If you really understand His mercy, make it your life's priority to discover His plan for you and then do it.

For Further Study:

** as ye. 1Cor 6:9-11; Eph 2:1-2, 12-13, 19-21; Col 3:7; Titus 3:3-7; ** obtained. Rom 11:31; 1Cor 7:25; 2Cor 4:1; 1Tim 1:18; 1Pet 2:10;

(v.31) ** believed. or, obeyed. Rom 10:16;

(v.32) ** God. Rom 3:9, 22; Gal 3:22-23; concluded. John 1:7; John 12:32; 1Tim 2:4-6;


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