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Romans 11:30,31 – Israel’s ‘no’ does not have the last word.

29-10-2021 - Posted by Hans

For even as you once were stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubbornness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy.

Here Paul explains in more detail why it is logical that Israel’s present stubbornness cannot be an end point. Certainly not because God’s promises for his people are unregretted (:29) and therefore guaranteed to be fulfilled. But it should also be clear to believers from the nations with some self-knowledge that Israel’s stubbornness must have a beneficial sequel.

For you yourselves were once stubborn, Paul teaches the nations, and yet you have found mercy. Precisely because of Israel’s stubbornness, that mercy has come to you! But how could Israel’s present stubbornness block them from their future mercy?!?

The (critically disputed) “now” at the end of verse 31 does not mean to say when Israel will find mercy. For Paul argued that this will only take place in the future (:25,26). We therefore have to interpret the “now” conditionally: now that this is the situation. If man’s stubbornness is by definition God’s means of compassion, then Israel’s ‘no’ cannot possibly have the last word.