Section 6, Chapter 12
God hath not cast off all Israel. The Gentiles must not be proud but stand in faith and fear.
11:1. I say then: Hath God cast away his people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
11:2. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture saith of Elias, how he calleth on God against Israel?
11:3. Lord, they have slain thy prophets, they have dug down thy altars. And I am left alone: and they seek my life.
11:4. But what saith the divine answer to him? I have left me seven thousand men that have not bowed their knees to Baal.
Seven thousand, etc. . .This is very ill alleged by some, against the perpetual visibility of the church of Christ; the more, because however the number of the faithful might be abridged by the persecution of Jezabel in the kingdom of the ten tribes, the church was at the same time in a most flourishing condition (under Asa and Josaphat) in the kingdom of Judah.
11:5. Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace.
11:6. And if by grace, it is not now by works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
It is not now by works, etc. . .If salvation were to come by works, done by nature, without faith and grace, salvation would not be a grace or favour, but a debt; but such dead works are indeed of no value in the sight of God towards salvation. It is not the same with regard to works done with, and by, God's grace; for to such works as these, he has promised eternal salvation.
11:7. What then? That which Israel sought, he hath not obtained: but the election hath obtained it. And the rest have been blinded.
11:8. As it is written: God hath given them the spirit of insensibility; eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, until this present day.
God hath given them, etc. . .Not by his working or acting in them; but by his permission, and by withdrawing his grace in punishment of their obstinacy.
11:9. And David saith: Let their table be made a snare and a trap and a stumbling block and a recompense unto them.
11:10. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see: and bow down their back always.
11:11. I say then: Have they so stumbled, that they should fall? God forbid! But by their offence salvation is come to the Gentiles, that they may be emulous of them.
That they should fall. . .The nation of the Jews is not absolutely and without remedy cast off for ever; but in part only, (many thousands of them having been at first converted,) and for a time; which fall of theirs, God has been pleased to turn to the good of the Gentiles.
11:12. Now if the offence of them be the riches of the world and the diminution of them the riches of the Gentiles: how much more the fulness of them?
11:13. For I say to you, Gentiles: As long indeed as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I will honour my ministry,
11:14. If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh and may save some of them.
11:15. For if the loss of them be the reconciliation of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
11:16. For if the firstfruit be holy, so is the lump also: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
11:17. And if some of the branches be broken and thou, being a wild olive, art ingrafted in them and art made partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree:
11:18. Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root: but the root thee.
11:19. Thou wilt say then: The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.
11:20. Well: because of unbelief they were broken off. But thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear.
Thou standest by faith: be not highminded, but fear. . .We see here that he who standeth by faith may fall from it; and therefore must live in fear, and not in the vain presumption and security of modern sectaries.
11:21. For if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest perhaps also he spare not thee.
11:22. See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness. Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. . .The Gentiles are here admonished not to be proud, nor to glory against the Jews: but to take occasion rather from their fall to fear and to be humble, lest they be cast off. Not that the whole church of Christ can ever fall from him; having been secured by so many divine promises in holy writ; but that each one in particular may fall; and therefore all in general are to be admonished to beware of that, which may happen to any one in particular.
11:23. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
11:24. For if thou were cut out of the wild olive tree, which is natural to thee; and, contrary to nature, wert grafted into the good olive tree: how much more shall they that are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
11:25. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery (lest you should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in.
11:26. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
11:27. And this is to them my covenant: when I shall take away their sins.
11:28. As concerning the gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are most dear for the sake of the fathers.
11:29. For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.
For the gifts and the calling of God are without. . .his repenting himself of them; for the promises of God are unchangeable, nor can he repent of conferring his gifts.
11:30. For as you also in times past did not believe God, but now have obtained mercy, through their unbelief:
11:31. So these also now have not believed, for your mercy, that they also may obtain mercy.
11:32. For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he may have mercy on all.
Concluded all in unbelief. . .He hath found all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, in unbelief and sin; not by his causing, but by the abuse of their own free will; so that their calling and election is purely owing to his mercy.
11:33. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!
11:34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?
11:35. Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him?
11:36. For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.