A Sermon on Romans 11:1-36Read more
In this sermon on Romans 11:1–36 titled “Introduction,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones urges the listener to lay aside prejudices and traditions and to come to God’s word in an attitude of reverence. All Scripture is the very word of God. The major themes of this chapter are salvation, faith, and the people of Israel. While there are many differing interpretations of this passage, we still must never approach Scripture in an overly intellectual manner that causes only debates and divisions. God’s word is given to build up the church and strengthen the believer’s faith. Paul is concerned that the church in Rome and, by inclusion, all Christians should come to a proper understanding of God and His salvation that He has given in Christ. Dr. Lloyd-Jones addresses questions such as what is the relation between Jew and Gentile, what is the future of the Jewish people, and what does it mean to be justified by faith? All these questions have immense significance for the Christian life and the life of the church. Christianity and theology is not simply about abstract intellectual ideas but it is about knowing God.
Additional Scripture Translations
Romans 11:1-36, New American Standard Bible
Israel Has Not Been Rejected
1I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? Far from it! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3“Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.
7What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8just as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.”
9And David says,
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
10May their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs continually.”
11I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! But by their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12Now if their wrongdoing proves to be riches for the world, and their failure, riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 13But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Therefore insofar as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14if somehow I may move my own people to jealousy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection proves to be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are as well.
17But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off. 23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
25For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27“This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
28In relation to the gospel they are enemies on your account, but in relation to God’s choice they are beloved on account of the fathers; 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.
33Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35Or who has first given to Him, that it would be paid back to him? 36For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:1-36, King James Version
1I 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. 2God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
7What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
13For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.