God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility I

Dear brothers and sisters, 1 the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2  I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3  For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4  For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. 2 * As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. Romans 10:1–4 (NLT)

I would like to begin by stating that I did not know by selecting this particular topic, that it would be an exhaustive study with regard to Jewish salvation and gentile salvation. They are not two separate categories, however there is much debate that they are. How can they be separate categories being that Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah first, and the gentile Messiah second.

We know this to be true in the scripture below.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16 (NIV)
8  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  9  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the
Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 2:8-9 (NIV) 2:8 truth Probably refers to the gospel message or the truth about God (see 1:18 and note). unrighteousness Refers to the sins that Paul listed in 1:28–31. wrath and anger The words “wrath” and “anger” together intensify the idea of God’s punishment of the wicked. This punishment stands in contrast to the “eternal life” granted to those who obey God (v. 7). 2:9 affliction The word thlipsis may refer to suffering experienced from condemnation on the

Day of Wrath – evil Contrasts “good work” (v. 6).
Jew first and of the Greek See 1:16 and note. Jews are “first” because God gave them priority in blessing (see 9:4), and they were the first people group that He personally visited and called His own. But this also means that He will give them priority in judgment. 2:10 peace The word eirēnē refers to perfect well-being that comes from God’s righteous work through Christ. Jew first and to the Greek See note on v. 9. While God gives Jews priority in judgment, He also gives them priority in reward. 2:11 partiality The word prosōpolēmpsia describes making unfair distinctions between people and treating some better than others. God does not show partiality (see  Deut 10:17 ; Acts 10:34–35); He judges both Jews and Gentiles on the same basis—according to works (see note on v. 6). Paul is attempting to convince some Jews that God will not overlook their sinful activity just because of their ethnicity.

After doing much research, I am fearful for anyone either Jew or gentile who does not come to a saving faith in the worlds messiah which is Jesus Christ. My take is that no one is saved apart from Jesus.  Both OT and NT saints were and are saved by faith in Israel's Messiah.  Jews with faith are saved, but not without faith.  Paul said the promises made to Abraham were made to his seed and that the seed was Christ.  Keeping that in mind spares much confusion. -Warren Gage, PhD. 23  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the 1 John 2:23 Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also (cf. 5:13;John 14:6Acts 4:12; note on John 3:18). The world’s religions do not constitute “many paths to the one God,” for all except the Christian faith refuse to confess that Jesus is God’s Son (cf. notes on 1 John 4:34:15). 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,


26. And so, Paul says, all Israel will be saved. This expression has caused unending disputation among expositors. Paul’s so 116  is usually taken to refer to what precedes, in which case it surely means “in this way”, that is, through the divinely appointed process whereby the hardening of part of Israel brought salvation to the Gentiles, a temporary hardening effective only until “the fullness of the Gentiles” has come in. But so can also refer to what follows (e.g., 10:6; 1 Cor. 3:15, etc.). If that is the case here, we should put a full stop at the end of verse 25 and see a new thought in verse 26, namely that all Israel will be saved when the Redeemer comes to Zion. This second suggestion is not impossible, but on the whole the former way seems more likely to be correct. The end result of this process will be the salvation of all Israel, an expression that exegetes have found notoriously difficult. There is considerable agreement that all Israel does not mean “each and every Israelite without exception”; the term refers to the nation as a whole. It is used in this way in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 12:12 Chron. 12:1Dan. 9:11). 117 Particularly instructive is a passage in the Mishnah which assures the reader that “All Israelites have a share in the world to come” ( Sanh. 10:1 ) and then goes on to give a considerable list of Israelites who “have no share in the world to come”, sometimes mentioning classes such as those who deny the resurrection of the dead and sometimes individuals such as Jeroboam and Balaam. Clearly all Israel indicates the people as a whole, but it leaves open the possibility that there may be exceptions. So much is clear.

But some exegetes understand Israel here of the nation while others see it as referring to spiritual Israel, the people of God whether Jewish or Gentile (Calvin). Lenski has a strong argument for the elect Jews. But what seems decisive is the fact that “Israel” in verse 25 plainly means the nation (it is physical Israel, not spiritual Israel, that is hardened in part), and it is not easy to understand why in the next line it should have a different meaning (Hodge has a strong argument for this position). A further strong argument is that Paul has just said that this is a “mystery”. Now it is no “mystery” that all the elect, Jews as well as Gentiles, will be saved. Nor is the conversion of a few Jews in each generation such as has happened until now the kind of thing that needs to be the subject of a special revelation. That looks for a very different kind of happening. It may also be argued that Paul is looking for the restoration of the Jews in the sense in which they had been rejected, that is, the nation generally. Paul then is affirming that the nation of Israel as a whole will ultimately have its place in God’s salvation. 118  This may well be located in the end time and be part of the eschatological program that Paul anticipates then. 119  But if “all Israel” means more than one generation, it will take place earlier.

Faithlife Study Bible
16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

The promise that God gave to Abraham with regard to the seed of salvation 29  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29 (NIV)
Footnote: so what happens if you are not Abraham’s seed because you do not belong to Christ? Gal. 3:29 Abraham’s offspring. Paul states the main point of his argument: those who belong to Christ are part of Abraham’s family, and hence they do not need to be circumcised to become part of God’s people.

The promise that God made to Abraham is often misinterpreted that God automatically saves the Jewish people without them doing their part which is to believe in Christ, which is the same requirement on the part of the gentiles, the Jewish people are not saved from their sins because of their ethnicity, nor are they saved outside of faith in Christ. This is a false doctrine preached
quite often to the church and most definitely thought to be true of the greater Jewish people. 6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (NIV)

John 14:6 Jesus as the one way to the Father fulfills the OT symbols and teachings that show the exclusiveness of God’s claim (see note on 3:18), such as the curtain (Ex. 26:33) barring access to God’s presence from all except the Levitical high priest (Leviticus 16), the rejection of human inventions as means to approach God (Lev. 10:2), and the choice of Aaron alone to represent Israel before God in his sanctuary (Num. 17:5). Jesus is the only “way” to God (Acts 4:12), and he alone can provide access to God. Jesus as the truth fulfills the teaching of the OT (John 1:17) and reveals the true God (cf. 1:14, 17; 5:33; 18:37; also 8:40, 45–46; 14:9). Jesus alone is the life who fulfills the OT promises of “life” given by God (11:25–26), having life in himself (1:4; 5:26), and he is thus able to confer eternal life to all those who believe in him (e.g., 3:16). This is another “I am” saying that makes a claim to deity (see note on 6:35). 4  who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4 (NIV) 1 Tim. 2:4 Evangelistic prayer for all people is rooted in the fact that God desires all people to be saved. It appears that Paul is countering an exclusivist tendency in the false teachers or at least their downplaying of the importance of evangelizing the Gentiles (along with their emphasis on the Jewish law). This statement figures prominently in theological disagreements over the extent of the atonement. It cannot be read as suggesting that everyone will be saved (universalism) because the rest of the letter makes it clear that some will not be saved (4:1; 5:24; 6:10; cf. Matt. 25:304146Rev. 14:9–11). Does that mean God desires something (all people being saved) that he cannot fulfill? Both Arminian and Calvinist theologians respond that God “desires” something more than universal salvation. Arminians hold that God’s greater desire is to preserve genuine human freedom (which is necessary for genuine love) and therefore he must allow that some may choose to reject his offer of salvation. Calvinists hold that God’s greater desire is to display the full range of his glory (Rom. 9:22–23), which results in election depending upon the freedom of his mercy and not upon human choice (Rom. 9:15–18). However one understands the extent of the atonement, this passage clearly teaches the free and universal offer of the gospel to every single human being; “desires” shows that this offer is a bona fide expression of God’s good will. Come to the knowledge of the truth highlights the cognitive aspect of conversion, i.e., individuals must come to understand key truths in order to be converted. “The truth” occurs often in the Pastorals as a synonym for the gospel.

The Abrahamic Covenant and The Dispensation of Promise
Nine generations after Shem, Abraham was born. Abraham was about 75 years old and living in Ur of the Chaldees when God one day spoke to him. God, through His amazing grace, wanted to make another covenant with man and chose Abraham as His partner. The covenant He made with him was again unconditional and contained many promises (Gen 12:1-3). The only hint of a
condition appears to be that Abraham had to forsake his home and family and go to a land God would show him. When Abraham obeyed and entered the land the promises became fixed. God promised to:

1. Make Abraham a great nation (vs. 2). This promise has been fulfilled both physically and spiritually. Physically through Isaac and Ishmael, spiritually through all those who have Abraham 39; faith (Gal. 3:7).
2. To bless him (vs. 2), and He did this also both physically (13:14-18) and spiritually (15:6).

3. To make his name great (vs. 2). Still today the name of Abraham is known and respected by millions.
4. Make him a blessing to others (vs. 2). Abraham blessed people in his own time and blessed humanity by his seed Jesus Christ.
5. To bless those who bless him (vs. 3).
6. And curse those who curse him (vs. 3). God has not only blessed those who blessed Abraham, but He also blessed those who blessed the nation that sprang from his loins, Israel. On the other
hand, those who cursed Israel (Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Germany, etc.) must suffer. Some have suffered already, but these promises will not be completely fulfilled until the future.
7. Bless all the families of the earth in him (vs. 3). The fulfillment of this is Christ himself, who blesses all those who believe on Him with salvation and who will also physically bless all who are in the millennium.

Though this covenant is unconditional it does not apply universally to everyone. Doctrinal, it only applies to the Hebrew race through Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Gentiles can only get in on it by receiving Abraham 39;s promised Seed—Jesus Christ. Those who refuse to receive Him, Jew or Gentile, will be judged by Him.

Like the Noahic Covenant this covenant also has a sign, and it is circumcision (Gen. 17:9-14). Circumcision is a token of the promises God has made to Abraham and his seed, and anyone who refused or neglected to accept it was cut off from his people and the promises (excommunication). Circumcision was the only obligation Abraham and his people had under this covenant. If they performed it by faith, they had full access to all the promises. God again reconfirmed this covenant in Genesis chapter 15 after Abraham "believed in the Lord…; and asked for more details.

After Abraham offered five offerings as God commanded, the Lord again affirmed the covenant and revealed how Abraham's seed would be a stranger in a land (Egypt) and afflicted for 400 years. God also revealed the boundaries of the land given to Abraham. Moreover, God promised all of this to Abraham while Abraham was asleep! This proves the covenant is unconditional. God reconfirmed the covenant again after Abraham passed his severe but revealing test of offering Isaac (Gen. 22:15-18).

Another significant thing about this covenant is it apparently has no ending. It goes beyond the Millennium and renovation of the earth and even past the New Heaven and New Earth. Therefore, the nation of Israel, governed by its Messiah and King, will still be in existence at the gate of eternity. The dispensation that began with this covenant is called the Dispensation of Promise for obvious reasons. For the first time God has made promises to one group of people at the exclusion of all others. From the time of Abraham on in the Old Testament, the only way someone other than an Israelite could partake of the promises was to become an Israelite himself (Ruth, for example [Ruth 1:16]). Again, the only way now is to receive Jesus Christ. By some this dispensation is called the Dispensation of the Family because everything God had to say to man He said to this one family.

The promises He made to Abraham He reconfirmed to his son Isaac, his grand-son Jacob, and then to Jacob 39;s sons, the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. The manner of behavior God expected in this dispensation is much like the previous except that He told Abraham to go to a certain land and stay there (Canaan). Abraham obeyed in going to the land, but when a famine came and times got hard he fled into Egypt for food. He could not yet trust God enough to stay. This again shows the weakness and failure of man to live up to God's requirements. In every dispensation man in some way fails to keep God 39; word and consequently brings judgment upon himself.

Moreover, the character of the descendants of Abraham degenerated from that of Abraham. Even though Abraham was afraid and lied in Egypt about Sarah, Isaac seemed to lie more easily (Gen. 26:7). Jacob (meaning Deceiver or Supplanter) was even more blatant in sin. He lied, deceived, tricked, and schemed it appears without a second thought (Gen. 27:6-29). Likewise, his sons (with the exception of Joseph) were even more mixed up in vice and evil. From adultery with handmaids and harlots to murder and kidnapping (Gen. 34:2537:23-3638:12-18), they all seemed to think lightly of sin. The actions of everyone concerned, from Abraham on down, and the degeneration of the character of the family in each succeeding generation caused God to send Abraham 39; seed into Egypt and later into bondage. It was 430 years from the call of Abraham to the exodus from Egypt, the length of this dispensation. – Timothy S. Morton


Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 644) (pp. 649–650) (p. 527) Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Mathews, K. A. (2005). Genesis 11:27–50:26 (Vol. 1B, p. 170). Nashville: Broadman; Holman Publishers.
Cranfield, C. E. B. (1998). On Romans: and other New Testament essays (pp. 76–77). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 534–535). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Source: Genesis University

Scroll to Top