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Proof That God Is Totally Reliable

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 11:1–10

Rejecting Christ has serious eternal consequences for individuals and even nations. But unbelief does not alter God’s plan or His work of seeking and saving individuals. Neither does it cancel His eternal promises to us.


As we sail back into the book of Romans, I want to begin by asking a question that might not seem important to you, but it is a question that affects your assurance of salvation: Is God going to keep His promises to the nation of Israel?

After all, the Jewish people did, and still do to this day, reject Jesus as the Messiah. Is God finished with them? Well, the apostle Paul anticipated this question, and in chapter 11, he asks and answers the question here in verse 1: “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!”

The word translated “rejected” (apōtheō) means to “cast aside,” or “discard.” Maybe you are thinking, What does that have to do with me? Well, if you are asking that question, you are obviously not Jewish.

But the significance to you is this: If God does not keep His word to Israel, how do you know He will keep His word to you? Is God partially reliable, or is He totally trustworthy?

I used to have a pickup truck that was partially reliable. It was approaching 190,000 miles when something new started acting up. Every time I pulled up to a stop light, the needle on the temperature gauge would immediately begin to rise. I took my finger and thumped really hard on that temperature gauge. That is my idea of auto repair—and that is about all I can do. Then I waited two weeks to see if it would heal itself. I prayed it would, but it didn’t. So, I forked over the money and took it to a mechanic.

The truth is, few things in our lives are reliable. From computers to washing machines to jobs to relationships, we live in a world of unreliable things. 

But God is completely reliable! Indeed, if God is only partially reliable, we are all in trouble. If God does not keep His promise to bring Israel back into their homeland, maybe He will change His mind about getting you and me into heaven!

The very existence of the Jewish people today is amazing proof of God’s faithfulness to His promises—not only to Israel, but to you and me as His chosen people through faith in Christ.

Paul goes on here to give us two evidences that Israel has not been cast aside by God. The first piece of evidence is found in Paul’s personal testimony:

For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. (verses 1-2)

Paul is saying, “If God decided to get rid of His covenant with the Israelites after they rejected the Messiah, why would He choose an Israelite like me to be his apostle?”

It is as if Paul is reminding his readers, “Listen, there isn’t anybody more connected to the covenant than I am. I was born into the covenant family; I’m an Israelite. I am related to the covenant founder, Abraham. I’m of the tribe of Benjamin, an heir of the covenant promise. And Jesus Christ saved me. I am personal evidence—exhibit A—that God has not forsaken the Jewish people.”

Here is the second piece of evidence that God has not cast Israel aside—the evidence of a past trial. Paul draws from Old Testament history in verses 2-3:

Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”

Elijah was effectively saying, “Lord, I’m tired of Israel. I’m sick and tired of their idolatry and their unbelief. I’m the only one left who believes in You. You might as well start over and form a new nation.”

Paul writes in verse 4, “But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’” In other words, God responded by informing Elijah that He had saved a remnant within Israel.

Then Paul ties up all the evidence and writes this summary statement in verse 5: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” There is that theme of God’s grace again. Israel’s future reception of God’s covenant promises of a land, a throne, and a kingdom is all a matter of God’s grace. Israel was chosen and will be preserved by grace. Likewise, believers today—Jews and Gentiles—are still saved, not by their bloodline or their works, but by the grace of God.

But what is happening to Israel in the meantime? They have focused on their Jewish heritage, but they have overlooked their heart. Paul writes, “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened” (verse 7).

The Greek word translated “hardened” (pōroō) describes callousing. The divine Physician has examined Israel and says they have a calloused heart. It is a terminal condition that will require a heart transplant if they are to survive.

Paul reveals the symptoms of this condition in verse 8: “‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’”

When you have a hardened heart, you do not know which way to turn. You are confused by your own spiritual wandering and speculation. A hardened heart will make you want to stay in the dark! Since your deeds are evil, you do not want any lights turned on.

Paul continues:

And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” (verses 9-10)

Notice these words of warning: snare, trap, stumbling block, retribution.

They have trusted in their “table.” This is perhaps a reference to their rituals, their Passover, their table of showbread in the temple.

So again, is Israel going to be discarded by God? Look down at verse 25. We will deal with this verse later in more detail, but for now, here is Paul’s answer:

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

There is hope for the hardened heart of Israel! The hardening is partial. Individual Jews can come to faith in Christ today.

But whether you are a Jewish person or a Gentile today, you must run to the Savior. He is your only hope of arriving safely in heaven.

Some time ago I read about an event that occurred at the Los Angeles International Airport. A large suitcase, unmarked and unclaimed, eventually caught the attention of U.S. Customs agents assigned there. When they opened the suitcase, they found the curled-up body of a young Iranian woman. She had been dead for several days. An investigation revealed that she was the wife of a young Iranian living in the United States. Unable to obtain a visa to enter the States, she took matters into her own hands and decided to smuggle herself into America via an airplane’s cargo bay. Unfortunately, the suitcase she was in was not put in a pressurized, heated cargo bay, and she quickly died during the flight.

Beloved, nobody arrives at the gate of heaven by their own way. Nobody is going to steal their way into the kingdom through some back channel. The only way to gain entrance is through a visa stamped with the red blood of the Redeemer. Jesus said Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Do not bend your back under the weight of the law as, Paul says the Jews were doing (verse 10). Come through the gospel of Christ. Depend on the promises of God. He is entirely trustworthy. He will keep His promises to Israel and to you and me.

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