Having explained how within Israel some responded (the remnant) but others were hardened, Paul now asks whether this situation is permanent. “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11 v 11-15).
We know that Israel’s rejection of the gospel has meant the Gentiles have received it. Paul started at the synagogue, when rejected he would go outside and start again with the non-Jews. But he knows this was part of God’s ultimate plan to reach the world with the gospel. He also can see how God hasn’t taken His eye off the hardened Jews (something that the Church could be guilty of). The way is still open for Israel. In fact Paul sees their return as being somewhat of a revival.
Without ignoring the Jewish hope that they turn to Christ and not wanting to read everything in a way that applies to ‘us’ it is comforting to know that no one seems irretrievably lost. Everyone can make a recovery. Many who have wayward loved ones are encouraged to know that God never gives up, that there is always hope and when they do return they come back in a greater measure.