Paraphrase of the Book of Romans
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 11

A Faithful Minority of the Jews Saved

1 Does this mean that God has disowned all Jews? Of course not! Take me for example — am I not a Jew, a literal descendant of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin? 2 No, God has not by any means disowned all Jews. Certainly not those whom He knew beforehand would accept Christ. Do you remember how Elijah complained to God? 3 “Lord, the whole Jewish nation has forsaken You, killed Your prophets, destroyed Your altars and only I am left faithful to You; and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 4 How did God reply? “No, Elijah, therc are some seven thousand men with their families of whom you are unaware, who have not yielded to pagan Baal worship.”

5 Likewise, at the present time, there are honest-in-heart Jews who have remained faithful to the truth and have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. 6 These faithful ones [meaning, a remnant] realize their salvation is not the result of their own good deeds or obedicnce to law but God’s unmerited favor bestowed on all mankind in Christ. For if we are saved by our own works it can no longer be salvation by grace.

7 What are we to conclude then, that the majority of the Jews have failed to recognize that God’s promise of salvation has already been fulfilled in Christ’s holy history and only a minority have realized this? This unfortunately is the truth. 8 Just as the Old Testament said about the ancient Jews: “God has allowed them to go their own way so that they are totally insensible to His ways” [Isa. 29.10; Deut. 29:4]. So likewise, this is exactly how it is with the present Jews. 9 This is how David put it in his Psalm: “Their many material blessings have caused their own spiritual downfall and ruin. 10 They have allowed falsehood to blind them from seeing the truth and now they have become a guilt-ridden people” [Ps. 69.22,23].

Unbelief of Jews Brought Salvation to Gentiles

11 The big question then, is: Does the failure of the Jews mean an utter disaster for God’s plan of redemption? Of course not! On the contrary, God has turned it into a blessing for the Gentiles. Due to the fact that the Jews refuse to acknowledge that God’s plan of salvation includes the Gentile world, their rejection of Christ has made it possible for the gospel to be taken to the rest of humanity. This, in turn, has made the Jews realize what they have missed. 12 And if their failure has resulted in such a tremendous blessing to you Gentiles, can you imagine how much greater and more wonderful it will be if this, in turn, would cause the Jews to turn back to God in repentance and accept His supreme gift, Jesus Christ?

13 While it is true that God has appointed me to be a missionary to the Gentile world, at the same time I want to make the most of my ministry and try and win back to God my fellow Jews, 14 hoping through jealousy, to cause some of the Jews, at least, to return back to God and be saved. 15 For if the rejection of the Jews has resulted in the salvation of the rest of mankind, what a glorious thing it would be if the same blessing was experienced by the Jewish people too. Would it not be like they were brought to life from the dead? 16 After all, if the true Israel that God established through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is still holy, surely the natural Jews who repent through faith in Christ will also be made holy, just as the good roots of a tree share their goodness to the branches.

A Word of Warning to the Gentile Believers

17 But now the unbelieving Jews, like branches of an olive tree, have been broken off, while you believing Gentiles, like shoots of the wild olive tree, have been grafted in, so that you are enjoying the life-giving sap of the native olive roots. 18 Please don’t let this privilege go to your head so that, in conceit, you look down on the rejected Jews. Remember it is not the branches that support the roots but vice versa, the roots support the branches.

19 You Gentiles, don’t ever get the idea that God rejected some of the Jews in order that He may replace them with you. 20 It wasn’t quite like that. The reason why the Jews were rejected was because they refused to believe in Jesus, while you have believed in Him. And since salvation is God’s unmerited favor, this leaves no room for pride or boasting but just heartfelt appreciation.

21 Please be warned, therefore, that you do not fall into the same trap as the Jews did. After all, if God did not spare the natural branches, which the Jews represent, He certainly can do the same with the wild branches, which represent you Gentiles. 22 Never forget, that while God is love, He is also a just God. Those who fell experienced His justice against unbelief, and you who believe are enjoying the blessings of His love, which you will continue to experience as long as you humbly maintain your faith in Christ and do not abuse His kindness; otherwise you, too, will be cut off from the tree.

23 As for the rejected Jews, if they do not remain obstinate in their unbelief, but turn back to God in heartfelt repentance, God will, with delight, graft them back into the olive tree. 24 After all, if you Gentiles, symbolized by the wild olive branches, were grafted into the good olive tree so that you are bearing good olives, something contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for God to regraft the natural branches back to their own tree.

God’s Future Plans for Literal Israel

25 So then, in order to keep you Gentiles from becoming conceited like the Jews, let me share with you a divine secret revealed to me. It is this: the insensibility of the Jews is only temporary; for after God has given the Gentile world every opportunity to accept Christ and all that will believe join the Christian church— 26 once this has happened, God will in a special way confront the Jews with the gospel again so that all the Jews who realize that Christ is the promised Messiah and believe in Him will become Christians; and so, according to His promise, all true lsraelites will be saved. This is exactly what the Old Testament predicted: “From the Jewish capital Christ will be proclaimed; God will remove ungodliness from the descendants of Jacob.

27 “He will, as promised to the patriarchs, keep His covenant with thc Jews by forgiving them all their backslidings and reinstate into the fold all who will repent, turn back to Him and accept Christ as their Saviour” [Isa. 59:20, 21]. 28 At the present time the Jews are considered enemies of the gospel, which incidentally, is to your advantage, seeing you have become recipients to God’s salvation as a result. But God still has a desire to save the Jews and will do so to those who believe, since they do happen to be the blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 Besides, God’s saving activity in Christ is unconditional good news, and He desires none to be lost [2 Pet. 3:9].

30 So just as the ancestors of you Gentiles rejected God in the past and now you, their children, have become believers, 31 in the same way, the Jews are presently disobedient to the truth of the gospel while you are enjoying salvation; but when many of them in the future realize their folly, they will turn back to God and Christ, whom He sent to be Saviour. 32 For God has already made it plain: “All humanity, Jews and Gentiles, are slaves to sin and absolutely helpless to save themselves” [Rom. 3:9-20]. “Man’s only hope is salvation in Christ” [Acts 4:10-12].

33 Frankly, I stand amazed at the incomprehensible wisdom, grace, and knowledge of our God. His ways are beyond us finite beings. 34 Who is able to grasp the mind of God, or who can ever give Him advice? 35 Who, tell me, has ever contributed anything to God so that He is obliged to him? 36 For God is the source of all life and the Creator of all living and non-living matter. Nothing exists that was not made by Him. Therefore, He and He alone deserves all the glory, honor, and praise, AMEN!
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