Romans 11:11-15: God’s Mysterious Ways


  • Salvation in justice
  • Sovereignty over sin


God works in mysterious ways, or God’s ways are not our ways are familiar statements that help us to remember that there are mysteries bigger than our ability to understand. This section of Romans 9-11 is full of the complexities of these mysteries, God’s distinguishing love, God’s unconditional election, God’s sovereignty over unbelief in the hardening of unbelievers. Well today we continue to be faced with profound mysteries. We have two mysteries facing us from these verses; that God brings salvation from justice, and that is sovereign over and uses sin to accomplish His purposes. These are called mysteries because they are surprising. Firstly, when we think of God giving justice to sinners, we would hardly think that this would result in salvation. But God works in such a way as to confound us, to humble us and to cause us to stop and take note of His profound wisdom. Similarly, we would not think of a holy God employing sin to accomplish His will but this we will see as well. Paul explains these two mysteries in 11:11-15. The first is that from God giving justice to Jews Gentiles are saved, salvation coming from justice; and secondly, through the Gentiles getting saved, the Jews are provoked to salvation through jealousy. Paul sums up these mysteries in 11:30-31, v30, ‘For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience.’ Paul talking about to the Gentiles about receiving salvation tells us that we received it because the Jews were judged. V31, ‘so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.’ Paul then speaks about how the Jews will be provoked to salvation by Gentiles enjoying salvation. Having stated these realities, Paul then launches into worship, v33, ‘Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!’

Paul is presently explaining the ways of God with Israel to the church in Rome. Why the Jews have not accepted their own Messiah. He has spoken of God’s sovereignty in election and reprobation we now get to consider God’s paradoxical saving through justice and sovereignty over sin.