11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! (ESV)
We see it all over the Scriptures that God uses the hardness and sins of people to achieve His purposes. We see two further important points:
- The Jews were made jealous through the Jews’ rejecting of Christ which led to the inclusion of the Gentiles.
God made the Jews jealous for Him through the Gentiles (verse 11). What is it that the Jews saw Christian Gentiles had and they wanted? We are told a number of times in Acts of the jealousy of the Jews and many Jews coming to trust in Jesus as the promised Messiah.
The high priest and all his associates who were members of the party of the Sadducees were filled with jealousy. In Antioch where Paul preached to the crowds, on the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the Word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy (Acts 13:44-45).
It happened again in Thessalonica (Acts 17).
The Jewish leaders were annoyed at losing people from the synagogues to the Christian gatherings. It was not only the numbers that made them jealous, but the piety and love of Christians – e.g. husbands sacrificing themselves to serve their families.
They saw their swift giving of grace when someone fell.
The Jews were envious of the believers’ confidence in Christ.
May the Lord make us people like that of the early Church again, that will make the world envious and jealous!
Jesus exhorts us: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:16)
Are we doing the kind of Evangelism that makes outsiders jealous?
- If Jewish transgression made salvation come to the world, what greater riches will come from their inclusion?
What riches have come to the nations of the world through all that the Jews lost in denying Jesus to be the Messiah! We’ve got the riches of the Scriptures, the Gospel message, the indwelling Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sins and the imputed righteousness of Christ, adoption into the family of God, inheritance in glory that will never fade away. All that, have come freely to Gentile unbelievers!
Now Paul says that much greater riches will come from the Jews’ inclusion.
God will never allow His word to fall to the ground. He will use our transgressions to bring glory to Christ and salvation to men and women. And through the poverty and riches of men God will be the sweet savor of His Son to the world so that they too, like you might believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.