Our Disobedience and God’s Mercy

Romans 11:28–32

Principle for Bible Reading

When you see personal pronouns (e.g. he, she, you, they, or his, hers, your, their), identify to whom they are referring. Is the writer speaking about his audience? If so, who is the audience? Is he speaking about Jews or Gentiles? Believers or nonbelievers? To understand the passage, we have to identify the relevant parties.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–00:52)

Observations (00:52–05:59)

  1. The Jews became enemies of God for the sake of the Gentiles (Romans 11:28).
  2. The Jews are loved by God because they've been chosen by God (Romans 11:28).
  3. God's election is sure and his love cannot be revoked (Romans 11:29).
  4. The Gentiles also disobeyed, but they received mercy because of Israel's disobedience (Romans 11:30).
  5. The Jews will be shown the same mercy that the Gentiles received (Romans 11:31).
  6. God’s deep purpose in all of this is to have mercy on both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 11:32).

Summary (05:59–09:43)

  1. Israel is elect, and that election cannot be removed (Romans 11:29).
  2. Despite their election, Israel has become disobedient (Romans 11:28–32).
  3. At the same time, the Gentiles were disobedient (Romans 11:30).
  4. Because of Jewish disobedience, Gentiles now also receive mercy (Romans 11:30).
  5. By the same mercy the Gentiles receive, Israel will also be saved (Romans 11:32).

Application (09:43–11:06)

  1. We are all, Jew and Gentile, are utterly dependent on God’s mercy.
  2. Neither Jew nor Gentile has any reason to boast because each of our disobedience ultimately serves to save the other.

Study Questions

  1. Track the personal pronouns in these (e.g. they, you, your, etc.). To whom is each referring?
  2. Based on these verses, why do the Gentiles receive mercy? Why does Israel (eventually) receive mercy?
  3. What does the “that” mean in Romans 11:32? How is it connecting the two phrases in that verse?
Piper: “We are all utterly dependent on God's mercy.”