“As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes:  but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”

“As concerning the Gospel”
Literally:  “As regards the gospel” or “as touching the Gospel”–So far as the Gospel is concerned; or, in order to promote its extension and spread through the earth.  This may be paraphrased as; “With a view to the spread of the Gospel, which is the message of salvation for every believer, Jew or Gentile” (1:16),

“they are enemies for your sakes”
 Literally:  {The ones} hostile toward you.”–For your advantage. They are regarded and treated as enemies (in a state of exclusion      through unbelief, from the family of God) for the benefit of you Gentiles; in the sense of verses 11, 15.

            ENEMIES:  (Grk.–echthroi)–The word “enemies” here stands opposed to “beloved.”

           They are treated as enemies.  The word here is applied to the Jews because they had rejected the Messiah; had become opposed to God; and therefore were rejected by Him.
            The meaning here is that the Lord was (judicially) hostile to them; viewed them as hostile; counted them His enemies in the sense of rejecting them from actual participation in His  Gospel.  Unbelief  cut them off, and was their own sin; but it was judicially and sovereignly permitted to have its way.
            The enemies of God denote all who are not His true friends, (5:10; Col. 1:21; comp. v. 8). Their rejection has become the occasion by which the Gospel has been preached to you. Their rejection of the Gospel had proved a blessing to the Gentile world (see v. 11).  Hence, their enmity was allowed for the sake of the conversion of the Gentiles.
            The unbelieving Jews, with regard to the Gospel which they have rejected, are at present enemies to God, and aliens from His kingdom, under His Son, Christ Jesus.  On account of that extensive grace which has overturned their peculiarity, by admitting the Gentiles into His Church and family: but with regard to the original purpose of election, whereby they were chosen and separated from all the people of the earth to be the peculiar people of God, they are beloved for the fathers' sake; He has still favor in store for them on account of their forefathers, the patriarchs.
            Because you Gentiles receive the Gospel, therefore the Jews reject it, and for that reason they are rejected by God. But this has worked well for the poor Gentiles; for upon the Jews' refusal, the Gospel was brought the sooner to the Gentiles, and they were converted by it.

“but as touching the election”
Literally: “but according to the election.”–Here Paul is referring to the election of Abrahamand his seed is concerned.  That is, the election of their fathers and of the nation to be the peculiar people of God.

          The nation was a chosen nation. Though they are now enemies of God, He still remembers that they were children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and did not cast them off forever, but remembers them in love. To this day God has preserved Israel, and yet purposes the salvation of the nation.
           On account of God’s choosing Abraham and his spiritual seed, and on account of the promises which He made to them, they were still remembered in mercy, and in due time would again be restored to the privileges and blessings of His people.

           “they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
           Literally: “Beloved for the sake of the fathers.”–Even in their present state of exclusion for the fathers' sakes.

BELOVED: (Grk.–agapêtoi)–God still regards them with interest; has purposes of mercy towards them; intends still to do them good. This does not mean that He approved of their conduct or character, or that He had for them the same kind of affection which he would have had if they had been obedient.  Understand that God does not love a sinful character; but He may have still purposes of mercy, and regard men with deep interest on whom He intends yet to bestow mercy.

“For the father’s sake”–As in 9:4; 11:16.  God’s gracious regard to the memory of their believing ancestors, requires Him to love and favor them. Simply speaking, with reference to the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes; but in reference to the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.

        God had chosen their fathers to be His peculiar people. He had made many promises to Abraham respecting His seed, and extended these promises to his remotest posterity. Though salvation is by grace, and not from human merit, yet God has respect to his covenant made with the fathers, and will not forget His promises.  It is not on account of any merit of the fathers or of ancient saints, but solely because God had made a covenant with them; and this purpose of election would be manifest to their children in the latest times.  He has still favor in store for them on account of their forefathers the patriarchs. As those in the covenant made with Abraham, God has retained feelings of peculiar interest for them; and designed their recovery to Himself.
          It is clear here that the word “election” does not refer to external privileges; for Paul is not teaching the doctrine that they shall be restored to the external privileges of Jews, but that they shall be truly converted to God. Yet this should not be abused by others to lead them to security in sin.      

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

“For the gifts and calling of God”

             Literally: “For the free gifts and the calling of God.”–The gifts which God has bestowed    upon them, and the calling–the invitation, with which He has favored them He will never revoke.
           In reference to this point there is NO change of mind in Him; and therefore the possibility and certainty of their restoration to their original privileges, of being the people of God; of enjoying every spiritual blessing with the fullness of the Gentiles, may be both reasonably and safely inferred. God does not change His mind or purposes (Malachi 3:6) or fail to keep His covenant. What He has promised concerning Israel will be fulfilled.

           THE GIFTS:  (Grk.–charismata)–Literally: “gifts of grace.”  This Greek word word is frequently used of “miraculous” gifts (see 1:11);); but here it refers to all the “innumerable benefits” of Salvation.

          This denotes any benefit which is conferred on another as a mere matter of favor, and not of reward (see 5:15; 6:23).  The favors or benefits which God bestows on men. Such are all the favors which God bestows on sinners, including pardon, peace, joy, sanctification, and eternal lifeCALLING:   (Grk.–klêsis)—This Greek word denotes that act of God by which He extends an invitation to men to come and partake of His favors, whether it be by a personal revelation as to the patriarchs, or by the promises of the Gospel, or by the influences of His Spirit.
          All such invitations or callings imply a pledge that He will bestow the favor, and will not repent, or turn from it. God never draws or invites sinners to Himself without being willing to bestow pardon and eternal life. Therefore the word “calling” calling here has not respect to external privileges, but to that choosing of a sinner, and influencing him to come to God, which is connected with eternal life.

“are without repentance”
Literally: “Are unregrettable.–Used only here and II Cor. 7:10.  When applied to God, it shows a change of purpose relative to some declarations made subject to certain conditions.  See this fully explained and illustrated by God Himself, Jer. 18:7-9.

   “At {what} instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and pull down, and to destroy {it};
   “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do them.

   “And {at what} instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant {it}”–(Jeremiah 18:7-9).

God will not change His determination, or fail to bestow the blessings which He has promised.  He does not change His purposes or fail to keep His covenant.
1.      What He has promised concerning Israel will be fulfilled.
2.      What He promises He will fulfill;
3.      What He purposes to do, He will not change from or repent of.
As He made promises to the fathers, He will not repent of them, and will not depart from them; they shall all be fulfilled; and thus it was certain that the ancient people of God, though many of them had become rebellious, and had been cast off, should not be forgotten and abandoned.

This is a general proposition respecting God, and one repeatedly made of Him in the Scriptures (see Numbers 23:19), “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He not said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Ezek. 24:14; I Sam. 15:29; Psa. 89:35, 36; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18; James 1:17). It follows from this:                


“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”

“For as ye in times past”
Literally: “For as you also then.”–Paul pursues his argument in favor of the restoration of the Jews.  As you Gentiles, in times past; for many ages back.

            YE:  (Grk.–humeis)–You who are Gentiles.  It is an interesting note that in the KJV, the word “ye” also indicates a plural you, while the use of the word “you,” indicates a singular use of the word. This is something that is no longer done, the distinguishing between the singular and plural use of the word.

Formerly they were without God, but had now have obtained mercy.  This was due, indirectly, to the Jewish unbelief.

           IN TIMES PAST:  (Grk.–pote)–Literally: “Then.”  Before the Gospel was preached. This refers to the former idolatrous and sinful state of the Gentile world (comp. Eph. 2:2; Acts 14:16).

“have not believed God”
Literally: “Disobeyed God.”  Or have not obeyed God.  This was the character of all the Gentile  nations. They were in a state of alienation from God, yet not so as to be totally and  forever excluded.

           “have now obtained mercy”
         Literally: “Did obtain mercy.”–You have been pardoned and admitted to the  favor of God  You are now taken into the Kingdom of the Messiah.

“through their unbelief”
Literally: “By the disobedience of these.”–By means of the unbelief and rejection of the Jews (see notes for v. 11).  Their unbelief was made it possible for your having the Gospel          

“Even so have these also now not believed; that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.”

Here we have the conclusion of Paul’s argument to prove the conversion and calling of the Jews towards the end of the world. The argument is drawn from a comparison of equals: "If God, after a long time of disobedience, receive the Gentiles to mercy, He will also, after a long time of infidelity, receive the Jews to mercy. If God has called the Gentles to His grace after long idolatry, though God never promised to be their God, how much more will He recall his covenant-people from their infidelity in His own appointed time?"

          “Even so have these also now not believed”
          Literally:  “So also these now have disobeyed.”–That is, the Jews.

         In like manner the Jews are, through their infidelity, shut out of the Kingdom of God.  These Jews who were now in unbelief.  Their disobedience had opened the door for the Gentiles.
         Now is the time of the Jews' unbelief, blindness has happened to them, the vail is over their hearts; as the Gentiles formerly did not believe God, so the Jews now do not; though they believe there is a God, and that there is but one God, yet they do not believe God in Christ; nor that He is the Father of Christ; or that Christ; is the Son of God, the true Messiah, and Savior of the world.


“through your mercy they also may obtain mercy”
Literally: “So that they also may obtain mercy by your mercy.”–Through the mercy bestowed upon you by God, they are, through their infidelity, shut out of the Kingdom of God.

“Through your mercy”–That is, the compassion or deep feeling of the converted Gentiles; through the deep and tender pity which they would feel for the blinded and degraded Jews, the Gospel should be again carried to them, and they should be recalled to the long-lost favor of God.

Each party should thus cause salvation to come to the other; that is, the Jews to the Gentiles by their unbelief; but the Gentiles, in their turn, to the Jews by their belief. We may here learn,
1.      That the Jews are to be converted by the instrumentality of the Gentiles. It is not to be by miracle, but by the regular and common way in which God blesses men.
2.      That this is to be done by the mercy or compassion of the Gentiles; by their taking pity on the lost and wretched condition of the Jewish people.
3.      It is to be when the abundance of the Gentiles -(that is, when great numbers of the Gentiles) shall be called in. It may be asked here, whether the time is not approaching for the Gentiles to make efforts to being the Jews to the knowledge of the Messiah.  

These Jews who were now in unbelief. Their disobedience had opened the door for the Gentiles. For the converted Gentiles shall, in their turn, be instrumental in bringing back the Jewish people to God.  Here we see something of the fathomless of the wisdom and knowledge of God.  Who but He could have conceived a plan that would turn disobedience into an opportunity for mercy, and while doing so, would reach out universally to all who would believe.

“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief; that He might have mercy upon all.”

         “For God hath concluded”
         Literally:  “For God shut up”–
 (Locked them all up).   This refers to the guilty state of both Jews and Gentiles.

They are represented here as having been accused if their transgressions; tried at the judgment  bar of God; found guilty on being tried; condemned to the death they had merited; remanded to prison, till the sovereign will, relative to their execution, should be announced.  Shut or locked up, under the jailer, unbelief; and there both continued in the same state, awaiting the execution of their sentence.

CONCLUDED: (Grk.–sunekleise)–Literally: “shut them all up together.”

          This is a metaphor that in both places expresses the guilty, helpless,  and wretched state of both Jews and Gentiles. .This Greek word is used in the N.T. of a fish taken in a net: “They enclosed a great multitude of fishes” (Luke 5:6);  “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise”  (Gal. 3:22),
          In this place the Scripture
God is declared to have shut them up under sin, to be sinners; gave no hope of rescue by any works of their own; and thus kept them (v. 23) “shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” All are represented as in  prison,  enclosed or confined by God, and to be liberated only in His own way and time.

         But the Scripture has concluded, locked up all under sin, that the promise, by faith of Christ Jesus, might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept, we were guarded as in a strong hold, under the Law.

“Them all in unbelief.
Literally:  “All in disobedience.”–Both Jews and Gentiles. God has delivered them over unto unbelief, as a man is delivered over into prison.  This is the literal meaning of the expression, “hath shut them all up to unbelief.” God has shut or locked them all up under     unbelief.

The Jews have refused to receive this pardon on the terms which God has proposed it, and therefore continue locked up under unbelief.  The Gentiles have welcomed the offers of grace, and are delivered out of their prison. But, as the offers of mercy continue to be made to all indiscriminately, the time will come when the Jews, seeing the vast accession of the Gentile world to the Kingdom of the Messiah, and the glorious privileges which they in consequence enjoy, shall also lay hold on the hope set before them, and thus become with the Gentiles one flock under one shepherd and bishop of all their souls. The same figure is used Galatians 3:22, 23.

            “that He might have mercy upon all.”
            Literally: “That He may show mercy to all.”

            MERCY:  (Grk.–eleei)–Mercy is favor shown to the undeserving

         It could not have been shown to the Jews and the Gentiles unless it was before proved that they were guilty.  For this purpose proof was furnished that they were all in unbelief. It was clear, therefore, that if favor (mercy) was shown to either, it must be on the same ground, that of mere undeserved mercy. Thus all men were on the same level; and thus all might be admitted to heaven the same way–by faith.  It must be on the same ground:  that of undeserved mercy.  And so Jews and Gentiles alike be made to feel and acknowledge that their salvation is of grace, not of works.
        Paul is not here dealing with individuals, but with those great divisions of mankind, Jews and Gentiles. And what he says here is that God's purpose was to shut each of these divisions of men to the experience first of an humbled, condemned state, without Christ, and then to the experience of His mercy in Christ.
         Both Jew and Gentile are in the stubborn state of rebellion and aggravated unbelief.  Because of this, “By grace are we saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any of us should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).