Fulness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25, 26) Bible Question.
“Would you please explain what the ‘fulness of the Gentiles’ is in Romans 11:25? Also, please explain the next verse (Romans 11:26) which says, ‘All Israel shall be saved.'”
The apostle Paul, directed by God through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11 – 13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), explained why the Jewish people were rejected and the Gentiles were accepted into fellowship with God. He showed that the Jewish people were rejected because of their unbelief (Romans 11:11 – 20). This follows precisely what the Lord Jesus said,
“for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” – John 8:24b (New American Standard Bible)
” I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6
To the Gentiles, Paul wrote of the Jewish people . .
“they were broken off for their unbelief, but you [the Gentiles] stand by your faith. . . And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. “ – Romans 11:20a, 23
It is also in the above context that God says . . .
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.” – Romans 11:25, 26a
Ever since the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1 – 3; etc.) and the giving of the law through Moses (Exodus 20), the Jews has been the “chosen people of God” (Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 105:6; Isaiah 45:4; etc.). The Gentiles had been “separated” and “alienated” as a people (Ephesians 2:12). But now, the Gentiles are brought into fellowship with God (Romans 11). In the above context, the “fulness of the Gentiles” refers to the opportunity given the Gentiles to be part of God’s chosen people.
Why were the Jewish people cut off (or broken off) from fellowship with God? The text states clearly that it was because of unbelief. On what basis were the Gentiles accepted by God? Again, the text states their faith. Some of the Jews would be saved, but on what basis? “. . . if they do not continue in their unbelief. . .” (Romans 11:23)
Are there to be exceptions to the rule that individual faith was necessary to the acceptance of Israel? God answers, “and so all Israel will be saved“. The word “so” in this verse is an adverb that shows HOW all [who are saved] will be saved: by faith. In other words, only those of Israel who believe will be saved. This is not a “blanket statement” that every individual in Israel would be saved, but simply a statement as to how all people will be saved. From the time of the first century until now, all people (everywhere) will be saved through the exact same means: through faith in Christ.