Romans 11:30-32 says, “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.”

Verse 30 means that as the Gentiles (all non-Jews) had not believed God, yet the Gentiles were shown mercy because the Jews had rejected God. Verse 31 is saying that even as the Jews had not believed God, yet the Jews were shown mercy because of the mercy shown to the Gentiles. Verse 32 means that God has found both Jews and Gentiles to be unbelievers so that He may show mercy to all.

Verse 32 in the NASB says, “For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” The unbelief and disobedience were chosen by the Jews and Gentiles. God did not force them to be disobedient. However, the picture here is God shutting up the Jews and Gentiles in a prison of their own choosing so that the only way out is on His terms. His terms are not to try to behave better or do good things, but to receive His mercy.

The last phrase of verse 32, “that He might have mercy upon all,” is not describing universal salvation. God offers His free gift of salvation to everyone, but not everyone takes advantage of it. 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9 reads, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” These verses make it plain that not everyone will be saved.

However, God’s desire is for all to be saved. As we read in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  The good news of the gospel continues to be preached today. As we read in Ephesians 2:4-9, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

If you have not yet taken your place as a lost, guilty sinner, and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, please do so today! The time of God’s grace and mercy will not last forever. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3)? “For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  (371.2)  (DJ)