24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
The olive tree is Israel with the Abrahamic Covenant (grace) as the root. Some of the branches of this tree were cut off by God’s rejection of these Jews. God then grafted Gentiles into the tree. First, God cut off Israel and then grafted in the church (both Jew and Gentile) directly. Second, because God did that, He can take the natural branches (Jews) and graft them back in again. God did not cast Israel away permanently.
Paul continued his thought from verse 23 that God is able to graft Jews back into the olive tree of national blessings.
if [since] you [Gentiles] were cut out of the olive tree [the spiritual stock of Abraham]
The “olive tree” here is the spiritual stock of Abraham (the first Jew), not the church. God includes Gentiles into the sphere of those who have eternal life, whether Jew or Gentile.
which is wild by nature [Gentiles],
Gentiles were not in the cultivated tree of Israel but were from the uncultivated stock that did not have the prerogatives of God’s covenants.
and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree [Israel],
Gentiles were grafted into the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant but not all the provisions of the covenant. Gentiles cannot permanently replace Israel as God’s chosen people.
how much more will these [Israel], who are natural branches,
The nation Israel has the promise of the unconditional covenants (unilateral contracts from God). She will reap the blessings of the covenants in the future when she is restored as a nation.
The “much more” is a comparison. If God did the difficult thing of grafting a wild olive branch into the cultivated stock, He certainly can do the easier thing of restoring the cultivated tree to its former state.
be grafted into their [the nation Israel’s] own olive tree?
Israel will be grafted back into the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. That is, if God can graft a wild olive shoot and put it into a cultivated tree (as He did with Gentiles), how much more He is able to graft Israelites back into the people of God.
If God can reject Israel as His chosen nation for a period, He can restore them as well. After His dealing with the church God, will bring Israel back to status as His chosen people again. He will do this after the Second Advent and then establish the Millennial kingdom. This second graft will be a greater blessing than the first. God’s blessing during the Millennium will pale by comparison to the present time.
The entire argument of this chapter is about the nation Israel, not the individual salvation of Jews. Paul anticipated national repentance of Israel (v. 26). Since God promised to bless the world through Israel (Ge 12:1-3), how much more blessing will come to the world when Israel as a nation returns to God.
The Gentile olive tree was grafted into the cultivated Israel tree. This does not convey the idea that Gentile believers became part of the nation Israel but that they changed their status in God’s plan of salvation. Because God blessed Israel during her dispensation, He would bless the church during her economy.
Those branches broken off from the tree do not represent the same body of people as those who will be grafted into the tree in the future. Israelites who did not believe will not represent those whom God will bless in the future.
Presumption displaces faith.
Presumption displaces faith in God’s grace. It replaces dependence on grace. The Israelites presumed on God’s grace, thinking they as a people—and not the provision of God—was the issue. Believers of all generations need to keep the grace principle in mind at all times.
Ro 11:5-6, 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.