“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29, ESV)
Have you ever been with someone who was indecisive? In leadership it is truly a problem. However, a closely related problem is that of being fickle. The old adage goes, “Don’t change canoes in the middle of the stream.” Now most of us have had to do just that at times, possibly because we got in the wrong canoe in the first place. In other words, we made a decision and only after taking the course of action, realized that there was a better course. Then we have to make another decision, whether to change course or not.
The problem of fickleness is a human problem. It is not one that our God has. He never gets in the wrong canoe, so to speak. He is always on the right path. The reason is that He is infinite and perfectly holy. He is infinite in knowledge and therefore his sovereign purposes are perfect. All His sovereign decrees and choices are perfect. He is never wrong.
In this passage, Paul has been dealing with the salvation of the Nation of Israel. God had only partially hardened Israel so that the Gentiles might enter in. Then He is uses believing Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy so that a righteous remnant of believing Jews would be maintained until Israel would come to national repentance and faith.
Here, in this context, verse 29 brings us to some interesting thoughts. Paul states that both the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. The word gifts, charisma, refers to the things graciously given to us from God apart from any merit of our own. The calling, klesis, refers to God’s effectual divine calling of people to salvation. Both the gifts of grace and the calling here are irrevocable.
Interestingly, the word the ESV translated as irrevocable, ametameletos, the KJV translates as “without repentance.” According to Strong’s the word means “not repentant of, unregretted.” All of these thoughts give us a fuller picture. It means that God is not fickle. He does not change His mind regarding his gifts and calling, neither does He regret them. Thus, they are irrevocable. For to change His mind or regret regarding them or to revoke them would mean that God was somehow in error in granting them. This can hardly be the case since He is infinitely perfect in every way. He makes no mistakes.
The good news for us is that we are absolutely secure in our salvation. Nothing we can say or do will cause Him to revoke the blessings of His gracious gifts given to us and His calling of us to salvation. Moreover, His plans to bless all the nations through the seed of Abraham, that is Christ and to bring Israel to National repentance and faith are secured in his predetermined will.