In Romans 11:26 the Bible clearly says “all Israel shall be saved.” Does that mean we should not waste our time witnessing to Jews since they will be saved anyway? Also, does that mean they will be saved just because they are Jews without having to trust in Jesus?”
Often when we don’t understand a passage of Scripture a little diligent study will reveal that the Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible. Questions we have are often answered somewhere else in God’s Word. The key to understanding this passage is how does God define “Israel”. Is it everyone who is born as a descendant of Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel)? Or is it everyone who is a citizen of the political nation of Israel? Or does God define “Israel” as something totally different?
Laziness would lead us to just guess or jump to our own conclusion and often this is the foundation of mistaken ideas so rampant in the church today. We don’t have to wonder or guess. God tells us very clearly who He regards as a true Israelite and Jew, in fact the answer is in the same book – Romans. Romans 2:28,29: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly … But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter…” Philippians 3:3 conveys the same idea, “we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
So a Jew, or true Israel, is not one simply born to Jewish parents or even a convert to the religion of Judaism. A true Israelite is one who, like Abraham, believes God and demonstrates that by putting their confidence in God’s plan of salvation -which has always been believing, never by works. Today the work of God is to put that trust in Jesus. (See also Romans 9:6-8) When Jesus said no one could come unto the Father but by Him, He meant both Jews and Gentiles.
As to wondering if it is a waste of time to witness to Jews; it can be a frustrating experience but Paul certainly thought it a worthwhile use of his time to pray for their salvation and to present the gospel to them (Romans 10:1, 12-15). Furthermore, the growing Messianic Christian movement among Jews shows that God is gracious and merciful, even during this time of the Gentiles, to redeem His people who humbly come to Him through their Messiah, Jesus.
It is never a waste of time to share God’s plan for all mankind – come to God through faith like Abraham did.