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Romans chapter 9.
This is probably the most controversial chapters in all of scripture. This chapter is probably the most debated chapter in scripture. This is the most weaponized Christian against Christian chapter in all of scripture. This is the foundation of the whole conversation of “are you Calvinist or Armenian?” It is a tough chapter to wrap our heads around. It is difficult to understand. None of those things mean that we should avoid it - in fact, we should, without debate, attempt to understand it. Peter talks about this in one of his letters..... And this is kinda funny.
2 Peter 3:15–17 CSB
Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures. Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stable position.
Romans 9 CSB
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience testifies to me through the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the benefit of my brothers and sisters, my own flesh and blood. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen. Now it is not as though the word of God has failed, because not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Neither is it the case that all of Abraham’s children are his descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring. For this is the statement of the promise: At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son. And not only that, but Rebekah conceived children through one man, our father Isaac. For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand— not from works but from the one who calls—she was told, The older will serve the younger. As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau. What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For he tells Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. For the Scripture tells Pharaoh, I raised you up for this reason so that I may display my power in you and that my name may be proclaimed in the whole earth. So then, he has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden. You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does he still find fault? For who resists his will?” On the contrary, who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor? And what if God, wanting to display his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction? And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory— on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As it also says in Hosea, I will call Not my People, My People, and she who is Unloved, Beloved. And it will be in the place where they were told, you are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God. But Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, Though the number of Israelites is like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved; since the Lord will execute his sentence completely and decisively on the earth. And just as Isaiah predicted: If the Lord of Hosts had not left us offspring, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah. What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written, Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and the one who believes on him will not be put to shame.
We spent probably 2 months going through Romans 8 and the promises that it contains. Starting with no condemnation and ending with no separation. Full of promises.
Throughout the first 8 chapters of the book - Paul shares that the nation of Israel has a special place of honor in the kingdom of God, first the Jew and then also to the greek… and then goes through chapter 8 with all of these beautiful promises and comes to a stop. Because the question has to be asked. If the Jewish people are so special, why aren’t all of them saved?
If the nation of Israel has a special place of honor - why don’t they all receive the Messiah? Has the word of God failed? Did God break his promise?
Even though we are not all jewish by heritage, we should care about the answer to that question as well. Because if God does not keep his promises, what good is Romans 8? What good is salvation? What good is our adoption? What good is any of it, if God is going to arbitrarily change his mind, then what is my faith in?
We want to see those questions answered.
Chapter 9 and 10 gives Paul’s answer to that question - we aren’t going to be able to get through it all today, I want to focus just on Romans 9. But you can’t have Romans 9 with out 10. That’s very important.
If you read just Romans 9 - you might develop a God does it all, what I consider an extremely Calvinistic view. God predestines, God calls, we just sit around and things happen to us.
If you only read Romans 10, then you might develop a theology where God barely involved in your salvation at all. You work it out. You are the one who confesses Jesus is Lord with your mouth and are therefore saved. Its all up to you.
There is truth in both of those chapters, we have to consume them together to understand salvation the way that God intended. Romans 11 seems to pull the other two chapters together to help us get it.
We should also understand that it is hard. And Paul didn’t understand it all himself. He ends these three chapters with this beautiful doxology.
Romans 11:33–36 CSB
Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Gods Promises ARE for His People.
God’s promises are secured by His will
God’s promises are experienced by Mercy.
God’s Promises ARE for His People.
Who are his people?
Understanding as a Jewish person.
Romans 1:16 CSB
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
Romans 2:8–11 CSB
but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness. There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For there is no favoritism with God.
Romans 2:28–29 CSB
For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.
As a Jewish person, writing to Jewish people and to greeks, it is important to Paul that the things that he writes are grounded in the Old testament.
Vs 1-5 tells us that this passage is wrestling with the nation of Israel, who has all of the things Paul mentions is vs 4 and 5.
The adoption – Israel was adopted national. Exodus 4:22
The Glory – The glory of God was in the Tabernacle, then the temple. The pillars that led them through the wilderness.
The Covenants – The covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses (giving of the Law) Jeremiah 31 – the new covenant.
The giving of the Law – The law protected Israel and showed God’s favor
The service/Worship of God – They got to be pleasing to God, they got to be involved in the things of God.
The Promises – all of the things that God promised to the nation of Israel by the flesh.
The physical children of Abraham still have the promises of God.
Reminder of vs 1-5…. Pray that we are burdened the way that Paul is.
Vs 6. Its not that the word of God has failed.
There is a national Israel, and the a guy named Israel.
Not by birthright.
Gen 17:18-21
Abraham had Ishmael… God said no. Not Ishmael.
Abraham had 6 other sons. None of these.
Isaac. Isaac was the one God chose to carry the covenants.
Its not about who your grandpa is.
Not by Works.
So who are God’s people?
Romans 9:8 CSB
That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring.
Romans 9 tells us that it is people that God Chooses. Romans 10 tells us that it is people who have faith in Jesus.
God’s promises are secured by his will.
Why is it that we have not all received Messiah?
Paul is telling us… because God gets to choose. Didn’t God choose Jacob, and not Esau?
It is an old testament truth that not all of Abrahams children receive the promises.
Romans 9:13 CSB
As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.
Luke 14:26 CSB
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
Love in such an exorbitant way that it appears that the other is hated. Favor. Overwhelmingly so.
Gen 29:30-31. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. So God corrected Jacob by allowing Leah to bear children while Rachel couldn’t.
Malachi 1:1–5 CSB
A pronouncement: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Though Edom says, “We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of Armies says this: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked country and the people the Lord has cursed forever. Your own eyes will see this, and you yourselves will say, ‘The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.’
Malachi tells us that while God did bless Esau, he did not allow him to flourish the way that Jacob did. God kept him from moving that direction.
Jacob flourished, because God decided that he would.
Jacob was blessed, because God decided to bless him.
God Loves everyone… but he does choose.
1 John 4:8,16. God is love.
Romans 5:8
John 3:16
Matthew 5:44
Psalm 7:11
Psalm 5:5
Romans 11:28
Romans 9:14–16 CSB
What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For he tells Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.
Calvinist: Not of him who wills. It isn’t the “will” of a person that makes them saved. But we have to be careful that it isn’t just God doing the things, or we reject Romans 10. That requires regeneration before faith. Faith becomes a response to God saving you. Which isn’t really faith.
Paul starts by explaining God’s choices for the promises that he made to Israel, an explanation of Romans 8 and the question of “why doesn’t Israel get all of that?”
God’s promises are experienced by Mercy.
Not by blood.
Not by Works.
By Mercy.
It isn’t by anything we can say or do.
Ephesians 2:9 CSB
not from works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 6:23 CSB
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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