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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Paul's letter to the Romans

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Frameworks: Romans 9

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

         

 

CHAPTER 9

   

v.1-5 Paul's Anguish Over Israel
v.6-9 A Need to realise who are Abraham's true children, the true Israel
v.10-14 God's choice of Jacob over Esau
v.15-18 God's choice for mercy
v.19-24 Possible arguing with God
v.25-29 God lays it out in the prophets
v.30-33 Israel's Unbelief

      

[Context: We continue to provide a brief summary of each previous chapter to provide present context:

Ch.1 The sinfulness of the world Ch.2 All – Jew & Gentile – are under God's judgment

Ch.3 Jews are the same as Gentiles in that salvation only comes through faith in Christ

Ch.4 Abraham illustrates how justification only comes through faith

Ch.5 Peace with God is a natural outworking of justification. Adam sinned – Christ saves

Ch.6 Sin now longer has a place in our lives as we consider our old sinful lives dead and we've been raised to a new life

Ch.7 Because he has died to his old life, he has been freed from the Law. He wrestles with the fact that there is a drive within himself that knows about the goodness of the Law but can't keep it, a drive called sin

Ch.8 Christ's death on the Cross has met the demands of the Law so now as we set our minds on His will, the Spirit brings about a first signs of sonship transformation, secure in Father & Son's love.]

NOW he considers the state of his own people, Israel, who might feel rejected when they see Gentiles entering the kingdom. He deals with God's sovereign choice. See notes at end]

   

  

v.1-5 Paul's Anguish Over Israel

 

v.1 (he does genuinely feel this) I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—

v.2 (he has great anguish) I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

v.3-5 (he feels for them because really they have had so much going for them) For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

 

v.6-9 A Need to realise who are Abraham's true children, the true Israel

 

v.6 (God's promise about them being His people didn't fail because not all descended from Israel are truly His people) It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

v.7 (claiming Abraham as father isn't the whole picture) Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” [Gen. 21:12]

v.8 (so it's not natural children but faith children) In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

v.9 (Ishmael may have been born naturally but Isaac was the child God had promised) For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son. ” [Gen 18:10,14]

 

v.10-14 God's choice of Jacob over Esau

 

v.10 (similarly with the next generation) Not only that, but Rebekah's children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.

v.11,12 (God spoke about which one He had chosen) Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” [Gen 25:23]

v.13 (as it is seen in the prophets) Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” [Mal 1:2,3]

v.14 (does that make God unjust? no way!) What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!

 

v.15-18 God's choice for mercy

 

v.15 (God says he will decide on whom to have mercy) For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” [Exo 33:19]

v.16 (it's not a case of human activity) It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

v.17 (God confronted Pharaoh to show His power) For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” [Exo 9:16]

v.18 (so it's up to God) Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

 

 

v.19-24 Possible arguing with God

 

v.19 (some might object to this) One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”

v.20 (can the creature argue with the Creator?) But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?' [Isa 29:16; 45:9]

v.21 (doesn't the potter have choice over the clay?) Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

v.22 (in fact it shows God's patience that He hadn't dealt with Pharaoh earlier) What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?

v.23,24 (didn't it just show us who were saved how wonderful our salvation is) What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

 

v.25-29 God lays it out in the prophets

 

v.25 (God's heart is for the whole world) As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people' who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one' who is not my loved one,” [Hos 2:23]

v.26 (so He draws people even from other nations) and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,'  there they will be called ‘children of the living God.'” [Hos 1:10]

v.27,28 (it's not all Israel saved but only the faithful remnant) Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” [Isa 10:22,23 (see Septuagint)]

v.29 (if God hadn't been merciful they would all have been destroyed) It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” [Isa 1:9]

 

v.30-33 Israel's Unbelief

 

v.30,31 (Jews fall short of keeping the law by lack of faith while gentiles with no law exercise faith) What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.

v.32 (the Jews followed the Law not as an act of faith in a loving God but as ‘work') Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

v.33 (the scriptures prophesied how they would stumble over faith) As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” [Isa 8:14; 28:16]

 

  

[Notes: in this chapter we are confronted with questions about the sovereignty of God in choice.

v.7-9 Why did God choose Isaac and not Ishmael? Answer: it's all about faith throughout; Ishmael came by human effort, Isaac by a miracle following faith.

v. 10-13 Why did God choose Jacob and not Esau? Why does it say God hated Esau? Answer: He knew what both men would become and so chose the twister who would ultimately open his heart to Him. Esau despised his birthright and thus despised God and His choice of this family.

v.15-17 Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart? Because it was hard already and you harden a hard heart from confronting it so the reality of it is revealed.

v.20-21 What is the point of the Potter illustration? Answer: The Lord answers the argument beforehand. The Potter sees that not all clay is the same, some has the potential of being reworked, some not. The Potter has the right to choose the right clay for the right pot.

The key in all this is God's foreknowledge (see Acts 2:23, Rom 8:29) that saw us before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4) and ‘chose' those who He knew would respond to hearing the Gospel and thus they were ‘predestined'.]