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Paul And Israel (Romans 9,10)

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Romans 9

God’s love for Israel
I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh; 4 who are Israelites, whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God and the promises. 5 Whose are the fathers and of whom is Christ, as concerning the flesh, who is over all. God be praised forever! Amen.
   6 But it is not as though the word of God has come to nothing. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel. 7 Neither, because they are Abraham's seed are they all children, but: In Isaac shall your seed be called. 8 That is: it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God, but the children of the promise who are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: According to this season will I come and Sarah shall have a son.

Predestination and foreknowledge
   10 And not only so, but Rebecca also having conceived by one, by our father Isaac 11 (for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him that calls), 12 it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. 13 Even as it is written: Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
   14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid! 15 For He said to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says of Pharaoh: For this very purpose did I raise you up, that I might show in you My power, and that My Name might be published abroad in all the earth. 18 So then He has mercy on whom He wishes to, and hardens who He wishes.
   19 Then you will say to me: Why does He still find fault? For who withstands His will? 20 No, O man; who are you to answer back to God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it: Why did you make me thus? 21 Or has not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?
   22 And so what if God is willing to show His anger and to make His power known, enduring with longsuffering vessels of anger prepared for destruction; 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He beforehand prepared for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? 25 As He said also in Hosea: I will call them My people, who were not My people; and she that was not beloved shall be called beloved. 26 And it shall be, that in the place where it was said to them: You are not My people, there shall they be called children of the living God. 27 And Isaiah cried out concerning Israel: Even if the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is only the remnant that shall be saved. 28 For the Lord will execute His word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short. 29 And, as Isaiah has said before: Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had become as Sodom and had been made like Gomorrah.
   30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Therefore because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works, they stumbled at the stone of stumbling. 33 Even as it is written: Look, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; and he that believes in him shall not be put to shame.


9:3 Paul is alluding to how Moses offered his place in God’s ‘book of life’- i.e. his eternal salvation- in order that Israel might be saved. This is an amazing level of love- to be prepared to offer up your place in eternity for the sake of others. Paul says he “could wish” this- because he had learnt from the fact that God had refused Moses’ offer. God doesn’t work on the basis of substitution; He saves people because of their freewill identification with Messiah, i.e. Jesus, as the representative of God to man and man to God.

9:5 The fact that Christ was ethnically Jewish shows He was the literal descendant of Abraham and David, the special descendant whom they had been promised. He therefore didn’t exist before His birth, and was not God Himself; even though His status and glory is very great.

9:18 It is written in Exodus many times that Pharaoh hardened his own heart; and also, that God hardened his heart. So God confirms people in the attitudes and positions which they themselves choose from their own freewill.

9:20 The questions we ask about the justice of God aren’t appropriate for us to ask. We will only be concerned about them if we have failed to accept Bible teaching about our low status- for we are just dust, or clay, which God is working with. If we accept this is all we are, questions about His justice, let alone implied criticisms of Him, are inappropriate. Bible characters have argued with God and been angry with God, but ultimately the ‘answer’ is simply that it is not for us to know these answers, because we are but dust. It’s like a small child insisting that the workings of a car are explained to them. They wouldn’t understand even if they were told, the concepts are far beyond them.

9:27 God has always worked with a “remnant”, a minority. The majority are usually wrong when it comes to spiritual matters.