God’s Sovereign Wisdom and grace towards Israel.
God’s Sovereign Choice: 9:1-5.
In chapter eight, Paul explains the divine provisions for our salvation. From chapter 12-16, we see Paul’s practical exhortations. In between from chapter 9-11, Paul reassures the nation of Israel of their place in the kingdom of God. Despite all the gifts and promises majority of Jews failed to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. Paul was grieving over their rejection of Christ and wished he could do something about it (Rom 9:3). Meanwhile he is dealing with the problem of their unbelief and reassures that God is faithful in his promises. Some thought that God has failed in his promises. In Chapter 9-11, Paul gives a detailed answer to this question. God's promises to Israel never guaranteed salvation based on ethnicity. Paul knew that his eternal life is purchased by the blood Christ and it cannot be lost. Yet he was willing to die for the salvation of Israel. Jews are indeed the privileged people. They are chosen to be God’s special possession. God revealed His glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them His law. They had the privilege of worshiping the true God. To them belong the fathers, and from them born Christ according to the flesh (Rom 9:4, 5). His humanity came through Israel yet Jesus is divine and worthy of our praise and worship forever.
Sovereignty in God’s election: 9:6-13.
Some people suggest that God's promise has not come true because most Jews rejected Jesus. Paul answers this important question in this chapter. All physical descendants of Abraham are not children of promise. For the scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted”. The children of promise are those who believe in the God of Abraham. God's promise is not guaranteed on the basis of ethnicity (9:7-11). Paul says that, if Israel as a nation has been set aside, it is because of their rejection of the gospel of Christ. Gospel is free and anybody could believe and get saved. They must be born of the Holy Spirit (Gal 4:29). God does all things according to His eternal purposes. In this chapter we see the sovereignty of God in election. Chapter 10, explains the moral responsibility. In the chapter 11, we see the final purpose of God being fulfilled in the future reception of Israel. Paul gives the example of God’s election of grace in the choosing of Isaac and Jacob. Salvation is never based on human merit but entirely by divine grace and mercy. Esau and Jacob has the same Jewish heritage. Yet God loved “Jacob and hated Esau" . Here God is speaking of two nations, Israel and Edom. It is not that God hated Esau with animosity but it simply means God preferred Jacob. To us it might appear to be unjust because of our limited knowledge. In God’s redemptive purposes, He did not wait to see how Jacob and Esau would turn out before He elected one of them. It was God's free choice to give mercy to whomever he pleases. Our salvation is only because of grace.
Sovereignty and the mercy of God: 9:14-24.
Paul continues to explain that God's grace has always been the determining factor in salvation. Many people have difficulty to understand the doctrine of election and see God as unfair in the choice of Jacob. Paul’s response is that “Certainly not”. God always works on the just principle (Gen 18:25). God is not obligated to give grace to any of us . He shows mercy to anyone He chooses. God’s mercy is based on His character and not on the merits of man. The whole Israel deserved to be destroyed because of their disobedience (Exodus 32). But only three thousand died because of the sovereign mercy of God. He is the merciful God (Rom 9:15). God is also sovereign when it comes to His judgment (Rom 9:17). God did not say he made Pharaoh for judgment. God permitted him to be the king of Egypt. Pharaoh hardened his heart and disobeyed God so that the purpose of God may be fulfilled Ex 5:2; 7:3). God’s purpose was to display his power. His initial hardening of heart was cemented when God stopped dealing with him. No man can reject God’s council and escape his judgment. Some would say, God cannot find fault with me because, this is the way God made me. God made man in his own image. Man is what he is today because of his own sin. God is not answerable to man for what he does. God does all things according to his eternal council and character. It is the responsibility of the creature to trust the wisdom of the creator. God does not make one person evil and another person good. God makes no man a sinner. We are sinners by our choice. The vessels of mercy are those who have received God’s mercy. The vessels of wrath are those who reject God’s mercy. God is not obligated to show grace and mercy to any of us. Through the preaching of the gospel God is calling people to himself from Jews and Gentiles (9:23-24). God has never promised that unbelieving Jews will be saved.
God’s Sovereignty and election were foretold: 9:25-33.
Here Paul quotes the Old Testament Scriptures to prove the doctrine of election. God never intended to limit his promises and election to only Jews. The divine election is not a new doctrine. “I will call them my people who were not my people” (Hosea 2:23). The gentiles never had been the people of God. God is calling people from all nations to himself by the preaching of the gospel. Someone has said "If there was nothing in us to bring us into grace, then there is nothing in us to take us out of grace". God has absolute power over our salvation. Here we see the principle of divine election. Although Israel rejected God, they were not utterly destroyed. God has a remnant for Himself always (Isaiah 10:22). being Jewish has never guaranteed salvation. Israel sought righteousness by their deeds of the law but they have failed. But gentiles are justified by faith in Christ. Salvation is always based on the faith in the promise of God. Israel stumbled at their Messiah because they did not seek righteousness by faith in Christ (9:33). Our good deeds can never produce the perfection that God demands. Righteousness comes only through faith in Christ as a gift (John 1:12,13). Pray that God would help us to take the gospel to the nations.