God’s Sovereign Wisdom and grace towards Israel.
God’s Sovereign Choice: 9:1-5. In chapter eight, Paul has expounded the doctrine of justification and the divine provision for the salvation. From chapter twelve onwards 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. As a nation they had rejected their Messiah and the gospel. But they had many messianic promises. Paul declares that God will honor those promises to them. Meanwhile he is dealing with the problem of their unbelief and reassures that God is not finished with them yet. Paul expresses his pain and sorrow for his nation. He wished that his name would have blotted out of God’s book for the salvation of Israel. They are indeed the privileged people. They are chosen to be God’s special children. 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 and receiving His promises. To them belong the fathers and from them born Christ according to the flesh (9:4, 5). Jesus is of Israel, born of a virgin. His humanity came from Israel but He is divine. The privileges of Israel find their culmination in Christ who is over all, God blessed forever.
Sovereignty is shown in God’s election: 9:6-13. Paul saw that all physical descendants are not the truly Jews but the 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. They are born of the Holy Spirit (Gal 4:29). There is always a continuing line of believers. 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. God does all things according to His eternal purposes. In the 9th chapter we see the sovereignty of God in election. The 10th chapter explains the moral responsibility of man. In the 11th chapter 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. “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated”. Here God is speaking of two nations, Israel and Edom. It is not that God hated Esau with animosity but only 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.
Sovereignty and the mercy of God: 9:14-24. 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 “God forbid”. God always works on the just principle (Gen 18:25). 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 disobedience (Exodus 32). But only three thousand died because of the sovereign mercy of God. He is a merciful God (9:15). God is also sovereign when it comes to His judgment (9:17). God did not say He made Pharaoh for His judgment. God permitted him to be the king of Egypt. God said “let my people go”. Pharaoh hardened his heart and disobeyed God so that the purpose of God may be fulfilled. God’s purpose was to display His power throughout the earth. Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex 5:2; 7:3). 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, that 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. He does all things according to His 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. Out of the clay every man stands alike. We are sinners but God has shown mercy towards us. The vessels of mercy are those who have received God’s mercy. The vessels of wrath are those who reject God’s mercy and His love.
God’s Sovereignty and election were foretold: 9:25-33. Here Paul quotes the Old Testament Scriptures to prove the doctrine of election. 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. But now they are. 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, 23; 1:9). Israel sought righteousness by deeds of the law but 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. The spiritual life does not come through physical birth or by good work but through faith in Christ (John 1:12, 13). Whoever believes in Christ will not be put to shame but will be saved.