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Romans
Chapter 9

Commentary by Tom Brown

 

Rom 9:1
1 I speak the truth in Christ-- I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--
conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not guide you to do anything against your conscience.
2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. This is the inner burden of an evangelist.
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, This is possibly hyperbole. It was a Jewish way of telling how sorrowful one was for the loss of souls. Moses felt the same way. see Ex 32:32. In one sense, Jesus was "cursed and cut off" for our sins, so that we may be saved.
4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Seven advantages of the Jews.
  1. Adoption as sons—not the same as the new birth.
  2. Divine glory—presence of God.
  3. Covenants—Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Davidic.
  4. Receiving the Law—Moses on mount Sinai.
  5. Temple Worship—Leviticus and priesthood.
  6. Promises—blessings of obedience.
  7. Patriarchs.
5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. God over all. This will be the main point that Paul makes in chapter nine--and that is, God is over the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
6 It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.  
7 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." Paul makes a simple point to show that not all Israelites are really God’s people. Abraham, after all, had two sons.
8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.  
9 For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."  
10 Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. one and the same father. Probably an allusion to the Jews and Gentiles having the same father-God.
11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-- in order that God's purpose in election might stand: had done anything good or bad. This is a reference to the Gentiles who had lived bad lives. In other words, the Gentiles bad conduct does not exclude them from election.

election might stand. God had elected the Gentiles even though they were once out voted. The Calvinistic idea of Unconditional Election is unscriptural. They erroneously teach that God has decreed some men and angels to be predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death.

12 not by works but by him who calls-- she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Jesus put it this way: "The first shall be last." The first being the Jew, the Gentile being the last. In this case, the older was the Jew and the younger was the Gentile.
13 Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." God so loved the world. Paul is simply making the point that the Gentiles looked as if they were unloved, but really they were loved by God.
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!  
15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." Paul was not laying down an extreme theological doctrine of predestination but was making a passionate argument that the Gentiles were part of God’s plan for salvation, and that no person could argue as to what God wanted for the world.
16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. man's desire or effort. Jewish zeal and legalistic lives.
17 For the 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."  
18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.  
19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"  
20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"  
21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? The aforementioned illustrations are meant to convey the idea that no one should tell God that he is making a mistake in bringing the Gentiles into the kingdom. 
22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath-- prepared for destruction? What if God. This is hardly an emphatic argument to prove double predestination; only the possibility that God could have "willed" to damn souls if he had wanted. Paul shows passion and logical arguments for defending the Gentile’s right to come into Christ.
23 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-- What if he. See verse 22 commentary.
24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? This shows general predestination not specific predestination.

Paul then proves his points with the following scriptures.

25 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,"  
26 and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'"  
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.  
28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."  
29 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."  
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;  
31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. The Pharisees could argue that the church was mostly Gentile, and so could not be a valid expression of the Messianic kingdom. However it was God's eternal plan that the Gentiles (which make up the majority of the population) come into the kingdom.
32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone."  
33 As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." The scripture foretold that Israel would fall away from the Messiah. This would explain why the church is largely made up of Gentiles.

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