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Bible Commentaries
Romans 9

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-24

God's Sovereignty-Individual

37 God's love never lets us go. The trials and tribulations we endure are not tokens of His displeasure. They are all tempered by His loving heart. A sense of His love hovering over us in the midst of our distresses is the most blessed of all balms and will enable us not only to endure them but to enjoy them.

38 Here all the great forces of the universe are arrayed, and none of them, no, nor all of them together, can come between us and the unconquerable love of our God as displayed in Christ Jesus. Death will be swallowed up by life. Life may lead us far from Him, but not beyond the reach of His love. The present perplexes us, the future fills us with fear, but only when we lose the sense of His love. Powers, celestial or terrestrial, are subject to His sway. Nothing above or beneath nothing at all has the power to break the bond that binds the humblest and most unworthy saint to the throbbing breast of our great and glorious God. This is more than salvation from sin! This is reconciliation!



1 Paul was in acute sympathy with his brethren according to the flesh for he himself had been the most rabid of all in opposing the Christ he now adored. This is a most apt confession as he is about to introduce the great doctrine of the divine Sovereignty, for he is the star example of God's sovereign grace.

4 Physically , Israel has the monopoly of the eight blessings here recorded. In flesh, Christ belongs exclusively to them; no other nation can lay claim to the fathers. The covenants, the law the priestly worship, and the promises do not belong to the church, but to Israel according to the flesh. The sonship and the glory are ours only in spirit, not in flesh.

5 Christ, in flesh, is the God of the eons. All eonian blessing is through Him and for Him.

6 Ishmael was Abraham's son as well as Isaac, but he was born of the flesh, not of the promise. This shows that mere physical descent is not enough to give a title to the blessing of Abraham ( Gen_17:18-20 ; Gen_21:12 ).

11 The futility of fleshly precedence is next shown in the case of Jacob and Esau. This is full of comfort for those of us today who feel like classing ourselves with crooked Jacob, who dId all he could to buy God's blessing, and stupidly hindered it. Yet, being the object of God's elective purpose and love, all his perverse ways could not set aside God's predetermined outcome. Esau was Jacob's senior and superior, yet he became his slave. This ought to appeal powerfully to the sons of Israel (for whom this section is especially intended), for they are his descendants.

14 The usual deduction from this is that God is not just. In a man this would not be right, but it is God's sovereign privilege to display Himself through any of His creatures , in any way best suited to the purpose. Love needed a Jacob for its display. Power needed a Pharaoh for its foil. Man cannot turn the tide of God's affections in his favor nor can he stem the torrent of His wrath. In God's great purpose to eventually bless all mankind it is His prerogative to form and use suitable vessels to convey His mercy. Of such was Jacob. Esau was needed to emphasize Jacob's unworthiness. Pharoah was elevated by God, not that his name might be great, but that God's name might be made known through all the earth. A great man was needed for this or God could not have made His power known.

19 The questioner persists in looking at God's sovereignty from the human standpoint of the individual, when it should be viewed from the divine national vantage. God has a large purpose which will eventuate in the blessing of all. But in the process of its fulfillment it demands the temporary use of some as foils to set forth His indignation and power, that He may make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy . This chapter does not deal with the destiny of the individual. That has been settled. All mankind will be justified eventually ( Rom_5:18 ). It is not difficult to see how God can justify Pharaoh, whom He hardened, lest his heart should soften and he should fail to oppose Him further.

Verses 25-33

God's Sovereignty-National

25 A comparison of Hos_2:23 with Hos_1:9-11 shows that this is not an interpretation but an illustration . God, in His sovereign mercy, will reverse the sentence which He pronounced against Israel. In the very same place in which they were named "Lo-ammi," there they shall be called sons of the living God. He deals with the nations as this.

21 Isaiah's testimony is to the same effect. A remnant in Israel shall be saved in the coming time of reckoning. These are seen in the Unveiling as the hundred and forty-four thousand and the vast throng ( Rev_7:4 ; Rev_7:9 ) .



30 God's sovereignty is further illustrated in the dispensation of justification. Normally, Israel, seeking to keep a just law, should have attained righteousness. Yet the nations, who made no effort to attain righteousness, grasp it because they find it on the principle of faith. The pursuit of righteousness by means of the law led Israel to refuse the grace of Christ apart from the keeping of the law. It is evident that this is true only in a national way, for not all of Israel stumbled, neither did all among the nations find the righteousness of faith. This must be constantly borne in mind in studying this entire division of Romans. It deals, not with individuals, but nations. Israel, as a whole, is apostate, yet some among them are brilliant examples of faith. The nations, who never before had any part in God's blessings, except as they became proselytes and identified themselves with Israel, now believe God in considerable numbers. Paul becomes the apostle of the nations and thus inaugurates the present secret economy ( Eph_3:2 ).

1 Intense zeal, religious fervor, coupled with self-righteousness, does not lead to salvation. God demands subjection to His righteousness in Christ. The law should establish their unrighteousness and thus reveal God's righteousness, which is manifested in Christ. Israel, as a nation, will be saved when they see Him Whom they stabbed, and recognize Him as their


6 The law demanded obedience first and promised life to those only who continued to keep it. But even in the law there was provision for faith. It taught that Jehovah Himself, He was their life ( Deu_30:20 ). In the day when He gathers them out of the peoples and brings them back into the land He will bring the word of faith very near to them ( Deu_30:1-14 ). In place of their own efforts He will put the humiliation and resurrection of Christ before them. Salvation will depend on the avowal of His lordship and resurrection.

13 There is here an allusion to the ancient custom, still in vogue in eastern lands, of the right of sanctuary. One who is in danger of death by the hands of the blood avenger, if he cannot reach a safe place in time, may invoke the name of some great and powerful person, and thus find salvation through his name. If the avengers of blood refuse to listen to his appeal, and take his life, it devolves upon the person on whose name he has called to take swift and summary vengeance. He gathers together all his friends and allies to assist him in punishing the outrage and in defending the honor of his name. For three and one third days he executes vengeance on all who were concerned in killing the one who had invoked his name. "Whoever should be invoking the name of the Lord shall be saved." When vengeance visits the earth, the only shelter will be the name of Jehovah. Therefore it will require not only heart belief, but the avowal of the mouth. Thus it is that Israel will be saved and all others who, in that day, will seek refuge in His name.

14 The refugee does not need to know his protector personally, yet would hardly call on one in whom he had no faith. He could not invoke one of whom he had not even heard. Hence it will be necessary to proclaim Christ, and even before that God will need to commission His heralds.

17 For Israel in that day the declarations of Christ, the great Protector, will be presented to them for their belief. Thus their salvation will be a simple matter of faith in His great name.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Romans 9". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/romans-9.html. 1968.
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