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In Christ ; as one united to Christ, and devoted to his service.
In the Holy Ghost ; under his direction and influence.
Great heaviness and continual sorrow ; on account of the deplorable condition and prospects of the unbelieving Jews, who constituted the mass of the nation, and whom, in the next verse, he calls his brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, meaning his relatives and countrymen.
I could wish ; were it proper, or would it benefit them.
Accursed from Christ ; subjected to the greatest calamities for his brethren, if by this means they could be saved. While true religion leads those who possess it earnestly to desire the salvation of all, it leads them especially to desire the salvation of their own countrymen, and most of all that of their relatives and friends, and to be willing to make any proper sacrifices for the sake of promoting it.
To whom pertaineth the adoption ; who had been selected of God as his people, and on whom he had bestowed peculiar privileges.
The glory ; the visible emblem of the divine presence.
The covenants ; those made with their fathers.
The giving of the law ; Exodus 20:1-17 .
The service of God ; in his temple.
The promises ; those contained in the Old Testament.
Whose are the fathers ; the patriarchs, priests, and prophets, a most illustrious ancestry.
Of whom as concerning the flesh ; from whom, as to his human nature, Christ descended.
Who is over all , God blessed for ever ; truly divine, Jehovah.
The word of God ; his word of promise to Abraham and his seed.
Hath taken none effect ; hath failed of fulfilment. The great error of the unbelieving Jews was in thinking that the covenant of God with Abraham bound him to save all his children, without respect to their own personal faith and obedience. This error the apostle now proceeds to expose.
Not all Israel ; not all his natural descendants are, in spirit, true Israelites, to whom the promises of spiritual blessings were made. Galatians 4:29 .
Neither-are they all children ; in the sense of being heirs to the promise.
In Isaac shall thy seed be called ; Genesis 21:12 . The meaning of these words is, that not all Abraham’s children by natural descent shall be heirs of the promises made to him, but only those in the line of Isaac.
The children of the flesh ; Abraham’s children by mere natural descent.
The children of God ; in a special sense, as being heirs of the promises made to Abraham.
The children of the promise ; the children of Isaac, who was born in a supernatural way, according to God’s promise, mentioned in the following verse.
Are counted for the seed ; the seed that inherits the promises made to Abraham. Thus the apostle shows that from the very beginning the blessings of the covenant did not flow in the line of mere natural descent to Abraham’s children, but according to God’s promise. Upon the same principle God acts under the gospel, reckoning as the true seed of Abraham those, and those only, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God, and who show this by believing in Christ. John 1:13 ; John 6:29 . The promises of the gospel are not made to any on account of their natural descent or their religious privileges, but on account of their union to Christ by believing on him.
The word of promise ; Genesis 18:10-14 ; Genesis 25:21-23 .
And not only this ; not only did God in this care reject a part of Abraham’s seed by natural descent.
By our father Isaac ; to be connected immediately with verse Romans 9:12 ; in intermediate verse being thrown in to show that in rejecting Esau and taking Jacob, God was not influenced by any good or evil yet done by the children.
As it is written ; Malachi 1:2-3 . The meaning of these words is, I chose Jacob and his seed to be heirs of the promises made to Abraham, and rejected Esau and his seed.
Is there unrighteousness with God? is it wrong for him to make such distinctions as he does among men? God forbid ; certainly not: for every thing he does, he has the wisest and best reasons. Whatever God does is right; and however his dealings may appear to men, they should always feel that what he does is wise, holy, just, and good. In many things he calls men to walk by faith; and gives them opportunities to show thus whether they have or have not confidence in him.
He saith to Moses ; Exodus 33:19 .
Of God that showeth mercy ; the blessings which God bestows upon sinners originate wholly with himself. They are bestowed upon such persons, at such times, and in such ways and measures as he sees best, and are wholly of grace.
The scripture saith ; Exodus 9:16 .
Have I raised thee up ; caused thee to stand; continued thee on earth a long time, notwithstanding all thy sins.
My power in thee ; my power to overcome all opposition, and by mighty signs and wonders, with a high hand and an outstretched arm, to deliver my people, according to my promise.
That my name might be declared ; that I might be made known as the one only living and true God, the omnipotent Jehovah, over all the earth.
Whom he will he hardeneth ; as he did Pharaoh, by continuing him on earth notwithstanding his sins, and suffering him, under judgments and mercies, to act out his wickedness, and thus grow harder and more wicked than he was before.
Find fault ; blame persons for doing wrong.
Resisted his will ; thwarted his counsels, by which "he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth," verse Romans 8:18 . This is the old objection, that if God accomplishes all his purposes, he cannot blame men for their conduct. But it is a certain fact that he does govern them as free responsible beings, and hold them accountable for all their wickedness, although he may overrule it, as he did that of the Jewish council who instigated Pilate to crucify Christ, for the accomplishment of his own wise and good counsels.
Repliest against God ; disputest against him, by finding fault with the principles upon which he governs the world.
Power ; rightful power, as the original word implies.
Of the same lump ; the lump is here the mass of fallen sinful men, who can claim nothing at God’s hand as a matter of right, and towards whom he may justly proceed, as he did towards Jacob and Esau, showing mercy to one, and withholding it from another.
What if God , willing ; judged it best to manifest his wrath against transgressors of his laws and opposers of his government, and thus show his power to destroy his enemies and save his friends.
Endured with much long - suffering ; waited upon them a long time, as he did upon Pharaoh, while by their most unreasonable rebellion they grew harder; and thus the abuse of his forbearance became a savor of death unto death. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 .
The vessels of wrath ; men who perseveringly refused to obey God.
Fitted to destruction ; by their own wickedness. If God continues men in life and surrounds them with mercies, yet leaves them to pursue their own chosen way, they will grow more wicked, and become more hardened in sin; till, by rejecting his kind invitations, and abusing his providence and grace, they have fitted themselves for destruction.
The riches of his glory ; the glorious perfections of his character, especially of his mercy and grace.
The vessels of mercy ; those whom he mercifully led to repent of their sins and believe on Christ.
Even us ; believers in Christ.
Called ; effectually by his word and Spirit.
Not of the Jews only ; but of all nations.
Osee ; the Greek form of the Hebrew word Hosea. Hosea 2:23 .
Call them my people-not beloved ; those who had been cast off as enemies, he would reclaim and gather as friends.
It shall come to pass ; Hosea 1:10 . In the places where they had shown that they were not the people of God, there the change which grace would produce would be so manifest, that they would be acknowledged as his people. The salvation of any of the lost race of men originates in the love of God, and is accomplished by his power and grace, showing them their need of Christ, and inclining them to believe on him.
Esaias ; Isaiah.
Crieth ; proclaimeth publicly. Isaiah 10:22-23 .
A remnant ; a few only of them, compared with the whole, shall believe and be saved. This was repeatedly fulfilled in God’s treatment of the nation before the coming of Christ; and now, in the apostle’s day, it was having its great fulfilment in the fact that only a remnant of them received Christ as their Messiah, and were thus saved.
He will finish the work ; the work of righteously destroying those who will not have him reign over them.
Cut it short ; accomplish it in a speedy and summary way.
A short work ; a work done with promptness and speed. The apostle quotes here, as often, from the Greek version of the Seventy.
Esaias said before ; in an earlier passage. Isaiah 1:9 .
A seed ; a remnant, a few.
We had been ; destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. By these quotations the apostle showed conclusively that the doctrine of the Jewish Scriptures was that only a remnant of the nation should be saved. In former judgments God had proceeded upon this principle, and he would do so now. A people may have the greatest outward privileges, and yet very few of them be saved. Of course no one can safely depend upon any outward distinctions or external privileges; unless they lead him to Christ as the all-sufficient and only Saviour, they will, by being abused, neglected, or perverted, aggravate his condemnation.
What shall we say ; what is the conclusion? Followed not after righteousness ; did not know God and did not seek his favor.
Have attained ; acceptance with God, by believing in the Messiah who has been offered to them.
The law of righteousness ; or, as we may render, a law of righteousness; that is, a law which can give justification and eternal life, which, in their case, was the law of Moses.
Wherefore? why have they not obtained justification? Because they sought it by their own works, and as a matter of human merit; not by believing in Christ, and receiving it for his sake.
They stumbled at that stumbling - stone ; they were offended at Christ, and opposed salvation through him.
As it is written ; Isaiah 8:14 ; Isaiah 28:16 . These passages pointed out the manner in which they would treat Christ; that the effect of believing on him would be salvation, and of rejecting him would be destruction; so that it was certain, not merely from the preaching of Paul, but from the testimony of God by the Old Testament prophets, that other foundation for human hope could no man lay than that which was laid, Jesus Christ; that by believing on him, Gentiles as well as Jews could be saved, and that by continuing to reject him, Jews as well as Gentiles would be lost. 1 Corinthians 3:11 . The eternal condition of men who have the gospel will be according to their treatment of the Lord Jesus Christ. However ignorant, careless, or wicked they may have been, if they believe on him they will be justified, sanctified, and saved; if they reject him they will be lost.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 9". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
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