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Bible Commentaries
Romans 9

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-5

Israel’s Failure in Recognizing and Fulfilling their Divine Election In Romans 9:1-5 Paul expresses the deepest sorrow of any expressed in his thirteen epistles as he explains how Israel failed to recognize and fulfill God’s plan for their election as His chosen people.

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Romans 9:1 Comments - In Romans 9:1 Paul says that his mind agrees with his spirit. His mind is reflected in his words that are not a lie, and his spirit is reflected in his conscience, which is the voice of man’s spirit. These are two witnesses that Paul uses to make the statement that follows.

Romans 9:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

Romans 9:2 “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart” Comments - Anyone who grows in the Lord and begins to make a sacrifice in their lives for Him will come to a place where God transforms his heart to become a broken heart. This believer’s heart will become broken for a lost and dying world. He will not be like other Christians, looking out for the good things in life, but he will not hesitate to suffer for His name's sake. Thus, as we grow in God’s love, we also grow in the heartache of a lost world, especially those whom you love personally. It hurts so much to see loved ones straying from God. The price of loving is costly and involves much pain.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

In the mid-eighties, I woke up one morning and began to weep for a lost and dying world. It was an emotion that I knew was not my own, but was an emotion from the heart of God. It felt supernatural. This experience has never left me. It seems as if I were touched by God that morning and given a transformed heart. This burden has never left me to this day.

In a documentary of Arthur Blessitt, he recounts his twenty years of carrying a wooden cross around the world. During this testimony, he broke down and began to weep, full of sorrow for a lost and dying world. [192] This is an emotion that God gives to those who will allow God to transform their heart. This passage of Scripture reveals how much God had transformed Paul's heart to become like God's heart, to feel as God feels and to experience the very divine emotions that God feels for His people.

[192] Arthur Blessitt, Arthur A Pilgrim, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, 27 October 1999), television program.

Philippians 1:8, “For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ .”

When the anointing is given to someone for the work of the ministry, there is also a burden that comes upon a person, a weight of responsibility. The seventy elders of Israel felt this “burden” of responsibility when they received the laying on of hands by Moses to receive the anointing.

Numbers 11:16-17, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee , that thou bear it not thyself alone.”

Romans 9:2 Comments - Paul felt two things. He was in great heaviness or grief. That is, he was angry and grieved inside at the sin that filling these people’s lives. Secondly, Paul felt sorrow. He felt heartache for their souls lost in sin as he cared so much for them. These are two distinct things yet they go together.

Romans 9:1-2 Comments - “my conscience…my heart” In Romans 9:1-2 Paul speaks of his conscience and his heart, or spirit, in the same sentence. The conscience is the voice of the spirit of man, just as reason is the voice of the mind and feelings are the voice of the body. Thus, Paul is saying in these verses that his conscience is telling him about the deep, inner sorrow for his fellowman.

Romans 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:3 Comments - We see this same desire in David’s heart in 2 Samuel 18:33 when he wished to have died for his son Absalom.

2 Samuel 18:33, “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Jesus actually became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).

Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

Romans 9:1-3 Comments - Paul’s Sorrow for Israel Having explained how God is working in the midst of life’s trials for our good in the immediate passage preceding this new section (Romans 8:28-39), he reflects upon Israel. He is reminded that the Jews had become his greatest adversary, as they fiercely defended their traditions both in Jerusalem and in the cities where he planted churches. Yet, God has revealed to Paul that his sufferings to establish the church are not in vain; for he is working towards a greater goal, which is the redemption of Israel, his own people.

When Paul reached the topic of the nation of Israel, his heart was torn and filled with sorrow. He had been trained under their greatest scholars, and became a leading Pharisee. This people had poured their Jewish lives and culture and money into educating him and promoting him as a leading ambassador for Judaism. When I left the Southern Baptist denomination, and laid aside denominational structure, I still carried a sense of obligation to return to them what they had imparted unto me. Paul still feels a debt towards his people.

He loved his nation deeply, yet, his people had rejected him. Many of us can relate to such an experience if we will go back to some of the deepest pains of our past. It is sometimes a door within the most inner chambers of our heart that we do not open very often. But the pain of a past broken relationship and the love for an individual that has forsaken us is often hidden deep inside. In a similar way, Paul had devoted his life to serve his people. He had gone to Jerusalem as a young man to be trained by the best Jewish teachers of his day. He developed a deep love for his nation and for their rich heritage of divine history. This love never decreased, despite the way his fellow Jews treated him. When he had found the truth, his own people rejected and persecuted him with the same zeal that he had persecuted the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, it was probably his closest companions in the Sanhedrin that came against him with the most anger. Such experiences left a deep hurt and pain within him that he did not express very often. Now he expresses this sorrow, for this exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the church at Rome necessitates it. He must open one of the most inner chambers of his heart, and in doing so, he pours out his emotions before discussing theology.

Paul the apostle now reveals his love and passion for his own people in Romans 9:1-3, which is the driving force the keeps him in the ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. He now talks about a love so deep that it causes a continual sorrow in his heart. This is not a natural level of love, but rather, it is the love of God that has been poured into his heart by the Holy Spirit. He has given himself as a living sacrifice upon God’s altar of divine service (Romans 12:1) in hopes that God will work mightily amongst his loved ones, the Jews. The heartbreak comes in his own life because the ones he so dearly loves are those who persecute him the most. He left his people and followed God’s will as an apostle to the Gentiles, perhaps entrusting his nation into God’s destiny. In response, the Lord reveals to Paul that He had not abandoned Israel. In fact, God still has a marvelous plan for their redemption, which Paul records for us in Romans 9-11. This is one reason Paul closes this passage (Romans 11:33-36) by reflecting upon God’s unsearchable depth of wisdom and knowledge.

When Paul wrote this letter he was on his way back to Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit was bearing witness that persecutions awaited him there. He says, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22-24) Paul was willing to die for his faith, and for his people.

Perhaps the deepest pain and sorrow that someone can experience in life is the death of a love one, or the loss of a broken dating relationship or the divorce from a marriage. Often in death, there is something final about the separation, something that allows us to close that door and accept the loss. However, this is not the case in a broken relationship or a divorce, for such wounds sometimes never heal. Often, out of love, a Christian will carry a deep, inner love and sorrow inside him the rest of his life for the other person. Such a person will see life a little differently after such a sorrowful experience. He will live his life in an effort to heal and build up rather than tear down. Every once in a while, he will reflect on this past tragedy with sorrow, but also with a heart of love.

We see an example of this type of sorrow in the life of Jacob at the death of his beloved wife Rachel. She gave birth to her second son and named him “Benoni,” or “son of my sorrow,” because she had complications at childbirth that caused her to die, but Jacob changed his name to Benjamin, which means, “son of my right hand,” since this child would become a source of strength and encouragement during the years ahead as he often reflected upon the sorrowful death of Rachel.

We can find this same emotion that Paul is feeling is we go to the book of Hosea. This Old Testament prophet will reveal to us the deepest, most sacrificial type of love to be found in the heart of God, which is His love for a fallen human race. It is easy for us to understand how a mother has such passion and love for her child, because we have felt such love as humans. We know that her love is unconditional, enduring under all situations without requiring anything on the part of her child. Even if this child never returned her love, but rather, brought evil upon his mother, she would still give her life for him despite his rejection. The Lord makes a reference to such love in Isaiah 49:15.

Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

We can easily understand how a man and a woman fall in love and marry, because we have felt this type of love in our human relationships. Every person will eventually feel this type of love. The Lord uses the Song of Solomon to describe this love for one’s lover.

Song of Solomon 1:2, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”

How do we as Christians understand God’s love for a fallen, wicked humanity; for this is the love that took Jesus Christ to Calvary to suffer and die for a people who hated and despised Him? This is the love that God caused Hosea the prophet to experience so that he could tell his own people about the love that Jehovah God has for this backslidden people. This one-sided love story is the theme of the book of Hosea. God used a failed love story in the life of Hosea to teach him God’s unconditional love for this world. In our lives today, God still uses such failures in human relationships to teach us how to love the human race. He takes our hurts and pains from situations like that of Hosea to teach us how to love this sinful world. This is what the Lord revealed to me in a dream early one morning in October 7, 2004. Many people can look back and remember those years of their youth when passions were strong, but wisdom was lacking. Many people have felt the pain of a broken relationship and found themselves abandoned despite the love that continues within their hearts the rest of their lives. They often ask themselves why they had to go through such pain. The Lord gave me the answer that morning as I awoke.

I was raised in church and saved at the age of seven. But without strong parental guidance, I found myself during my college years bound with emotional ties in a dating relationship to someone who was not a Christian. We had even suffered the pain of an abortion. I will never forget that rainy night in 1979 when I broke off this unhealthy relationship, left my college campus and made the five-hour drive home. Under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I rededicated my live to Jesus and returned to my home church and to my Christian family. However, it was not without emotional pain. I drove the entire five-hour trip in tears and sorrowed for years afterwards, even when the other person had long forgotten me for another relationship. As a child of God with His love within me, I felt that unconditional love for this unsaved soul. I was thirty-eight (38) years old before I was ready to find my precious wife.

As Christians we sometimes think that we are not supposed to suffer pain and sorrow if we are serving the Lord. This particular morning the Lord brought me back in a dream to my pain by showed me that old relationship. In this dream, as I felt this renewed pain and sorrow and love breaking my heart, the Lord revealed to me why He had allowed this event to happen in my life. It was because He wanted me to feel His pain and His love for a lost and dying world. It was not enough to believe that God loved the world. He wanted me to experience what He felt. He wanted me understand why I was still carrying this emotion, and that it had not gone away. He seemed to say to me, “I have placed that pain within you, so that when you feel it, you will understand my love for a lost and dying world.” He revealed to me that as I carry these sorrows, I would then be able to love others the way He loves others. When I awoke I could only pray in my weakness and rededicate my life to Him as His servant to love a fallen, wicked world. I asked the Lord to help me to love the world as He loves them.

In his book Heaven: Close Encounters of the God Kind, Jesse Duplantis describes in his visit to heaven how tears filled the eyes of Jesus Christ as He said that the worst day of His life is yet to come. It was not the day He suffered on Calvary, but it will be the day of the Great White Throne Judgment when He will turn His back on those who rejected Him and send them forever into eternal damnation. This will be the most difficult day of His life. [193] Oh, how He loves you and me. God truly loves His children. However, the book of Hosea is about a broader love. It reveals His all-encompassing love for humanity as well as His children. Many people have felt this love because of a broken relationship, a pain that brings sorrow upon remembrance. They have not been able to find a healing from such heartbreak. But, they do not understand why they carry this love. This particular type of sorrow is best expressed by Paul in his letter to the church at Rome when he says, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:2-3)

[193] Jesse Duplantis, Heaven Close Endounters of the God Kind (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, 1996), 125-7.

In addition, God’s love had been shed abroad by the Holy Spirit into Paul’s heart (Romans 5:5). Thus, there is a deeper reason for this sorrow besides Paul natural emotions. Paul felt this deep sorrow in his inner man for his people because the Holy Spirit had deposited a love within him. It was an inner sorrow produced and maintained by the presence of the Holy Spirit. For someone who has died to Christ and who has learned to die daily can no longer be offended by persecution. Paul loved his people through the power of the Holy Spirit despite what they did to him. I believe that this love was deposited within Him as a part of his calling and equipping for the office of an apostle. For example, in the late 1980’s I woke up in the early morning and began to weep because I felt a deep sorrow for a lost and dying world. I felt their pains and wept because of what they were going through. About this time also the Lord gave me a song, whose stanzas talked about the reaping in the harvest fields of souls. It seems that this was the time that the Lord was imparting into me an anointing in order to equipment for the mission field. I believe that Paul experienced something similar, so that these inner sorrows were a part of his spirit, deposited by the Holy Spirit in order to help him feel the way God feels about a lost and dying humanity. Thus, Paul says, “The love of Christ constrains me.” (2 Corinthians 5:14) It is this type of love that compels us to lay our lives down in behalf of the needs of others. Paul will shortly call upon his readers to do the same by becoming a living sacrifice for others (Romans 12:1).

Paul will begin this passage on the divine election of the nation of Israel (Romans 9-11) with the words, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” (Romans 9:2-3) His examination of God’s redeeming love for them brings him out and into a moment of praise and glory to God for orchestrating such a marvelous plan of redemption. Paul’s burst of praise for God’s redemptive work for his people Israel and the Church in the closing remarks in Romans 11:33-36 is the result of Paul’s intense love and sorrow for his nation as a fellow Jew; so that Paul’s sorrow will be followed with joy as prophesied in Isaiah 51:11.

Isaiah 51:11, “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”

Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Romans 9:4 Comments Romans 9:4 summarizes the amazing story of God reaching down and choosing a nation, a people, in which to display His mercy and redemptive plan to the world. Romans 9:17 will make a reference to this when it says, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”

The nation of Israel has been given a plan of redemption just like the Church has now been given. Paul has just mentioned this four-fold plan for the Church in Romans 8:29-30 by describing it as foreknowledge, justification, sanctification, and glorification. He will now explain Israel’s plan of election as six-fold: adoption, glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises. We can find a parallel plan of redemption within these two plans for Israel and the Church. (1) Adoption - We see in the word adoption how God the Father chose Abraham to be the father of nations. This parallels with the Church being “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), so that adoption reflects God the Father’s foreknowledge in His plan of redemption. (2) Glory - We see in the word glory how God manifested Himself to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai. Each time God manifested His glory, He gave a divine commission, or calling, for a patriarch to obey His command. He called Abraham out of Ur and into the Promised Land to father a nation, and He called Isaac and Jacob with similar commissions to raise up a nation called Israel, and God call His people out of Egypt to be a chosen nation. The parallel with the Church is when Christ Jesus was revealed to us as “the glory of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14) and called us to believe in Him. (3) Covenants - We see in the word covenant the first Passover with the children of Israel while in Egypt, with the blood sprinkled on the door post, and God making a covenant with Israel in order to establish, or justify, them as His people. The parallel with the Church is when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God through the covenant of His shed blood on Calvary. These two events established two covenants with Israel and the Church. (4) Giving of the Law - The giving of the Law would reflect the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and process of the indoctrination as the children of Israel were taught these Laws. This parallels our indoctrination through the studying of the New Testament writings through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (5) The Service of God - The service of God would be seen in the book of Leviticus as God set the priesthood and the service of the Tabernacle in order for the Israelites, which parallels our callings and appointments into divine offices within the Church, the body of Christ. (6) The Promises - The promises of Israel’s future glorification find their parallel in the Church through Christ’s Second Coming and our future glorification. Thus, Israel is following a similar plan of redemption as the Church. Paul’s discourse in Romans 9-11 will explain how these two plans of redemption work together to fulfill all things in Christ Jesus. This is the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ, which provides redemption for the Jews as well as the Gentiles.

Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

The Lord had revealed to Daniel the hope of Israel as God worked out His plan of redemption for His people during the time of the Gentiles. Daniel’s visions predicting the rise of the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome reflect the role that the Gentile nations will plan in this overall plan of redemption. Yet, even in Daniel’s visions, his prophecies culminated in Israel’s redemption. In a similar fashion, the Church’s redemption is embedded within Israel’s redemption, since the Church has been grafted into the vine of Israel.

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 9:5 “Whose are the fathers” Comments - Israel had the unique heritage of being the descendents of the Abraham, the father of our faith who walked with God when the entire human population was darkened in sin and depravity. These patriarchs carried the promises of God to their children and handed down the message of redemption that was lost to other nations.

Romans 9:5 “and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came” Comments - Israel also has the unique privilege of being nation out of whom God show to give birth to His Beloved Son. This was no small choice for God. It forever set them apart as a special people, beloved unto God.

Romans 9:5 “who is over all” - Comments - In the Greek text of Romans 9:5, the phrase “who is over all” modifies the noun “God” rather than “Christ,” as the KJV implies.

( ὧν οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα , ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας , ἀμήν .) [194]

[194] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), Romans 9:5.

Paul is really saying that God the Father is over all, because it is He that has the office and ministry of overseeing the fulfillment of His divine plan of redemption for mankind, particularly in the nation of Israel, which is emphasized in this passage. The previous verse of Romans 9:4 has just described Israel’s divine plan of redemption. Now Paul is saying that God the Father is the one who is orchestrating these events in the affairs of this chosen people.

Romans 9:5 “God blessed for ever. Amen” Comments - When Paul reflects upon God’s overall plan of redemption for Israel, as well as the Gentiles being grafted in through Christ, he pauses to praise God for His plan to redeem mankind back unto Himself. When we meditate upon the boundless love that comes from God in order to implement such a plan in the midst of man’s depravity, we too, must pause to praise Him.

Verses 1-33

Divine Election and Israel Having revealed God’s four-fold plan of redemption (Romans 1:16 to Romans 8:39), Paul next explains the role of Israel in His plan of election and glorification for the Church. Chapter nine discusses Israel’s past election by God (Romans 9:1-33), while chapter ten explains Israel’s current role in divine election (Romans 10:1-21). Chapter eleven explains Israel’s future role in God’s plan of election (Romans 11:1-32). These passages serve to explain how Israel and the Church are one, but its primary emphasis is to show that the Church’s glorification is dependent upon and awaiting Israel’s restoration and glorification.

Having revealed God’s plan for the church in the first eight chapters, we can say, “But wait a minute, the story of redemption is not complete. What about Israel and the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures? How does this plan a role in the Church’s redemption? The story of redemption is more glorious than has been revealed up to now. Romans 9:1 to Romans 11:36 expounds upon God’s plan of divine election for His people Israel. In this lengthy passage Paul will quote directly from no less than twenty-seven passages in the Old Testament, and with others implied, thus relying heavily upon his knowledge of these Scriptures in order to establish his points concerning Israel’s divine election. He will quote from eleven books of the Old Testament, relying heavily upon the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 10:0, Genesis 3:0, Hosea 3:0, Deuteronomy 3:0, Exodus 2:0, 1 Kings 1:0; 1 Kings 1:0, Job 1:0, Psalms 1:0, Joel 1:0, Malachi 1:0).

Paul has just explained the glorification of the Church in Romans 8:17-39. He will now turn his attention to the restoration and redemption of Israel as a part of this overall plan. The reason is because the Church’s glorification is wrapped up and dependent upon Israel’s glorification. God’s redemptive plan for Israel was never nullified, but only postponed while provision was made to include the Gentiles into this wonderful plan. Israel’s restoration will also mean the glorification of the Church (Romans 11:11-12) In other words, the Gentiles have been grafted into the vine, not taken the place of Israel, as Paul will explain in Romans 11:15-19. This is exactly what Jesus meant in John 4:22 when He said that “salvation was of the Jews.”

Paul will begin this lengthy passage in Romans 9-11 by stating Israel’s divine plan of redemption as “the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises” (Romans 9:4). He will say that God is “over all” (Romans 9:5). That is, God is watching over His divine plan of redemption to perform it. Paul will take three chapters to explain how God is performing His plan in and through Israel. Thus, the word of God has taken effect, as Paul asks rhetorically in Romans 9:6 a.

Chapter nine discusses Israel’s past election by God (Romans 9:1-33), while chapter ten explains Israel’s current role in divine election (Romans 10:1-21). Chapter eleven explains Israel’s future role in God’s plan of election (Romans 11:1-32). These passages serve to explain how Israel and the Church have become one body in God’s plan of redemption.

However, the fact that the epistle of Romans separates the discussion of the divine election of Israel from its discussion of the election of the Church reveals that God has a parallel, but unique, plan for His people Israel. Old Testament prophecy supports this unique plan that God is orchestrating through Israel by the very fact that many of these prophecies are for Israel and not the Church.

The fact that Paul takes three chapters to discuss Israel’s redemption reveals the love and importance that this subject had in his heart. His opening statements in Romans 9:1-3 express his sorrow and pain because of their rejection of Christ. If Paul the apostle could have chosen his own calling, he would have wanted to evangelize his own people Israel, whom he loved. In God’s divine order, He sent Peter to the Jews and Paul far away to the Gentiles.

Paul will open this lengthy passage by explaining that God’s plan of redemption for Israel is only for those Israelites who have chosen to believe in the promises to Israel; for he says, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed,” (Romans 9:8).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Election Revealed in Israel’s Past Election Romans 9:1-33

2. Election Revealed in Israel’s Present Rejection Romans 10:1-21

3. Election Revealed in Israel’s Future Salvation Romans 11:1-32

Verses 6-13

Israel’s Election is Based Upon God’s Promises In Romans 9:6-13 Paul explains how Israel’s election before God did not come because of their physical birth as the descendants of Abraham. It came, rather, because of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In addition, the Gentiles have been grafted into the vine of Israel, and become partakers of her promises. Although Israel has failed God, Paul explains how the word of God has taken effect not only for Israel, but also for the Gentiles who have been grafted into this vine. Paul had written earlier to the Galatians and called those who are in Christ as the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). This phrase also described the biological Israelites as those who had accepted the Messiah as well as those Gentiles who had been grafted into the vine of Israel, as we will describe in Romans 11:17-20.

Galatians 6:16, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God .”

Paul is able to call the Church the “Israel of God,” because the Gentiles have been grafted in, or included in, Israel’s election and blessed with their promises. The Gentiles are now covered by the blessings of Israel. When God looks down from Heaven He sees His people Israel, and makes no distinction between the natural vine that those grafted in; for all are partaking of the same promises and blessings that were given to Israel.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul’s Testimony of the Son of Promise Romans 9:6-9

2. Paul’s Testimony of Divine Election Romans 9:10-13

Illustration - After graduating from college, I returned home and began to teach a twelfth grade Sunday school class in my home church of Hiland Park Baptist Church. I was relatively unversed in the Scriptures and followed the teacher’s lesson book. One Sunday morning two students had a disagreement as to how the people in the Old Testament were saved and went to Heaven. We were all clear about how a person goes to Heaven since Christ’s redemptive work on Calvary two thousand years ago. However, we as Christians are not always clear about Old Testament salvation. I did not have an answer for them, so I went home and studied the Scriptures that week and came to the conclusion that people in the Old Testament were saved, or justified, by faith in Calvary the same way that we as New Testament believers are saved. The only difference is that they had to look forward to the Cross and we look back to it. I took this answer to the class the next Sunday and the statement seemed to satisfy their inquisitive minds. Although this is the right answer, I did not realize until years later that this is what Paul is implying in Romans 9:6-13. Although Paul is placing emphasis upon their divine election by God in this passage, it also reflects their need to believe in these promises for justification.

Romans 9:6-9 Paul’s Testimony of the Son of Promise - Romans 9:6-9 serves as a Paul’s testimony of Isaac serving as a son of promise that established faith as the rule for God reckoning a man righteous. These verses also serve as a summary of Abraham’s genealogy in recorded in Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11. This genealogy records God’s promise and His fulfillment of a son for Abraham and Sarah, with Abraham’s faith to believe in God.

Romans 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Romans 9:6 Comments - Because the children of promise are reckoned by god as justified, and not children of physical birth, Paul is about two give several Old Testament witnesses that God’s Word has taken root in this depraved word, and a people of righteousness are in this world as members of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Romans 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Romans 9:7 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - In Romans 9:7 Paul quotes from Genesis 21:12 where God was explaining to Abraham that the promise was in his son Isaac and that he should send Hagar away with his first son Ishmael.

Genesis 21:12, “And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”

Romans 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Romans 9:8 Comments Each time Paul uses the word ( λογι ́ ζομαι ) (G3049) (reckon) in the epistle of Romans, he is explaining God’s plan of redemption for mankind from a divine perspective, which is a position we must take by faith, not being able to see it in the natural realm.

Paul will give two Old Testament witnesses of God’s promises, one to Abraham (Romans 9:9) and one to Isaac (Romans 9:10-13), to support this statement in Romans 9:8 that God reckons Israel’s righteousness by those who believe the promises, and not by Jewish birth. Both Sarah and Rebecca were barren, and both had a child by a promise from God. Paul could have continued with other Old Testament examples, but he is compelled to immediately explain the issue of divine election that these examples address (Romans 9:14-33).

Romans 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

Romans 9:9 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Romans 9:9 refers to Genesis 18:10; Genesis 18:14.

Genesis 18:10, “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.”

Genesis 18:14, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Romans 9:10-13 Paul’s Testimony of Divine Election: The Elder Shall Serve the Younger Romans 9:10-13 serve as a testimony of Jacob’s election serving as a son of promise that established faith as the rule for God reckoning a man righteous. These verses also serve as a summary of Isaac’s genealogy in Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29. This genealogy records God’s promise and His fulfilment of an elected son to fulfil His promise of raising a nation of righteous offspring on the earth in order to fulfil His divine plan of redemption for mankind.

God’s Immeasurable Love for His Children - F. F. Bruce tells us that it is not so much the individuals that are referred to in Genesis 25:23, when God said that “the elder shall serve the younger,” as it is the two nations that will descend from Jacob and Esau. [195] The Scriptures reveal that Esau himself never served Jacob. However, during the long stretch of biblical history, Edom did in fact serve the nation of Israel a number of times.

[195] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 46-7.

Genesis 25:23, “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger .”

In the same sense, it is not so much the two individual sons of Jacob that are meant in Malachi 1:2-3 where it says, “yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau.” as it is the two nations. In other words, God loved the nation of Israel and hated the nation of Edom.

Malachi 1:2-3, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau , and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

F. F. Bruce goes on to explain that the Hebrew thought and speech is making an extreme contrast in these passages for the sake of emphasis. He uses Luke 14:26 to illustrate this Hebrew way of saying that someone must love God far more than his earthly family.

Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

This is exactly what the parallel passage in Matthew 10:37 says when Jesus tells us that we must love Him more than our parents or children.

Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Thus, God was saying that He loved Jacob far more than his closest blood kin. God also had a love Esau, as He does for all of mankind, but not in the same way as He loved His people Israel. This statement in Romans 9:10-13 is, therefore, meant to place emphasis upon the immeasurable love that God has for His people.

Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

Romans 9:10 Comments Rebecca’s natural conception is described in Romans 9:10 as being “conceived by one,” which stands in contrast to Sarah’s miraculous conception.

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Romans 9:11 Comments Romans 9:11 reads, “…in order that the purpose of God might remain and continue by election…” Divine election is the gear that turns the wheel of God’s plan of redemption. God chooses to intervene in the affairs of mankind outside of man’s efforts. Thus, Romans 9:11 says, “…not of works, but of him that calleth…” Romans 9:18 will show us that God’s mercy is the oil that greases the gear that turns the wheel of redemption.

Romans 9:18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

Romans 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Romans 9:12 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - In Romans 9:12 Paul quotes from Genesis 25:23 where Isaac prayed and asked the Lord why the children within his wife were kicking so much.

Genesis 25:23, “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger .”

Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Romans 9:13 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - In Romans 9:13 Paul quotes from Malachi 1:2-3.

Malachi 1:2-3, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau , and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

Verses 14-33

God’s Promises Based upon His Mercy In Romans 9:14-33 Paul qualifies God’s method of divine election, basing it upon His promises to Abraham, and He bases His promises to Abraham upon His mercy towards mankind.

Romans 9:15 Scripture References - Note:

Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Romans 9:17 Comments - We read in Exodus 4:21 that God told Moses He will harden Pharaoh’s heart.

Exodus 4:21, “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

God hardened Pharaoh's heart many times in the book of Exodus. God also hardened the heart of Sihon, king of Heshbon of the Amorites (Deuteronomy 2:30) in order to carry out His divine plan of Israel receiving their inheritance of the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 2:30, “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.”

God hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that Joshua would destroy them utterly (Joshua 11:20).

Joshua 11:20, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

Romans 9:18 Comments While divine election is the gear that turns the wheel of God’s plan of redemption (Romans 9:11), His mercy is the oil that greases the gear that turns this wheel.

Romans 9:11, “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”

Romans 9:19 Comments Paraphrasing Romans 9:19, we could read, “Why does God find fault with mankind if He is in control of everything?” Paul must have certainly dealt with such objections during his years of ministry in Jewish synagogues and church meetings as he preached and taught God’s Word. Therefore, Paul asks this question in a rhetorical manner because he anticipates the thoughts of his readers.

Romans 9:20 Scripture References - Ecclesiastes 8:4 says that God is King of Kings. He is over all kings.

Ecclesiastes 8:4, “Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?”

Romans 9:22 Scripture References - Note:

Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Romans 9". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/romans-9.html. 2013.
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