Paul’s purpose in this portion of the letter , chapters 9 through 11, is to show that God’s plan has not been altered. He is working according to His sovereign will , as He ever has. The setting aside of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles are not new revelations. The Lord has revealed these truths to His people by the prophets and Paul brings their testimony before the people.
In order to find the mindset of Paul we should return briefly to Romans 8:1 and 8:28-39. We want to discover two things about him as he moves from one thought to the next.
The first is his declaration of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He completes his statement to the glory of God on a high note in exaltation of the Lord and the position of His saints. Now, imagine that he takes a moment to reflect on his position in Christ, and yet the position of those individuals he dearly loves, and the nation he loves in a position of separation from the Lord. They had declared Paul to be their enemy, deserving death –
Acts 9:22-23 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
Yet, his love for them was never diminished. He was not their enemy and his desire was that they be saved. This brings us to the second thought that was considered and must be answered –
If God is true and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus; if there is not anything that can separate the believer from the Love of God and this is the position ordained by God for the believer in Christ before the foundation of the world: is God just in His rejection of His elect nation Israel? If God can cast off His nation, He can also cast off His church. This question must be answered! Paul presented the answer in chapters nine through eleven.
I. Paul declared his love for his people. Romans 9:1-5
That the Israelites would believe God and be saved.
A. He Sorrowed for them. Romans 9:1,2
1. His plea. Romans 9:1
2. His passion. Romans 9:2
Because of his Paul’s love for them –
B. He Sought for their good. Romans 9:3
He would give himself, if possible! He could not take their place, as there is only One qualified and the offering had already been made. This being the case, He did the only thing he could do. He gave his life by living for them –
C. He Set forth their advantages. Romans 9:4,5
Israel were God’s chosen people. No one could contest this truth. God had blessed them above all the people of the earth.
1. Israelites. Their heritage in Jacob.
2. The Adoption.
3. Glory. The presence of God among them. Sinai, The Tabernacle, The Temple.
4. The Covenants. Promises (unconditional and conditional) to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Nation, David, Jeremiah.
5. The Law. Given at Sinai
6. The Service. Levitical priesthood, the offerings, the service.
7. Promises. The Messiah. The everlasting Kingdom.
The Jews needed to remember God’s Word that judgment is sure but also He will not completely destroy them or cast them out. A promise is left to them –
Isaiah 60:10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
Individual salvation in the Lord and national salvation to come which still involved individual salvation.
II. Paul declared the Sovereign God always demanded personal faith.
A. He showed them the error of their belief. Romans 9:6
He taught them that it is not all about who you are, but Who you know. Who you are may give you and advantage, but it is not the relationship of the flesh that brings salvation. It is only by faith, by belief, by trust in God through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Man cannot dictate to God how salvation will be accomplished!
The Jews chose their physical heritage to provide righteousness instead of faith in the truth of God –
John 8:38-45 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
B. He showed them examples of God’s sovereign will through Scripture. Romans 9:7-18
1. Abraham had many sons, yet not all were chosen by God –
Ishmael, Isaac, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.yet only one was chosen by God to receive the promise of the covenant, Isaac.
2. Isaac – Jacob, the younger son of Isaac, was to receive the covenant promise. Esau, the elder, who was the first born and was entitled to lead the family, was to submit to Jacob, the younger, who was chosen by God to receive the blessing.
a. The Birthright explained.
1). Before the giving of the Law, the Patriarchs gave their firstborn sons a double portion of their holdings as well as leadership of the family.
Notice Jacob preparing to bless his sons –
Genesis 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
Jacob did not follow through with his blessing of Reuben because Reuben, as an adult, had proved himself unworthy of the blessing and leadership of the family. Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob’s first wife, Leah. The blessing was actually given to the sons of Joseph, the firstborn of Jacob’s second wife, Rachel. Ephraim and Benjamin received the double portion of Joseph.
2). Blessings according to the Law.
The practice of Jacob was forbidden for future generations.
Deuteronomy 21:15-17 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
b. The Birthright examined.
While this was not the normal order of things, God showed His sovereign power in choosing who He would to receive the Covenant blessing. He did not choose based on the abilities of the men as they had not even yet been born. He chose them because He simply wanted to – it was His will. Could Esau have submitted to God? Yes, of course he could have, but he chose to rebel against the will of God. In God’s sovereign will, He always involves choice.
c. The Birthright dilemma.
Two Scriptures are used as proof texts of election to salvation and election to damnation which involve Esau.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
As being quoted by Paul from –
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.
These two verses are often referenced to the initial choice of God of Jacob over Esau. We must look again at this declaration –
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.
The is not a declaration of condemnation! It is a command to obedience to the Sovereign rule of God over the current practice of the birthright. God overrules man!
What about the fact that the Word of God states that God hated Esau? Let’s read the following Scriptures –
Genesis 27:38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Genesis 35:29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Deuteronomy 2:5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.
Joshua 24:3-4 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Do any of these words of God permit us to accuse Him of hating Esau? Absolutely not! Do not get us wrong – Esau was a jerk and his heritage was destroyed from off the face of the earth, but not due to a choice made prior to his birth. They were destroyed because of unbelief!
What about the word ‘hate’? The word certainly describes an emotional feeling toward others, but we should look at how the Lord used the word in the context of 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.
While we are to choose the Lord over our families, even over their objections to our faith in God, we do not condemn them to damnation – to eternal separation from God and torment in Hell! Our hope is in their help, the Lord Jesus Christ and that they would be saved. This understanding aids us in our response to those that hate us –
Luke 6:27-36 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
God is sovereign! There is no doubt, it is a fact. But God’s sovereignty cannot be turned to support the false doctrines of election to condemnation. All are already condemned.