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.
The Jews chose their physical heritage to provide righteousness instead of faith in the truth of God –
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.
3. Moses. Romans 9:15-18
We look back to the previous verse to introduce this section –
Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
a. Paul referred to God’s dealing with Moses as another explanation of the sovereign dealings of God with His creation. He quoted God’s word to Moses from Exodus 33:19.
1). Moses sought the Lord’s Person.
Exodus 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
2). Moses secured the Lord’s promise.
Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
God would be gracious to Moses, not because of in goodness in Moses, but because God chose to bless Him. Moses had no right to feel proud and righteous in the position he was in or in his interaction with God.
God had chosen Israel to be His nation, a people who would testify to the world of the only true God. While the people may have been called citizens of the nation of Israel, this was not a guarantee of their salvation. The relationship with God is personal, each individual having faith in Him. The people could not make a claim on God because they were Israelites. They must believe in Him, trusting Him for all things.
The Jews in Paul’s day were the same as many of the Jews in Moses’ time. They believed God owed them everything they wanted because of who they were, not whose they were! Paul reminded them that just as in Moses’ time, God was not controlled by man, but is Sovereign in His choice. If a man has his faith in God according to God’s will, God is gracious and merciful to that man. It is God’s choice, not man’s.
b. Paul revealed God’s sovereign working. We learn of –
1). The sovereign will of God explained. Romans 9:16
a). It is not based on man’s desire.
b). It is not based on man’s activity.
Note John’s statement on the sovereign choice of God in the salvation of man.
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.
2). The sovereign will of God illustrated. Romans 9:17-24
I believe the best way to explain these verses is to illustrate them. The Lord is using Pharaoh as an example of His power over all men, to use them as He pleases, being Sovereign. He could have chosen to use Nebuchadnezzer, Cyrus, Darius the Mede or Pontius Pilate, but the Pharaoh was involved with Moses and fit the context of his account.
We note that two vessels are mentioned. One is a vessel unto honour or otherwise known as a vessel of mercy. The second is a vessel unto dishonor or also known as a vessel of wrath. In verse 21, Paul states that God (the potter) has power over both of these vessels. Paul also states that both of these vessels are formed from the same lump of clay. That lump of clay is dug from the same pit – condemnation. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
John 3:16-18 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The vessels, unto honour and unto dishonor are the same lump. The difference comes from the belief of the one vessel and the continuation in unbelief of the other. Simply stated, the vessel unto honour (the vessel of mercy, see verse verse 23) are those that have believed and become new creatures in Christ. They are those spoken of by Paul in Romans 10:13 “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The vessels unto dishonor (vessels of wrath) are the whosoever will not. Read the many declarations of Paul through the leadership of the Holy Spirit explaining that the vessels of honour were at one time vessels of dishonour.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Colossians 3:5-7 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Titus 3:3-6 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
God in His sovereign wisdom gave man the choice to accept His love upon the moving of the Holy Spirit in our lives through His Word –“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” It is quite apparent that He did not elect individuals to salvation and others to damnation. According to His infinite mercy and love wrought in conjunction with His holiness and justice, He sent His Son to give Himself a sacrifice acceptable to God. Salvation is all of Him –
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
C. He stated the Gentiles were included in God’s sovereign plan.
III. Paul reminded all that righteousness comes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 9:30-33
Salvation is not dependent upon who your father is, but rather on Who your Lord is.