Advance Studies in the book Of Romans Part 10

Chapter 9

1-5 Willing to go to Hell for his friends

1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 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; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

The Doctrine of Paul: Paul was apparently willing to be accursed from Christ (hell?) that his brethren, the Israelites, could all receive the promises of God, i.e. salvation. Are you willing the same for ‘your’ people?! Is it right to desire such a thing? God’s focus has been on the Jews, but the Jews have sadly rejected Him.

The Doctrine of the Jews: to them pertaineth ‘the adoption’: as the children of God; ‘and the glory’: “The symbol of the divine presence that attended them from Egypt, and that finally rested over the ark in the first temple – the Shechinah” (Barnes’ Notes); ‘and the covenants’: “The great covenant made with Abraham, and to its various renewals and extensions at different times afterward, as well as to its twofold design-the grant of the land of Canaan, and the rest that remains for the people of God; ‘and the giving of the law’: The revelation of God by God Himself, containing a system of moral and political precepts. This was also unique to the Jews; for to no other nation had He ever given a revelation of His will (Adam Clarke’s Commentary); ‘and the service of God’: The temple service; regarded by them as the pride and ornament of their nation (Barnes’ Notes); ‘and the promises’: “The great Abrahamic promises, successively unfolded, and which had their fulfillment only in Christ” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).

6-9 The children of promise

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

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 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. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

The Doctrine of the Abrahamic Covenant: “The whole body of natural born Jews are not the whole of the Israelites comprehended in the promise. Abraham is the father of many nations; and his seed is not only that which is of the law, but that also which is of the faith of Abraham. The Gentiles were included in the Abrahamic covenant as well as the Jews; and therefore the Jews have no exclusive right to the blessings of God’s kingdom.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary)

But, Mr. Clarke, it is further delineated as explained with Isaac. Many of the Jews thought that they were automatically the children of God because they their heritage went through Abraham. Isaac was the child with the promise given him, not Ishmael (even though he was first born from Abraham). Ishmael’s children (of the flesh) are not the children of the promise (of God). They needed to have faith in God’s promise (the spiritual) vice trusting in heritage (the flesh). The ‘children of the promise’ are both Jews and Gentiles who have put their trust in Messiah/Jesus Christ for salvation. The seed of Abraham here is referring to the spiritual seed, the saints of God, including we Gentile Christians.

10-18 Israel’s election

10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 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;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 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. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

The Doctrine of Election: Ishmael and Isaac had the same father but different mothers; but Esau and Jacob had the same father and the same mother; however, it is still reinforced here that God does not base the promise of Heaven on physical descendents, heritage, being born into a Christian family, or living in a Christian nation. This “election” is from Mal 1:2-3 where God chose, elected, predestinated, nations, and not individuals. Salvation was available for both these unborn children. Nothing was said here that these children were predestinated to be good or to be evil; but this would be the place to say that if God did in fact predestinate preborn children to hell or heaven! The election/choosing/calling here is all dealing with service on Earth, for the elder would ‘serve’ the younger, and is not dealing with salvation, as Sovereign Grace Baptists wrongly assume.

This may seem unfair for Esau, but God can have mercy on whom He wants to. Thus, don’t trust in this ‘national election’ as making you a child of God headed for Heaven! And, it is clear that just by being a Jew, didn’t make you His chosen ones necessarily; i.e. Esau. God chose/elected to love Jacob over Esau because Jacob was saved and Esau was not; Jacob obeyed, Esau did not. The land of Canaan, the law, the tabernacle, the temple service, the promises of national blessing were all reserved for Jacob and his posterity.

“[God] chose the Jewish people from all others, and revealed Himself to them. Thus, they were the elect, and all the nations of mankind reprobate. When “the fullness of the time came,” he revealed himself also to the Gentiles, who gladly received the Gospel; and the Jews, rejecting it, were cast off. Thus, the elect became reprobate, and the reprobate, elect.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary)

God elects people to great positions and purposes to fulfill His will in the grand scheme of things, especially with the nation of Israel, but individually this is not applied the same way. Pharaoh many times ‘hardened his own heart’, an act of his will, prior to God hardening his heart! God is in charge of the world, nations, and Israel. Remember, God is not willing (God’s will) that any should perish! Election here was dealing with people groups, and it was not dealing with salvation. The explanation of this ‘mercy’ is found a few chapters over in Romans 11:32 – “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”

19-33 Were the Gentiles ever elected to anything?

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

The Doctrine of Election: Paul is reasoning with Jews who think that their heritage through Abraham automatically gets them to be children of God and receive God’s blessings. What about your being born into a ‘Gentile’ family, or a Buddhist family, etc.; can we say to God “why has thou made me thus?” Can anyone resist the will of God? Well, God’s will is that no one would perish; that all would get saved; do all get saved? In this regard, one can resist God’s will. Is it God’s will that any of His children sin? No. Can we resist this? Yes, again. Someone might say “It isn’t fair, for we can’t resist God’s will”! If the Calvinists were right, then everyone might have this to say to God as they are about to be thrown into Hell. We could at least try and blame God for it. But, we all have the will to either resist or follow the will of God for our lives… for God created us as beings with a separate will… we are not robots, programmed to do this and that by a Sovereign Robot Maker.

The Jews were concerned, dumbfounded even, that the Jews would be set aside and that the Gentiles would become God’s special focus. This passage (especially the portion dealing with being a vessel unto honor or dishonor; fitted to destruction or prepared unto glory) deals entirely with priviledges that one can have here on Earth, not in Heaven. Thus, the election here deals with earthly blessings, i.e. Jacob over Esau, and not heavenly blessings versus perdition. There is no mention in this passage of Heaven and Hell. Also, the entities being compared here are not individuals, but rather, people groups…Israel and the Gentiles.

The word ‘formed’ here seems to deal with God’s spiritual dealings with man and not with their original creation. Paul is speaking of God’s right to form and even harden an already unbelieving, unrepentent, hardened lump of clay; which we all start out to be. This is similar to Pharaoh’s ‘clay’ (20). God takes an already existing lump of clay and forms it as He finds it; it can be searching for Him or rejecting Him. He basically can take it from there to form it further. God takes men as He finds them (21). These lumps of clay, vessels, that were rejecting God, God takes and can form them into these vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; i.e. similar to the reprobate of Romans 1 that goes even further into sin. God has dealt with great longsuffering with these lumps of clay, vessels, that have allowed the Devil to keep them in their original fitted state for destruction; lost people lead destructive sinful lives here on earth (22) ! God has afore prepared those that would not reject Him, but would receive His mercy, to have glory 23)! Those that were fitted for destruction here are the Gentiles; those prepared unto glory would be the Israelites. [However, some argue that the reverse is true: the Gentiles would be ‘unto glory’…which is what has happened today.] Again, the focus here is on these two large groups of people, not on any particular individual.

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

The Doctrine of Election: Key pronoun here, “us”; and thus refers to the saved already, and not the people of the world. Both Jews and Gentiles can receive His mercy and be saved. The Gentiles were not ever called “My people”; these Jews needed to understand this revelation about who God shows mercy upon. These Gentiles which were not ever called ‘My people’ were to be called the ‘Children of the living God’. (24-26)

But don’t worry Israel, there will be some of you that are vessels of honor and that receive His mercy! He had a remnant that would get saved. Was this God’s forcing there to be a remnant to be saved, or was this simply God’s foreknowledge that this would indeed happen? Or did God bring about certain happenings in various Jews’ lives to cause them to be more likely to get saved? (27-29)

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

The Doctrine of Salvation: The Gentiles spoken of here attained unto righteousness through ‘faith’; Israel sought righteousness by keeping the law…but were not able to keep it…and thus did not attain it…they needed to seek righteousness by faith. The Jews stumbled at righteousness by stumbling over He who would give them righteousness… through faith in Him… the Stumblingstone of Jesus Christ. The Rock of salvation became a rock of offence unto them. It is all up to a Jew’s own will whether he will follow the promise of the Messiah or follow the dead law. (30-33)