Romans, lesson 23

Lesson 23


omans 9: 1-26, God’s plan for Israel, Part 1.

VV 1-5, 1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Paul felt sorry in his conscience for the unbelieving Jews, his country men in the flesh. The Jews had the adoption of sonship, God’s glory, God’s covenant, God’s laws, God’s temple service, the Patriarchs, and from them the Christ came, yet they the majority of them were not saved due to unbelief. Messianic Jews in the world today are few in numbers.

VV 6-12, 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

The problem is not the word of God. Physical and biological descendants of Abraham are not his true descendants. The true spiritual descendants of Abraham are those who are justified by faith in Christ. God is sovereign in his choice. He chose Israel over Ishmael, He chose Jacob over Esau, He chose the Gentiles over the Jews.

Paul quoted Genesis 21:12b, ”for in Isaac your seed shall be called”, Genesis 25: 23, “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body, one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger”, and Malachi 1: 2-3, ”Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated”. God chose Jacob over Esau.

VV 14-18, 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

V 14, Is there unrighteousness with God?

No, because God’s choice is sovereign. Paul quoted Exodus 33: 19 b, ”I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”. Paul quoted Exodus 9:35, ”So the heart of Pharaoh was hard, neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses”.

VV 19-24, 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

V 19, Why does He still find fault (with own people, the Jews)?

God’s choice is sovereign because He is the creator. A creature cannot argue with his creator who created him and formed him. God’s sovereign choice is based on grace and divine election. We cannot argue with God over His plan and His purpose.

VV 25-29, 25 As He says also in Hosea: ‘’I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.” 26 ‘’And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘’Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For, He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” 29 And as Isaiah said before: ‘’Unless the Lord of Sabbath had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Paul quoted Hosea 2:23b, ”Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ” Paul quoted Isaiah 10:22, ”For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, A remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness”. Paul quoted Isaiah 1: 9, ”Unless the LORD of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah”.

God chose the Gentiles who are not His covenant people to be His people, who are not His beloved, to be His beloved, and to be called sons of the living God. But God had not given up on the Jews. He has a plan to save a remnant of the Jews during the tribulation.

VV 30-33, 30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: ‘’Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Why are the Gentiles saved but not the Jews?

The Gentiles are saved because they pursue righteousness by faith in Christ. The Jews are not saved because they pursue righteousness by the law and did not believe in Jesus Christ.

Paul quoted Isaiah 28:16, ”Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily”.


Heavenly Father, we claim the promise that You have a plan for Israel. We claim the promise that You will preserve and save a remnant of the Israelites during the tribulation, in Jesus’ name, Amen.