Read Romans 9:1-11:36
After culminating the carefully constructed doctrine of salvation with the wonderful promises of Romans 8, Paul begins to address one of his most important concerns – the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in regards to the Gospel. It is hard for us to understand the gravity of the issue for the early church. The Jews were God’s chosen people who had the very words of God. Why had most of them rejected the Christ? How could pagan Gentiles receive, apart from the Law of Moses, the very salvation promised to the Jews?
Paul must answer these and other questions about God’s purposes in order for the new born church to remain unified. His approach is to remove both the cultural pride of the Jews and newfound spiritual pride of the Gentiles in order that God will have supremacy in all things and that all would be united in mutual faith and respect. The main ideas of these chapters are as follows:
- Paul’s states his love for his people and their heritage.
- God’s Word did not fail because “children of the promise are counted as Abraham’s offspring.
- Salvation is by election and not by effort.
- Election is not unjust because God has the right to determine the purpose of his creation, to his glory.
- Holding men responsible is not unjust because God has the right as creator and he has borne with patience the disobedience of men.
- God’s plan has always been to call people to salvation from both the Jew and Gentiles, as the prophets predicted.
- The Jews did not attain the salvation they sought after because they did not pursue it by faith.
- Salvation is for all who believe In Christ.
- Faith comes by hearing and Israel has heard God’s message, so they are without excuse.
- Even so, God has not rejected Israel, but always kept a remnant faithful to Him.
- Israel stumbled in order that the Gentile might be saved, being grafted into God’s family.
- If the Gentiles, a wild shoot, could be grafted in, then how much more will the natural branches be grafted back in?
- The Gentiles have no reason to be arrogant because a) they are supported by the root, the heritage of believing Jews, and b) because God will not spare them judgment for disobedience if he did not spare the natural branches, Israel.
- Israel has experienced a partial hardening of heart until the full number of Gentiles has been saved.
- Then, all Israel will be saved.
- How inscrutable are God’s ways. To Him be glory forever!
For thought and discussion
- How does Paul define the children of Abraham, and how is the fulfillment of God’s covenant shown?
- If God is sovereign, then why are men held responsible? Does election prevent choice?
- In the case of Israel, are they responsible for the hardening of their hearts?
- Why is there no basis for pride among Jewish believers?
- Why is there no basis for pride among Gentile believers?
- Why did God allow a partial hardening of heart of Jewish people?
- What is God’s desire for all people (Jews and Gentiles)?
For further study
See the links to articles by John Wesley and George Whitefield on predestination
The memory verse for this lesson is Romans 10:9-10 (Holman)
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.