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 Romans Chapter 9 – Part Two

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter 9 – Part Two   Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:33 am

Romans 9:19-21

The Choice Explained

Once again Paul anticipated the questioning response of his readers: Then why does God still blame us? (The Gr. word trans. “then” probably goes with the preceding statement rather than this question, though this also makes good sense.) For who resists (perf. tense, “has taken and continues to take a stand against”) His will? (boulēmati, “deliberate purpose”) These questions are still raised by those who reject the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereignty. If God makes the choices, how can He hold man responsible? Who can go against what He does?
In response Paul reaffirmed the reality of God’s sovereignty and the effrontery of such questions. But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? (cf. Isa_45:9) Man, the created one, has no right to question God, the Creator. “Who has resisted his will”? Does all this lead to fatalism? Paul does not answer this question directly, for it is absurd and raised by one who is ignorant of the righteous character of the infinite God and the finite character of man. Paul rather deals with the heart attitude that would produce such a question and reminds man of his limited understanding of the unlimited and sovereign God.
The nature of Paul’s reply makes it clear that he is not addressing those with honest questions about this difficult doctrine, but those who seek to use it to excuse their own sin and unbelief.
Isaiah 45:9 "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! [Let] the potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? Or thy work, He hath no hands?"
Paul then quoted a clause from Isa_29:16 : Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, Why did You make me like this? Drawing an analogy between the sovereign Creator and a potter, Paul asked, Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes (lit., “one vessel [pot or vase] unto honor”) and some for common use? (lit., “unto dishonor”) Paul argues that it is as irrational, and far more arrogant, for men to question God’s choice of certain sinners for salvation, as for a piece of pottery to question the purposes of the potter.
Until we can say, not my will be done but thine O Lord, we are truly not His. One of the first things a Christian must do is let God cut away all the rough edges. We must get on the wheel and let God form us into what He would have us to be. He has a perfect plan for us, if we will just submit and let Him fulfill it.
Isaiah 64:8 "But now, O LORD, thou [art] our Father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand."
II Timothy 2:20-21 "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour."
If a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work."
It is not our job to figure out what we are to do for God. He chooses what position we are to have and we must conform to His wishes.
Obviously a potter from the same pile takes some clay to form a finely shaped and decorated vase and takes other clay to make a cooking pot (cf. Jer_18:4-6). And the clay has no right to complain! The sovereign Creator has the same authority over His creatures, especially in light of man’s origin from dust (Gen_2:7).

Romans 9:22-26

Having stated that God is like a potter, Paul now applied this illustration to God’s sovereign purpose for different people. He stated the two alternatives as conditional clauses (What if… ?) and left unstated the obvious common conclusion: Does not God have that right? The one alternative is that God… bore with great patience (cf. 2Pe_3:9) the objects (lit., “vessels”; cf. Rom_9:21) of His wrath — prepared for destruction (apōleian, “ruin”). This verse begins with a rhetorical question, “What if”. “Willing” means “wanting”. The Greek word speaks of divine intention, not passive resignation.
“Endured”: God could justly destroy sinners the first time they sin. But He patiently endures their rebellion rather that giving them what every sin immediately deserves: eternal punishment.
“Vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” are those whom God has not chosen for salvation, but rather allowed to incur the just penalty for their sin.
“Fitted to destruction:” By their own rejection of Him. God does not make men sinful, but He leaves them in the sin they have chosen.
Ephesians 5:5-6 "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
We deserve the wrath of God. Only those who accept full pardon through the shed blood of Jesus Christ will be spared the wrath of God which will surely come.
The perfect participle “prepared” describes past action with a continuing result or state. “Prepared” may be reflexive (“prepared themselves”), but it seems preferable to take it as passive (“were prepared”). The thought is that they have been and are in a state of readiness or ripeness to receive God’s wrath. The objects of God’s wrath are the unsaved (Rom_1:18), who will suffer eternal judgment (Joh_3:36). God has patiently endured their antagonism to Him (cf. Act_14:16; Rom_3:25), but their judgment is coming. Those who oppose Him and refuse to turn to Him (Mat_23:37) are then “prepared” by Him for condemnation. They are “storing up [God’s] wrath” against themselves (Rom_2:5). In hell they will experience His wrath, and His power will be made known (cf. Rom_9:17). God does not delight in wrath, and He did not choose some people to go to hell. Choosing (Rom_9:22) should be rendered “willing.” Some are prepared by God for eternal judgment not because He delights to do so, but because of their sin. In view of their sin, which makes them “ripe” for destruction, God is willing to exhibit His wrath, and He will do so at the proper time.
The other alternative relates to God’s dealings with the objects (lit., “vessels”; cf. Rom_9:21) of His mercy. God chose them as such in order to make the riches of His glory known and He prepared them in advance for glory (cf. Rom_8:29-31; Col_1:27; Col_3:4). The verb “He prepared in advance” (Rom_9:23) is proētoimasen, “He made ready beforehand,” which God does by bestowing salvation. (The word “prepared” in Rom_9:22 is katērtismena, “are made or prepared or ripened.”)
Up to this point Paul had been speaking conditionally and objectively, but in Rom_9:24 he was more direct — even us — because he and his readers were some of the vessels of mercy sovereignly chosen by God. God not only chose them but He also called them, including Jews and Gentiles. This scripture is speaking of the greatness of His character, seen especially in the grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness He grants sinners in Christ.
“Afore prepared unto glory” is speaking of God’s divine election.
The “vessels of mercy” are those He has chosen for salvation.
Ephesians 2:3-5 "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." "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us," "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved Wink"
You see, the mercy of God is so great that He holds back His wrath until all who will accept Jesus as Savior have come into the kingdom.
The point is that God’s sovereign choice was manifested not only in the Jews’ ancestry (in Isaac and Jacob, Rom_9:6-13), but also in Paul’s generation and today. To back up his conclusion and particularly the part about Gentiles, Paul quoted two verses from Hosea (Hos_2:23; Hos_1:10). God directed Hosea to give his children symbolic names — one son Lo-Ammi (not my people) and the daughter Lo-Ruhamah (not… loved). These represented God’s abandonment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrian Captivity and Exile (Hos_1:2-9).
God was not permanently casting away the people of Israel, however. In the verses quoted by Paul God promised to restore them as His beloved and as His people. By ethnic heritage the Gentiles were not God’s people, so Paul was led by the Spirit of God to apply these verses to Gentiles — and Jews also — who were sovereignly chosen by God and called to be His people in Christ. Hosea spoke of the ultimate restoration of Israel to God, but Paul’s emphasis is that restoration necessarily implies her present alienation from God. Therefore, Israel’s unbelief is consistent with the Old Testament revelation.
This scripture quotes from Hosea:
1:9-10 "Then said [God], Call his name Loammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God]." "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people, [there] it shall be said unto them, [Ye are] the sons of the living God."
2:23 "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God."
I John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
We see in all of this that God is speaking of the Gentiles who become spiritual Israelites through faith in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
The quotation of Hos_2:23 is rather free with the order of the clauses reversed to fit the application to Gentiles. Paul was applying these verses from Hosea to the Gentiles, not reinterpreting them. He was not saying that Israel of the Old Testament is part of the church.

Romans 9:27-29

Here Paul quoted Old Testament verses to support the fact that God in His sovereign choice and calling always includes a Jewish segment, though it is a minority. The passages quoted (Isa_10:22-23 and Isa_1:9, both from the lxx) make it clear that in God’s judgment on rebellious Israel He by sovereign choice preserves and saves a remnant. Isaiah prophesied that the southern kingdom of Judah would be conquered and scattered, temporarily rejected by God, because of her unbelief. Paul’s point is that the scattering Isaiah described was only a preview of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and her subsequent destruction and scattering.
Romans 9:28 Psalms 9:8 "And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness." Acts 17:31 "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead." We read of this in Matthew chapter 24. God is not slack, but is longsuffering not willing that any should perish, but that all would come unto righteousness. “Lord of Sabaoth” is an Old Testament title for God is translated “Lord of hosts” sovereignty and refers to His all encompassing.
This scripture is telling us that a seed or a remnant of Israel will survive God’s wrath, solely because of His mercy.
These 2 evil cities were destroyed by fire and brimstone. We know that God will not always look the other way. Sin of the same nature as that of Sodom and Gomorrah is rampant in the U. S. today. The day of reckoning is coming. America better stop homosexuality, lesbianism, drugs, and all the other related sins of our nation or the wrath of God will fall on the U.S.
Those promises were fulfilled in the Captivity and Exile of both Israel and Judah and in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and will also be fulfilled in the national end-time deliverance of Israel (Rom_11:26-27). Even today the same principle is true. Jews who become members of the church, the body of Christ, are what Paul later called “a remnant chosen by grace” (Rom_11:5), which included himself (Rom_11:1).

Romans 9:30-33

God’s sovereign choice applied

Israel’s stumbling

Once again Paul asked his familiar rhetorical question, What then shall we say? (cf. Rom_4:1; Rom_6:1; Rom_8:31; Rom_9:14) preparatory to his summation of this situation. His identification of the Gentiles (lit., “the nations”) as the ones who have obtained… a righteousness that is by (ek, “out from”) faith is interesting. As Paul stated later, the church included Jewish as well as Gentile believers (Rom_11:1-5), but by the time of Paul’s third missionary journey the increasing rejection of the gospel by the Jews and the predominance of Gentiles in the church led the apostle to speak of “the Gentiles” as antithetical to Israel. The latter pursued (“kept on pursuing”) a Law of righteousness, but has not attained it. “A Law of righteousness” refers to the Mosaic Law (cf. Rom_7:7, Rom_7:12, Rom_7:14). To seek to attain righteousness by observing the Law requires that it be kept perfectly (cf. Jas_2:10). Why did Israel not attain it? Because they pursued it not by (ek, “out from”) faith but as if it were by (ek, “out from”) works. The Israelites did not admit their inability to keep the Law perfectly and turn by faith to God for forgiveness. Instead a few of them kept trying to keep the Law by their own efforts. Consequently they stumbled (cf. Rom_11:11) over the “stumbling Stone.” The Lord Jesus Christ, “the stumbling Stone” (cf. 1Pe_2:4-Cool, did not conform to the Jews’ expectations, so they rejected Him instead of responding to Him by faith. Paul concludes the lesson on God’s divine choice by reminding his readers that although God chooses some to receive His mercy, those who receive His judgment do so not because of something God has done to them, but because of their own unwillingness to believe the gospel. Sinners are condemned for their personal sins, the supreme one being rejection of God and Christ.
Matthew 21:42 "Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?"
Matthew 21:44 "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
We see in all of this that the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Faith is what pleases God. By faith the elders received a good report. Abraham's faith was counted unto him as righteousness. Our faith in Jesus is what saves us. We cannot be good enough to be saved and neither could the Jews who had the law. We all need a Savior and His name is Jesus Christ the Righteous.
To show that God anticipated this, Paul quoted from Isa_8:14 and Isa_28:16 (cf. Rom_10:11), combining the two statements to indicate the two contrasting reactions by men to the Stone that God placed in Zion (cf. “Zion” in Rom_11:26). I Peter 2:6-8 "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded." "Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner," "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."
And just one more Scripture makes it very clear.
I John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." There is little to add to this, except to say that our faith in Jesus Christ is our salvation, whether we are Jew or Gentile believers.
Long before His coming, the Old Testament prophets had predicted that Israel would reject her Messiah, illustrating again that her unbelief is perfectly consistent with the Scripture.
Isaiah 8:14 "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
Isaiah 28:16 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."
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Romans Chapter 9 – Part Two
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