Romans 9-10 (Part 1 of 3): God's Plan for Israel

#1   Romans 9:1-5

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

After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God begins to primarily save Gentiles instead of Jews. Paul grieves for his fellow Israelites who are not being saved.

#2   Romans 9:6-9

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 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. For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."

But has God's promise to save Israel failed? No, it has not! There is a physical nation of Israel, but also a spiritual Israel, including all those whom God has chosen to save.

#3   Romans 9:10-13

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (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), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

Paul gives a clear example of how God elected some to salvation while passing others by. We don't like this because we like to be in control-but we can't ignore God's Word.

#4   Romans 9:14-16

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 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." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Paul clearly states that salvation is of the Lord. He alone will choose on whom He will have mercy and compassion. Does that make God unrighteous or unfair? Absolutely not, Paul writes! Truthfully, we all deserve to go to hell. In His grace, God spares some.

#5   Romans 9:17-18

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." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

In the book of Exodus, when God sent the ten plagues on Egypt before the Israelites were allowed to leave, Pharaoh was not given an opportunity to be saved. God raised him up for a different purpose-to display His power through the plagues for all to see.

#6   Romans 9:19-21

You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 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?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Paul anticipates our objection. God isn't fair if He chooses to save some and not others! Where is our choice? But Paul doesn't give an answer. Instead, he puts us in our place. God created each of us to do with us as He wishes. We think far too highly of ourselves.

#7   Romans 9:22-24

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, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

We are far more sinful than we realize and we fail to understand just how longsuffering (patient) God is with us. Nevertheless, in eternity, we will all glorify God-either by receiving His mercy and grace, or by receiving His wrath for our sin.