Romans 9

Paul's sorrow for Israel 1
Children of the flesh and of the promise 6
God shows mercy and He hardens hearts 14
The potter is in charge; glory in vessels of mercy; not Jews only 19
Gentiles received mercy; Jews did not receive it by faith 30

Text Comments
.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.
  1 - Truth ... conscience Paul turns to a new topic. He is distressed because the Jewish people have largely refused the good news. Earlier he pointed out that the gospel was for the Jew first ro0116, ro0210. In chapter 4, ro04, he made his case for salvation by faith. Nothing was wrong with the promises v6 here.
  1 - Conscience See on ro0215, ac2301, ac2416.
  1 - Holy Ghost Paul had written extensively on the topic of the [Holy] Spirit as important in the life ro0809, ro0816. That Spirit of truth jn1417, jn1526, jn1613.
  3 - Accursed from Christ A rather strong statement. He was likely remembering the position Moses took ex3232.
  4 - Israelites This is the term which implies them as the chosen ones. Compare ep0212. In the NT, the title is for those who accept Christ ga0616.
  4 - Promises Predicting the Messiah ac2606, ga0316, he0706.
  5 - Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ac0313, ac0732. The Jews took great pride in their lineage mt0309.
.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.
 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.
  6 - Not all Israel which are of Israel A point that is missed in popular religious thinking. Read the next verses too. God does not deal with people according to their present ethnic background. Eyes are focused on the modern state called Israel and on their Arab neighbors. No command is found in the Scriptures to build another temple. One is described in Ezekiel as a symbol, but its purpose is also explained there.
   Paul directs us to look to a better sanctuary, the one in heaven he0911ff.
  11 - According to election That is, God would choose who would be part of "Israel."
.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.
  14 - What shall we say then? Paul knows that his readers would have no problem seeing that Isaac was accepted and Ishmael rejected. He also knows that they would not like the conclusion that being a descendant of Abraham v7 would not make them automatic heirs of salvation.
  14 - Unrighteousness with God? The Greek reading of this question indicates that a negative answer is expected. In the next verse, Paul quotes from Moses whom no Jew would reject.
  18 - Hardeneth This verse by itself seems to say that God forces people into salvation or damnation. Paul is drawing from the situation of hardening Pharaoh's heart as we see in the previous verse. God could have prevented Pharaoh's evil to the children of Israel but He allowed it to blossom in order to show the sin in its true colors. Because He allowed it, He may be said to have caused it. The position of Pharaoh's standing before God as lost did not change. See on ex0815.
.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 ["But"] 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,
 24  Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

  19 - Thou wilt say ... why ... fault? Paul answers a second objection his Jewish readers would have to his thesis that ethnic Israel is not the same as spiritual Israel v6. He dealt with the first question beginning with v14. Here he realizes that his readers would reason that if God hardened their hearts, they were not to blame. See on v18 above.
  20 - Why ... made me thus? So some are predestined to be lost? Only if they reject the mercy God offers. See on ro1132. Also ro1015. And remember that Paul's illustrations are to show that Israel as a nation had failed.
  22 - But if God Although the Gentiles, generally pagans in Paul's time, were wicked and "fitted to destruction," He has chosen to suffer from their rebellion  to show the greatness of His mercy in those who would accept His offer of salvation.
  24 - Even us This applies to all the called out ones who are His church.
 25 ¶ As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], 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:
  25 - My people which were not See on ho0223.
  26 - 1pe0209.
  27 - Esaias Or "Isaiah." The quotation is from is1022.
  27 - Remnant Truth and salvation are not based on how many people believe a popular way. The mention in the next verse of a short work in the earth draws our attention to the end-time remnant re1217b. Attention to the remnant was to be part of Isaiah's responsibility is0613. He mentions it often.
  27 - Shall be saved Rather, "shall return." Only a few would return from exile but the more serious implication is that few would return from their evil ways in commitment to the Lord.
 28  For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
 28 for the Lord will execute his sentence upon the earth with rigor and dispatch. (RSV)
 28 . . . carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality. (NIV).
 28 . . . execute his word upon the earth thoroughly and quickly (NASB).
 29  And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
  28 - Finish the work ... cut it short We may expect that God's call to the end-time sinners will be accelerated and brief following the comments about the call of ancient Israel.
  28 - Work From logos which generally means "word" but is translated in many ways as shown from other translations.
  29 - Esaias said From is0109.
  29 - Lord of Sabaoth Literally, "Lord of hosts" or "Lord of armies." "Sabaoth" is transliterated from the Hebrew. Also ja0504. See on je0703.
  29 - Seed This would allow the converted Israel the opportunity to grow again is0613, ho0223. Not everyone would rebel.
.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.
  30 - What shall we say? Paul turns to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility.
  31 - The law of righteousness Literally, "a law of righteousness."
  32 - As it were by the works Literally, "as if it were by works." They were trying what is impossible.
  33 - It is written Paraphrasing from is2816 and is0814. Paul added the words, "on him."
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