Is there injustice on God’s part?” Paul’s answer is no. It becomes us to submit to him, not to reply against him to lie down under his hand, not to fly in his face, nor to charge him with folly. Election, Romans 9-11, and the Theme of Romans This understanding fits perfectly with Paul’s overall theme in Romans about the gospel as the power of God unto salvation for all believers. When we mistake the word, and misunderstand the promise, no marvel if we are ready to quarrel with God about the accomplishment and therefore the sense of this must first be duly stated. 1706. We have here the apostle's solemn profession of a great concern for the nation and people of the Jews--that he was heartily troubled that so many of them were enemies to the gospel, and out of the way of salvation. That which he was going to assert was not only a great and weighty thing (such solemn protestations are not to be thrown away upon trifles), but it was likewise a secret it was concerning a sorrow in his heart to which none was a capable competent witness but God and his own conscience.--That I have great heaviness, Romans 9:2. II. He is the Lord of sabaoth, that is, the Lord of hosts--a Hebrew word retained in the Greek, as James 5:4. And the service of God. Had he mercy on the Gentiles? But he will cut it short in righteousness, both in wisdom and in justice. And as from the beginning it was appropriated to Isaac and not to Ishmael, to Jacob and not to Esau, and yet for all this the word of God was not made of no effect so now the same promise is appropriated to believing Jews that embrace Christ and Christianity, and, though it throws off multitudes that refuse Christ, yet the promise is not therefore defeated and invalidated, any more than it was by the typical rejection of Ishmael and Esau. Thus Moses (Exodus 32:33), in a like holy passion of concern, Blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written. This is God's work. 2. This leads, then, to the question in verse 19, “Why does he still find fault? Concerning the Jews observe, 1. It is so far from being an impeachment of the justice and righteousness of God that so many perish and are destroyed, that it is a wonder of divine power and mercy that all are not destroyed, that there are any saved for even those that are left to be a seed, if God had dealt with them according to their sins, had perished with the rest. Part 1 of 3 . When Christ said to the Jews (Matthew 23:32), Fill you up then the measure of your father, that upon you may come all the righteous blood (Romans 9:35), he did, as it were, endure them with much long-suffering, that they might, by their own obstinacy and wilfulness in sin, fit themselves for destruction. As to his divine nature, he is the Lord from heaven but, as to his human nature, he is of the seed of Abraham. Because the glory of God's grace in the salvation of many is to be preferred before the welfare and happiness of a single person, Paul, if they were put in competition, would be content to forego all his own happiness to purchase theirs. This he explains further (Romans 9:8,9), and shows what God intended to teach us by this dispensation. Contributed by C. Philip Green on Oct 22, 2020. based on 1 rating. Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of, Acts 28:19. Oh how thankful, how humble, and how confident we should be as we worship the Lord at his table. Romans 9:30,31 Accordingly, the Gentiles have attained the Not by faith, not by embracing the Christian religion, and depending upon the merit of Christ, and submitting to the terms of the gospel, which were the very life and end of the law. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. This is to be understood especially of the promise of God, which by subsequent providences may be to a wavering faith very doubtful but it is not, it cannot be, made of no effect at the end it will speak and not lie. It might be objected, Why doth he yet find fault? (Excerpt), John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He gives us the reason of this affection and concern. Are all Israel the “children of promise” or only some? Vessels of mercy--filled with mercy. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is that which abases man as nothing, less than nothing, and advances God as sovereign Lord of all. And yet the word which God had spoken, that he would be a God to Abraham and to his seed, did not therefore fall to the ground for the blessings wrapt up in that great word, being communicated by God as a benefactor, he was free to determine on what head they should rest, and accordingly entailed them upon Isaac, and rejected Ishmael. Sanctification is the preparation of the soul for glory, making it meet to partake of the inheritance of the saints in light. Bibliography InformationHenry, Matthew. The various dealings of God, by which he makes some to differ from others, must be resolved into his absolute sovereignty. And there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, in respect to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, from that day to this; so that I scarce ever have found so much as the rising of an objection against it, in the most absolute sense, in God’s shewing mercy to whom he will show mercy, and hardening whom he will. 2. This is intimated in the supposition that the number of children of Israel was as the sand of the sea, which was part of the promise made to Abraham, Genesis 22:17. Who then is? He says, The beneficiaries of the promise are the children of promise. Ho antapokrinomenos--That answerest again. But never could give an account, how, or by what means, I was, thus convinced, not in the least imagining at the time, nor a long time after, that there was any extraordinary influence of God’s Spirit in it but only that now I saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it. There are two experiences in my life that make Romans 9 one of the most important chapters in shaping the way I think about everything, and the way I have been led in ministry. He is author of. In order to this, God endured them with much long-suffering--exercised a great deal of patience towards them, let them alone to fill up the measure of sin, to grow till they were ripe for ruin, and so they became fitted for destruction, fitted by their own sin and self-hardening. First, as with all theological issues, … So that all this choosing and refusing was typical, and intended to shadow forth some other election and rejection. This he does in four ways:-- 1. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? After a few minutes of heated argument about the freedom of my will, I held a pen in front of his face and dropped it to the floor. I feel about the truth of God’s absolute sovereignty over my will and over this church and over the nations the way Jonathan Edwards did — even if I don’t have his powers to see and savor God’s truth. "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". Had the apostle been arguing only for God's sovereignty in appointing and ordering the terms and conditions of acceptance and salvation, there had not been the least colour for this objection for he might well find fault if people refused to come up to the terms on which such a salvation is offered the salvation being so great, the terms could not be hard. In Romans 9:3, Paul does not have a wish for hell, but a willingness to sacrifice himself for the sake of those he loves. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Or, the covenant of peculiarity, and in that, as in the type, the covenant of grace. Bob, a middle-aged salesman, was on a business trip in another state. Though it be cut short, it is clear and plain and, because short, the more easy. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Romans 9:9. It might be objected, Is there unrighteousness with God? 1. It was for the father's sake that they were taken into covenant, Romans 11:28. And lest it might be supposed that they should become God's people only by being proselyted to the Jewish religion, and made members of that nation, he adds, from Hosea 1:10, In the place where it was said, &c., there shall they be called. (3.) By asserting and proving the absolute sovereignty of God, in disposing of the children of men, Romans 9:14-24. And the glory the ark with the mercy-seat, over which God dwelt between the cherubim--this was the glory of Israel, 1 Samuel 4:21. By explaining the true meaning and intention of the promise, Romans 9:6-13. Unusual And Unstoppable Prayer. Verse 8 says it again: “It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” In other words, not all the physical descendants of Abraham are the beneficiaries of the covenant promises. Will the predestined be called and the called be justified and the justified be glorified? A blessed change! Behold, what manner of love! Gentile converts were now flying as a cloud. In the class on salvation, we dealt head-on with the doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace. In Jacob's case it was not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth it was not the earnest will and desire of Rebecca that Jacob might have the blessing it was not Jacob's haste to get it (for he was compelled to run for it) that procured him the blessing, but only the mercy and grace of God. There was a previous difference between Ishmael and Isaac, before Ishmael was cast out: Ishmael was the son of the bond-woman, born long before Isaac, was of a fierce and rugged disposition, and had mocked or persecuted Isaac, to all which it might be supposed God had regard when he appointed Abraham to cast him out. If it be his pleasure to discard them as not a people, and not obtaining mercy, their knocking off themselves was no resistance of his will. He backs it with a very serious imprecation, which he was ready to make, out of love to the Jews. Now he here makes it out that, when God said he would be a God to Abraham, and to his seed (which was the famous promise made unto the fathers), he did not mean it of all his seed according to the flesh, as if it were a necessary concomitant of the blood of Abraham but that he intended it with a limitation only to such and such. He proves this by instances and therein shows not only that some of Abraham's seed were chosen, and others not, but that God therein wrought according to the counsel of his own will and not with regard to that law of commandments to which the present unbelieving Jews were so strangely wedded. Paul’s Anguish Over Israel. God makes known his glory, this goodness of his, in the preservation and supply of all the creatures: the earth is full of his goodness, and the year crowned with it but when he would demonstrate the riches of his goodness, unsearchable riches, he does it in the salvation of the saints, that will be to eternity glorious monuments of divine grace. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? In these God is willing to show his wrath, that is, his punishing justice, and his enmity to sin. Concerning the Gentiles observe, 1. Copyright StatementThese files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. If God, in dealing with the children of men, do thus, in an arbitrary manner, choose some and refuse others, may it not be suspected that there is unrighteousness with him? The eternal damnation of sinners will be an abundant demonstration of the power of God for he will act in it himself immediately, his wrath preying as it were upon guilty consciences, and his arm stretched out totally to destroy their well-being, and yet at the same instant wonderfully to preserve the being of the creature. Lest the Jews should think meanly of him, because he was of their alliance, he here speaks thus honourably concerning him: and it is a very full proof of the Godhead of Christ he is not only over all, as Mediator, but he is God blessed for ever. Eleeso on han heleo--I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. This is the great truth which this scripture teacheth us. In Romans 9:11-13 Paul has asserted that God elected Jacob butnot Esau and that this election was not due to any works done bythem at all; in fact it was done before they were born. They are not all really Israel that are so in name and profession. (1.) Paul was both Jewish and a Roman citizen. God’s absolute sovereignty and justice, with respect to salvation and damnation, is what my mind seems to rest assured of, as much as of any thing that I see with my eyes, at least it is so at times. Such is the method of God's grace towards all that partake of it, for he is found of those that sought him not (Isaiah 65:1) in this preventing, effectual, distinguishing grace, he acts as a benefactor, whose grace is his own. What are the conditions they must meet to be the “children of promise”? (Jonathan Edwards, Selections, 58–59). (2.) (2.) For who hath resisted his will? The God of Romans 9 has been the rock-solid foundation of all I have said and all I have done in the last 22 years. He would be content to be cut off from the land of the living, in the most shameful and ignominious manner, as an anathema, or a devoted person. One happened in seminary and turned my mental world upside down. Ultimately, however, for Paul the law finds its meaning, and is read rightly, when it is read as a witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 3:21). His explanation in verse 6b is: “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Not all physical Israel is true Israel. So Paul answers this question in verse 6: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.” You can see what was at stake. It was because it was his own pleasure to deny them softening grace, and to give them up to their chosen affected unbelief. But, we ask, who are these? Observe, The promises accompany the giving of the law, and the service of God for the comfort of the promises is to be had in obedience to that law and attendance upon that service. Whose are the fathers (Romans 9:5), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those men of renown, that stood so high in the favour of God. Paul is hiding nothing here. These three chapters are the Apostle Paul’s discussion of the nation Israel —past, present, and future. By the prophet Hosea, who speaks of the taking in of a great many of the Gentiles, Hosea 2:23; Hosea 1:10. What I did not expect was that six months into this analysis of Romans 9, God himself would speak to me so powerfully that I resigned my job at Bethel and made myself available to the Minnesota Baptist Conference if there were a church who would have me as a pastor. Now all of this is a bit misleading as an introduction to Romans 9. Vessels of wrath--vessels filled with wrath, as a vessel of wine is a vessel filled with wine full of the fury of the Lord, Isaiah 51:20. (1.) Will he give us all things with him? And lest this should be thought only a copy of his countenance, to flatter and please them. But that from this it follows that the word of God takes no effect he denies (Romans 9:6), and proves the denial in the rest of the chapter, which serves likewise to illustrate the great doctrine of predestination, which he had spoken of (Romans 8:28) as the first wheel which in the business of salvation sets all the other wheels a-going. Which is not a thing to be imagined concerning any word of God. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God that prepares saints for heaven and all those that God designs for heaven hereafter he prepares and fits for heaven now: he works them to the self-same thing, 2 Corinthians 5:5. The word “that” indicates the content of Christ’s saving message. I absorbed it from the independent, self-sufficient, self-esteeming, self-exalting air that you and I breathe every day of our lives in America. They could not get over this corrupt principle which they had espoused, That the law was given them for no end but that merely by their observance of it, and obedience to it, they might be justified before God: and so they could by no means be reconciled to the doctrine of Christ, which brought them off from that to expect justification through the merit and satisfaction of another. He raised him up, brought him into the world, made him famous, gave him the kingdom and power,--set him up as a beacon upon a hill, as the mark of all his plagues (compare Exodus 9:14)-- hardened his heart, as he had said he would (Exodus 4:21): I will harden his heart, that is, withdraw softening grace, leave him to himself, let Satan loose against him, and lay hardening providences before him. And the ultimate answer — not the only answer — was God. (3.) I. Romans chapter 10 is actually the heart of a three-chapter passage, Romans chapters 9-11. By this rule they must needs come short of happiness and then what becomes of the promise made to the fathers, which entailed salvation upon the Jews? Amen. It is a great privilege to have the law of God among us, and it is to be accounted so, Psalm 147:19,20. As a shepherd and leader called to minister the gospel, his grief at their rejection must have cut deep. This difference that was put between Jacob and Esau he further illustrates by a quotation from Malachi 1:2,3, where it is said, not of Jacob and Esau the person, but the Edomites and Israelites their posterity, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. How they had been alienated from righteousness: the followed not after it they knew not their guilt and misery, and therefore were not at all solicitous to procure a remedy. The Jews, considered as a body politic, a nation and people, knit together by the bond and cement of the ceremonial law, the temple and priesthood, the centre of their unity, had for many ages been the darlings and favourites of heaven, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, dignified and distinguished by God's miraculous appearances among them and for them. The sovereignty of God meant that he can do anything with me that I give him permission to do. If it is ultimately God’s unconditional, free, sovereign electing mercy, then is he unjust? And it is in righteousness, in favour to us, in justice to his own design and counsel. Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? That repliest against God. 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. Therefore, how much sorer punishment were they worthy of that rejected him! II. 6 I don’t mean that God failed to keep his promise to the Jewish people. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. The difference was made between them by the divine counsel before they were born, or had done any good or evil. The other happened in the fall of 1979 and led to my coming to serve this church. 9:6-13 The rejection of the Jews by the gospel dispensation, did not break God's promise to the patriarchs. The case of Jacob and Esau (Romans 9:10-13), which is much stronger, to show that the carnal seed of Abraham were not, as such, interested in the promise, but only such of them as God in sovereignty had appointed. That doctrine therefore, might they say, is not to be embraced, from which flows such a consequence as this. As these great words, I am that I am (Exodus 3:14) do abundantly express the absolute independency of his being, so these words, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, do as fully express the absolute prerogative and sovereignty of his will. Some understand it of the evangelical law and covenant, which Christ has introduced and established in the world: he has in that finished the work, put an end to the types and ceremonies of the Old Testament. The promises and threatenings shall be fulfilled. Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. The application of the comparison, Romans 9:22-24. By the prophet Isaiah, who speaks of the casting off of many of the Jews, in two places. Romans 9 tackles challenging and hard-to-follow issues. And here Paul goes right to the bottom of the explanation.
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