Romans 9:1-13- The Sentence Upon Israel
Explanation- We now come to one of the most controversial passages in all of Scripture. This passage speaks clearly about God’s election, and we would do well to take it at face value and not read our own biases and opinions into it.
Paul begins by stating the truthfulness of what he is saying. This seems odd being that Paul is an apostle of God and speaks as God’s very ambassador. Nevertheless, he begins with these words. Perhaps being that Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles, there may arise doubt as to his affections toward Israel. If read without the understanding that Paul is speaking as Jew with love for his fellow Jews, it may be interpreted by some that he is a Jew-hater, and he seeks to make God out to be a Jew-hater as well. Whatever the case may be, Paul sets out by expressing the great love he has for the national people of Israel. He understands the will of God in that not all of Israel is truly Israel, and it breaks his heart to know that there will be those of his kinsmen who will face utter ruin under the wrath of God. Paul even goes so far as to wish himself accursed for the sake of his brethren according to the flesh. It was to the people of Israel that God first made Himself known and almost exclusively displayed His wonders for several thousand years. It was even through the line of these people that Christ was brought forth into human history. Certainly, the people of Israel have blessed beyond measure, but, as Paul will go on to prove, not all of Israel is truly Israel.
Now if, although God has revealed Himself to these people, given His Law to them, and made with them covenants, some of these national Israelites fall away, has God’s word of promise failed? Absolutely not! God’s people were never those Jews who were Jews by national descent, but God’s people are those of the promise and not of the flesh. When God made the promise of a son to Abraham, the son was the means by which the physical line of Abraham would continue. Behind the coming of this son was the validity that God’s word was true, and Abraham believed in God’s truthfulness. From this point on there has been a remnant in Israel which God has chosen through His divine election. This is exemplified through the story of Jacob and Esau. Before either of these men had done good or evil (for they were still in their mother’s womb), God chose Jacob and rejected Esau. The promise was to continue through Jacob even though, from an earthly perspective, it should have been Esau (the firstborn) who received the promise.
Application- Entering into this chapter that deals with the Lord’s election should bring about a sober-mindedness in each one of us. As Psalm 115:3 says, ‘Our God is in the heavens; He does all that he pleases.’ If God has chosen one and rejected another, it is His absolute right to do so. This is God’s business and not ours. Our commission is to preach the Gospel to every creature and let God work out who will hear and who will not. This applies directly to those of the Jewish faith that we see today. At this time, God has turned away from these people and has focused His efforts toward the Gentile nations. Paul will speak more of this in chapter 11. But for our purposes here, we must be content to let God be God. The Bible clearly speaks of the Doctrine of Election, and we, as His people, must come to terms with this.