2. ( Romans 9:3 ). For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. With this frame of mind, I entered a class on Philippians with Daniel Fuller and class on the doctrine of salvation with Jaymes Morgan. 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. Another is quoted from Isaiah 1:9, where the prophet is showing how in a time of general calamity and destruction God would preserve a seed. The corn reserved for next year's seedings is but little, compared with that which is spent and eaten. Now this part of his discourse is in answer to two objections. Those whom God calls his people he calls beloved: he loves those that are his own. "Complete Commentary on Romans 9:4". 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. Applying this general rule to the particular case that Paul has before him, the reason why the unworthy, undeserving, ill-deserving Gentiles are called, and grafted into the church, while the greatest part of the Jews are left to perish in unbelief, is not because those Gentiles were better deserving or better disposed for such a favour, but because of God's free grace that made that difference. 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. It tends very much to the clearing of a truth to observe how the scripture is fulfilled in it. The reigning corruptions and wickedness of the soul are its preparedness and disposedness for hell: a soul is hereby made combustible matter, fit for the flames of hell. Romans 9:9 For this is the word of promise: "AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON." This honour have all his saints. And it is in righteousness, in favour to us, in justice to his own design and counsel. Our exegesis needs to take into account four things: 1) the context of Malachi 1:2; 2) the context of Romans 9:13; 3) the verse itself, and 4) the covenantal realities that both of these texts communicate. He is the Lord of sabaoth, that is, the Lord of hosts--a Hebrew word retained in the Greek, as James 5:4. This is Pharaoh, and all his multitude. God's sovereignty, manifested in the ruin of sinners, is here discovered in the instance of Pharaoh it is quoted from Exodus 9:16. 2. Things have not been working well with his marriage. He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Mentioning Christ, he interposes a very great word concerning him, that he is over all, God blessed for ever. 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. Commentary on Romans 9:14-24. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. The promises purchased by the blood of Christ will be performed by the sovereign power of God. As God chose Isaac and Jacob, and rejected Ishmael and Esau, so he might and did choose faith to be the condition of salvation and reject the works of the law. The Jews had a particular pique at Paul above any of the apostles, as appears by the history of the Acts, and therefore were the more apt to take things amiss of him, to prevent which he introduces his discourse with this tender and affectionate profession, that they might not think he triumphed or insulted over the rejected Jews or was pleased with the calamities that were coming upon them. It is a power of strength and energy, an inflicting power, which works and effects the destruction of those that perish it is a destruction that proceeds from the glory of his power, 2 Thessalonians 1:9. God forbid. And he will cut it short. In order to fully understand this verse it is vital to see the context in which it is found. They had confidence in the flesh, and looked for justification in a fleshly way, by those carnal ordinances which Christ had abolished. 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. It is the same intense revelation that caused Moses to say something similar on Israel's behalf. 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. Christ said, It is finished, and then the veil was rent, echoing as it were to the word that Christ said upon the cross. Both lay struggling alike in their mother's womb, when it was said, The elder shall serve the younger, without respect to good or bad works done or foreseen, that the purpose of God according to election might stand--that this great truth may be established, that God chooses some and refuses others as a free agent, by his own absolute and sovereign will, dispensing his favours or withholding them as he pleases. 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. 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? 1. When Paul speaks of “the Law” and “the promises,” and affirm that “from them comes the Christ according to the flesh” (9:4-5), he is imagining three parts of the same whole. My aim was to analyze God’s words so closely and construe them so carefully that I could write a book that would be compelling and stand the test of time. He does not say for what the very mention of it was unpleasant and invidious but it is plain that he means for the rejection of the Jews. It is a great privilege to have the law of God among us, and it is to be accounted so, Psalm 147:19,20. But there might be colour for the objection against his arguing for the sovereignty of God in giving and withholding differencing and preventing grace and the objection is commonly and readily advanced against the doctrine of distinguishing grace. Genesis 18:10. It was to them that the ceremonial and judicial law were given, and the moral law in writing pertained to them. I could wish he does not say, I do wish, for it was no proper means appointed for such an end but, if it were, I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren--a very high pang of zeal and affection for his countrymen. The sovereignty of God’s grace is brought in as the final ground of God’s faithfulness in spite of Israel’s failure, and therefore as the deepest foundation for the precious promises of Romans 8. (3.) Romans 9:11–12 said, “Though they [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call — she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’”, And when Paul raised the question in verse 14, “Is there injustice on God’s part?” He says, no, and quotes Moses (in verse 15): “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” And when he raises the question in verse 19, “Why does he still find fault? Nay, some think that the expression goes further, and that he could be content to be cut off from all his share of happiness in Christ, if that might be a means of their salvation. It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. Now that the gospel was preached, and Christian churches were planted, this national body was thereby abandoned, their church-polity dissolved and Christian churches (and in process of time Christian nations), embodied in like manner, become their successors in the divine favour, and those special privileges and protections which were the products of that favour. 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. In their conversion preventing grace was greatly magnified: God was found of those that sought him not, Isaiah 65:1. When I entered seminary I believed in the freedom of my will, in the sense that it was ultimately self-determining. (1.) Verse 3 shows us that Israel as a whole is accursed and cut off from Christ, “I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” We will deal with Paul’s arguments next week. How they mistook their way, which was the cause of their missing the end, Romans 9:32,33. Which is not a thing to be imagined concerning any word of God. 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. 2. This is to the same purport with the former and the scope of it is to show that it was no strange thing for God to leave the greatest part of the people of the Jews to ruin, and to reserve to himself only a small remnant: so he had done formerly, as appears by their own prophets and they must not wonder if he did so now. The question was not whether I had a will, but the question was why I willed what I willed. Who then is? 9 that . 14 What shall we say then? The application of the comparison, Romans 9:22-24. 1. The Jews would, no doubt, willingly refer it to the Old Testament, the scriptures of which were committed to them. This was the grandeur of Israel, Deuteronomy 4:7,8. They are not all really Israel that are so in name and profession. What God did with Pharaoh. What are the conditions they must meet to be the “children of promise”? This objection he answers at large. And the promises--particular promises added to the general covenant, promises relating to the Messiah and the gospel state. These three chapters are the Apostle Paul’s discussion of the nation Israel —past, present, and future. The Jews stand in relation to them, are their children, and proud enough they are of it: We have Abraham to our father. Therefore God's mercy endures for ever, because the reason of it is fetched from within himself therefore his gifts and callings are without repentance. I had not learned this from the Bible. But why doesn’t that call ring out in the rest of the New Testament? Is there really now no condemnation, and will there be none tomorrow? All the children of men being plunged alike into a state of sin and misery, equally under guilt and wrath, God, in a way of sovereignty, picks out some from this fallen apostatized race, to be vessels of grace and glory. 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? I had two children and a third on the way. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Emotions run high when you feel your man-centered world crumbling around you. Then, about ten years later, came the fall of 1979. 3. II. This he does in four ways:-- 1. Unusual And Unstoppable Prayer. Christians are unavoidably out of step with this world. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. The people of Israel were taken into the covenant of peculiarity, had the land of Canaan given them, were blessed with the more signal appearances of God for them in special protections, supplies, and deliverances, while the Edomites were rejected, had no temple, altar, priests, nor prophets--no such particular care taken of them nor kindness shown to them. If you have a Bible that puts Old Testament quotations in small caps, you can easily see that Paul builds his argument in Romans 9 on the Old Testament. For this is the word of promise. So you can see that the issue of divine election, and human will, and God’s justice, and human blame, and God’s sovereignty are all here in this chapter. As for God, his work is perfect. To clear up the justice of God in this great dispensation is the scope of the apostle here. What about the word of God — the word of promise to Israel and covenant: “I will be your God, and you will be my people!” (Jeremiah 31:33). Amen. 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. It might be objected, Why doth he yet find fault? They now stood upon the same level with the Gentiles and the question is not now whether of the seed of Abraham or no, that is neither here nor there, but whether or no called according to his purpose. What God is. Art thou able to fathom such a depth, dispute such a case, to trace that way of God which is in the sea, his path in the great waters?" Whose are the fathers (Romans 9:5), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those men of renown, that stood so high in the favour of God. God's sovereignty over us is fitly illustrated by the power that the potter hath over the clay compare Jeremiah 18:6, where, by a like comparison, God asserts his dominion over the nation of the Jews, when he was about to magnify his justice in their destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. But the greatest honour of all was that of them as concerning the flesh (that is, as to his human nature) Christ came for he took on him the seed of Abraham, Hebrews 2:16. But he will cut it short in righteousness, both in wisdom and in justice. Consider this brief overview. The word “that” indicates the content of Christ’s saving message. And lest this should be thought only a copy of his countenance, to flatter and please them. We ought to be in a special manner concerned for the spiritual good of our relations, our brethren and kinsmen. This must be shown to all the world, God will make it appear that he hates sin. The issue is genuine faith. Romans 9:6 "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. The rude and unformed mass of matter hath no right to this or that form, but is shaped at the pleasure of him that formeth it. Had he mercy on the Gentiles? Because of their relation to them: My brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh. 2. 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: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. While it may not be in scholarly vogue, let me begin this rather theological article with a hypothetical story. Paul begins by declaring how heartbroken he is about the state of his people Israel. I was on sabbatical from teaching at Bethel College. Whatever good comes from God to man, the glory of it is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavour, of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God. The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. The upshot of that sabbatical was the book, The Justification of God. (2.) This was the stumbling-stone at which they stumbled. One is Isaiah 10:22,23, which speaks of the saving of a remnant, that is, but a remnant, which, though in the prophecy it seems to refer to the preservation of a remnant from the destruction and desolation that were coming upon them by Sennacherib and his army, yet is to be understood as looking further, and sufficiently proves that it is no strange thing for God to abandon to ruin a great many of the seed of Abraham, and yet maintain his word of promise to Abraham in full force and virtue. 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. Whatsoever God does, or is resolved to do, is both by the one and the other proved to be just. The work (it is logos--the word, the law) was under the Old Testament very long a long train of institutions, ceremonies, conditions: but now it is cut short. If he is that free to have mercy on whom he wills and harden whom he wills (verse 18), and if it does not depend on man who wills or man who runs (verse 16) then, why does he still find fault? 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. 1. And it is utterly crucial for us as we move to the Lord’s table. 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. Even so, Father, because it seemed good unto thee. 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. Not, Whosoever is born of thee shall be blessed, but, At this time - Which I now appoint. Now, in Romans 9 through 11, Paul deals with the problem associated with the condition of Israel. In these God is willing to show his wrath, that is, his punishing justice, and his enmity to sin. The promises and threatenings shall be fulfilled. This is the great truth which this scripture teacheth us. Paul is hiding nothing here. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Especially because of their relation to God (Romans 9:4,5): Who are Israelites, the seed of Abraham, God's friend, and of Jacob his chosen, taken into the covenant of peculiarity, dignified and distinguished by visible church-privileges, many of which are here mentioned:-- (1.) We are the thing formed, and he is the former and it does not become us to challenge or arraign his wisdom in ordering and disposing of us into this or that shape of figure. I read the following story because it may have been the story of many in this church, and may yet be, I pray, the story of many: From childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom he would to eternal life, and rejecting whom he pleased; leaving them eternally to perish, and be everlastingly tormented in hell. His design is to justify God, and his mercy and truth, in calling the Gentiles, and taking them into the church, and into covenant with himself, while he suffered the obstinate part of the Jews to persist in unbelief, and so to un-church themselves--thus hiding from their eyes the things that belonged to their peace. 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. II. Romans 9 tackles challenging and hard-to-follow issues. Observe how contemptibly he speaks of man, when he comes to argue with God his Maker: "Who art thou, thou that art so foolish, so feeble, so short-sighted, so incompetent a judge of the divine counsels? Gentile converts were now flying as a cloud. The Gentiles did neither will it, nor run for it, for they sat in darkness, Matthew 4:16. 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. 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. 1. It imports a perfect absoluteness in God's will he will do what he will, and giveth not account of any of his matters, nor is it fit he should. 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. In darkness, therefore not willing what they knew not sitting in darkness, a contented posture, therefore not running to meet it, but anticipated with these invaluable blessings of goodness. Therefore, the promises to the true Israel and the promises of Romans 8 will stand! "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 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. Vessels of mercy--filled with mercy. II. He asserts it with a solemn protestation (Romans 9:1): I say the truth in Christ, "I speak it as a Christian, one of God's people, children that will not lie, as one that knows not how to give flattering title." 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. The apostle, having plainly asserted and largely proved that justification and salvation are to had by faith only, and not by the works of the law, by Christ and not by Moses, comes in this and the following chapters to anticipate an objection which might be made against this. By fixing the true reason of the Jews' rejection, Romans 9:30, to the end. What does Romans chapter 9 mean? Observe the great dignity and honour of the saints, that they are called the children of the living God and his calling them so makes them so. 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