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Romans 9: Part 1
July 12, 2015      |     By: Sam McVay, Jr.      |      Category: Sunday School

Sam teaches the first of a two part installment on Romans 9.

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The book of Romans is Paul’s great treatise on the gospel.

Romans 1:1-4

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Paul is set apart for the Gospel regarding the Son (Jesus)

This is the predominant theme of the whole book.

Breakdown of the chapters building to Romans 9:

1 - Gentiles are without excuse and experiencing the wrath of God

2 - Jews are also guilty

3 - All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory

4 - The story of Abraham shows that God intended faith to be the means of receiving righteousness

5 - Peace is made with God though the blood of Jesus

6 - Power of sin broken through the cross

7 - The Law stirs up a hopeless walk in the flesh

8a - The Law of the Spirit sets men and woman free

8b - Glorious promises given through Christ

9-11 – Paul’s lament over unbelieving Israel and defense of how God has not failed because of the rise of spiritual Israel (Church)

Paul lists the privileges of natural Israel

Romans 9:1-5

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

The beginning and the end of a writing tells us the main theme and helps interpret the middle:

The beginning:

Romans 9:6

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 

Romans 9:6 sets our chapter theme that works in congruence with our book theme.

- God has not failed

- Because Jesus and the gospel have redefined who Israel is - Galatians 6:16

Galatians 6:16

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The end:

Romans 9:30-33

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

In Romans 9:30-33, Israel, who pursued the law, has failed.

The Gentiles, who pursued faith in the gospel of Christ, have attained righteousness.

The middle:

Romans 9:7-9

and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 

Like Galatians 4, in Romans 9:7-9 Paul proclaims the allegorical truth that Ishmael represents the flesh and law and Isaac represents the promised Gospel and the Spirit. 

Galatians 4:22-31

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Romans 9:10-13

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they 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 him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Like in the story about Ishmael and Isaac, the younger son received the blessing not the older son. The older son sold out his birthright for the fleshly desire of food. 

So Paul is saying that unbelieving natural Israel is Ishmael and Esau. And he is saying that the believing Gentile is now Isaac and Jacob. 

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