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Review from Week #1
The Book context and the Chapter context must be taken into account in order to interpret this passage correctly.
Book Context: Faith in The Gospel regarding Jesus is the only way that men are declared righteous before God.
Chapter Context: Since Israel had the promises and patriarchs did God fail since Israel rejected Jesus - NO, because God is making a spiritual Israel called the church through the gospel.
This point is made by using multiple Old Testament illustrations:
1. Isaac, the second born, was the result of the promise received by faith and thus has the blessing unlike Ishmael the worked for one did not. Israel, you are Ishmael.
2. Jacob the second born one received the blessing and birthright from a fleshly Esau. Israel, you are Esau.
Lastly, Paul is beaten and betrayed by the Jews because of the subject of this chapter. Nowhere more clearly does he indict his countrymen and this while he is grieving over their loss.
A Couple of opening statements:
1. Nowhere in this chapter speaks of personal salvation. You must read it into it to get there.
2. This chapter clearly uses individuals to speak of nations. No individual determinism here.
3. This chapter, like Galatians, uses the Old Testament chapters in an allegorical way to make a spiritual point.
4. This chapter kept in context makes the point that God has the sovereign right to determine the way that you become his covenant righteous nation, i.e. the church.
Reminder of the beginning and ending of this chapter’s discussion:
- Romans 9:6 is beginning
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
- Romans 9:30-33 is the sum up of main theme
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.”
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
14 - Like in Romans 3 and Romans 6, Paul will anticipate a question and answer it with revelation.
Is God unjust for dealing with O.T. individuals and nations the way he did and now with Israel?
No because as in the story of Moses and Pharaoh God has the sovereign right to determine his who/way of mercy not based on works.
Notes on this section: Pharaoh hardens his heart eight times.
God *hardens a couple times.
*The word “harden” here means “to strengthen or to fortify”. In the other books of the Bible it is translated with this sense but not here in Exodus.
Again, he is calling Israel “Pharaoh” in this passage and it will get him beat.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” 27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
Again we have the “anticipate a question and answer it” as a mode of continuing Paul’s argument.
Verse 20 and the next few verses are some of the most misquoted verses in the Bible.
The context is again - Gospel of Jesus as way to righteousness and God did not fail because Israel is spiritual - the church. He makes this point in this chapter while talking about nations.
To understand this chapter we must read Jeremiah 18:1-10 because this is what Paul is referring to when he writes this section.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.
So God has the right per his sovereign decisions to justify by the Gospel to change a blessed nation into a cursed one. And to change the curse of the Gentiles making them righteous by their faith in Christ.
Again, Israel you are the vessel of destruction now because you have rejected Christ.
Romans 9 not:
1. Romans 9 is not about individual salvation that is predetermined before the foundation of the earth.
2. Romans 9 does not declare double predestination. God determines individuals who go to heaven and to hell from the foundation of the earth.
3. Romans 9 does not destroy the concept of free will but rather calls for a willed faith response in its examples.
4. Romans 9 is not interpreted right by the reformed tradition and is actually one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible because of a theological stronghold called Calvinism which is actual Augustinian fatalism theologized.
1. Romans 9 is about the Gospel regarding Jesus.
2. Romans 9 is about how God has not failed but actually fulfilled his prophetic purpose in the way to righteousness through faith in Christ.
3. Romans 9 is a devastating indictment of the religious nation Israel who has rejected Christ.
4. Romans 9 is a bold defense for Gentiles becoming the people of God through faith in Christ.
5. Romans 9 is a gloriously Christ-centered passage.