Archive for the ‘Romans 9’ Category

Romans 9 Study 1

August 9, 2016

Rom 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 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, 4 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, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.” 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”

The apostle Paul is setting out with several things in mind, but it is very clear that he is concerned that some might think that in turning from the nation of Israel that God had abandoned His promises. God cannot lie and His promises will never fail and cannot possibly fail. However, not all at that time and certainly not all today understand the nature of His promises. While there is the kinsman of Paul according to the flesh, he also spoke of brothers in Christ. The one (according to the flesh) were those that he shared national heritage with, yet the other (brothers of Christ and children of God) is something of a far greater importance.

Paul sets out in verse 6 to show that it is not the word of God that has failed. This is a very important teaching to grab a hold of it we are going to understand the New Testament. We must allow (so to speak) the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament or we will wrap ourselves in many problems. The word of God has not failed toward His promises because they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel. This is to say that there was and is a distinction between the Israelites. What Paul is going to point out is that there was and is a spiritual Israel and there was and is a physical Israel. For the moment, however, he goes on to show that not all the seed (descendants) of Abraham were spiritual Israel or the true children of God.

This is a vital point with some important implications. A person is not a child of God because one is born of a certain nation, a certain parentage, or a certain bloodline. One is only a child of God because that person is born from above by the will of God (John 1:12-13). Not the entire nation (each and every person) of Israel where the elect of God and not all of the seed of Abraham were the elect of God. It is not being the descendant of any particular person that determines this, but it is God who determines this. This is why we must look to Him alone rather than any other person or reason. It is God who saves by grace alone and not because of any other reason.

Paul moves on from Abraham and then shows how the seed came through Isaac, who was the child of promise, and not by all of his other children. It is through Isaac that the children were named, not any of the other children of Abraham. This is such an important point. Paul goes on to explain this even more. He tells us that it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but it is only the children of promise who are regarded as descendants. This is truly a magnificent point that all should consider in our day as well. The children of God are all children of promise which is to say that they are children of free-grace. The children of God are not picked out because they have Christian parents any more than in the Old Testament they were in some way descendants of Abraham. While people are always looking for reasons other than free-grace for why they are saved, there is simply no other reason at all.

Paul is driving the people of his day away from any consideration as to why they were saved other than the grace of God. The Israelites could not simply say that they were of the line that traced itself back to Abraham, because that was not the real issue. The Gentiles of that day could not look back and say that their parents were Christians or that they had a royal line passing through them, but all had to look to God. There is nowhere people can look and there is no ritual or hope in anything in our day either, but our only hope is that God will save us in Christ Jesus. It is Christ who is the true seed of Abraham. All who are in Christ are the seed of Abraham whether they are Jew or Gentile. It is Christ we must look to because all the promises are in Christ.