Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 9:5-13
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 9:5
v5 (continued): Of all the privileges given to Israel none is greater than the last one Paul mentions. The Savior of the world is a Jew. God incarnated His Son into the flesh of that nation. Insofar as His physical body is concerned He was born in the town of Bethlehem, of the family of David, of the tribe of Judah and raised in Nazareth, a small working-class village in the hills of lower Galilee. But the humble circumstances of His birth and childhood should not hide the marvel of what took place. After the crucifixion God raised Him from the dead and Paul had physically seen His resurrected glory. He shone with a brilliance so intense it left Paul blind for a season (Ac 9:8-18). Though He had been cursed and mocked during His years of ministry, and especially while dying on the cross, Paul says Jesus is now “over all.” The Father rewarded His faithfulness by making Him the Judge (Ac 17:31) and Ruler (Php 2:8-11) over all creation. To this brief but profound picture of Jesus Paul adds the word “amen” because in that moment he had moved from teaching to spontaneous worship.

Monday: Romans 9:6
v6: Paul immediately dismisses the idea that Jews were responding badly because there was something wrong with the apostolic proclamation about Jesus. We need only read his own encounters in Thessalonica (Ac 17:1-9), Berea (Ac 17:10-15) and Corinth (Ac 18:1-17) to see the sort of reaction that caused him to raise this subject. Certain groups of Jews had taken it upon themselves not only to reject the idea that the Messiah “had to suffer and rise again from the dead” or that Jesus “is the Messiah” (Ac 17:3), but to aggressively persecute those who preached this gospel and pursue them from city to city. Their hostility had risen to an extraordinary level. There was a rage, a murderous intent to kill and a tireless expenditure of energy which needed explanation. But before going any further Paul simply says the truth about Jesus isn’t the problem.

Tuesday: Romans 9:6-8
v6 (continued): The gospel was exposing a deep spiritual problem that lay beneath the surface in Judaism. Many who were physical descendants of Abraham did not share his faith, they were only genetically related to him. Yet others possessed real, internal faith like his. Paul wants us to distinguish between these two groups when he says, “For not all the ones out of Israel (Jacob) are of Israel” (literal). vs7-8: To prove his point Paul need look no further than the patriarchs themselves (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). The covenant God made with Abraham, and later reaffirmed to Issac and Jacob, contained three key promises (read comments on verse four), but it is the last of these which is most important, and that promise belonged only to those descendants who had faith.

Wednesday: Romans 9:7, 8
vs7-8 (continued): Not only did God promise Abraham descendants and a land, but He also promised that Abraham would become a source of blessing to “all the families of the earth” (Ge 12:3). He later told him this would take place through his “seed” (Ge 22:18) whom Paul identifies as the Messiah (Ge 3:16). So God’s promise of spiritual blessing ultimately refers to the “righteousness of faith” (Ro 4:9, 13) and therefore eternal life. As the generations passed Abraham’s own family proved that simply being his physical descendant was not enough. Only Isaac received the promise, not Ishmael or the other children Abraham conceived after Sarah died (Ge 25:1, 2).

Thursday: Romans 9:7, 8
vs7-8 (continued): As God’s plan unfolded something surprising took place. He gave Abraham’s promise to the child who had faith, not the one who held the birthright, and He foreknew and prophetically announced who that would be before they were born, “Through Issac your descendants will be named.” In a Hebrew family the eldest son expected to receive this blessing, but never once did that actually happen among the forefathers of Israel: Abraham’s eldest was Ishmael, but the promise went to Issac (Ro 9:7, 9); Isaac’s eldest was Esau, but the promise went to Jacob (Ro 9:10-13); and Paul doesn’t mention it, but Reuben was Jacob’s eldest yet the promise went to Judah, the fourth in line.

Friday: Romans 9:9
v9: A year before Isaac was born the pre-incarnate Messiah (Jesus) had come to Hebron to give Abraham and Sarah a “word of promise.” He told them, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Ge 18:10). At last Sarah would conceive and bear the child who would inherit Abraham’s promise. God isn’t bound by cultural rules of seniority. He reserves the right to give His promised righteousness to whomever He wishes. And to whom does He wish to give it? Men and women of faith, not the physical descendants of people with faith nor those who try to earn righteousness by zealously performing religious duties. As He did with Isaac, He foreknew those with faith and superintends over their lives and even before they have been conceived.

Saturday: Romans 9:11-13
vs11-13: These verses can be terribly misunderstood. Some assume Paul is saying that God arbitrarily hates certain babies and that His hatred is not based on anything good or bad that the child will do during their lifetime. They point to these verses to claim even before they were born God loved one of Isaac’s twins and hated the other. They focus on the statements, “…for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad...” and “...not because of works but because of Him who calls” (v4) thinking they teach “sovereign election” (from eternity God has picked those who will be saved, based on nothing, including a person having faith). Taken out of context, Paul’s words here could mean that, but in light of the fact that he repeatedly emphasizes faith as the basis of salvation all through this discussion (Ro 9:30-10:4; 10:9-14, 17; 11:20-24, 32) he obviously doesn’t. He’s trying to teach us that a person can’t attain righteousness by works. It only comes by faith. So what he wants us to learn from Jacob and Esau is that Jacob wasn’t loved because he led a better life than Esau. God didn’t choose Jacob after He looked into the future and saw his good works. He loved Jacob because He foreknew he would have faith. 

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