Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 9:29-33
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 9:29
v29: Here Paul selects a warning from Isaiah which vividly pictures Judah's coming devastation. After addressing them with these words, "Woe sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons who corrupt…" (Isa 1:4), Isaiah said their punishment would be so severe that unless the Lord (Yahweh Sabaoth) mercifully spared a few survivors the nation would be wiped off the earth as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 19:24, 25). History records they didn't heed his warning and went on to be attacked by numerous enemies and finally conquered in 586 B.C.

Monday: Romans 9:29-31
v29 (continued): Paul quotes these passages from Isaiah to remind us that God had in the past used a remnant as part of His plan for Israel, and his point is that a remnant was once again being formed. Thankfully, there were at least a small number of Jews believing, and those few were functioning as a remnant. In them the promises to Abraham were being preserved and would be passed on to the next generation. vs30-31: With these verses Paul gives a concise answer to the question: Why did so many Jews reject the gospel while so many Gentiles received salvation? Please note that this is the conclusion that he draws from all he has said in chapter 9, and his answer has nothing to do with God making a sovereign choice before people are born. He clearly says, it is because Gentiles believed when they heard the gospel (v30) yet most Jews refused to believe because they were determined to earn salvation (righteousness) by zealously observing the rules in the Law of Moses (v31).

Tuesday: Romans 9:30, 31
vs30-31 (continued): The responsiveness of so many Gentiles and the unresponsiveness of so many Jews didn't seem to make sense. Most of the Gentiles had previously lived lives wildly out of line with the holy standards in the Bible. Most had been polytheists or functional atheists who certainly weren't seeking the God of Israel. Yet when an apostle or evangelist or believing neighbor explained the gospel they were willing to repent and believe. Nothing in their history would have led anyone to expect such large numbers while, at the same time, the people one would have expected to joyfully receive the gospel not only didn't, but aggressively persecuted those who did.

Wednesday: Romans 9:32
v32: What was the root of the problem? Paul's answer can be summed up in one word: faith. One group responded with faith when they heard the gospel and the other didn't. Why were so many Jews failing to become truly righteous, "Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works." This concise statement contains the heart of Paul's gospel. Technically, if a person could obey all the rules in the Bible God would reward them with eternal life. But in practice no human is capable of doing so. This is the lesson he carefully explained in the earlier chapters of this letter.

Thursday: Romans 9:32
v32 (continued): He taught us that every human inherits Adam's rebellious nature at birth and is helpless to resist its compulsive power. He also taught us that, aside from this spiritual influence from Adam, our physical bodies contain appetites and emotions so overwhelming we can't resist even when we try. So the idea that anyone could become righteous by sufficiently obeying God's Law is an unattainable dream. It can't be done. Try as they might Jews were falling short of their goal, but the tragedy was so few were willing to acknowledge it.

Friday: Romans 9:32, 33
vs32-33: Paul now employs an image Jesus used when confronting religious leaders in Jerusalem (Mt 21:42-46; Mk 12:10-12; Lk 20:16-19). He says Israel "stumbled over the stumbling stone" because they refused to acknowledge their need of grace or that God had sent His grace in the Person of Jesus. He quotes from Isaiah (Isa 28:16; 8:14) to show us that this "stumbling" had been prophesied. To understand why he chose these particular verses we need to understand the meaning Jesus gave to them because it was Jesus who passed this understanding of the "stumbling stone" on to His disciples (Lk 24:25-27, 44, 45).

Saturday: Romans 9:32, 33
vs32-33 (continued): On Palm Sunday, prior to His crucifixion, a great multitude joyfully shouted portions of Psalm 118 identifying Jesus as the Messiah "…who comes in the name of the Lord" (Lk 19:37, 38; Psa 118:26). On the following Tuesday of that same week Jesus quoted a passage just a few verses earlier in that same Psalm (Psa 118:22, 23) to show that the Psalmist also foretold that this Messiah would be rejected by the nation's religious leaders. His unmistakable meaning is that He is that stone of whom the Psalmist spoke, and the religious leaders are the "builders" who would reject Him. 

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