Follow-up to January 8th teaching
Sunday Follow-upRomans 9 – “Is God unfair – Part 2”
The book of Romans can be divided up into 3 sections. The first section is comprised of chapters 1-8. The 3rd section is comprised of chapters 12-16. In between these 2 sections are chapters 9-11. The question that needs to be considered is – “what are chapters 9-11 about?"
In chapters 1-5 of Romans, Paul explains how one is saved and how salvation frees us from the penalty of sin. In Chapters 6 thru the first part of chapter 8, Paul explains how salvation frees us from the power of sin. Then in the rest of chapter 8, Paul explains how one day, when believers are glorified, will be forever free from the presence of sin. Chapter 12 of Romans begins a section about the implications of the gospel as it pertains to Christian living.
So, how are we to understand chapters 9-11? Is Paul teaching what is known today as unconditional election as some believe and teach, or is he addressing something else?
I love what Dr. Rick Flanders wrote“The portion between chapter 8 and chapter 12 presents a truth that is needed right after the exposition of salvation by God’s grace, and just before the explanation of how a recipient of saving grace ought to live. This truth is what Romans 9 through 11 is about.”
The first 8 chapters would raise the question in the mind of the unbelieving Jews – “How can we be called by God (Abraham & circumcision), governed by God (the Law) used by God (bear witness to the truth of Him), and not be saved?” “How is that fair?”
In chapter 9, Paul addresses the right and sovereignty of God in choosing the Jewish people for His purpose. Paul takes his readers back to the OT where God chose Isaac rather than Ishmael. Where God chose Jacob rather than Esau.
In chapter 9, Paul also addresses the hardening of the hearts of the Jewish people by taking his readers back to Pharoah. Dr. Rick Flanders said this
“Romans 9 uses Pharaoh to show that God may choose to exalt a wicked man in order to show His power in the judgment of that man. God hardened the king of Egypt into stubbornness in regard to the emancipation of Israel because he was already willfully sinful and fit to be a vessel of God’s wrath. God is not said to have made Pharaoh sinful, but to have helped him to be stubborn. He was not predestined to be wicked, but rather chosen to demonstrate the power of God by bearing the consequences of resisting God in the contest with Moses. And God can legitimately choose a sinner for such use”.
Was God unfair to the Jewish people? No, because salvation was available to them through faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah. But they rejected Him. It was God’s right to determine that “true sonship” would come through spiritual birth not by natural birth.
Was God unfair to the Jewish people by showing mercy to the Gentile people? No, because God showed the Israelites the same mercy. Thank God for the mercy he has shown us and for the salvation he makes available to all of us no matter who we are or what we have done.
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