Romans Chapter 9

Part 1

KLMX Radio

Aug 2009

Bryan Kimsey

First Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

[Prayer]

Iíve been working thru Paulís letter to the Roman church and this week Iíll be looking at the so-called Chapter 9 that letter. Chapter 9 is one of the more difficult sections of the Bible and contains some controversial sections. I think, however, that theyíre only controversial if you come to them with preconceived notions. If you read them for what they say, then I think itís actually a very comforting section. There certainly is a lot of weighty theology in Chapter 9. Letís get started on it.

Romans 9:1-5 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, (2) that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, (4) who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; (5) of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Paul starts off this section with a statement of seriousness when he says "I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness to the Holy SpiritÖ" Heís setting himself before Christ and the Holy Spirit and trying to impress on his audience just how exactly serious he is about his next statement which is "I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart." This is the burden that Paul feels. The gospel is not a "take it or leave it", "easy believism" thing for Paul. To contrary, itís serious business. But Paul isnít talking about just everyone right now. Instead, heís talking specifically about "my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are IsraelitesÖ" Paul is so concerned about them, that he would be willing to separate himself from Christ for their salvation. This, of course, is impossible, but it nevertheless is the heart that all evangelists should have- the gospel message is serious business. Without Christ, people perish.

Paulís willingness to stand in for his fellow man recalls Mosesí willingness to do the same. In Exodus 32, Moses is coming down off the mountain where heís been meeting with God for 40 days. The people have grown weary of waiting for him and have convinced Aaron to let them make a golden calf. Theyíre worshiping this calf when God sends Moses back down. God wrath is aroused and he wants to destroy them, but Moses begs for them. Later Moses makes this statement:

Exodus 32:31-32 Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! (32) Yet now, if You will forgive their sin- but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."

Moses is willing to offer himself as atonement for the peopleís sins and so is Paul in Romans 9. Neither can, of course, since they have their own sins for which to atone, but their heart is in the right place. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, having never sinned can and does atone for those willing to accept His sacrifice.

Although his fellow Israelites are rejecting the gospel, Paul lists their advantages: "to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; (5) of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came" The Israelites were adopted by God and selected as his chosen people. This is no small glory, for to them were given the covenants, the giving of the law, and the promises, as Paul says. The Israelites were given the law to protect and were given the privilege of serving God. From them were the Jewish fathers- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Last and most importantly, from them came Jesus Christ.

But however important heritage is, heritage alone canít save anyone. If your parents went to church and even if you go to church, thatís fine- thatís an advantage, but it doesnít save you. If your dad was a preacher and his dad was a preacher and his dad was a preacher, all the way back to John the Baptist, thatís fine- thatís an advantage, but it doesnít save you. What saves someone is personal faith in Christ and Paulís going to show us this a little later in this chapter.

For now, though, letís not overlook a very important statement Paul makes. Let me read part of the passage again:

Romans 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, (4) who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; (5) of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Note what Paul says about Christ. He says "ÖChrist came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen." Do you see what heís saying here? Heís calling Christ "the eternally blessed God." In this section, heís claiming full deity for Jesus, as he rightfully should. The deity of Christ is denied by many religions, but thereís no escaping it here. Again, Paul says "ÖChrist came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen." Chris is first, over all, and secondly, the eternally blessed God. Thereís a similar passage in:

1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

And John tells us that Christ is indeed God when he says:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And then we have Matthew:

Matthew 1:20-23 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (22) So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: (23) "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which is translated, "God with us."

In Matthew, we learn that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit- since the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinitarian God, this gives Jesus the very nature of God. His name was called Immanuel which means, literally, "God with us."

Another passage showing the deity of Chris is:

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Paul says here "that God was in Christ". Again, Christ had fully the nature of God and that nature sets him apart from every other human being, in that they have only the sinful nature of the natural man. This why Jesus said in John 3 "you must be born again", and explains to Nicodemus that heís talking about a spiritual re-birth, not a fleshly rebirth. But Christ was born of the Spirit the first time and was without sin.

Hereís one more passage showing the deity of Christ:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

This one tells us that "God was manifested in the fleshÖ" "Manifested" in this case means "made clear; disclosed; made apparent, obvious or evident", according to Websterís 1828 dictionary. In the case of Jesus Christ, this was God "made apparent, obvious, or evident" in the flesh.

Iím not having any trouble coming up with verses that show that Jesus Christ was indeed God in the flesh. Letís take another look at todayís Romans passage and sum up.

Romans 9:1-5 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, (2) that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, (4) who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; (5) of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

While acknowledging their many benefits, Paul is showing deep concern for his fellow Israelites in that they are rejecting Jesus as Messiah. He wishes that he could offer himself up for their benefit, but this, of course, is impossible since Paul is only a man himself. Paul then, almost off-handedly, equates Jesus with God.

The question that should be asked is "Why then did God call the Israelites his special people?" Why did God set them apart, give them the law, give them the opportunity to worship Him, give them covenants and promises, if Heís only going to abandon them because they donít have faith in Jesus? This is a great question and Paulís going to answer it. Weíll hold off on that section until tomorrow though!

Come back at 9:45 am tomorrow here on KLMX and we will continue on in Romans Chapter 9. Until then, may God work on your heart, give you ears to hear and eyes to see, and shine the light that is Jesus Christ into darkened hearts. To His glory, Amen!

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