Romans Chapter 9
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Good morning and welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines and Iíve been working thru Paulís letter to the Romans church. This week weíre in chapter 9, a chapter with a reputation for being controversial and difficult. But, like it or not, controversial or not, Chapter 9 is part of Romans, part of the Bible and here we are.
Yesterday, I left off at this passage:
Romans 9:15-24 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE COMPASSION." (16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (17) For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I HAVE RAISED YOU UP, THAT I MAY SHOW MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH." (18) Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (19) You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" (20) But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" (21) Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (22) What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, (23) and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, (24) even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
I touched on some verses that point to the "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" and thereís certainly a lot more to discuss there. However, the point of this chapter and indeed the point of Romans so far is not necessarily to discuss election, double-predestination, or reprobation. The point, rather, is to show that the gospel message is extended not only to Jews but to Gentiles. Since thatís where Paul is leading, thatís where we should go.
Before we do, though, let me be clear where I stand. Iím fully convinced that "no man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him" (John 6:44), that the natural does not receive the things of God for they are foolishness to him (1 Cor 2:14), and, in short, that salvation is 100% an act of God. At the same time, though, God "commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30) and "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." (Titus 2:11). Therefore a person need not concern themselves as to whether they are of the elect or not- if they repent, are baptized, and are converted from a natural man into a spiritual man, then that is evidence enough that they are of the elect. So again, I love to discuss why and how, but the fact is, as Jesus told Nicodemus:
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Itís fun to chase the wind, but the fruit of rebirth is what we need to see. This, also, is what Paul is concerned about. We left him with his statement "even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:24 ) And so, his whole point of showing that "theyare not all Israel who are of Israel" is to show:
Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE COMPASSION." (16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Mercy is of God and He may bestow it to or withhold it from whoever He wants. Paul develops this point in the next few verses:
Romans 9:25-29 As He says also in Hosea: "I WILL CALL THEM MY PEOPLE, WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, AND HER BELOVED, WHO WAS NOT BELOVED." (26) "AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, 'YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,' THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD." (27) Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, THE REMNANT WILL BE SAVED. (28) FOR HE WILL FINISH THE WORK AND CUT IT SHORT IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, BECAUSE THE LORD WILL MAKE A SHORT WORK UPON THE EARTH." (29) And as Isaiah said before: "UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT US A SEED, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE LIKE GOMORRAH."
This is a string of Old Testament verses, one after another, with the purpose of showing that in the Jewís own Scriptures there is plenty of evidence for the calling of other peoples besides the Jews. And there is also plenty of evidence that the Israelites will have problems and still be saved only by Godís grace. Thatís what the Isaiah verse is saying when it says ""UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT US A SEED, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE LIKE GOMORRAH." Unless God had mercy on them and left a seed, they would have all vanished. So, again, weíre back to the point that God has mercy on whomever He has mercy and that mercy is absolutely required.
Hereís what Paul has to say about that:
Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; (31) but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. (32) Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. (33) As it is written: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STUMBLING STONE AND ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME."
Here we have the statement that the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, nevertheless obtained it while Israel, pursuing it, did not obtain. And why was this so? "Because [Israel] did not seek it by faith, butÖby the works of the law." Israel tried to obtain righteousness by her own works, rather than relying in the strength of God. Listen to Jesusí parable and note carefully to whom He is speaking:
Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (10) "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' (13) And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
First, Luke says that Jesus "spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous." Thereís no doubt then to whom Jesus is speaking and to whom this message applies. The Pharisee says "God, I thank You that I am not like other menÖ." And the tax collector, standing afar off, could not even raise his eyes to heaven but said "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" This is the same picture that Paul is painting. Israel trusted in her own ability to follow the law, failing to see an absolutely critical point which is- the law is not intended to make one righteous, but is intended rather to show the righteousness of God Himself. That is, the law reveals our UN-righteousness and shows us, just as Paul said:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The law should drive us to our knees so that we cannot even raise our eyes to Heaven and produce the cry from us "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Israel, as a whole, however, did not do this and therefore God called Gentiles. Not only did He prophesize that Heíd do this, in the verses that Paul used and other, but Jesus expands on this in the parable of the great supper. We have time to read that parable, so letís hear it. See if you think it applies to Godís granting mercy to Gentiles.
Luke 14:16-24 Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, (17) and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' (18) But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' (19) And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' (20) Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' (21) So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' (22) And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' (23) Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. (24) For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' "
Well, what have we seen today? Weíve seen first of all that the Bible is absolutely chock-full of multi-layered and interlocked messages. I have only barely scratched the surface of some of the lessons here! But, weíve also seen that:
God will have mercy on whomever He will have mercy.
This mercy is critical for our salvation.
It was prophesized that the Israelites would fall away and that Gentiles would be brought in.
We cannot rest in our self-righteous but must always cast ourselves on the mercy of God.
Where are you? Are you a Pharisee who trusts in himself? Or have you cast yourself upon the mercy of God? Youíve heard the invitation- do you say "I have bought a piece of ground and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused." Or will you come to the feast? Hereís our friend Paul again:
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2) For He says: "IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Consider these things carefully.
Tomorrow, weíll review Chapter 9 of Romans. Join us then at 9:45 am.
Forward to Part 5
Back to Part 3