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Summary: Romans 9

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ROMANS 9:2-4 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

Ray Stedman writes: "...many people divide Romans into three great divisions:

Chapters 1-8 they say are doctrinal.

Chapters 9-11 are dispensational (having to do with God's dealing with Israel).

Chapters 12-16 are practical in their application.

He continues, "I think this is a mistake because it treats Chapters 9, 10, & 11 as though they were merely a parenthesis in Paul's development - sort of an injection of Paul's favorite hobby horse - his concern for the Jews... But we must never forget that Chapters 9-11 are really a great illustration of what Paul has been teaching the Christians in Chapters 1-8."

Bob Deffinbaugh writes, "...we should view Chapters 9-11 as a beautiful illustration of Romans 8:28. God does cause all things to work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Jewish unbelief has prompted Gentile evangelism; and this Gentile evangelism will provoke the Jews to jealousy...(11:13-15)"

TOUGH QUESTION: WHAT TO DO ABOUT ISRAEL?

In Genesis 12, God says, "I will make you into a great nation... I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse..." (Genesis 12:2-3). Romans 8:38 says, "...nothing can ever separate us from God’s love." But this begs the question: Then what happened to Israel? In Romans 9, we find Paul in anguish over Israel - not blessing them, or cursing them - but definitely not okay about their spiritual condition. He considers them (God's Chosen People) to be lost.

Israel is PRIVILEDGED (Romans 9:4-5)

Israel is LOST (Romans 9:6)

N.T. Wright writes, “Romans 9-11 is as full of problems as a hedgehog is of prickles”

John Piper says, “What is at stake ultimately in these chapters is not the fate of Israel... Ultimately God’s own trustworthiness is at stake.”

TOUGH QUESTIONS:

1.Is there another word for “synonym”?

2.What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

3.Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

4.What was the “best thing” before sliced bread?

5.If you try to fail, but succeed, which have you done?

A little Girl saw a baptism and asked what it was about. "Mommy, why did the preacher shove that man under water?"

Mommy tried to explain: "To wash his sins away. He was bad. But now he is cleansed. He is good."

She then asked, "Mommy, why didn't the preacher just spank him?" (TOUGH QUESTION!)

TOUGH QUESTIONS IN ROMANS 9

TOUGH QUESTION #1: Did God FAIL? (God chose Israel. But Israel is lost. How can this be?)

ANSWER: God's Word is True

Paul addresses the question that is on everyone's mind. "It is not as though God’s word had failed" (Romans 9:6). Paul explains God's Word is true. God did what he had promised to do (using the supernatural birth of Isaac as an example) - NOT what we thought He OUGHT to do. (People would assume the blessing would come through Ismael, the first born. But Ismael was born of the flesh. Isaac was born supernaturally)

TOUGH QUESTION #2: Is God UNJUST? - Romans 9:14 (which implies the Jews DESERVE something)

ANSWER: God is Merciful (We are all sinners, including the Jews. We DO deserve something: death!)

Using Pharaoh as an example, God gave Pharaoh six chances to do the right thing (Six encounters with God's mercy). But Pharaoh continued to harden his heart against the Lord. So don't blame God.

TOUGH QUESTION #3: How can God BLAME US?

Paul continues in Romans 9:19... "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?'”

The argument is "If God has mercy on whom he wants and hardens whom he wants... for his purpose... then it sounds like we have NO CHOICE! NO FREEWILL? It sounds like he has made some of us for glory and some for eternal damnation! THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

ANSWER: It's not about us!

It's not about what good we have done. It's not about what bad we have done. It's not about how many people we have saved. Your ticket to heaven is NOT based on what you do - Good or Bad - But on what Christ did. And there’s the stumbling block!

As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall... - Romans 9:33

The Stumbling Block: Our PRIDE... Thinking it is about US!

ILLUSTRATE:

The Jews, who were chosen by God, became PROUD of their status, but unfaithful to their calling.

Pharaoh was chosen by God to resist Moses’ request so that God could display his glory. But after God's glory was revealed, Pharaoh could have and should have repented (Like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4). But instead, he hardened his heart against the LORD because of Pride.

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