The Special Place of the Jews
A Verse by Verse Study of Romans Chapter 9
Oct 7, 2018 PM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Romans 9:3)
A. We now come to The Special Place that Israel has in God’s overall plan. This will explain a lot of the background to the history in the Middle East, and help us Gentiles understand the level of God’s commitment to us!
B. In This Section of Romans chapters 9,10 & 11, we will see the following Truths:
1. God is Not Through With the Jewish People - His Commitments to them are eternal
2. Israel Still Needs the Gospel Just as Gentiles Do
3. Israel is the Key to understanding and accesing all of God’s Promises and Plans
II. Study Outline of Romans Chapter Nine - The Special Place of the Jews
A. The Special Place of the Jews in Paul’s Heart (9:1-3)
1. Paul loved his own people - was very nationalistic – even though he travelled all over the Middle East and Europe. Israel was HIS people!
a. My brethren (Paul was a Hebrew speaking JEW)
b. My kinsman, according to the flesh
c. Israelites (9:4)
2. Paul was burdened, worried, grieved for them – for their destiny – they were lost
3. More than that, Paul wished he could Die in their place – like Jesus did!
4. Paul was willing to take their place - to take their punishment if it were possible, so that they would be spared (John 15:13)
a. He knew the joy, peace, richness of salvation and forgiveness
b. Paul wanted desperately for all Israel to know it as well
c. This is why he went from village to village preaching the Gospel, because it was so wonderful to him!
d. Paul was just experiencing what Christ felt for the lost when He gave His life so freely to become a curse for us!
5. THAT is how Christians need to feel about all people, including the JEWS!
B. The Special Place of the Jews in God’s Plan (9:4-18)
1. They are a SPECIAL People Group in world history
2. He has NOT abandoned them
3. They always have had special advantages (God has invested all these in His people):
a. They are Israelites – special physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) – they are the fulfilment of promises made to all three!
b. To them belongs the adoption - they as the tiniest people group (Abraham and Sarah) were offered it first in Ur of the Chaldees, Gen 12:1-4 - to become adopted from out of the world, and into God’s family, by obedient faith
c. To them belongs the glory – honour from God
1) The glory of God’s presence in their midst – even hearing Him speak (Deut 4:33,36)
2) the glory of supernatural protection, over and over (Deut 4:34)
3) and the glory of being God’s special of love (Deut 4:37)
4) and the glory of redemption / salvation that no other nation had
d. To them belongs the covenants - the majority of commitments that God made in the Bible to mankind, were made to the Jewish people: ie, the land of Palestine, the Messiah, a covenant relationship with God, etc.
e. To them was the Law given - the Bible is a Jewish Book, received by the Jews, and preserved by the Jews – it is THEIR Law
f. To them was given the responsibility of serving God as priests. The only valid priests were Jewish priests
g. To them belongs the fulfilment of the promises: ie, of a coming kingdom, with the Messiah reigning from Jerusalem!
h. They had “the fathers” or the lineage of people who lived by faith as listed in Hebrews 11 starting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
i. To them belongs Christ the Messiah came! Not to the British, Americans, or Irish! And only because Israel stumbled at Christ are we even invited!
4. All of those things should have meant the Jews should have been the most faithful, believing, obedient, godly, righteous people the earth has ever seen!
5. Yet that did not guarantee their acceptance of Jesus
a. The human heart is not ever satisfied
b. And seeks only its own righteousness, its own way
c. Everything depends upon the softness and hunger of the HEARTS of the hearers
6. God’s plan still works, in spite of supposed failure (9:6-18)
a. They are not cast away (11:1)! They are forever involved in God’s plan (See Rom 11:29-32) – So, GOD’S PLAN IS TO HAVE MERCY ON ALL
b. The preaching of the word of God always has an effect (Isa 55:10,11)
1) Provokes to wrath – Jews often rioted at the preaching of the Gospel
2) Or provokes to believe (Acts 17:10-13)
3) It all depends upon the heart – like the four soils
c. “They are not all Israel who are OF Israel” (9:6)
1) Just being physically born to Jacob (Israel) did not make a person the recipient of God’s salvation. God’s salvation is not inherited from parents (John 1:11-13; 8:33-44)
2) So, no Jew, and no other person ever was saved from the punishment of their sins because of their nationaity or their best efforts.
3) So, “Israel” is something more than just nationality and genetics
d. God’s Plan works through the channel of FAITH, and never by works or genetics (9:7-10)
1) Abraham started the line of faith, had two boys:
a) Ishmael, Isaac
b) Isaac was the boy that God knew would respond
2) Isaac had two boys:
a) Esau and Jacob
b) Esau was a carnal, wicked, selfish, agnostic
c) Jacob also was a selfish sinner, until the night he wrestled with God and came away humbled, and completely dependent upon God
d) Changed his life and relationship with God
3) Jacob had twelve sons
a) Only Judah was the son that God used to bring the Messiah
b) And only because Judah repented after adultery
4) All the descendants of Abraham were offspring of Abraham, but were not the valid children of Abraham
a) Only the children that came about by BELIEVING the promises (9:9)
b) Gen 22:2 – Isaac was Abraham’s ONLY son that God recognized
c) John 8:39 – Religious leaders were not recognized as being True Israel.
(i) Their physical lineage may have descended from Abraham
(ii) But their spiritual father was THE DEVIL (John 8:44)!
d) So, There are TWO Israel’s (Gal 6:16; Romans 2:28,29)
e) Guess which one Christians are adopted into??? Spiritual Israel (Cf Gal 3:7, 26,29)
e. God’s foreknowledge is the key to His choice (9:10-13).
1) Election is God making a choice of whom He is going to accept and bless and use for His purpose. NOT SAVE! That is still up to the individual
2) God’s choice to bless and use is always based upon His “foreknowledge” not a pre-determined “fate” that people have no part in
a) No such thing as “unconditional election” like Calvin taught - TULIP
(i) TOTAL DEPRAVITY
(ii) UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
(iii) LIMITED ATONEMENT
(iv) IRRESISTABLE GRACE
(v) PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINT
b) John Calvin made election the reason why He saves people
c) Election NEVER saved anybody – GRACE did (Gen 6:6-8)
d) You cannot get elected (chosen by God) until you have made your own choice (John 3:18; Eph 1:11-13)!
e) God’s foreknowledge is based upon knowing what we will choose – how WE will respond.
3) God makes a prediction in Gen 25:23 knowing how things will work out (9:11,12) – that the elder (ESAU/EDOM) will end up serving the younger (JACOB) – usually it is the other way around
4) God declares 1,300 years LATER in Malachi 1:2,3 that He had been right all along!
a) God did NOT make that statement in Gen 25!
b) And God did not “fix-it” so that Esau would not be able to get right
c) The fact is that God knew that Esau would not do right!
d) Just like He knew Pharaoh would not allow Israel to go from Egypt until after the 10th plague.
5) Their election has nothing to do with salvation – it has to do with pre-eminence that ISRAEL would be honoured ahead of Edom in God’s eyes. God was looking for a people to bring His Messiah into the world by
6) So, Why is God able to make declarations about the future?
a) Because of foreknowledge of what will happen
b) Because he is involved in nudging and convincing men of sin and judgment in their conscience and in their circumstances
f. Here is why God cannot be blamed for the existence of Ishmael (Arabs), for Esau’s rebellion (Edomites), or for Pharaoh’s rejection etc (9:14-17):
1) I have heard over and over again, Calvinists basically say… “I will bring into heaven those whom I have predestined to come to heaven. I will elect to be my children only those that I want. So it is not any sinner who ever by an act of their will receives Jesus Christ, nor of the man that works, but only of God who sovereignly chooses people.” Boy that sounds good huh?
2) Here is the truth
a) God’s Mercy/Compassion is not extended to anyone based on their efforts or will
b) God extends His mercy to whom He decides (9:15) - it is not arbitrary. It is Based upon a person’s response to God (Ps 18:26; Pr 1:24)
c) No one can just chose (will) to get saved on their own terms (9:16). You have to respond on God’s terms (Rom 10:6-10) and THEN you are saved (10:13)!
3) Pharaoh is an example of God raising up (Promoting) a king that God KNEW (foreknowledge) would not respond to His word (9:17; Ex 3:19).
a) To prove that God was mightier that any human leader!
b) God placed Pharaoh in power already knowing what Pharaoh would do!
c) Notice that God had to harden Pharaoh BECAUSE Pharaoh had free-will, and that free will had already acted.
d) Shows God hardens hearts that do not respond to His working in them (Ex 4:21; 8:15,32; 9:12). See also 2 Thes 2:10-12 for the future!
e) The hardening of the heart is to force the person to reveal openly what already was in the heart (Jer 17:9)!
g. So, Ishmael was not a genetic defect, or rejected outright
1) He was not condemned by God outright.
2) God honoured Ishmael’s birth, and promised to protect him
3) But would never honour Ishmael as the promised son of Abraham
4) Ishmael can get into Spiritual Israel anytime – and often does (1Chron 27:23, 30)
h. And Esau’s bitterness and abandonment by God was HIS own doing
7. God’s plan is “fixed” so that no one can “adjust it” (9:18-23)
a. If God hardens a heart, it is then because THAT HEART has already decided its own fate (Rom 1:18-24)!
b. Resisting God’s will (9:19)
1) We ALL resist God’s will, all the time!
2) The idea is, Who has resisted God’s will and won?
3) This is talking about when an unbeliever thinks that they can resist God’s laws, and God’s ways, and can come up with “another way” to heaven - they are resisting God’s “will” - His provision.
4) God rejects those who reject His Son! And He is right to do so! BECAUSE Jesus is the only way!
c. Resisting God’s plan (9:20,21) See also Romans 8:28,29
1) God’s plan is compared to a Potter (God) working on some clay (human character) - see also Jeremiah 18.
2) The clay is us
3) The work of God is to CHANGE us on the inside - we are born with our image / nature ruined by sin. God works to change or “conform our image” to that of His Son (Rom 8:28,29).
4) As clay, we cannot find fault with the goal of God for our lives
5) The unbeliever cannot argue against God just because he or she is damned. They must receive the cure, instead of complain about the disease! If they don’t get saved, they are “fitted” (prepared) for destruction (hell; John 3:36).
6) And the Christian cannot argue against God because he or she is uncomfortable in how God is working in THEIR lives - God’s plan is the best - “prepared unto glory” (heaven) - it cannot be beaten - as is demonstrated countless times throughout Scripture (ex: Joseph, Noah, Abraham, Paul, etc).
d. Reaping God’s Results (9:22,23)
1) What God does will either end up for honour, or dishonour
2) It will either be fitted for destruction, or for glory
3) God therefore is at work on all people, everywhere – for good
4) How we RESPOND to His working, determines our end
5) See Jeremiah 18:1-6, 8-10 – conditioned upon people’s response!
C. The Door of Faith is Open to All People Everywhere (9:24-33)
1. The conclusion could be that the Jews don’t seem to have any part in God’s current work (9:24-29) – but not so with the promises and commitments of God
a. Going back through, it would seem that Israel is now “out” of God’s plan - they rejected Christ, and God’s word - and that we “Gentiles” are “in”
b. Yet we Christians are made up of both Jews and Gentiles!
c. The number of believing Jews is small compared to the Gentiles - referred to as “the remnant”
d. People who had never grown up with the Bible get saved by the multitudes, while the Jews respond in the smallest of numbers (9:25-27). Refs to Hosea 2:23; 1:10
e. The short work here (9:28) is only 7,000 years long from start to finish! And throughout it God is going to show His holiness, mercy, vengeance, wrath, love, anger, goodness, longsuffering, and His patience.
f. The only reason why any Jew is able to get saved in because the Lord goes out of His way to encourage them to turn back to Him (9:29) – PROVOKES by Jealousy. God has done this for all people, throughout all time, but specially the Jews - He is completely set against people having to die like Sodom and Gomorra did (Jude 1:7).
g. The Lord of “Sabaoth” means the Lord of everything, and as Lord, He does everything possible to make sure He always is “represented” among all people - He makes sure that there are “ambassadors” in every country (2Cor 5:20; Rev 5:9)
2. So the plan was far bigger than just dealing with the Jews, and hardening their hearts, as God does other hearts that are hard already. The plan included us! The plan was open for all to enter in by faith (9:30-33)! No predestination here! The conclusion is:
a. The ungodly Gentiles have obtained RIGHTEOUSNESS - by FAITH alone
1) Faith is not blind, but surrendered to believing God’s way of doing things - to live by faith is to follow God’s word – believing all of it!
2) The Gentiles found salvation because they accepted God’s way - the way of the Lamb for the lost!
b. The “godly” Jews missed obtaining righteousness - because they sought it by good works, and not by faith - they rejected God’s way!
c. Salvation is in how we handle the stumbling stone - Jesus Christ (Mt 16:18), not Peter!
1) How you react to the Stone determines your eternity (John 1:12; 1John 5:11,12)
2) Either Jesus is the Rock of your salvation (Ps 18:2; 62:2,6; 95:1) or the Stumblingstone of your damnation (9:32,33; 1Pet 2:6-8). That’s why we preach Christ!
III. Review Questions to make Sure You Understand All This…
A. What is God’s Plan?
1. To have mercy upon all
B. How can anyone GET God’s mercy?
1. Soft heart towards the word and judgment of God
C. Does the lostness of anybody grieve YOUR heart?
D. Does having the greatest church, and the best preaching, and the most miracles ensure to have the most people saved?
2. It comes back to the HEARTS of the hearers!
E. God’s plan always works – but works BEST when a person accepts it by what?
1. By FAITH
F. Why is God able to make declarations about the future?
1. Because of foreknowledge of what will happen
2. Because he is involved in nudging and convincing men of sin and judgment in their conscience and in their circumstances
G. Can anyone just will themselves into salvation?
2. The only use of the will is to YIELD to the saving work of Jesus Christ
H. Who is to blame for Ishmael’s and Esau’s and Pharaoh’s destruction by God?
1. Ishmael and Esau and Pharaoh!
I. Are the Jews still able to get saved?
J. But who else now is getting saved on a world wide scale?