What About Israel? (Romans #14)

Following the great love of God in Jesus Christ in Romans 8 the question is what about Israel? I thought God loved them. Who is God’s Israel?

Text: Romans 9

There are 32 verses in this chapter and 16 references to the Old Testament. Christ meaning Messiah, CHRISTianity would be the fruit of Old Testament Judaism.

Most Israelites are condemned (vss 1-5)

  • God held Jerusalem responsible for killing his prophets and his Son.
  • Trusting the LORD is highlighted both inside and outside Israel just to prove that this pleases God. People like Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, the widow of Zerupta, Ebedmelech helping Jeremiah, the Ninevites, the Queen of Sheba, and even Caleb.
  • Israel’s Satanic hatred of their spiritual Father is one more clear proof that the Biblical narrative is a story no man could ever make up.
    • Whenever did a nation create a god and then hate that god? Never. A god is the thing you value. It’s the thing you sacrifice to. It’s the thing you devote yourself to.
    • Therefore the God of Israel was not created by Israel because Israel hated the God of Israel.
    • Isaiah 1:1-4 This is how Isaiah’s prophecy begins!

Word of God is effective despite Israelites’ unbelief (vs 6)

  • Someone then says, So Paul, you’re calling God a liar because he promised Israel things that he’s not going to do? Then Paul answers that in verse 6.
  • No, God isn’t a liar. His word isn’t ineffective. The problem isn’t on God’s side. The true problem is not everyone who is called an Israelite is an Israelite. Something Paul has already gone over in chapter 2 (2:17-29).
    • Revelation 2:9, 3:9
    • You’re of your father the devil in John 8.
    • Hebrews 2:3-4
    • Matthew 3:7

Not all Abraham’s children are God’s children (vss 7-13)

  • Sarah’s Isaac, not Ishmael (Genesis 21:12, 18:10, 14)
  • Rebekah’s Jacob, not Esau (Genesis 25:23, Malachi 1:2-3)
  • God’s seed according to the promise in Romans 9:8
  • It’s the promise and the seed that save, not the ethnicity.

God’s mercy is on the faithful (vss 14-20)

  • God is not unrighteous to use a nation he created to apply his mercy to a certain group within that nation to make his riches and glory known. (Exodus 33:19)
  • How does he choose who receives mercy? Paul says according to election.

Israel is the clay  (vss 21-29)

  • Potter and Clay are about how God will treat unbelieving Israel while preserving believing Israelites. (Jeremiah 18-19, Daniel 3)
  • Out of one lump of clay come vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. Out of this same clay are Jewish self-righteous vessels of wrath fit for destruction. (This was Paul’s point at the beginning of the chapter. Israel is largely a condemned people.)
  • But the honorable vessels are not only believing Israelites but also believing Gentiles. So why did some Jews not get righteousness? Because they didn’t seek it by faith. Some say the gospel to the Jews was different and they had to do works of the law, but Paul disagrees with that. (Hosea 2:23, 1:10, Isaiah 10:22-23, 28:22, 1:9)

Faith is the defining factor (vss 30-33)

  • All believers would come to Christ. Unbelievers would stumble over him (Isaiah 8:14, 28:16)
  • Israel does not have a separate form of salvation from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • All Israel shall be saved MUST be understood in this context that not all Israel are Israel.
    • Also, this is not replacement theology. Trusting God has always been part of pleasing God. And there have always been people who trusted God both inside and outside Israel. The faithful are the church of God or the household of God.
    • There are Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God. But children of God are children of God by faith and that makes up the church of God.