TODAY’S READING: ROMANS 9-11
The revelation of the righteousness of God rejected in Judaism (Chapters 9-11).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Today we move into the second half of this great doctrinal epistle of the Apostle Paul. Keep in mind that the purpose of the writing of Romans is to reveal the righteousness of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ (1:16-17). In the first half of Romans, Paul identified a number of PRINCIPLES related to the righteousness we receive through the gospel:
*Sin is a universal reality. (Chapters 1-3) *Salvation is a free gift. (Chapter 3) *Salvation is received by faith. (Chapter 4) *Salvation is secure and forever. (Chapter 5) *Sanctification is from sin and the law. (Chapters 6-7) *Sanctification is by the Spirit. (Chapter 8)
Beginning in chapter 9, Paul turns his attention to some of the PROBLEMS related to the righteousness we receive through the gospel; particularly, problems that related to the Jews.
The first problem had to do with the fact that at the time Paul wrote the Book of Romans, the Old Testament sacrifices were still being offered in the Temple at Jerusalem. The principles Paul laid out in Romans 1-8 have rendered those sacrifices completely MEANINGLESS.
The second problem was related to the reality that each time Paul preached in a Jewish synagogue, he knew that Judaism and Christianity could not co-exist. If Christianity continued to spread across the world, Judaism’s fate was sealed. It was just that reality that caused Paul to so bitterly oppose Christianity prior to his conversion.
Finally, the greatest problem Paul faced was reconciling in people’s minds the doctrines of the church with the covenants God had made to the Nation of Israel. The two questions that continually surfaced each time Paul preached in the presence of Jews were: “Are the promises of God to the Nation of Israel now null and void?” and “Where does the Jew stand in relationship to God in this dispensation?” The purpose of Romans 9, 10 and 11 is to provide answers to those questions. The Spirit of God obviously knew that these answers would blast Satan’s attempts to pervert the gospel with the false teachings of the Judiazers.
Some have called chapters 9, 10 and 11 parenthesis in the Book of Romans. A parenthesis is defined as a sentence or paragraph that provides the reader with an explanation. That’s exactly what Romans 9, 10 and 11 do! They provide us with an explanation of how it is that God could set aside His chosen people for a period of time, and how it is that God will restore Israel at a future date, and fulfill all the promises He made to them in the Old Testament.
The three chapters of this parenthesis can be broken down as follows:
*In Romans 9, the emphasis is on Israel’s PAST ELECTION.
*In Romans 10, the emphasis is on Israel’s PRESENT REJECTION.
*In Romans 11, the emphasis is on Israel’s FUTURE RESTORATION.
A couple of other side notes:
Don’t let Romans 9:13 freak you out: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” The “as it is written” is a reference to Malachi 1:2-3, and the statement is made in reference to NATIONS, not INDIVIDUALS. “Esau” is representative of the Edomite nation. “Jacob” is representative of the Nation of Israel. Because of John 3:16 and countless other Scriptures, there is no way that the Bible teaches that God loves some sinners, and hates others. (For a further treatment of this subject, refer to the message entitled, “Jacob & Esau: A Picture of the Father’s Firstborn Blessing Upon Us”, available through The New Philadelphian Resource Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Concerning the hardening of Pharaoh in 9:17-18, understand that God gives people what they want. Exodus 8:15 says that Pharaoh hardened his heart. Then in Exodus 9:12, it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God simply gave Pharaoh what he wanted. It is the same principle that is repeated in II Thessalonians 2:8-12. There are people who have understood the truth and have had the opportunity to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (2:10). Rather than receive the truth, however, they “had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2:12), and, therefore, lied to themselves, and rejected the truth. The passage teaches that in the Tribulation Period when the Antichrist comes on the scene, God will say in effect, “You wanted a lie, so that’s exactly what you’ll get!” Verses 11and 12 say that God Himself will “send them strong delusion” so that they will believe the lie of the Antichrist, and be forever damned.
In Pharaoh’s case, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because Pharaoh hardened Pharaoh’s heart. With those who miss the rapture because they lied to themselves when God presented them the truth, God will simply give them what they proved they wanted.
Is there anything you are communicating to God by your life that you want, that you don’t really want God to give you?