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Romans 9 Bible Study

Predestination Discussion (a highly controversial subject)

Read 2 Peter 3:9 (The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.)

God wishes that how many would perish?

God wishes that how many would come to repentance?

So either He wishes these things but he’s not in control, or He wishes these things and predestination does not literally mean I pick you – but not you.

Read Timothy 2:1-4 (I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.)

Read John 12:32 (And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself)….that does not mean all will accept him, but it does mean He will draw ALL people.

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Who was the original promise made to, the Jews or the Gentiles?

Who was separated from Christ and without hope, the Gentiles or the Jews? Ephesians 2:12 (Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.)

Anytime Predestination is deeply talked about in the bible it’s ALWAYS when it’s being addressed to Gentiles. Consider this, doesn’t it make sense that it’s not addressed to the Jews because they KNEW they were predestined, they were chosen, they were God’s elect, BUT the Gentiles thought there were excluded?

In other words, I think we were all predestined, all Gods elect, all Jews (inwardly) but on the condition that we accept Christ as the way in and NOT the LAW (ourselves).

To understand this letter let’s fast forward into the chapter and start with Paul’s conclusion in verse 30 and then come back to verse 1:

VS 30: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;” 

Why did Paul say this?

He was saying that the Gentiles didn’t search for God, or even care about God and WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN, that somehow God still saved them.

And Paul’s letter is saying YES. God is God and He does what He wants to.

The Gentiles being a part of this salvation was a problem with the Jews.

The Jews thought salvation was for them and them alone. Verse 30 tells us the Jews “did not PURSUE it by faith, but by works” and that’s a deal-breaker with God.

VS 31: but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because “they did not pursue” it by faith, but as if it were based on works.

I’m convinced this chapter is about Gentiles who were considered dirty and excluded from the gospel are now being included and Paul feels the need to defend it.

Paul is going to use OT scripture to say God Is God, and He Can Do What He Wants to, including save the Gentiles.

9 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could  wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

So from the beginning, Paul is concerned about Israel – as a group.

4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

We see Paul reminding us that Israel was given the law, the covenants, and the promise of the Messiah through their bloodline.

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s  descendants, but: “through Isaac your  descendants will be named.”

Again, God is God, and He Does What He wants to.

Here’s the catch, it’s not through Abraham, but it’s through the PROMISE and the son Isaac.

8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,— !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His Elections are not those that work.

Now, remember what Verses 30-31 told us about what God’s PURPOSE was. It was to save the Gentiles too, not just the Jews– And now we are Going to see some OT examples of this…..

12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

God is God and He does what He wants. So he can say the older will serve the younger and change the way things are if He chooses to.

Not sure here…. but interesting that Esau was a Jew, and perhaps Paul is pointing out that God hated a Jew, which contradicts that all Jews were guaranteed salvation, thus further defending his point here.

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

You can almost see the Jews saying “it’s not fair, we worked and kept the law and those dirty gentiles are getting salvation – no way”

15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

God is saying, I am God. If God wants to have mercy and include the Gentiles, then He can do what he wants to, and who are the Jews to say anything about what God does.

Whose human exertion (works) is he addressing in this story? Israel, the Jews.

Who’s pursuing works in Paul’s letter? Israel, the Jews.

17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed  throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

So does this mean God just hardened Pharaoh’s heart without giving him a chance to repent? I don’t think it does. Pharaoh had many chances, but God knew what he would ultimately choose.

I think the analogy here is about when the true Gospel came into Israel their hearts were hardened. So there is a remnant of Israel that will be saved (VS 27), but not all of Israel because some of them are hardening their hearts to this gospel message.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

So the context in this verse is addressing a reply that “it wasn’t Pharos fault” because his heart was hardened, and I think the message here is God is in control,

21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

Could it be that Paul is just saying that God can include the Gentiles and who are the Jews to say He can’t?

I think the vessels for common use (dishonorable vessels in some versions) God referred to are the dirty Gentiles without hope or the promise, only to later be included

22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Who were those vessels of Wrath? It was the Gentiles. Gentiles WERE (past tense) prepared for destruction, but what did God do and why did He do it (see verse 23)

23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. 25 As He says also in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
26 “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

Where is this “Place” in verse 26? Everywhere outside of Israel.

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;

Why will only the remnant of them be saved? Because the flesh and works DON’T matter. It’s only by faith, and the Jews hardened their hearts and rejected the Gospel.

28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” 29 And just as Isaiah foretold,

“Unless the Lord of Sabbath had left to us a posterity,
We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

Thank God For His intervention.


Israel’s Unbelief

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;

Vs 30 is the context of the whole chapter

Not by making you. Not by forcing you, but by faith.

31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.

So why weren’t these Jews saved? Because they were not chosen? No. It was because they did NOT “pursue” God by faith but instead by works. Pursue suggests YOU doing it (meaning pursuing God by faith), not God making you do it.

They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

This chapter teaches us that we had NO hope, NO heritage, NO LINEAGE, NO COVENANT, NO LAW – but God is God, and He Does whatever He wants, including saving Gentiles.

QUESTION: Why isn’t this doctrine being taught in any thorough way in Hebrews,  1 John, 2 John, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, James, or any epistle written to Jews?

Answer: Because those letters are written to Jews and they already assumed they were the only ones predestined.

See Entire Romans Series  Below

Romans 1 - WatchRomans 2 - WatchRomans 3 - WatchRomans 4 - WatchRomans 5 - WatchRomans 6 - WatchRomans 7 - WatchRomans 8 - WatchRomans 10 - WatchRomans 11 - WatchRomans 12 - WatchRomans 13 - WatchRomans 14 - WatchRomans 15-16 - Watch