We have been learning from Romans that God foreordained, even before proceeding to create the world, that the purpose would be to have a righteous family in love relationship. To understand Romans 9, we must first realize this. We also must look at the last 2 verses of Romans 9 to understand this chapter correctly. It is about a righeous family in love relationship by the choice of faith relationship.
This chapter is about pursuing God in faith and love, not based on what “I” or man can do. Father, Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit want a close family relationship based in love and faith. That is true Christianity. Humanism and religion are based on the premesis of right standing or “being a good person” depending on what “I” or man can do. Jesus is the Rock and great Stumbling Stone because we are actually saved through Jesus by His grace and through our faith and love for Him, not based on our good works. Pride makes people want to achieve for themselves. But, Jesus is the Stone that makes people stumble over their own prideful efforts.
In the beginning of Romans 9, Paul grieves bitterly for all his Jewish brothers and sisters who do not understand that they cannot be saved by keeping the Law! He is even willing to take their curse for rejecting Jesus upon himself if it would mean their salvation! How often have we felt this way towards those in our lives who do not really know Jesus? We may even feel that way for the masses of people in the world who are still stumbling!
Yet, we greive even moreso for our kinsmen, our close relatives….especially those who were brought up in the church and now have turned and walked away! They are like the Israelites who refused to beleive and follow Jesus. They were the children of God’s chosen people. They were supposed to be God’s adopted children and live in His glorious presence. They were given temple, a place before Him and in His presence for worship and fellowship. God revealed His promises to them in His Word and Law. God sent them anointed leaders and patriarchs. God even made His Son Jesus manifest in the earth through the descendents of Abraham! These of all people should be blessed! If they keep the Law and they are physical descendents, shouldn’t they certainly be saved?
Paul reminds us that God’s promise to Abraham was that his descendents would come from all nations, not just Isarael. The Messiah would physically come through Isaac, but result in children of God from all nations. Remember that in Romans 4, Paul taught us that Abraham was justified by God because of his faith, before he was ever circumcised under the Law. So, it is not just because someone is a physical descendent of Abraham that they are accepted by God. God sees and responds to faith or lack of it. That should certainly make us take note that just because someone is born into a Christian family does not mean they are automatically a chld of God!
Paul goes on it explain this with Jacob and Esau. God loves Jacob because of his faith, but Esau has only prideful faith in himself and his abilities/talents, and God does not regard that. God tells Moses that He chooses who to have mercy and compassion on and who to allow a hardened heart. Then, the example is given of Pharoah. Pharoah had no faith in God, so God allows Pharoah’s heart to be hardened and then uses Pharoah for His purposes. Ultimately, God is still the Creator and Almighty, with power and authority. We, God’s creation, have no right to question and contradict God. In verse 22, we see that God tolerates people with much patience But, there comes a time when people get hardened to Him and set themselves up to be ripe for destruction as consequence. God will execute sentence and bring justice in the end for everyone.
The remnant who keep faith in Him will be saved. Therefore, whether Jew or Gentile, if a person seeks right relationship with God through Jesus by their love and faith in HIm, they will be saved by the righteousness imputed on them by God through Jesus. It will not be by keeping the Law or pursuing success of religious good works, based on what “I” can do. Salvation is not a work of pride. True salvation and righteousness is by humbling “self” to God and receiving His gift of right standing. It all relies totally on Jesus! And it is available for all who will rely on, believe in, adhere to, trust in, have faith in, depend on, and love Jesus in close continual love relationship….both Jew and Gentile.
Do not stumble over Jesus in pride and depend on what you can think or do! Join loyally to Jesus and love Him, and you will not be disappointed or put to shame. God exalts those who humble themselves to love Him as authoircy Father and follow Jesus.