I’m glad God keeps his promises, aren’t you? There are a lot of directions we can go in studying Romans 9, but that one overwhelms my heart today. God is unwavering in His commitment to Israel and to all who place their faith in Him. This chapter is so rich, but it does stir much theological debate (Calvinism vs. Arminianism). I encourage you, though, to put that away for now and simply stand in awe that God is sovereign and that He keeps His promises.
In the beginning of the passage, we find Paul’s heart so moved for the Jews (and again in 10:1) that his compassion leaps off the page. He then goes on to address the issue with unbelieving Jews and how that might make it seem that God’s promises & word have failed. Could this be so? Paul responds with an “ABSOLUTELY NOT”! Immediately after that, Paul also cautions us not to presume upon God and assume that we have His plans perfectly figured out in our finite understanding. His ways are higher than our ways. The closing verse ties a bow on the chapter, reminding us again that God will do what He said He will do: “whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.”
What does this passage do to your heart? It moves me to praise Almighty God. It pushes me to get the gospel to more people. It allows me to rest in God’s unfolding plan.
Here’s a quick note for you from the NLT Study Bible that might help you make sense of this and the following two chapters of Romans. It’s more of a broad-stroke, big-picture perspective that gives understanding to the context.
In this section, Paul takes up the problem raised by the unbelief of so many Jews. If God had promised salvation to Israel yet so few Jews were being saved, how could Jesus truly be the fulfillment of God’s plan (9:1-5)? In his response to this objection, Paul cites the OT as evidence that God had always intended to save only a remnant of Israel (9:6-29), and he faults the Jews for refusing to embrace Christ (9:30–10:21). Paul then shows that God has not discarded Israel from his plan of salvation. Many Jews have already believed in Christ (11:1-10), and many more will believe in the future (11:12-26).
Happy May to you, brothers & sisters!
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor