An Expository Study of Romans
Chapters 9 through 14
Christianity Through the Epistles of Paul
The apostle Paul, called and trained by Jesus Christ
as apostle to the Gentiles, was the very one responsible for
the spreading of Christianity to the world outside Judaism. What started
out in the eyes of the Rabbis as an offshoot sect of Judaism, the sect
of the Nazarenes, ended up as a major world religion-Christianity.
The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of Jesus through the Holy Spirit,
was almost solely responsible for this mushroom type growth in Christianity
through his teaching, both verbal and his letters. Without those precious
letters we would know very little or nothing of this mans greatness
as a Christian leader and teacher. Countless Christian revivals down
through the centuries owe their very existence and success to the epistles
of Paul, which had their beginnings in people being transformed spiritually
set afireby the Holy Spirit as a direct result of reading Pauls
epistles, particularly the book of Romans. Do you wish to be spiritually
transformed, enlivened? Do you wish to transform your congregationmaking
your membership become spiritually alivevibrant, radiant Christians?
Then read this series of expository studies about the apostle Pauls
letters, and then apply them, to yourself, and to your congregation.
Then watch the growth!
Chapters 9,10 & 11:
The Perplexities of The Gospel,
What About Israel? Why Are Some
People Saved and Some Are Not?
Romans 9:1-5. "I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying,
my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--I have great sorrow and
unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were
cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of
my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons;
theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the
temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from
them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever
Abraham took the very same unselfish attitude toward Lot and also the
sinful inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was not concerned for himself
but for others who were less deserving. Genesis 13:5-12. "Now Lot, who
was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But
the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their
possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And
quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The
Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
So Abram said to Lot, 'Let's not have any quarreling between you and
me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the
whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll
go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left.' Lot looked
up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the
garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before
the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the
whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted
company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the
cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom."
Abram was content to let Lot choose, and Lot chose what appeared to be
the more fertile ground, leaving Abram with the rough hill country of
Canaan. In Genesis 14 Abram risks life and limb to rescue Lot and all
his possessions by taking on an invading Assyrian army at night. In Genesis
18 Abram actually argued with the Lord in an attempt to save the cities
of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. Do you ever get tired of serving
those who don't return your love? Moses did. But what was Moses overall
attitude toward those who constantly resisted his leadership under the
Lord? In Exodus 32 we find Moses up on the Mountain of God for forty
days. The children of Israel, impatient as ever, started worshipping
a golden calf and reveling in a wild orgy. Moses came back in the middle
of all this, so angry that he smashed the two tablets with the Ten Commandments
written on them. God was angry too. But Moses pleaded for their forgiveness.
Moses' plea to the Lord can be found in verses 31-32, which states, "So
Moses went back to the Lord and said, 'Oh, what a great sin these people
have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please
forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have
Another one of God's servants exemplifying this unselfish attitude was
Nehemiah. Nehemiah 1:1-5. "The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In
the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel
of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some men, and
I questioned him about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and
also about Jerusalem. They said to me, 'Those who survived the exile
and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall
of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.'
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For days I mourned and
fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." Nehemiah is a cup bearer
to the king [of the Persian Empire], a pretty plush job. He was willing
to give all this up. His attitude can be seen in his prayer to God found
in Nehemiah 1:5-11. Nehemiah interceded for others. Nehemiah 1:5-11. "Then
I said: 'O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps
his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let
your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant
is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of
Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's
house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward
you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your
servant Moses. Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses,
saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled
people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and
bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.' They
are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your mighty hand.
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant
and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.
Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence
of this man [the king of the Persian Empire].' I was cupbearer to the
Paul's life was one long journey, going from community to community,
country to country, sharing the gospel and wonder of God's love for mankind.
His attitude for the Jews who wanted him dead can be seen in Romans 9:1-5.
Understand the depth of love Abram, Moses, Nehemiah and Paul had for
people who were not necessarily deserving of it. Jesus died on the Cross
for this evil world, not to condemn it, but to save it. All these people,
Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, and all the Prophets and David, had the heart
of God in them. Paul had this same heart in him. If you're tired or complacent
you don't have God in your heart [the way He needs to be].
Romans 9:6-18. "It is not as if God's word had failed. For not all
who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants
are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac
that your offspring will be reckoned.' [Gen. 21:12] In other words, it
is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children
of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. For this was
how the promise was stated: 'At the appointed time I will return, and
Sarah will have a son. Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one
and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born
or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election
might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, 'The older
will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau
I hated.' What shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to
Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion
on whom I have compassion.'
It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's
mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this purpose,
that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed
in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy,
and he hardens whom he wants to harden."
Vs.6: The name Israel Paul is using in verse 6 means governed
by God in Hebrew. Paul is saying that not all Israel is Israel. i.e.
Not all Israel is governed by God. Not everyone who is called a Christian
is a Christian [Matthew 7:21-23; Mark 7:6-8].
Vs. 14: How is verse 14 unfair? How can God hate Esau. Because God knows
the future. He knew Esau would live for the flesh. He has perfect foreknowledge.
God's answer, verse 15, is "I will have mercy on whomever I will have
Vs. 16-18: The first ten times Pharaoh hardened his own heart by the
way the Hebrew reads in Exodus. Then the eleventh time the Hebrew translation
indicates that God set and made permanent that hardening.
Romans 9:19-29. "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still
blame us? For who resists his will? [sort of a Calvinist approach in
this question, isn't it? i.e. It's all cut in stone anyway, so why try.
Paul's answer to this logic follows] But who are you, O man, to talk
back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did
you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out
of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore
with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects
of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--even us, who he
also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he
says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and
I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," and "It will
happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not
my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'"
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites
be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will be saved. For the Lord
will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality [Isaiah
10:22-23]." It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants, we would have been like Sodom, we would have
been like Gomorrah. [Isaiah 1:9]."
The lesson here: God is very Sovereign, but is also of great love and
Romans 9:30-33. "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did
not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by
faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained
it. Why not? Because they persued it not by faith but as it were by works.
They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that
makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to
shame [Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]."
That was the conclusion to Romans 9. It is by faith, not works of obedience
to the law without faith, that saves us. And that faith is the faith
of Christ in us and not our own human faith.