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Romans 9


Romans for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

Romans Chapter 9

Verse 1.  “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,”

Paul, who wrote the Book of Romans, told the truth (and so did all the other Bible writers).  His conscience would not let him tell a lie.  The Holy Spirit of God was in Him, and God wants all of us to be truthful.

Verse 2.  “that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.”

Paul had JOY because God’s Holy Spirit brings JOY to the people of God.  But he also had great sadness, deep inside his heart.

Verse 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,”

Paul was a Jew and he loved the Jewish people (his “brethren”).  He actually would have gone to “hell,” if it would somehow make his Jewish people trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Moses felt the same way (Exodus 32:32).

Verse 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,”

God was the “Father” of the nation called “Israel.”  He created that nation and brought His glory to it.  He gave them everything, including His Law, His Temple and His promise that He would be their God and they would be His people.

Verse 5.  “whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were among the human “fathers” (ancestors) of the nation Israel.  Jacob’s name was changed by God to “Israel.”  God brought Jesus Christ into this world as a Jew, a Man of Israel.

Verse 6.  “But it is not as though the word of God has failed for they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;”

Even though many Jews said “No” to Jesus, there is nothing wrong with God’s promise.  But there was something wrong with many of THEM (most of them did not want to have faith in the Lord).

Verse 7.  “nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: ‘Through Isaac your descendants will be named.’"

The people of Israel, the Jews, all came from one man, Abraham.  They also came through Abraham’s son, Isaac.  Abraham had other children, but God’s blessing to the world (Jesus Christ) came through Isaac (Genesis 21:12).

Verse 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.”

God promised that His Christ (Anointed One), Jesus, would come from Abraham and also through Abraham’s son, Isaac (Genesis 17:19, 21, 18:10, 14).  When you trust in Jesus, you believe in the Promise of God and actually become His child.

Verse 9.  “For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.’”

This verse is a quote of Genesis 18:10.  Abraham already had a son named Ishmael, who was NOT the son of God’s promise.  Sarah, Abraham’s wife, would bear that son, and Isaac, her son, was the only child she ever had.

Verse 10.  “And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;”

Rebekah was the wife of Isaac, and Isaac was the son of Abraham.  Rebekah and Isaac had twin sons named Esau and Jacob.

Verse 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,”

The twins, Esau and Jacob, were still babies inside their mother, Rebekah, when God spoke to her about them and told her what would happen (Genesis 25:23): One of the boys would trust in God and the other would not.

Verse 12.  “it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’”

God spoke to Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, before her twin sons were born (Genesis 25:23) and told her that the one born first (Esau) would be like a servant to his younger brother, Jacob.

Verse 13.  “Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’”

The prophet Malachi (Malachi 1:1-2) spoke about these boys, hundreds of years later.  He said, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”  In other words, God took away something important from Esau (the blessing given to the first born) and gave it to the younger son, Jacob.

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

This verse asks the question – Is God unfair?  Is He unjust?  The answer is: NO!  God is fair and God is GOOD in what He does – in everything.

Verse 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.’”

This verse is a quote of Exodus 33:19.  Moses wanted to know that God would be with them (Israel) and that He would have grace (mercy) on them (33:16).  God’s answer – He’ll have mercy on whoever He wants!  He is God!

Verse 16.  “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

God’s mercy (His grace) is not necessarily given to those who try really hard.  His mercy is given because God cares!  If you want God’s help, ASK Him – He IS full of mercy!

Verse 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.’"

This verse is a quote of Exodus 9:16.  When you wonder: Why?  WHY does God allow evil men to be in power? – Remember this verse.  All leaders (like the “Pharaoh” of Egypt) will bring glory to God and show His power.

Verse 18.  “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

God is powerful and can do anything.  He can save anybody He wants.  He can make anybody into presidents, kings, pharaohs or other leaders and cause them to do whatever He wants.  He knows what He is doing and it is best – for you and me.

Verse 19.  “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’"

If God does whatever He wants to do, through whomever He wants, then why does He find fault with what we do?  How can He say we are sinners?

Verse 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?”

We are ALL sinners.  How can we, as sinners, say ANYTHING to God?  He created us and He is the Creator.  He gave us life and we really can’t complain about anything!

Verse 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?”

Have you ever made anything out of clay?  What would you think if the clay you were using spoke to you and started complaining about your work?  It would be silly, just like it is when we accuse God of not being fair.

Verse 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?”

God could destroy this world in an instant, along with everybody who lives here, but He doesn’t want to.  He LOVES you and He is patient with those who have not yet trusted in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Verse 23.  “And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,”

God’s real purpose in creating humanity was NOT to destroy us, but instead He wants to pour out His LOVE on all those who will receive His mercy.  He had this in mind from before the beginning of the world.

Verse 24.  “even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

Paul, the writer of “Romans,” was surprised that God had called (saved) even him!  And he was amazed at who ELSE God called!  The Lord has His people in EVERY nation, Jews and non-Jews alike.

Verse 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.'"

This is a quote of Hosea 2:23.  God’s intention always, then and now, was to surprise us with His love.  It was thought that only the Jews could know God’s love, but He gives His love to people everywhere.  You are His “beloved” in Christ.

Verse 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."

The “Gentiles” (non-Jews) were not thought of as God’s people.  But His people are everywhere!  ALL who trust in Jesus Christ are “sons of the living God.”

Verse 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;’”

This verse quotes Isaiah 10:22 (written in 700 BC) – God always knew that there would be many Jews (people of Israel).  He also knew that only some of them would trust in the Lord (be “saved”).

Verse 28.  “for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly."

This verse quotes Isaiah 10:23.  When we are with the Lord someday, we will see that God has acted “quickly” to help us.  Malachi 3:1 says – “the Lord, whom you seek, will SUDDENLY come…” and He did.  Jesus will also “come quickly” to us the second time (Revelation 3:11).  And He will.

Verse 29.  “And just as Isaiah foretold, ’Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.’"

This verse quotes Isaiah 1:9.  Everyone should be happy that God’s people live in their country.  If no Jews believed in Christ, that nation would have been destroyed long ago (see Genesis 19:1-28).  Some Jewish people DO believe in Jesus and it is GOOD for Israel that they do.

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

Gentiles” are non-Jews.  The Jews were surprised that many Gentiles had faith in Jesus Christ and we should be surprised (and pleased), too – for “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

Verse 31.  “but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.”

The people of Israel, the Jews, made this mistake – they tried to be saved, to be made right with God by “doing good,” but it didn’t work for them and it won’t work for anybody else, either.

Verse 32.  “Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,”

WHY couldn’t Israel be saved by doing good works?  Why can’t ANY of us be SAVED by doing good? – Because God ALWAYS has intended that “FAITH” in Him, in His Son, not “works,” is the way for us to be made right with the Lord.

Verse 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.’"

In this verse, Paul quotes Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16, blending them together.  Jesus Christ changed everything.  It’s like He is the big cornerstone of a building that holds everything together and someone (the Jews) came along and tripped over it (Him).  If you want to please God, just BELIEVE in Jesus.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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