*Below is Andrew’s outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
D. A. Carson Sermon Library Chosen by God (Romans 8:28–30; 9:1–29)
Romans 9:1–29 is part of a sustained argument in Romans 9, 10, and 11 dealing with the place of the race of Israel in God’s redemptive purposes. This was an important question in first-century Christianity.
After all, God had disclosed himself to the Jews, but most of those Jews, once Jesus came on the scene, did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So part of the Jewish polemic against Christians was that Jesus couldn’t properly be the Messiah if most Jews didn’t accept him as the Messiah. He must be another false pretender, which is one of the reasons why so many pages in the New Testament (not only here but elsewhere) are devoted to helping Christians understand what Israel’s role really is in redemptive history.
For if large swaths of Israel are put aside with the coming of Jesus, then what happens to God’s election of Israel? What happens to God’s choice of Israel? What happens to God’s sovereignty? What happens to the faithfulness of God’s promises? If God’s promises weren’t all that reliable for Israel, why should we think that they’re all that reliable for us? You can understand, therefore, why this issue in the first century was not simply a sort of theoretical question about some esoteric element of doctrine.
It came to the very essence of the faith. You had to sort this one out
Where we have been:
Chapter 9 the sovereignty of God over salvation: He has mercy on whom he wills.
Last week we saw. Paul’s discussion of the justice of God being beyond human comprehension and who do we think we are as humans to understand the complicated nature of the justice of God, especially in salvation, where we by nature are children of wrath destined for destruction, yet he willingly shows us mercy and kindness we do not deserve.
Which leads us directly into this week’s text:
Romans 9:23–24 ESV
in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Our text this week will conclude the thoughts Paul has been arguing in chapter 9 and set us up for the next important aspect of Paul’s Gospel declaration in chapter 10.
So let’s diving into todays text as Paul will reveal all the more the important truth of the Vessel’s of Mercy God has prepared to experience the riches of his Glory:
1st up the Gentiles:
Romans 9:25–26 ESV
As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”
The idea of Gentile inclusion in salvation is one of a shock to the Jewish readers of the 1st century.
And Paul here is dealing with this again as he brings to terms the fact that God is merciful to more than just Israel.
We see in this transition the expanse of the Gospel.
Isaac not Ishmael, Jacob Not Esau
But Now we see that those once rejected have now been given access to the throne of God’s mercy.
And Paul helps us to see that this is not a new pattern with God but a rather old-one. And one that Israel is familiar with:
Hosea 2:23 ESV
and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
The text of Hosea opens the book of the 12 or more commonly known as the minor prophets. Here we see God rejecting Israel for their willful disobedience. If they don’t want him to be their God he won’t be, and in the text he declares them in their disobedience equal to all the other gentile nations.
However, God doesn’t leave them there. He promises to show them mercy and bring them back.
Peter sees the same significance as Paul does when he quotes this text from Hosea:
1 Peter 2:10 ESV
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
What we see is that God is not limited in his mercy to purely Israel, or even to the nations that have been perfectly obedient for all time. Rather we see a God that shows mercy in calling people to himself. Israel became like the gentile nations yet God showed them mercy and they became his again, the gentiles have lived in unbelief without the law and knowledge of God and in His mercy he has now called them to be recipients of his Grace. Revealing His glory all the more.
Now Of course Paul continues in argument for the inclusion of the gentiles by moving back a chapter in Hosea:
Hosea 1:10 ESV
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”
Paul is continuing to connect the reality that God is the one who names his Children. God has called his own out of the nations and has made them a new creation.
Let this sink in those who were not God’s people are now his children.
All of us here today who are in Christ at one time were far from God:
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
God is not acting in a new way, but rather continuing to call into fellowship those who were at one time rebellious to the truth, and yet through his mercy and grace have been called.
Again as we walked through 9 we say earlier two groups of people rejected by God- Ishmael & Esau, they were also not His people yet the mystery is now they have become His people. (not they as a nation but those within their descendants you believe) They were once not my people……
Let it sink in those rejected by God are now being accepted
Which leads us to the second group: those who have always been with God
Secondly we see that the Vessels whom God has shown his mercy on is not only the gentiles but a remnant that remains from Israel:
The Remnant of Israel (27-29)
Romans 9:27–29 ESV
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”
Paul; uses the book of Isaiah to remind his readers that once again within Israel there has always been a remnant who are truth to God and a national people who are not.
If you have read the OT you are very familiar with he history of Israel and there continued descent away from God and into he ways of the world, and yet within them there were always a faithful few.
Isaiah 10:22–23 ESV
For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.
Isaiah 1:9 ESV
If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.
It was God’s mercy that preserved them in the Days of Isaiah, and it’s God’s mercy that preserves them today.
But more than that this is a continued reminder to them that the promises of God are to the people of God not a nation, but those whom he has called out who faithfully follow him.
The Christ the Son of God was born of the line of Judah as promised fulfilled the words of the OT and brought salvation beginning in Jerusalem and spreading to the ends of the Earth. The first believers were not gentiles but Jews. It was from the called of Israel who went out to proclaim the Good news to the gentiles the faith was spread.
In our day and age where the faith is made up predominantly of Gentiles it is hard to wrap our minds around the fact that this was not always so, and even more so the struggle it was for 1st century Israelites.
The book of Acts traces beautifully this spread of the gospel through peter and then Paul. We see the Lord command peter that what he has declared clean no man can declare unclean in calling him to witness to Cornelius in Acts 10. In Acts 15 the church in joy reminds the believers at the Jerusalem council of the wonder and grace of God that has called the Gentiles into the faith, not to become Jewish but to become servants of Christ.
They (Jewish delivers) had to have a meeting to settle the question according to the scriptures can gentiles be Christians.
But the church in Jerusalem was not all of Israel they were minority of which persecution was exacted often against them, yet they were sustained by Christ, and to this day a remnant remains faithful.
By Faith (30-33)
Romans 9:30–33 ESV
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Here is where Paul begins to conclude his argument from chapter 9 and begin his next argument in 10.
God is Sovereign (9) and man is responsible for his choices (10)
Verse 30-33 lay out for us the reality of the hope of salvation and it’s relation to God’s people.
We see the puzzle develop in the minds of Pauls’ hearers:
How can the gentiles receive this mercy when they didn’t have any of the promises of God?
How can God be gracious to them and not to us?
We deserve his Mercy! We did what we were suppose to do, they just lived in sin.
We may find it a bit silly to think of these things coming out of our mouth, but when we see people getting things we don’t think they deserve we tend to think this way often. Especially if it’s something we think we should get.
We don’t always in our sinfulness see the mercy of God on others as a good thing. Yet it is this very thing which we experience.
We see this in the parable of the Prodigal son: the Older brother is angry at the Father for His mercy, because he wanted it all for himself.
But God is not man, and his mercy is far greater than our own comprehension: So Paul again makes his argument from the book of Isaiah:
Isaiah 8:14 ESV
And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28:16 ESV
therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
These two text point to the reality that Israel has always stumbled over following God, and then in every generation it is God’s mercy in preserving a remnant who are faithful.
The Lord of Hosts in Isaiah is The Christ of Romans. The same God in all generations. Who must be received by faith and belied in.
Yet, when it comes to righteousness by faith as a gift of God the struggle comes for those who have been working to receive it on their own.
The gentiles had no knowledge of Earning God’s favor so for them the call of repent and believe was not based on following and set ritual within the faith. Christianity was different than anything they experienced.
But for the Jews it was the world they grew up. They were taught to follow the Torah and to earn the love of God or else be damned. Their view of God was one of doing not receiving.
In our modern context I think of it like this
Ill: Evangelism with Cultural Christian
-You have to get them to see how they are not Christians. the activities are not salvific even if they have been told otherwise.
The Vessels of God’s mercy are those whom he has opened their eyes to their sins who through faith believed on Him and received righteousness, and by this righteousness the right to be called sons of God. These come from every walk of life, they come from every nationality, there are no boundaries to the gospel.
This is the motivation all the more to be a light in the darkness. For the Lord of Host who was rejected is with us and it is he who calls and redeems