Romans 9:22-33

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Text: Romans 9:22-33

ISRAEL'S REJECTION

AND GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS

INTRODUCTION:

We have noted the theme of Romans. It is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.

We have seen that all people lack righteousness.

We have seen that God has provided righteousness for all when He sent Christ to die for our sins on the cross and raised Him from the dead. It is called Justification by Faith.

We have seen God's provision for godly living - Sanctification

A question arises, however: what is going to happen to Israel? Since Israel as a nation has rejected Christ as Messiah, has the nation as a whole been set aside by God forever? Paul answers this question in Romans 9-11 .

With the salvation of the Gentiles and the temporary setting aside of Israel, what does this do with God's character? What does it do for His righteousness? Can God do this and still be righteous? In Romans 9:14-33 we see that, although the Gentiles are being saved during this age, and although the Jews had been temporarily set aside, God is still righteous. God had intended to save Gentiles all along, and the Jews have only themselves to blame for their rejection of Christ as their Messiah.

We have already considered -

I. THE QUESTIONING OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS - 9:14-18

We have seen that -

It Is Not a Matter of Injustice on God's Part (9:14)

Romans 9:14 (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

We have seen instead that -

It Is a Matter of God's Choice on Whom He Will Have Mercy (9:15-18)

Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

We are in the process of considering -

II. THE QUESTIONING OF GOD'S PURPOSE - 9:19-33

We have noted that -

From eternity past it has been God's purpose to save Jews as well as Gentiles.

In verses 19-29 Paul answers another objection. This one is based on the false notion that an individual cannot help himself and, therefore, that God should not punish him when he was only doing God's will. The one who has been created has no right to object to anything the Creator in His sovereignty has done.

Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

In verses 20-24 we are in the process of considering Paul's reply to this question -

Paul's reply (9:20-24)

Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

We continue with verse 22 -

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

Verse 22 is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. The conclusion of this condition is not stated; it must, therefore, be supplied in the mind of the reader. The conclusion might be something such as this is God's business or this is God's privilege.

Willing is used in the sense of wishing or desiring, indicating the reason God endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath and is understood in the sense of because He was willing or because He was desiring.

What God was willing to do was to shew his wrath and to make his power known.

To shew his wrath means to demonstrate His anger or His indignation.

And to make known his power is and to reveal His power.

With much longsuffering describes how God endured and suggests with much patience or with much forbearance toward others.

God . . . endured suggests God bore patiently with or God patiently put up with.

What God endured with much patience was vessels of wrath.

Vessels of wrath suggests vessels (or instruments) characterized by wrath. It is not that they were angry vessels but that they were vessels (or instruments) who were going to endure the wrath of God.

Fitted for destruction is controversial. Fitted means prepared, made, or created. Here fitted for destruction suggests ripe for destruction. Its tense indicates that its action was completed in the past with its result continuing on. In the past they were made ready for destruction. The translation of fitted for destruction suggests a passive voice, which means that someone else, usually understood as God, fitted them for destruction. The Calvinists love this verse. They understand it to mean that God has in eternity past elected some to hell.

However, fitted for destruction is also capable of being translated fitted themselves for destruction.

I believe that fitted themselves for destruction is more in keeping with Scripture. It is by their sin and by their refusal to repent that they had fitted themselves for destruction.

On the other hand, if it is intended to be understood as a passive as in our King James Version, the reader must note that the text does not say when they were fitted to destruction. It might very well have been during their own lifetimes. It should not be assumed that God fit them for destruction in eternity past. This does not harmonize with the rest of Scripture and is not demanded by this passage.

Destruction means ruin. It is related to a verb which suggests to destroy utterly and is used in the sense of perish, the same term used in John 3:16 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The idea is not extinction; rather, it is ruin or loss of well-being. It is not the loss of being as annihilation might suggest. Annihilation is the false idea that hell is not eternal but that everyone in it will eventually burn up or be consumed in the fires of hell with the most wicked suffering the longest.

Because God was willing to show His wrath and because He was willing to make His power known, He endured with much longsuffering these vessels of wrath who had fitted themselves for destruction.

To summarize, two things are not said about those fitted for destruction.

1) It does not say who fitted them for destruction. It could have been God; or it could have been they themselves who fitted themselves for destruction.

2) It does not say when they were fitted for destruction. It may very well have been during this lifetime. It does not need to be in eternity past.

Romans 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.

Verse 23 should be connected with endured in verse 22, suggesting an additional reason why God endured with much longsuffering these vessels (or instruments) of wrath.

And that is and in order that or and for the purpose that.

He, i.e. God, might make known is He might reveal.

What God might reveal is the riches of his glory or the wealth of His glory.

On the vessels of mercy is used in contrast to the vessels of wrath. They are vessels (or instruments) characterized by mercy, i.e. by compassion or by pity. It is those individuals on whom God is going to show mercy (or toward whom He will act in mercy) as contrasted with those toward whom He will act in wrath.

Which he (i.e. God) had afore prepared is whom He prepared beforehand.

Unto glory is for glory and indicates the goal God had in mind for which He had prepared these vessels of mercy. Whereas it is not specifically stated that God fitted the vessels of wrath for destruction, here it is specifically stated that He had previously prepared these vessels unto glory. It is consistent with the teaching of Scripture that God has prepared some or selected some for salvation to whom He shows grace and mercy. Apart from this, all human beings would spend eternity in hell. Man left on his own would reject the offer of salvation God has provided. He will not choose God.

To summarize, two things are said about those to whom God will make known the riches of his glory.

1) God prepared them unto glory.

2) It was done beforehand.

Romans 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Even us heightens the emphasis toward the vessels of mercy, indicating that it refers to believers who are these vessels of mercy.

Whom he hath called refers to us, i.e. to believers.

He hath called is the effectual call by which God has drawn some to Himself in salvation. It is not merely an invitation to be saved. It is the actual drawing or saving of these people.

Not of the Jews only is literally not only of Jews. The us included Jews, but it was not limited to Jews as but also of the Gentiles indicates.

God has chosen to show mercy by saving some who were Jews and some who were Gentiles.

Scriptural Confirmation That God Has Chosen to Show Mercy Not Only to Jews but Also to Gentiles (9:25-29)

Romans 9:25-29 - (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (27) Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: (28) For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. (29) And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Verse 25 refers to Hosea 2:23

Hosea 2:23 - And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

Romans 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

He refers to God.

As he also saith in Osee is as He also said in Hosea and refers to the Old Testament book of Hosea. The fact that God said this in the book of Hosea confirms the idea that, although Hosea was the human author of the book, God was the divine author. It refers to the second half of Hosea 2:23 .

What He said was, I will call them my people which were not my people; and her beloved which was not beloved.

The reference in Hosea is to Israel as God's people, but in Romans Paul uses this quotation to refer to Gentiles. God is going to call Gentiles His people. Previously, they had not been referred to as His people.

Similarly, God is going to call her beloved or loved who was not beloved. Formerly, she was not loved. Although in Hosea the reference is to Israelites, in Romans Paul is using the same words to refer to the Gentiles. Thus, God is going to call Gentiles beloved although they were not previously beloved.

Romans 9:26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Verse 26 says basically the same thing which verse 25 said, but it refers to Hosea 1:10 . Again, although the words in Hosea refer to Israelites, in Romans Paul is using these words to refer to Gentiles.

And it shall come to pass is literally and it will be.

What will come to pass or what will be is in the place where it was said to them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.

What was said unto them was Ye are not my people.

Ye is emphatic and not my people in this context refers to Gentiles.

There is in that place and refers to the place where Ye are not my people was said to them.

They shall be called, where they refers to the Gentiles, is something that will definitely happen in the future.

What they will be called is children of the living God or sons of the living God. It means that they will be called as sons of the living God or that they will be called to be sons of the living God. It does not mean that they will be referred to as children of the living God. This would require a different form of the word children in the Greek text.

Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.

Verses 27-28 refer to Isaiah 10:22-23

Esaias is Isaiah. Crieth is cries or is crying. It suggests that Isaiah wrote it down and that what He wrote is still there and continues to cry today.

What he said was written concerning Israel or on behalf of Israel.

What he said is a conditional statement. The condition is though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, and the conclusion of the condition is a remnant shall be saved. The meaning of the condition is that no matter how great the number of the sons of Israel becomes, some will be saved. It suggests that the Israelites will become almost numberless.

A remnant is literally the remnant. Compared to the whole, a remnant suggests that only a small portion shall be saved.

Romans 9:28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

For he (i.e. the Lord) will finish the work is, For He will carry out the work, For He will fulfill the work, or, For He will accomplish the work.

The work is the word, i.e. the statement or the assertion. It refers to what He said, specifically, it refers to Ye are not my people.

And (He will) cut it short in righteousness suggests that the Lord will make an end to the judgment of the nation of Israel and will eventually save them. He will not punish Israel forever for rejecting Christ.

Cut it short is cut short, shorten, or limit.

What He will limit is the word, and He will do so in righteousness. It suggests that the Lord will make an end of the judgment of the nation of Israel and will eventually save them.

Because introduces the reason for this.

A short work is a shortened word.

Will the Lord make upon the earth means that God will not punish Israel forever.

Romans 9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Verse 29 quotes Isaiah 1:9

Isaiah 1:9 - Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

This quotation from Isaiah 1:9 indicates that the Lord will leave a remnant for the nation of Israel, which means that He will not totally destroy them.

Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed is a simple condition which is assumed to be false. It is literally if the Lord did not leave us a seed and implies but He did leave us a seed.

The Lord of Sabaoth is the Lord of hosts or the Lord of armies.

Except the Lord . . . had left us a seed refers to the remnant of Israel and means if the Lord had not left us a posterity or if the Lord had not left us children.

We had been is we would have been or we would have become.

As Sodoma and been made like until Gomorrha is reminiscent of two cities which were totally destroyed when the Lord rained fire from heaven following Lot's departure. No descendants were left. By contrast, descendants remained for Israel.

The conclusion regarding the salvation of Israel and of the Gentiles (9:30-31)

Romans 9:30-31 - (30) What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. (31) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Paul introduces this summary with the question, What shall we say then? or What shall we say, therefore?

The rest of verse 30 and all of verse 31 is his answer to this question.

What we will say begins with that the Gentiles. It introduces Paul's answer to this question. It is referring to the pagans or the heathen. They are non-Jews.

That the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness suggests that these Gentiles as a group did not pursue (or run after) righteousness, indicating that the Gentiles did not seek righteousness, did not aspire to righteousness, or did not strive for righteousness in any way.

Have attained righteousness means have made righteousness their own, have seized righteousness, or have won righteousness. The Gentiles obtained what they made no attempt to obtain.

Lest there be any doubt as to which righteousness Paul is referring, he limits it by even the righteousness which is of faith, i.e. the righteousness which is by means of faith. Throughout the book of Romans, Paul has been writing about this righteousness by faith which the Gentiles have obtained.

Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

In verse 31 but introduces statement in mild contrast to the Gentiles have attained to righteousness in verse 30. Israel did not attain righteousness though the Gentiles did.

Israel is described by which followed after the law of righteousness.

Followed means ran after or pursued in the sense of although pursuing.

What Israel was pursuing was the law of righteousness which suggests the law which produces righteousness. In other words, Israel was seeking to attain righteousness by keeping the law. Although attempting to do this, Israel never attained righteousness because righteousness cannot be produced by the law or attained by keeping the law. All the law can do is condemn those who fail to keep it, and everyone has failed to keep it.

Hath not attained the law of righteousness means has not come up to the law of righteousness or has not reached the law of righteousness. Israel failed in its attempt to attain righteousness by keeping the law.

The Reason Israel Did Not Attain the Law of Righteousness (9:32-33)

Romans 9:32-33 - (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; (33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

They sought righteousness in the wrong way (v. 32).

Wherefore? is simply why? and suggests, Why did Israel not attain the law of righteousness?

The rest of verse 32 provides the reason Israel failed in its attempt to attain righteousness by keeping the law. This reason is introduced by because.

The reason is because they sought it not by faith but as it were by the works of the law.

They, i.e. Israel, sought not this righteousness by faith, i.e. by means of faith.

Instead, but as it were, they sought righteousness by the works of the law, i.e. by means of the law. They were attempting to earn their righteousness by keeping the law.

For they (i.e. the Israelites) stumbled at that stumblingstone.

Stumbled at means took offense at, felt repugnance for, or rejected.

What they stumbled at was that stumblingstone, i.e. the stone of the stumbling or the stone of the offense, which refers to Christ.

Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Verse 33 provides Scriptural support for the last statement of verse 32.

As it is written is as it has been written. Its tense indicates an action completed in the past with its result continuing on. Hence, it denotes an existing condition.

There follows a quotation from Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16. It is also quoted by Peter in I Peter 2:6.

Behold is simply you see or look.

I lay is I put or I place.

In Sion is in Zion and refers to Jerusalem.

What the Lord put in Sion is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. It is a stone over which people trip or a rock over which people stumble and thereby commit sin.

And whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed is set in contrast to the implication that many will trip over the Lord Jesus Christ and will reject Him.

Whosoever believeth is all who believe, each one who believes, or every one who believes.

On him means on Christ.

Shall not be ashamed = shall not be disappointed. The supreme shame for believers would be to discover that Christianity was not true after all. This will never happen to them because Christianity is true.

CONCLUSION:

Although the Jews had been set aside, it is only temporary; and setting Israel aside did not make God unrighteous. The Jews had rejected God's means of salvation.

Although salvation was offered to the Gentiles, this did not make God unrighteous. He had intended to offer salvation to them all along.

Have you trusted Christ as your personal savior thereby attaining the righteousness of God?