Faith: Approaching the NT Book of Romans / Romans 9
Chapter nine shows us the power and divine will of God. That He is sovereign. And in that, because He is the creator, sustainer and, redeemer of all creation, He calls us to submit to that power.
God is much bigger than we could ever know and much more merciful than we could ever know. But we know who He is through faith in Christ.
For the next 3 chapters we have a parentheses of a topic that Paul wants to cover.
Now Paul was from the Jewish faith and He is writing to both Jews and gentiles. People who came from the promise of God and people who were invited into the promise of God through Christ.
And Paul tells them that they have been a part of the promise, they have been a part of the history
Romans 9:4–5 ESV
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
God has acted in every space that we have not
Romans 9:6 ESV
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
We have a definite end. We get tired, hungry, we sleep. We die. That is all a part of the human condition. And while we all know that we rarely ever admit our limitations. We know in our bodies we do these things but we still have a belief that our perspective, how we see the world, is entirely true.
Even their perspective was finite. Paul is saying just because not every Jewish person is saved and just because there are Gentiles who are being saved doesn’t mean the word of God has failed.
Every place where we have found an end is a place where God has already conceived a beginning. He determines our means and ends. And He is merciful. He isn’t tame but Hes good. God exists in every space we do not and wills in every place where we do not. Every definition of anything beyond our reach belongs to God
Colossians 1:15–20 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
God’s mercy is more expansive than we could ever know
Romans 9:14–19 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
But the point Paul is trying to make is
Just because things didn’t go the way you thought they would go, does that mean that God got it wrong?
How do you handle it when God’s mercy is more expansive than we thought?
How do you handle it when God’s mercy isn’t found in the places you thought?
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.”
Faith allows us to live in the reality of a much bigger God and much bigger world.
When we try to live within the small sphere of what we know, Christ will be an offense.
But when we understand we are not in the middle of the universe, We are not the center. Then we are never put to shame.