The Existential Problem of Apostate Judaism
Romans Chapter IX: Overview: Paul gives a compelling argument of God's sovereignty!
This passage starts Part Three: (see the introduction, "Romans: Background Material" in our Online Bible study page) The Gospel as the Resurrection of the Israel of God (9:1‑11:36).
The Gospel is the powerful demonstration of God's saving grace, because it is through faith in Christ that a New, Eschatological Israel, composed of Jew and Gentile, is established in fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers!" This is the magnification of God's grace and the exaltation of His sovereignty.
Paul gives a compelling argument of God's sovereignty and he demonstrates his trust by his sorrow (vs. 9: 1-3 and further with his prayers (vs. 10:1; and worship (11:33-36). Paul clearly states that God is in control of all things, yet that does not mean we sit and do nothing; we have responsibility. We are to trust in Christ regardless of our circumstances. He deeply grieves the unbelief of his fellow Jews, and demonstrates his willingness to endure anything for their salvation, 1-3. He reminds his people their awesome privilege of being a Jew and the responsibility that goes with it, 4, 5. Then Paul gives us the argument that the Jews rejection of God's call does not thwart His plans, as He grafted in the gentiles in as His ambassadors to the world and as His chosen people too. There is a difference between Israelites living in the flesh with pride and arrogance, and the true Israel whose hearts are poured out to Him, 6-8. Paul illustrates his theme by O.T. examples such as Isaac and Jacob, and then Esau, and Pharaoh. He shows the incredible undeserving mercy of God, and his pure and absolute sovereignty in the universe, 9-18. He answers the Romans objections to his teaching by using the prophet's own words, 24-29; and lets them lay out the evidence. His point is the Jews did not receive the blessing because they, "they sought it by the works of the law," and rejected Christ, 30-33.
General Idea: Paul answers the question why most of the Jews rejected the Good news of Christ. And this answer deeply grieves Paul to the point he is so disturbed emotionally it cuts to his soul because of the stupidity of his fellow Jews. They rejected God and replaced Him with meaningless trivialities and pride. They forsake all that their learning and heritage pointed too; they rejected all that they were to be. They took God's precious promises and dumped them as something unclean! Paul is so deeply grieved he was even willing to give up his salvation for them to have it! At the same time, Paul lets us know of God's obligation to not do anything! We are not owed, nor do we deserve His grace, yet by God's grace we receive blessings even though we may not see them.
1. The Jews rejected Christ, their long awaited Messiah. The Jew's rejection was not, nor is not a stumbling block to God's plan Because God is still in control, grieved but in control and with a plan. God Himself chose to redeem man through Israel (John 1:14).
a. Israel is very much still in the shadow of God's plan! Paul gives a lawful oath to his sincerity, and his sorrow. Moral awareness must come from the Word and Spirit, and never just from our will: Otherwise you get pro-choice!
b. The Jews relied upon the law. God's glory filled the temple and God, gave them many promises, many of which are still in effect today. His covenant is that He is their God, and they are His people, God gave them Law and order for them to serve each other, and the world as evangelists, and their God.
c. The main Biblical (and Reformed) perspective of who God is in our lives is based on the "Sovereignty of God," especially here in Romans.
d. Paul's sorrow was a painstakingly intimate expression of his heart and will poured out to God. This was a refection of Moses despair with the people who kept turning on God. Even though both Paul and Moses were willing to give up their lives and salvation for others, God was not willing them to do so (Ex. 32:30-34).
e. Covenants refer to the promise and contract that God made to the Patriarchs. Now God is renewing His agreement with us. God came to save humanity though Israel (Gen. 12) now we as the Church are in the place of Israel, but we do not replace Israel.
f. Vs. 5. This is a clear and unequivocal instance of Christ being called God, "the eternally blessed God". The promises Paul shares with us in chapter 8 were originally for the Jews, now they are for us too.
2. Israel Rejects God's plan and purpose even though Israel is an illustration and major theme of God's redemptive work. Even though they rejected God, God's plan was not thwarted (Acts 10; 15:14).
a. Israel is still a part of the plan (Gen. 17:7-8). He did not fail to work out His purpose with the Jews, nor will He fail to work out our purpose!
b. God's purpose is not thwarted by our actions, we may have dire consequences and judgment, but His plan prevails (vs. 8:28; Acts 1f; 15:14). We have no right to fight against God, or to complain and ask why. We cannot fit God in our extremely limited knowledge and reasoning ability and pass judgment on Him!
c. God is righteous in all of His decisions, and we must trust Him in them, even when we do not like them or understand them. We must see our sin and weakness, and be humble before the Holiness of God.
3. Paul demonstrates that not all of the Jews were God's people. God chose Jacob, because He knew that Esau would be wicked, His purpose is in all that happens. The Jews believed they were saved just for being born Jews, but this is not in the Bible; rather the contrary is (Num. 14:22-23; Deut.1:34-35; Psalm 78:21-22; 95:8-11; 106: 26-27)! Not all Abrahams descendant will receive salvation as God looks to the heart not to the pedigree (Ex. 32:33-35; Num. 11:1; 14:37; 16:32-35; 25:4-4; Deut. 1:35)!
a. So does this mean our salvation is because God sees us saved in time and then saves us? Is our election because of God's foreknowledge? Our election is not based on any action by us that God foreknows; hence Jacob rules Esau. It is all based on His Grace and sovereignty alone (Mal. 1:2-3). Yes, God of course knows the future, but if our receiving of grace were based on God's foreknowledge alone, it would mean we earned it! And thus grace was not needed or sufficient for our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9)! We do not earn our faith we only respond to God's grace with faith, faith that He gives.
b. Our church affiliation as well as being a descended Jew does not guarantee the promise of inheritance; salvation (Gen. 17:7-8)!
c. Israel itself was an adopted people (Ex. 4:22-23; 40: 34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11).
d. The result is we have no right to ever be bitter, so dig out the root of bitterness so it does not bear the rotten fruits of the self!
Paul is an example for us to follow. Does your heart become sorrowful for others? If not, what is blocking you from God's call? Paul was willing to give up his own soul (Phil. 1:22-24)! Passion, conviction and emotion all are part of the Christian experience as long as it is Biblically in line, but beware not to quench the Spirit! Or your passion, or others passion! We cannot give up our salvation even for sympathetic or altruistic reasons, but we can still have the compassion and sympathy to do all we can. Why is this not happing more in the Church? Because we Christians fail when we place our desires over God's direction and plan. We are so consumed with the "me" what is in it for me, how does this affect me, I only have time for me and the such, we leave out God's call to come along side others with His love and compassion.
We must abandon ourselves to Christ, and never hold back with reasoning and logic, nor hide in our theology. Our drive must be to follow His character and not our own or our cultures. My interests must be surrendered to His, His interests must be mine (John 3:30; Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:5; 2: 20-21; Phil. 3:10)! So that doing what we do not want to do in the first place is sheer pleasure because it is serving Him (John 15:13; 1 Cor. 9:22; 2 Cor. 12:15). When we are doing this our maturity and character will grow and then we will be showing the love and care we are called to give!
1. When have you been deeply grieved by something other than a tragedy or death?
2. Have you ever wanted to be adopted by another family as a kid?
3. What is something you or someone else did that was really stupid in the name of the church, such as a bad decision on a committee, or blowing it while witnessing?
4. Why do you suppose the Jews rejected God and His Messiah?
5. What are some of the meaningless trivialities and pride the Jews put ahead of their God?
6. Why would some Jews or Christians feel they are owed, and deserve His grace?
7. By God's grace, we receive many blessings even though we may not see them. What do you think they are?
8. How can you be better at seeing His blessings, even in times of chaos?
9. Why was the rejection of Jesus by the Jews not a stumbling block to God's plan?
10. What happens when moral awareness comes from our ideas and not from the Word and Spirit?
11. God gave the Jews many promises. Which ones do you think are still in effect today?
12. What does the "Sovereignty of God" mean to you?
13. How can Paul's passion and sorrow be an example for us to follow today?
14. Does your heart become sorrowful for others?
15. If not, what is blocking you from God's call?
16. Paul was willing to give up his own soul (This is something we cannot do, even if we wanted to. As children belonging to the Lord, He owns our soul. What a great comfort!) What are you willing to give up?
17. Read Phil. 1:22-24, where does Paul's passion come from?
18. In the above passage, how can you be like Timothy?
19. Passion, conviction and emotion all are part of the Christian experience, so why do so many Christians seem to lack it today?
20. In what ways have you quenched the Spirit? Or your passion?
21. How and why do Christians fail when they place their desires over God's direction and plan?
22. How can you abandon yourselves to Christ?
23. We must never hold back with only reasoning and logic, nor hide in our theology. So why would a Christian decorate their home with all kinds of Christian paraphernalia and be a gossip or slander? Why do we do one thing and believe in another?
24. How can we follow His character with passion and not our own will or our cultures?
25. How can we place our interests as surrendered to His, how can His interests be ours?
26. How can we, as His child, find it sheer pleasure to serve Him?
27. Christ is called God, "the eternally blessed God." So how is this manifested in your daily life?
28. Why would God's plan not be thwarted?
29. God did not fail to work out His purpose with the Jews, nor will He fail to work out our purpose! How can this fact give you greater assurance in your faith and trust?
30. Why would some teach that Israel is not a part of God's plan?
31. We have no right to fight against God, or to complain and ask why. So why is this true, or why would you disagree?
32. So when tragedy strikes, such as the World Trade Center attack, how is God's purpose not thwarted by our or someone else's actions?
33. Why cannot we, as Christians (although we try our best too), fit God in our extremely limited knowledge and reasoning ability and pass judgment on Him?
34. How can we see that God is righteous in all of His decisions, and we must trust Him in them, even when we do not like them or understand them?
35. How can we see our sin and weakness, and be humble before the Holiness of God?
36. What is your opinion of 'election?'
37. The reformed perspective on Election is it is all based on His Grace and sovereignty and not His foreknowledge. Thus, if we would receive grace based on God's foreknowledge alone, it would mean we somehow earned it! And thus grace was not needed or sufficient for our salvation. Do you believe this argument? Why or why not?
38. Why does our church affiliation or being a descended Jew not guarantee the promise of inheritance or salvation?
39. The result of grace is that we have no right to ever be bitter, so why?
They teach this doctrine because Israel rejected the Messiah and as a result, God turned His grace to the Gentiles, this is partly true; the gentiles have been grated in. But they do not take into account of what God says in Romans and Revelation. That God has promised a full reconciliation for an earthly kingdom for Israel. Scripture tells us that the nation of Israel will realize their mistake, and that Jesus was and is their Messiah. We see this today in small tastes such as "Jews for Jesus". They will call on Christ to forgive and return to their promise and our Lord will allow forgiveness and redemption to come to pass. We do not know who, how many and so forth, as we do not know who really is saved in the church today, except maybe what is shown from Galatians 5 (because evil people with smiles and good works as wolves in sheep's clothing can disguise themselves to infiltrate the church and its leadership for evil gain, and we may not realize it!).
Satan's motivation is to destroy the nation of Israel, which is why the world is against them and all of the problems in the Middle East. But we as Christians are not to buy into that lie, yet many do! Another aspect of this teaching is that the church will rule in the Millennium rein in place of Christ, or in the authority of Christ; "The lion will lie down with the lamb, they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and Christ (Not the church in His place!!!) will rule on earth for 1,000 years. "Our God is a truthful and faithful God. He will complete His plan for His people, Israel and the grafted church. In His timing! We cannot rush this or force it to happen just because we cannot wait, just because we want to see the ''Kingdom Now.'' "We have been ''grafted into the vine'' (Rom. 11), but that does not mean we can extort from Israel the kingdom which God promised them, nor seize their place in God's plan. It will happen only in God's timing. The idea that the church can perform actions that will ''bring back the King,'' is incompatible with the Word of God!
This teaching is also full of Anti-Semitism. The Catholic Church teaches, as do some Protestants, they have replaced the Jews as God's chosen people. The land of Israel, promised by God to the descendants of Abraham now belongs to the church (Hence the Crusades). We can avoid such confusion over doctrine and its anguish, and the temptation to seek unbiblical solutions if we would just understand that Israel is Israel, and the church is the church. If we can just read the Bible in its context and quit reading into it what is not there, or reading beside today's newspaper and again reading into it what is not there. Then we will have a church built upon solid doctrine. The people who proclaim replacement theology need to read Zechariah 2:8.