7:00 p.m. CST
Texas Power Hour
w/Pastor Carolyn Sissom & Friends
Word of Promise
Romans Chapter 9 – Word of Promise
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
As Preached on March 27, 2018
The cry of triumph of 8:31 has died away and in the ensueing silence another shadow falls across Paul’s mind to be dispelled by the light of God in Christ. Why had the Jews not come flocking into His Kingdom? Why did they not receive Christ as their long awaited Messiah?
In these three chapters, we will learn of God’s sovereign purpose toward Israel. He foreknew Israel; set his love upon her; gave her the privilege of son-ship; held out to her unconditional promises; and appointed her to fulfill a grand role in redemptive history. But Israel has not come to the appointed destiny. Paul is heart-broken that the bulk of his fellow-Jews still stand outside God’s kingdom.
John 1:11-13: He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
It would seem that chapter twelve would be the next chapter of practical application to our walk. However, Paul adds a parenthesis in Chapters 9, 10 & 11. These three books form a unit to show us that God’s program of righteousness by faith alone does not nullify another part of His program, His promises to Israel as a nation.
Paul means for 11:33 to be taken seriously. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments and His ways past finding out.” He does not claim to know the answers from A to Z. But he does claim to have found important clues which were enough for man to know of God’s unfathomable designs.
In verse 6 he makes a plain statement, “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel.” This true Israel of God knows no national frontiers. According to Rev. 19, this company of saints stands in the Presence of the Lord. They ascribe their victory to the Lord our God.
Blessed are those who have kept themselves unspotted from the world. Yet more blessed are those who have kept themselves unspotted in the world!
The elect’s present blessedness and their fitness to appear in the presence of God have been won for them by the sacrifice of Christ. The heavenly dwelling place of God is itself the temple. He will spread his tent or tabernacle over them. God’s presence is His glory among His people.
Before proceeding, let us again review the manifold assurances of the certainty revealed to us in Romans of our full and final salvation; and glorification:
- We have been acquitted of guilt
- We have been freed from sin’s dominion. Not only are we free from the acts of sin; but our sin nature has been taken away.
- The Holy Spirit is enabling us to meet God’s standard of righteousness through the gift of righteousness.
- No one can accuse us or condemn us.
- We are sons of God under Holy Spirit control.
- We are assured with Hope as a certainty of our deliverance from natural corruption.
- Our salvation does not depend on human failure or success, but upon the sovereign purpose of God. We can fail, but our salvation is sealed.
- God cannot fail. There is no defeat in Jesus. We can’t go under for going over.
- We must persevere and prevail in prayer. The indwelling Spirit causes us to pray in the perfect will of the Father.
- He is sanctifying us, using our natural weaknesses, assaults of Satan, adversities, and the uprising of indwelling sin. Even our failures are part of God’s gracious purpose to make us more Christ-like.
- He foreknew us—not due to any virtue on our part.
- He called us. We responded in Faith.
- Through faith, He justified us.
- Our glorification is just as certain to come to pass as was our calling and justification.
- All that is required of us is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, receive the Holy Spirit and be willing to be made more Christ-like daily.
- Nothing can separate us from Christ: not the severest trials; all that life brings us; death, neither time nor space; creature or created can separate us from the love of Christ.
Has God’s purpose failed because of Israel’s failure? Can His sovereign purpose for us be changed because of our failure?
Israel has rejected the Messiah. They foolishly imagine that they can attain righteousness through human effort. These chapters are a forthright address to the subject of election. Paul is clear that we are not helpless pawns in the Hands of God. God definitely has election, but this in no way frees man of his responsibility in his freedom to choose.
I don’t have a problem understanding election anymore than I do the Trinity. It is possible to hold on to God’s sovereignty and understand my freedom of choice. These Israelites were the chosen seed, chosen people with a chosen king and chosen priest. (Deut. 4: 29-40; 7: 6-11; Duet. 17: 14-17; Deut. 18: 1-8) From these peoples, he chose a tribe:
Ps. 78:65-70: “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouts by reason of wine. He smote his enemies in the hinder parts; he put them to perpetual reproach. He refused the tabernacle of Joseph and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. And he built his sanctuary like high places, like the earth which he has established forever. He chose David also his servant, and took him for the sheepfolds.”
By this sovereignty of election he chose the Apostles (Luke 6: 12-19). Paul was a chosen vessel. (Acts 9: 10-16): “Go your way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him what great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” This should be humbling to all those who presume to assume their status in the Kingdom.
9: 1-3: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that I were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Mt. 25:37, “Oh Jerusalem Jerusalem the city that kills the prophets and stones all those God sends to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
Paul communicates the same desperate passion for the Jews as did Jesus. Paul makes a startling statement when he says he would be accursed to save Israel. Moses is the only other recorded man in the bible, other than Jesus, who offered his soul in exchange for Israel.
Exodus 32:32-33: Yet now if you will forgive their sin…; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written. The LORD said to Moses, Who so ever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
At this point in Paul’s ministry, the Jews have persecuted him to the extent of trying to kill him and even leaving him for dead. This is Paul’s heart speaking, not the Spirit. He was well aware that the death of a man like himself could save no one. He also knew there was no way for him to be separated from Jesus. Passion made Paul a great preacher. He is expressing his great passion for Israel.
The word “Israelites” means, “those who prevail with God”. Beyond being God’s chosen, Paul says they enjoyed seven astonishing privileges from the Hand of God:
- They were adopted before the eyes of the whole world as God’s chosen people.
- They enjoyed glorious manifestations of His Presence in their midst (Shekinah Glory).
- God made covenants with them guaranteeing they would ultimately rule the world as a righteous kingdom.
- He entrusted His law to them, which revealed His standard of righteousness.
- They received amazing promises concerning salvation for the entire world, a land of their own and through them the coming of the Messiah.
- God appeared to the patriarchs in person.
- Christ Himself was a Jew and Jesus is God over all, worthy of praise forever.
- Salvation is from the Jews.
- The Apostles were Jews.
- He entrusted the Holy Scriptures to them. The Old Testament and New Testament was written by Jews with the exception of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
Israel’s sovereign election as a nation on earth has already occurred. However the fullness of the Glory of the nation is yet to be completed.
Why did God choose this nation and load her up with such fabulous promises? I think we are safe to conclude that it was because of Abraham. God was so pleased with the faith of this one man that He elected to make a nation out of him.
Gen. 12:2: I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
Deut. 14:2: He has chosen you above all the nations of the earth to be a peculiar people unto Himself. God chose Israel through election. It is not proper to refer to her as God’s ancient people for she is still His nation in spite of her rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. He has not forsaken her. He still loves her.
Ex. 19:6: You shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
God begins His purpose with a man and unfolds it in a nation.
Jesus established His Holy Nation, the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
1 Pet. 2:9: You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a peculiar people that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Those who have received Jesus as the Messiah will be part of His Holy nation.
Rom. 9: 6-8: “Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall your seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
This speaks of “One Seed.” That Seed is Jesus Christ. Our confession should be “I am a seed of the promise.” The vast lineage of the heritage anointing comes to the children of faith.
Paul anticipates a question, “Can the Word of God fail?” Can God fail to keep these promises made to Abraham? When God made these promises to Abraham, He swore by Himself. How can He fail to keep those promises and be true to His Word?
Not everyone who is born into a Christian home is automatically a Christian. Not everyone who is born a Jew is of the seed of Abraham. God’s promises to Israel are for the believers by Faith.
Abraham had eight sons, yet only Isaac was to make up the chosen line. God made it perfectly clear from the beginning, His promises did not pertain to all Abraham’s children. God’s program is not based on biology. It is based on selection.
Before us are three different meanings for the phrase “seed of Abraham”:
- Physical descendents.
- A remnant within the nation of Israel (true Israelites). Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus.
- Gentiles who believe the gospel and are born again of the Spirit.
The O.T. gives evidence of a preliminary narrowing process in God’s purposes, and it is to this light that the present situation is to be explained. The rejection of Christ by most of the Jews does not come as a surprise to God, and on second thoughts need not to the Church, since it is in line with divine principle. As in the early history of Israel, His habit was to select only one branch of the family tree for His special purposes. So it has been designed that at first the Church should contain only a certain number of Jews. Neither DNA nor behavior qualifies a Jew for divine acceptance.
Isaac was selected and chosen before he was born. He was supernaturally born as a child of promise. He is a “type” of the people meant to receive the spiritual promise. The phrase, children of promise are those who are miraculously born by the power of God’s promises. Only those who are born again through the power of God’s word are heirs as children of promise. True children of God are those who are born as a result of believing. God set the time for Isaac’s birth, at this time next year and supplied the power.
9:9: For this is the word of promise. At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
When my children were small, the Lord spoke to me once and told me they were children of promise. I was naïve enough to think they would sail through life. This has not been the case. If we follow the children of promise throughout the Bible, we see the lot of the children of promise is a challenged journey.
9: 10-13: And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; having not done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls: It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
This is a startling example of God’s right to choose whomever He pleases as the heirs of His promise. His choices are based on foreknowledge of whom He chooses as His companions in the eternal fellowship. God’s choices are based on eternal purpose not an arbitrary selection which say, “I like you and don’t like you.” God knew the outcome of the two boys’ lives before they were born because he is omniscient.
God would that none should perish. (2 Pet. 3:9) He sent His son to die for all men.
Malachi 1: 2-4: “I have loved you, says the Lord. Yet you say wherein have you loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Says the Lord; yet I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom said, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus says the Lord of hosts: They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, the border of wickedness, and the people against whom the Lord has indignation forever.”
Esau opposed God’s divine plan.
9: 14-16: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is neither of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.”
It is impossible for God to make an unjust decision. God can heal a man’s heart. His mercy is consistent with His eternal purpose. The nation of Israel had forsaken the Lord to worship the golden calf. Moses pleaded with him. God promised to spare the nation but reserved the right to pick those in Israel whom He wanted to save. He chose them purely by mercy.
9:17-18: “For the scriptures says of Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore he has mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he hardeneth.”
- T. scripture is clear that God raised up Pharaoh and made him King of Egypt. God knew he was a perfect example of a hard hearted, stubborn, stiff-necked rejecter of God. God used him as a background to display his power over this type of man. Because he was so hard hearted, God was able to gloriously display his power. People feared the Israelites for over 200 years after this because of the display of God’s Glory.
God does not put hardness in a person’s heart, but he knows by foreknowledge that the hardness is already there and knows just how to use it for His purposes. The Lord strives with people only to a certain point. The Lord did strive with Pharaoh multiple times. After that he removes the witness of the spirit and the sweet influences that would soften a man’s heart.
The Lord’s grace is like the sun, the same rays soften wax and harden clay, but the rays of the sun do not make either one.
The gospel of faith-righteousness is easily attained and universally available. Law-righteousness demands life-long success in the moral struggle as its prerequisite for eternal life.
9: 19-21: “You will say then unto me. Why does he yet find fault? For who has resisted his will? Nay, but O man, who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why have you made me thus?”
Something created has no right to challenge its creator. Because of God’s Holy nature, everything He does, no matter how it looks to us is right and good. The divine Craftsman molds two pieces of clay from the same lump. The lump represents sinful humanity. The clay is already sinful. He didn’t make it that way. The entire lump is guilty. God could send the whole lump to hell and be perfectly just. He has a right to make a Moses or a Pharaoh out of the same lump of clay. (Isa. 64:8) “Everything God needed to create a man, He put in the earth.” (Dr. Bill Hammond)
9: 22-23: “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the spirit even we ourselves to wit, the redemption of our body.”
He gave us his own nature, the power of the Holy Spirit, to change our lump of clay into a beautiful vessel like his Son. That’s a long way for a piece of sinful clay to travel.
9: 24-26: Even us, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea, I will call them my people which were not my people; and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, you are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.
The prophet Hosea foretold the calling of the Gentiles to salvation. This prophesy had to wait until after Pentecost to be fulfilled (Hosea 2:23).
9: 27-29: Isaiah also cried concerning Israel. though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for he will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before, except the Lord of Hosts had left us a seed, we would be as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah.
This people is a spiritual nation and is described in 1 Peter 2: 9 -10: “As a royal priesthood, a holy nation…who were once not a people, but now are the people of God.”
Zech. 14: 1-4 is a promise that the Lord will spare a remnant because of the national promises He made to Abraham which He must keep. When Jesus returns to plant His feet upon the Mount of Olives, those remaining Jews will look upon Him whom they have pierced.
This remnant (inclusive of Gentile Christians) will again become His earthly nation in the Kingdom and rule and reign with Christ Jesus.
9: 30-33: “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at this stumbling stone; As it is written, Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence; and whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.”.
Paul summarizes his sermon. He wants to be sure they don’t miss what he is saying. Prophecy is now history:
- God used his right of selection.
- God knew Israel would forsake Him.
- Gentiles would be saved and receive the promises by Faith.
The word of God has not failed. Everything has come to pass exactly as God said it would. We became righteous through Faith. We believed God as did Abraham and it is accounted to us as righteousness.
Jesus is the stone. They kicked him aside. He is Christ the Rock. The stumbling stone appears many times in the O.T. It was the gift their pride could not receive. Jesus can be a stumbling stone or a stepping stone.
The humble will receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and will not be offended.
Isaiah 62:11-12: “Behold the Lord has proclaimed unto the end of the world. Say you to the daughter of Zion, behold your salvation comes; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called, sought out, a city not forsaken.
As we continue through chapters 10-11, Paul makes it clear the present state of affairs was not to be permanent. Paul declares God’s election of the Jews and His O.T. promises to them will come into fruition when the full number of the Gentiles has been incorporated into the Church, then, and only then, it would be the return of the Jews as a whole—not a mere handful as now—to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and thus reveal their now hidden destiny as God’s elect.
Preached by: Pastor Carolyn Sissom
Scripture from K.J.V. bibliography: F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Leslie C. Allen; C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Romans; Dake’s Annotated Reference bible, Matthew Henry’s Commentary; Roman Bible Study Notes prepared by Carolyn Sissom in 1987; August 29, 2010.